It's always worrisome when a Shih Tzu has upset tummy issues. This breed is small, so any disturbance to eating or drinking patterns can cause a rapid case of dehydration and weight loss. There are a number of reasons why a Shih Tzu would suddenly have an upset stomach; thankfully many of these can be resolved from home.
In this section, we are going to discuss:
- Why a Shih Tzu may have an upset stomach
- Common signs of this
- At home treatment to ease symptoms and get your puppy or dog feeling back to normal
- Signs and symptoms that point to a serious health issue that must be treated by the veterinarian
Since your dog can't tell you that he's not feeling well, it will not be until you see physical signs that something is wrong.
There may be:
• Dry heaving
• Loud stomach gurgling
• Excessive gas
With mild, passing cases there is often one episode of vomiting and then a period of time in which the Shih Tzu will want to rest. He may be extra thirsty, however aside from that he'll be a bit wiped out from exertion.
With mild, acute cases of diarrhea, a Shih Tzu may have this for 24 hours and during that time he will not want to eat. These sorts of stomach problems can make a toy sized dog extremely tired.
Top Reasons Why a Shih Tzu May Have an Upset Stomach
Ingesting a food that disagrees with his stomach-
This is the most common reason for stomach distress. It may happen if you have offered your puppy a new food, have switched to a new brand of commercial food too quickly or if your Shih Tzu happened to get into something that he shouldn't have.
Take note of what your Shih Tzu may have ate before his stomach started acting up . Let's look at the main reasons for this and what to do:
1) Was he outside and could have possibly chewed on some grass?
This is notorious for making dogs sick. While there are various theories on why dogs eat grass (some say it is a canine instinct, done to induce vomiting and other believe a dog will eat it due to a lack of nutrients and upset stomach is a side effect) . If this is the case, you'll want to provide some at-home care (more ahead) and symptoms should subside within 12 hours.
Take note that some flowers and weeds can be toxic, so if that is suspected and symptoms are severe, this is a reason for professional intervention.
2) Did your dog get into the trash?
If so, there countless foods and elements that will cause stomach problems. Look through to try and determine if any toxic foods may have been there.
This includes onions, chocolate, caffeine products, fruit
seeds, raw bread dough, avocado, grapes, raisins, Macadamia nuts, and sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol. If there is a chance that your Shih Tzu ingested one of these foods, it is advised to call the veterinarian immediately.
Inducing vomiting may or may not be advised and treatment will depend on the element that was ingested. ONLY when instructed by a professional veterinarian, this is done by giving a dog 1 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide - via feeding syringe - every 10 minutes until effective.
If for some reason you cannot reach the vet, you would want to call the Pet Poison Hotline at 800-213-6680. This number serves North America and do be aware that there is a $39 charge.
3) Did you just switch to a new food?
While it is a change to main meals that can often cause upset stomach with this breed, some Shih Tzu are also sensitive to a change in snacks and treats. A difference in levels of fat, a high amount of additives or coloring or just intolerance to a newly introduced ingredient may be enough to cause an upset tummy.
A gradual changeover is suggested over the course of 4 weeks. In the meantime, go back to what you were feeding your Shih Tzu earlier and do not give any more of the new food. There will be a period of adjustment in which the stomach needs to rest (more ahead).
4) Did you Shih Tzu eat too fast?
Some puppies and dog will eat so fast that the food is not properly chewed and with large chunks entering the stomach at a fast rate, this can cause upset within just minutes. When you add the element of gulping down air with the food, this can create the perfect recipe for an upset stomach usually combined with gas and bloating. In very rare cases, this could lead to actual bloat (a twisting and turning of the stomach that is highly fatal if not immediately treated) however this condition is not often seen with the Shih Tzu breed.
There are two quick fixes to this that are easy to implement. Obtaining a slow feeding bowl works very well to encourage a dog to eat slower. You will want to stay with stainless steel as your material and for this reason, opting for an SS portion pacer will do the trick as well.
The other element that you may want to consider if your Shih Tzu has a sensitive stomach is to spread out feeding times throughout the day. Moving up to 3 meals as opposed to 2, or offering 2 smaller meals but along with more healthy snacks can help.
Stomach Virus -
Canines can develop passing stomach ailments just as humans can. However, with our dogs we must be careful since one of the most common virus are serious canine diseases including parvo and corona. Even with preventative treatments, there are circumstances in which a Shih Tzu can catch something. You'll want to monitor your puppy or dog for any signs that things are worsening and have him evaluated if this stomach does not calm down with the at-home remedies we will discuss ahead. Serious medical conditions -
In most cases, an upset stomach will be a passing concern and can be treated at home. However, with this said there are some rather serious health conditions in which upset stomach is a main symptom. This includes stomach ulcer and pancreatitis.