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Health

Health and wellbeing is an area that is changing as our knowledge grows. Below are some day to day Shih Tzu issues explained with some more in articles in the sub pages to the right.

Poo Eating (Coprophragia)

Most breeds of dog do this, generally females but can become a learned behaviour amongst males too. Opinion is divided as to why they do it. Most likely it is linked to the instinct to clean up after puppies, in the wild the area around the litter nest is kept clean so as not to attract predators. Nursing mums will generally clean up after their puppies until weaning time. Other ideas include the lack of something in the diet or the scavenging instinct for anything with nutrients in it (cow and horse poo being particular favourites). It can also be a learned behaviour, particularly watching other dogs do it.

Although a disgusting behaviour to us, and certainly one that should be discouraged, it isn't usually harmful to the dog. Puppies will often go through a phase of stool eating but usually they grow out of it. So what can be done to stop it?

The best way is to be alert and pick stools up before they get to eating them. You can try a change of food to see if that helps. Some suggest pineapple chunks, anecdotally this seems to work for some and not others. There are also products you can buy to add to the food to deter them from eating their own stools. These don't help with other animals droppings though. Two products are Copro-Nil and Stool Repel-Um. A web search brings up numerous suppliers. You might also have a chat with your vet.

Fussy Eating

Although we generally take the view that fussy eaters are made not born, it is worth bearing in mind that some dogs just don't eat as much as we think they should, or even as much as the food guidelines say. Provided their weight remains ok sometimes you just have to accept your dog will pick at its food.

Most dogs are more interested in what is on our plate than on their own. Shih Tzu have expressive little faces and are very good at manipulating their owners into feeding them choice morsels. Just like us, most dogs will have preferences so it is only fair to be mindful of that when choosing food. It is worth remembering though that no healthy animal will starve itself to death so, once you are clear there are no medical reasons - such as food intolerances or illness, it really comes down to who is in charge of feeding time, you or the dog.

 

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