Most senior dogs have some level of hearing loss and this can occur in just one ear or both. It's common for owners to first assume that their senior is ignoring a command or is not paying attention to their name being called.
If a senior Shih Tzu does indeed have some hearing loss, often he will not obey commands, will not respond to hand clapping or to his name and may appear startled when he suddenly sees someone who has walked into the room.
What you can do
- You'll want your Shih Tzu to have a hearing exam to find out the extent of the changes. For issues related to old age, there is little that can be done in terms of treatment. However, some simple changes at home such as flipping on light switches to announce entry into a room and using a whistle instead to gain a dog's attention can be helpful.
2) Vision loss.
Decreased vision is often part of growing older, however it is important to have this diagnosed. This can be due to glaucoma, cataracts or other issues. Depending on the cause, treatment may be able to save a dog's sight and in some cases only quick intervention will do so. Signs of decreased vision with senior dogs includes: bumping into household objects, possibly appearing disorientated and having trouble finding belongings such as toys and food & water bowls
What you can do
- Aside from having this confirmed, diagnosed and treated by the vet, there are changes you can make at home to help a partially blind dog feel more at ease. Do not rearrange furniture, puppy-proof the house on a daily basis, gate off any dangerous areas such as staircases, stick with familiar walking routes and when approaching your Shih Tzu do this from the side and at his level.
3) Decreased tolerance for exercise
- Due to decreased lung capacity, heart function and mobility, senior Shih Tzu will have a gradual slowing down in regard to duration and pace in regard to walks. If you typically take your adult for 2 mile walks, this will often decrease to 1 and 1/2 and then 1 over the course of a several years.