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Shih Tzu Odor


This particular breed is not generally known for having that "dog smell" that some breeds carry. Since they are indoor dogs, they will also not often pick up outside odors and bring them in. 
However, there are several reasons why even a well taken care of dog or puppy may have Shih Tzu odor.

We will discuss the possible causes, the treatments and preventive actions that you can take so that your Tzu smells as wonderful as they look. After all, this is a regal dog breed, known for their beauty...And by following our guidelines you can eliminate any bad odors that may be emitting from your dog. So, let's get started! 
Cute little Shih Tzu dog
How can something this beautiful ever smell so bad?

Could it Be Caused by Food or Water?

The answer is yes...

Tiny pieces of food and any water can hide in the long hairs of the face. If it is a matter of small pieces of food, they may be hidden behind hairs. Then, depending on the ingredients contained within, a bad odor may begin to develop.

When water wets down the facial hair of a Shih Tzu and is not able to air dry (for example if it is covered by layers in the front), it can become a breeding ground for bacteria faster than one may think....And this can cause Shih Tzu odor.
To prevent this, one can simply use a small, soft, damp washcloth to clean around the mouth and face after meals....And any wet hairs should be gently squeezed between dry soft cloths (not pulled). If necessary, long hairs in the way can be kept to the side with a tie or bow until the wet strands air dry. 

Could It Be the Eyes?

It is normal for some "eye gunk" to seep occasionally from a Tzu's eyes...and some dogs will have health issues that cause the eyes to tear quite excessively. Both of these issues can cause Shih Tzu odor. What is actually in this stuff? Both tears and so-called gunk will contain water, sweat, oils, saline, mucus and small amounts of a fatty tissue called meibum. Put this all together and allow it to sit on the hairs of the face and it will begin to smell.

It will also cause tear staining most of the time. Not only do the substances alone have an odor, but if the hairs on the dog are wet most of the time from this, bacteria can begin to grow (this is what tear staining basically is) and even without the classic discoloration of hairs, the dog can have a bad odor.

Some may mistake this for bad breath, when in fact the smell is coming from under and around the eyes. The most important step that you can take is to ensure that this area stays dry. If excessive tearing is present, it is time for a check up with the veterinarian. If allergies are the cause, many steps can be taken to help your dog.

It will help to wipe down this area each morning when it may be at its worst. This can be done with a hypo-allergenic canine facial wipe or a scent-free baby wipe and then a dry, soft washcloth. Inspection should be done several times during the day as well. It only takes just a moment to clean around the eyes.

Anal Glands

If you have ever had a dog whose anal glands popped unexpectedly or if you expressed them yourself, you are well aware of the very strong, quite shocking odor that comes along with this. You may be smelling Shih Tzu odor from a dog that has an anal gland(s) that are full or impacted and are slowly leaking. This should be taken care of right away, not only for the smell, but for the health of your Tzu. 

All dogs have glands, one on each side of the anus. Normally, they are very small and not noticeable. However, over time, they fill up with liquid. Similar to a pimple, they need to be occasionally expressed to allow the fluid to come out and for them to shrink back to normal size. If not done, they will make the dog very uncomfortable....he or she may scoot their rear end along the floor, etc.

Owners can either choose to express these themselves, or as in most cases, have a professional groomer do the job.
If still left alone and not broken by scooting (and this type of tearing can leave the skin open to infection), the liquid can turn into a more solid paste. At that point, a veterinarian will need to either express them or even have to perform a small surgery to expel that pasty substance which cannot be allowed to stay.

Bad Breath Shih Tzu Odors

While it is a long running joke, it is actually not normal for a canine to have stinky bad breath. There is no such thing as normal "dog breath". When proper grooming is given, there is no reason for any offensive odors to be present. The number 1 cause for odor coming from the mouth is insufficient dental care. Long ago many people and even veterinarians thought that a dog could have clean healthy teeth by simply chewing on rawhide and other treats. We now know that this is not true.

Read about dental care - Learn when, how and why to provide your Tzu with daily dental care. 

Skin Infection

Too many baths or the use of low-quality products can cause dry skin...this can lead to cracking and then infection in worse case scenarios. This type of problem is seen quite a bit in the winter when the air is super dry, which affects both skin and coat. 

In addition, allergies can cause skin problems as well. Any skin infection - including a yeast infection - can cause a bad odor. 

For this reason, it is suggested to look at the skin underneath all of the hair, over the entire body to look for signs of redness, sores, bumps, etc. A veterinarian should then inspect them to determine the exact cause and course of treatment...which often includes antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication.
More Information

Behavior....Health....Training...Female Issues....Breeding....From the 1 day old pup to the senior....Photos of every color Tzu in the world... Check out the most comprehensive Shih Tzu book in the world. Now in both print & eBook.
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