Call us: 555-555-5555

Allergies

Shih Tzu Allergy Information

Overview

Shih Tzu allergy photo, puppy
Bella, photo courtesy of Laura Morgan
It is not that uncommon for a Shih Tzu to have allergies; about 20% of dogs experience at least one type. The signs can be troubling, often overwhelming, and can really take a toll on this toy breed.  

Despite a good effort, you may have not been able to figure out what the triggers are, or maybe your vet has even run tests but they were inconclusive. Treatments may have been only partially successful or temporary. 

However, as long as you are willing to do some work, and are committed to resolving your Shih Tzu's allergies, you can find fast and lasting relief for your puppy or dog. 

This section will cover everything you need to know about Shih Tzu allergies, including: signs, types of allergies, diagnosing, and importantly the 3 steps to resolve allergies once and for all, with step-by-step guidance. It's time for your Shih Tzu to feel better, so let's dive in. 

Symptoms 

Signs that your Shih Tzu has allergies can be very varied. Your puppy or dog may have one, some, or all of the following. In addition, these symptoms can come and go over time. This includes:
  • Excessive dry skin
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Skin sores
  • Hot spots
  • Thinning hair
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Eye discharge
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Exercise intolerance due to breathing issues
  • Stomach upset and/or vomiting (if seen, will most likely be due to food allergies)
  • Behavior due to intense itching; includes scratching, licking or chewing (often the paws) and/or rubbing the body against surfaces

Types of Allergies

A Shih Tzu can be allergic to a wide range of allergens. However, these can be placed into 3 main categories:

1. Food Allergies - It is often additives in dog food that cause a problem. And far too many brands are guilty of adding these. This includes chemical preservatives and artificial coloring dyes. Other triggers include wheat, corn, or soy. 

While it is rare, dogs can be allergic to such things as eggs or even a certain protein such as chicken (normally very well tolerated). 

2. Environmental Allergies- This includes airborne allergens such as seasonal pollen, weeds, and grasses. This is not just a summertime issue; seasonal allergies can start in the springtime, and ragweed is a top trigger in autumn.

There can be year-round allergies due to indoor triggers, most notably dust mites and their droppings. A half of a teaspoon of dust contains up to 1,000 mites and over 25,000 droppings, which dogs can also be allergic to. 

Finally, such things as cleaners or air freshener sprays that are used in the house can contribute to a Shih Tzu's allergies.

3. Contact Allergies - This is the least common type of allergy with dogs, but should not be ruled out. This refers to something that a dog is coming into physical contact with. High on the list are plastic bowls. But, this could also include carpeting, and fabrics such as bed linens. In some cases, even rubber toys can cause an allergic reaction. 

In most cases, there will be a localized skin reaction on the area that touches the allergen element. For example, with bowls this will often be on the nose, and may be around the mouth. If a Shih Tzu is allergic to carpeting or even laundry detergent that used to wash throw rugs, a dog bed cover, etc. there can be a full body rash. 

Diagnosing Your Shih Tzu's Allergies

Testing at the veterinarian's: We certainly encourage you to take your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian for help with allergies. However, it must be noted that the 2 main types of allergy testing for canines is not without their drawbacks.
  • Blood testing - The most commonly used type of blood test to check a dog for allergies is known as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). This checks the blood for antigen-induced antibodies. It is more accurate in determining food allergies than it is for environmental or contact triggers. Because this test was specifically designs for humans, it is not entirely precise for canines, and is known to produce false positives, which can send you down the wrong path. 
  • Intradermal skin testing – Of the two, this is the more reliable. However, it is not without some downsides. A section of a dog's coat is shaved, and tiny amounts of the most common allergens are injected just under the skin. One con of this test is that a dog must be sedated for it. In addition, in order for the test to work to any degree of certainty, antihistamines and other allergy medications cannot be given for 1 to 3 months beforehand. 
Shih Tzu in a plastic box
Lily, photo courtesy of Lovely and Sheen Lopez
You can expect accurate results approximately 75% of the time. This is because it is up to each veterinarian to determine what qualifies as a true skin reaction, and only a limited number of allergens are available.

Testing at home: While you cannot run an actual test, you can eliminate common triggers, thus determining for yourself which changes are helpful in clearing up your Shih Tzu's allergy symptoms. 

Do note that with some triggers, especially food allergies, significant improvement may not be seen for up to 12 weeks. 

Vet Vs. at home: Whether you decide to handle this at home, or see the vet for testing, a vet visit is warranted when a Shih Tzu is having quite severe reactions. The vet can prescribe antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. 

So, we do suggest a combination of both a vet visit, if needed, and actions taken at home to help improve things. 

The 3 Steps to Resolve Allergies Effectively and Permanently

As with many things in life, shortcuts will get you nowhere. When it comes to allergies, you will find very limited or temporary success if you try to circumvent the steps to resolve them. 

This is due, in part, to the fact that a dog can be allergic to more than one trigger. Remove one, but not the other, and your Shih Tzu will still be exposed. In addition, for every trigger, there are multiple steps that you'll want to follow. Skip one, and all your other work may be done in vain. 

So, to truly fix allergies forever, there are 3 steps that you'll want to follow:

1. Significantly reduce or completely eliminate the triggers. 

2. Use the right allergy treatments to resolve symptoms. 

3. Continued avoidance of allergens and good care management to help prevent re-occurrence.   

Now, let's go into the details of these 3 steps, so that your Shih Tzu can start to finally find some relief.  

Step 1: Significantly Reduce or Completely Eliminate Allergens

Because there are 3 categories of allergies: food, environment, and contact, we'll tackle these one at a time.

It is best if you do not automatically discount any of these. And keep in mind that your Shih Tzu may have more than one type, and more than one subset of allergies. For example, both a sensitivity to synthetic preservatives (food), and reaction to dust mites (environmental). 
Very fluffy Shih Tzu, outside on grass
Walter, at 9 months old,
photo courtesy of Rafael Iraheta 
1) Food Allergens
Both main meals and all snacks should be assessed. 

You'll want to offer wholesome, quality food that has ZERO corn, soy, or grain. There should be no chemical preservatives (a blend of vitamins should naturally preserve the food), and no coloring dyes. Steer clear of generic meats and by-products as well. 

It should be made in the USA, and be properly sized for your Shih Tzu. 

Meals: There are countless inferior brands, and only a few superior ones that truly do not add in any fillers or additives. Our top recommended kibble for Shih Tzu with food allergies is Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free for Small Breeds (also see below). 

This is a chicken and turkey recipe, which is normally very easy on the stomach and very well-tolerated. 
One of the great things about CORE is that it has impressive bonuses, including omega-3 fatty acid derived from salmon, which is fantastic in helping to restore dry or itchy skin, and glucosamine and chondroitin, which are important supplements for joint health and vital for the Shih Tzu breed due to its vulnerability for hip issues. 
If you suspect that your Shih Tzu is allergic to chicken (which, again, is rare but possible), or whichever protein base that you've been feeding your dog, it'll be time to try an alternative protein. The most common bases to choose from include chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, bison, duck, rabbit, and fish. 

You may want to consider Merrick Lil Plates Grain-Free for Small Breeds(also see below), which is another top-quality brand; they offer 100% grain-free, all-natural beef, salmon, and lamb recipes. 
Female Shih Tzu with long hair, blue bow
Maggie, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Karen Mathison
Snacks: Any treat that you give to your Shih Tzu must be held to the same high standards as main meals. Again, you'll want to look for wholesome, 100% all-natural, without corn, soy, or wheat. 

One great one is Zuke's Mini Naturals (see below); these come in several tasty options including peanut butter, salmon, chicken, duck, rabbit, and pork. 
And another favorite is Old Mother Hubbard Minis (see below), which offers veggie, bacon & cheese, peanut butter, chicken & apples, and liver. 
Water should be assessed. 
If you are offering your Shih Tzu unfiltered tap water, this could be one of the triggers of your dog's allergies. Tap water across the US is filled with toxins and contaminants. Even the chlorine added to water to purify it is technically a poison, proven to increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.  
There are over 100 known contaminants in tap water that are regulated by the EPA, meaning that they may be present in small amounts. Perhaps most shocking of all, the carcinogen chromium-6 has been found in the tap water of over 200 million Americans, state to state. 
Good ways to offer clean, chemical-free water include using gallons of spring water, having a filtering device installed onto your kitchen tap, or using a filtering water pitcher. 

If you're thinking of using a pitcher, choose wisely; some do not trap all that much. However, an extremely effective one is the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher, which removes 2000% more contaminants than a Brita, including chromium-6.  
Below are our top recommended foods and snacks for Shih Tzu with allergies. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4.

And next, we will cover the important aspects of both environmental (seasonal) allergies, contact allergies, and treatments to quickly resolve super itchy skin and other related issues. 
2) Environmental Allergens
This includes pollen, grasses, weeds, mold, dust mites, and chemical cleaning products. Since these particles are minute yet powerful, just missing one of these steps to rid the house and your Shih Tzu of these triggers may allow allergies to continue. So, you'll want to follow as many of these steps as you can: 
Shih Tzu outside, sitting on a rock
Maxi, 
photo courtesy of Kenneth Duncan
1. Vacuum all rooms of the house, no matter the type, with a vacuum cleaner that has HEPA filtration. HEPA is certified to trap pollen and other allergens. Not only will this remove these elements from the floor, but it can clear the air to some extent as it cycles through the machine. 

2. Filter the air. If you have a central air system, run this (just the fan setting is okay) while using either HEPA filters with a MERV rating of at least 9, or a filter with an FPR of at least 9. These will filter out pollen, mold, dust mites, and other microscopic allergens. 

If you do not have central air, consider obtaining free-standing HEPA air purifiers for your home. 

3. Wet-dust the house often. There are 13 species of dust mites, and these (and their droppings) are a top cause of year-round allergies for both dogs and people. You cannot see them with your eyes, but if you could you'd really want to rid your house of these tiny spider-like creatures. 
4. Routinely wash bed linens, pillow covers, toss pillows, throw rugs, and every other washable in your home in a hot water cycle. Dust mites like to burrow deep inside fabrics and only water that is at least 130 F can kill them. If you have old pillows, mattresses, or other items that you don't need, consider tossing them. 
5. Keep windows closed so that pollen and other airborne allergens cannot re-enter the home. 

6. Have everyone remove shoes before they enter the home. Keep these up and away from your Shih Tzu's reach. 

7. Keep track of high pollen-count days. You can see this information alongside most local weather reports. The best time for daily walks on these days is early in the morning and then again later in the evening. This is because pollen usually reaches its peak right around noontime. 

8. Wipe your Shih Tzu down each time your puppy or dog comes back into the home. This is regardless of whether it was a 2-minute bathroom trip or a 20-minute walk.

9. Routinely apply paw wax to your Shih Tzu's paws to help create a barrier between them and outdoor triggers on grass and walking surfaces. An added bonus is that a quality paw wax can help clear up irritated paw skin and other issues that often manifest due to allergies. 

10. Rinse off your Shih Tzu's paws after coming back inside; the kitchen sink is often the most convenient method. Don't worry about the paw wax, water will not remove it; it takes about 1 week for the wax to slowly wear away. 
11. Brush your Shih Tzu often. Regardless of whether your Shih Tzu has a short, medium, or long coat, brush the entire body 3 to 5 times per week. 

12. Limit the use of chemical cleaners including air freshener sprays and carpet deodorizing powders. When you are using strong cleaners, such as when scrubbing the bathtub, keep your dog away from the area. 
Below are some of our recommendations for the removal of allergens that we just covered. This includes an effective HEPA vacuum, a strong HEPA air purifier, hypo-allergenic grooming wipes, and one of the best paw waxes available. 

If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4.

And next, we will cover contact allergens, which should not be ignored, and then discuss treatments that can immediately offer relief for itching and other troublesome issues. 
3) Contact Allergens
For this, you'll want to rule out certain items and elements that your Shih Tzu may be coming into contact with. 

This includes:

BowlsOne of the most common contact allergens is plastic bowls; even those that are BPA free can be to blame, and this is often due to heavy color dyes, but can be the plastic material itself.

In addition, a dog can suffer from a reaction (not quite an allergy) in which the plastic, over time, causes the nose to lose its natural pigmentation. If a Shih Tzu used to have a black nose, and it's lightened or even turned pink over time, it very well could be the bowls. Other issues can include a rash around the mouth.  
white Shih Tzu
Zara, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Janai H.
What to do: Stainless steel is the #1 choice for dog bowls, as this this is allergen-free. It also resists scratching, is of a good weight, and is easy to clean. You may wish to opt for ceramic; however, it is not as durable and can crack or shatter. 
If your Shih Tzu does not have stainless steel bowls yet, you may want to look into a cute yet efficient set that sits into a molded base to keep things nice and tidy, like Kek's Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Non-Skid & No Spill Base.
Carpeting - Certain carpet fibers can cause allergic reactions, and rough texture just adds to the problem. 

What to do: If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, and suspect this to be one of the culprits, encourage your Shih Tzu to rest and sleep in his bed and/or place down small blankets that have been washed in hypo-allergenic detergent. 

Detergent - Anything that's been washed in heavily perfumed detergent may cause a reaction; this includes soft stuffed toys, blankets, and pillow cases. 
What to do: Always use a hypo-allergenic detergent that is free of perfumes or dyes. 

Toys - Certain toys, and particularly inexpensive ones that one can get at dollar stores, may be made from cheap rubbers or plastics, and often heavy coloring dyes. 

What to do: It's always a good idea to routinely check your Shih Tzu's toy supply and do a 'keep, don't keep'. Remove suspect toys. 

Step 2: Allergy Treatments to Resolve Symptoms 

Here, we will look at all options, including those that work very well and those that are iffy at best and carry certain risks. 
Prescribed medications

We know that many owners would prefer to treat their Shih Tzu's allergies at home, and not have to visit the veterinarian. However, with moderate to severe cases, a vet visit is often warranted. 

This is because strong medications such as prescribed antihistamines like hydroxyzine (Atarax) and/or anti-inflammatories and anti-itch medications such as prednisone may be needed. Note that Prednisone can only be given short-term without risk of severe side effects. Even short-term, there may be changes in thirst or appetite, and this medicine can cause a dog to become susceptible to infections. 

If skin has become so dry that it has cracked open, antibacterial ointment may be needed. 
Immunotherapy

Also known as hyposensitization, and commonly referred to as allergy shots, these have some major drawbacks and risks that you should know about. 

With this, a small amount of an allergen(s) is given to a dog with the goal of being able to build up a tolerance.

This does not work for food allergies, can only have a chance of working if the exact culprit allergen(s) has been identified, needs to be given every day (oral) or once a week (injected), symptoms may worsen during the first few months, needs years to work, and may need to be given for life (though less frequently). 

This type of allergy treatment is only 75% effective at best, and most importantly there can be very serious side effects including hives, trouble breathing, and even anaphylactic shock.
OTC antihistamines
Shih Tzu in a sweater
Prince, at 9 years old,
photo courtesy of Jennifer Edmonds
While you can technically give your Shih Tzu an over-the-counter allergy medication such as Benadryl, there are 3 reasons why you'll want to be very careful about this:
  • With the Shih Tzu being a brachycephalic breed, breathing issues are always a top concern. When you add in allergies, symptoms such as heavy wheezing and/or moderate to severe coughing should be diagnosed and treated by the vet.
  • Dosing must be exact. Dosing is 1 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day; with toy breeds like the Shih Tzu, it's dangerous to inadvertently give too much. 
  • In regard to itching, Benadryl can help to some degree, but will not resolve severe skin issues including hot spots, nor will it cure an allergy. The best method is to follow the steps of working to reduce or remove all possible triggers, and use effective treatments (coming up next) to cure itching and bring relief. 
Sprays
Why these are great: The right sprays can be incredibly helpful to fix allergy symptoms including dermatitis, severe itch, hot spots, irritated skin, and/or rash. Note that a spray should be used in conjunction with an allergy shampoo (more ahead on those). 

The fantastic thing about sprays is that they target specific areas on a Shih Tzu. So, if you use the right one, your puppy or dog will find immediate relief directly where it's sore, itchy, or sensitive. And then, the spray will continue to work to soothe and heal the skin. 

Types: There are several types and both medicated and non-medicated. The one that is best for your Shih Tzu will depend on your puppy or dog's exact symptoms. So, let's look at these sprays, and how they can help: 
Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray: This is for two specific, severe allergy issues: 

1) Atopic dermatitis which is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease that is linked to allergies. Signs include scaly patches and/or severely red irritated skin (which may appear moist). Dermatitis is typically seen on certain parts of the body including: the ears, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin area, between the toes, and/or around the eyes. It may also be seen on the chest or upper back. 

2) Pyoderma, which essentially means that there are lesions with pus. 

Our top recommended Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray for atopic dermatitis or pyoderma is SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray (also see below). The active ingredient is 2% chlorhexidine gluconate, and it also contains lanolin and aloe vera to provide soothing relief. 
Cute Shih Tzu with red toy in mouth
Ziko, photo courtesy of Eleni Daponta
Anti-itch medicated spray: This will be one of the most useful products you can have for your Shih Tzu, since itching is the most common symptom of allergies with dogs. 

If your Shih Tzu is licking at or chewing at himself to a serious degree, if there is an extreme, uncomfortable itchy rash, and/or if the skin is inflamed, a spray that contains hydrocortisone and lidocaine or just hydrocortisone can be of great help. 

Note: This type of spray should NOT be used if there are open sores, OR if the areas of concern are those that your Shih Tzu licks at. For that, you'll want an all-natural spray, and we cover those next. 

A combination of hydrocortisone and lidocaine will work for itching, inflammation, and pain. If your Shih Tzu does not appear to need a topical anesthetic (numbing agent), one with just hydrocortisone for itching and/or inflammation is the right choice. 
Our top recommended allergy spray with both hydrocortisone and lidocaine topical spray is SynergyLabs Dr. Gold's Itch Relief (also see below).
And, if you believe that your Shih Tzu only needs one with hydrocortisone, we recommend Pet King's Zymox Spray with Hydrocortisone (also see below)
Anti-itch spray, all-natural: Don't assume that all-natural means that it works to a lesser degree than medicated sprays. The right one can resolve a host of moderate to severe issues associated with allergies. 

This is a good choice if your Shih Tzu is super itchy, has irritated skin, and/or a rash due to allergies, and especially if the areas of concern are the paws or other places that your Shih Tzu nibbles at or licks. This also works terrific on hot spots.

Our top recommended anti-itch, all-natural spray is, by far, Bodhi Dog's Anti-Itch All-Natural Oatmeal Spray (shown below). This non-toxic spray contains oatmeal, oat proteins, wheat germ, vitamins A, D, and E, and baking soda.
Below you can see the sprays that we've covered. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile you may need to turn your screen horizontally to see all 4. 

And next, we are going to cover skin lotions, which can be a good choice if a Shih Tzu's entire body is itchy, raw, or otherwise affected, and then dive into shampoo, which is a vital part of treatment. 
Lotion
Lotion, like spray, puts help directly where a dog needs it. You may wonder which of the two is the right choice for your Shih Tzu. Both can be extremely effective; however, lotion is often best if a dog has itching just about everywhere. It'll be easier to apply than trying to spray the entire body. 

But, something to keep in mind is that with lotion, you will be touching your Shih Tzu to apply it. So, if your Shih Tzu is so sensitive that you can't imagine massaging a lotion in, one of the aforementioned sprays will be better. 

Our top recommended lotion is made by ReQ (see recommended lotion, shampoo and omega 3 below) and works for itching, rash, and/or hot spots. And, this can even promote hair growth after follicles have been affected by poor skin health and the coat has thinned. 

This is a top-end product that contains a super-soothing and restorative blend of Manuka honey, aloe vera, coconut, hemp seed oil, olive oil, shea butter, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. This can be used everywhere, including a dog's paws. 
happy Shih Tzu dog
Ari, at 11 months old,
photo courtesy of Gabriela
Allergy Shampoos
Why these are great: Though baths should normally be given once every 3 weeks, when a Shih Tzu is having terrible skin issues related to allergies, baths can be given 2 to 3 times per week. And you'll want to take advantage of these opportunities to thoroughly saturate your puppy or dog in a healing product, reaching every single area of the body. Once massaged in, allow it to soak in for a good ten minutes; this can provide ultimate relief, healing, and restoration. 

So, whether you use a spray or a lotion, you'll want to have a superior allergy shampoo.

Types: There is both medicated and non-medicated specialty shampoos. You'll want to take careful note of which one will be best for your Shih Tzu. 
Medicated - Note that some medicated shampoos are meant for skin infections, mange, and other types of conditions, and this should not be confused with medicated allergy shampoo. 
Here, we are referring to a product that is meant for skin that is so severely affected that hydrocortisone for itching and inflammation, and lidocaine to help numb pain is warranted. You'll notice that this matches the spray that we've gone over above. In addition to this, the one that we recommend, by SynergyLabs (see below), also contains colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera for moisturizing and healing. 
Specialty Allergy Shampoo - There are some natural, organic compounds that can work just as good, if not better, than medications. 
Shih Tzu on a sofa, wearing a batman harness
Rizzo, at 6 months old,
photo courtesy of Joseph Almedina 
Our top recommended organic product is Moosh (see below), and it is amazing. It works for hot spots, itching, rash, and/or severe dry skin. There's an incredible combination of bentonite clay, neem oil, argan oil, shea butter, aloe vera, vetiver oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil that is exceptionally soothing, healing, and restorative. 
Omega 3 Fish Oil
You may have heard that omega 3 fatty acid is helpful when a dog has allergies. And it is very true that it can help a lot. However, we do not recommend relying on this alone. This should be considered an added extra for dogs with poor skin and/or coat health. 

Omega 3, and specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), helps improve both skin and hair health. It'll help keep skin moisturized and the coat shiny. It can even help with promoting hair growth. This type is derived from fish and shellfish, and to a lesser degree, algae. 

Note that another type of omega 3, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is derived from flaxseed, and is less potent. 
If you are considering using an omega 3 fish oil as part of your plan to completely cure your Shih Tzu of allergies, be sure that you choose one that is made from wild fish. This is because farmed fish can contain up to 15% vegetable oil, and this lowers the actual value of the omega. 

The one that we recommend, Zesty Paws (below), is a liquid fish oil made from wild Alaskan salmon, and comes in an easy-to-use pump; you just add 1/2 to 1 pump (based on your dog's exact weight) each day to one meal. Note that you'll want to mix this in very well, so that your Shih Tzu does not pick and choose just the kibble bits that have the taste of fish on them. 
Below are our recommended allergy treatments that we just covered, including the lotion, two types of shampoo, and omega 3 fish oil. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4.

And next, we'll go over a quick recap and summary to help condense all of the info that you've just read. Then, we'll finish with the 3rd and final step of continued maintenance. 

Recap Thus Far

We have covered a lot so far, and hopefully you feel confident that you are well on your way to finally fixing your Shih Tzu's allergies for good, and helping your puppy and dog feel better. 

You've read about 2 of the 3 important allergy aspects: Reducing or eliminating triggers, and choices of treatment to help resolve allergy-related issues. In short, you will want to:
  • Work to identify food, environmental, or contact allergens
  • Reduce or remove as many as you possibly can; this may include switching foods, clearing the house of allergens, and/or new grooming tasks such as wiping the coat down. 
  • Choose a spray or lotion to offer immediate relief
  • Choose an allergy shampoo to combat common allergy skin reactions
  • Consider an omega supplement, if you feel that your Shih Tzu would benefit from this
  • The veterinarian can help with both diagnosis and treatment
Next, we will go over the 3rd and final part (and the shortest and easiest part), which is essentially keeping your Shih Tzu allergy-free by continuing to avoid allergens and using good management in regard to care.

Step 3: Continued Avoidance and Good Care Management

Once your Shih Tzu is no longer suffering from allergies, and symptoms have cleared up, you'll want to do all you can to avoid future problems. There are just a few things to keep in mind: 

1. Canines can grow in and out of allergies, and allergens can change all throughout the year (for example, pollen in the summer, and ragweed in the fall), so always be on guard. 
Shih Tzu posing with a red background
Suzie, 
photo courtesy of Keith
It's easier to treat things like dry skin or rash at the beginning stages.

2. Don't fall behind in keeping both your house and your Shih Tzu allergen-free. It's normal to dive enthusiastically in getting rid of allergens when your puppy or dog is really suffering badly. But, then as time goes by and a dog is feeling better, it's common for owners to let things slack a bit. 

Before you know it, you're a week overdue in vacuuming, you haven't changed the filters in the purifier in months, and that container of grooming wipes ran out weeks ago. Keep a schedule and recruit other members of the household to help out. 

3. When a dog's skin, coat, paws, and nose are in tiptop shape, these areas will be less prone to issues. Bathe your Shih Tzu on time, use quality shampoos and coat products, follow important weather related care guidelines for the summer season, and prep well in advance for winter care
Related:

I'm Allergic to My Shih Tzu - Despite popular belief, it is possible to be allergic to a Shih Tzu. This single coated breed with hair can cause allergies due to dander, saliva, and even urine on the coat. Learn what to do to decrease or resolve issues. 
Shih Tzu Stung by Bee and Allergic - Even if a dog never had a bad reaction in the past, an allergic reaction to bee, hornet, wasp or yellow jacket stings can occur. With multiple stings, toxic build-up is another concern. 
Share by: