Shih Tzus, like other small dog breeds, are known to have a relatively long life. But how long? Are there health issues they are prone to that can shorten their lives? In this article, you’ll learn everything about Shih Tzus – from how long do Shih Tzus live for to any health issues that can affect a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy, and how to ensure your precious pup live longer.
How long do Shih Tzus live? Shih Tzus normally live for as long as 13 to 16 years. These adorable little dogs are quite sturdy and make lovable life-long companions.
How long do Shih Tzus live for?
We’ve mentioned how long do Shih Tzus usually live, which is 13 years. As for how long do Shih Tzus live up to, you’ll be surprised to learn that they can survive for more than 16 years.
Now that we know how long do Shih Tzu’s live for, let’s see how long do Shih Tzu’s live if they have a pure or mixed ancestry.
How old do Shih Tzus live?
Shih Tzus are very popular pets in both Australia and North America. Shih Tzus have long lifespans and can live up to 13 to 16 years. Later in this article, we will also explore how old do Shih Tzus live to be and what factors affect their lifespan.
Owners of a purebred or mix Shih Tzu often wonder how long do Shih Tzu dogs live. Purebred Shih Tzus have a slightly shorter lifespan than some Shih Tzu mixes. That’s because mixed breeds are designed to counteract the disadvantages of each dog type.
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How long can a Shih Tzu live?
Exactly how long can a Shih Tzu dog live if they’re kept safe from diseases or accidents? The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu is about 13 years, but this can extend to as high as 16 years if the dog doesn’t have any congenital diseases and is otherwise healthy. So how long Shih Tzu lives depends on how healthy he or she is.
Now that you know how old can a Shih Tzu live, you’re probably wondering what they usually die from.
What do Shih Tzus usually die from?
Shih Tzus are a healthy dog breed that lives well into double figures. However, this dog breed is genetically susceptible to several ailments, some of which can even take years off a Shih Tzu’s life.
Let’s talk about the most common health issues and diseases that may reduce a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy.
Health issues that affect Shih Tzu life expectancy
Among the health issues that plague this breed, cancer is the most fatal. About 15% of Shih Tzu deaths are from some form of cancer. Fortunately, early detection can prevent cancer from taking your precious Shih Tzu’s life. About half of all Shih Tzus who get diagnosed with cancer on time survive this deadly disease.
2. Kidney diseases and UTI
The second leading killer of Shih Tzus are diseases affecting their renal system—namely, the kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract. Bladder stones and kidney diseases are more common among Shih Tzus than any other dog breed. They’re also prone to developing bladder and urinary tract infections.
3. Prostate and womb issues
If you aren’t planning on letting your Shih Tzu have babies, the best thing you can do is get them spayed or neutered. Prostate and womb diseases accompany renal issues at being the second leading cause of Shih Tzu deaths. Spaying and neutering protect these organs from diseases while also preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Viral infections are the third leading Shih Tzu killers. Canine coronavirus, distemper, and parvovirus are highly infectious viruses that mostly attack Shih Tzu puppies. These viral infections can sometimes be untreatable so if you suspect your precious pups have an infection, be sure to contact your vet right away.
Aside from viral infections, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections also plague this adorable dog breed. Timely vaccination is the only way to prevent viruses. Your dog’s vet may prescribe antibiotics for fungal and bacterial infections and administer special deworming medicines to treat parasites.
5. Joint degradation
Sensitive joints and an active lifestyle make Shih Tzus prone to joint diseases like patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Patellar luxation is random dislocation of the kneecap, whereas hip dysplasia is a genetic condition in which the hip joint doesn’t move in its socket smoothly. The constantly dislocating knees and wear on hip joints also lead to arthritis.
6. Eye problems
Shih Tzus suffer from numerous vision problems due to their large and exposed eyes. Keratitis, cataracts, retinal detachment, Proptosis, Lagophthalmos, and several other diseases can make your Shih Tzu lose his or her vision. Blind dogs have trouble seeing threats and are more prone to accidental deaths.
7. Breathing issues
Shih Tzus have short snouts and are predisposed to numerous breathing-related issues. These dogs have their whole respiratory systems crammed in a tiny body plan, leaving them prone to conditions like collapsed trachea, stenotic nares, cleft palate, and laryngeal collapse. Some of these conditions are inherited, whereas some develop later in their lives.
8. Periodontal disease
Shih Tzus have small mouths and closely spaced teeth, making dental hygiene tricky. Carelessness towards their dental sanitation can lead to tooth and gum diseases, cavities, and infections. Dogs suffering from dental issues can’t eat regular dog food, disturbing their nutritional intake and thus shortening their lifespan.
How to make your Shih Tzu live longer?
Viral infections are incurable, and timely vaccination is your dog’s only hope against them. Always make sure to vaccinate your Shih Tzu puppies on time. When adopting or buying older Shih Tzus, make sure the previous owner vaccinated them.
2. Spaying and neutering
If you don’t plan on letting your Shih Tzu have puppies, it’s best to spay or neuter them to prevent cancers, infection, and other diseases. Neutered male dogs are also calmer, healthier, and better behaved.
Similarly, spayed females are less likely to wander off or get ill-timed pregnancies. Childbearing takes a toll on a female dog’s body, and unnecessary pregnancies can shave multiple years off her life.
Regular exercise is necessary for all dogs, and Shih Tzus are no different. A sedentary lifestyle makes their behavior destructive, violent, and irritating. Exercise also prevents obesity, which itself is the root of several cardiac and orthopedic diseases.
4. Feeding in moderation
Small dogs like Shih Tzus are more prone to overfeeding and exceeding their daily caloric quota. Overfeeding your canine friend programs him to eat excessively which can lead to obesity.
Obese dogs suffer from a multitude of health conditions and don’t get to live very long. Make sure to learn about your Shih Tzu’s natural dietary needs and stick to a modest eating plan.
5. Clean water
Shih Tzus have sensitive kidneys and are more prone to developing kidney and bladder stones than any other dog. Make sure you don’t let your Shih Tzu drink unfiltered or contaminated water.
Water from dubious sources can also cause bacterial infections and stomach diseases. If your Shih Tzu has plenty of clean water available, he or she is less likely to drink from unsanitary sources.
Handy Hint: If your Shih Tzu is not feeling well or is sick, he may not want to drink water or eat anything. The good news is that there are plenty of other dog-friendly drinks that can keep your canines hydrated during this time. Check out What Can Dogs Drink Besides Water? to find out!
6. Careful adoption
When buying or adopting a Shih Tzu, always do a bit of background research into the dog’s parentage first. Family history reveals any congenital disorders and hereditary conditions the pup might be dealing with.
Avoid any breeder or seller refusing to reveal information about the dog’s parents. It also helps to check the pup’s living arrangements, siblings, and other dogs at the breeder’s.
7. Regular vet visits
Almost all diseases can be cured if caught soon enough. Regular visits to the vet help detect diseases and health issues at the right time. Early detection can ensure your pooch gets the right treatment before the disease progresses any further.
Even deadly diseases like cancer—which account for 15% of all Shih Tzu deaths—have promising chances of recovery upon early detection.
8. Regular brushing
Dental issues can make eating difficult for a Shih Tzu, affecting their diet pattern and food intake, making them malnourished and weak. Daily brushing and regular visits to the dentist help ensure your Shih Tzu keeps all his pearly whites even into old age.
9. Eating healthy
The quality of the food matters as much as its quantity. If your Shih Tzu is only eating a little, but the food is high in fats and harmful additives, it will make him overweight and sick.
Foods safe for us affect dogs very differently, with some harmless human foods being toxic to our canine buddies. Ensure a diet rich in natural nutrients and avoid human snacks as much as possible.
10. Prevent accidental injuries
Trauma is among the leading causes of Shih Tzu mortality, but you can prevent it by not letting your Shih Tzu get into risky situations. These are fragile little dogs, and you have to protect them from getting into fights with other animals or bigger dogs.
Recognize potential injury hazards in and around your house and fix them before they cause an unfortunate accident.
11. Provide mental stimulation
Shih Tzus don’t just need daily physical activity; they also need mental stimulation. An absence of mental stimulation can lead to anxiety, stress, destructive behavior, and even physical illness.
Have toys, games, and puzzles to challenge your dog mentally. In your absence, leave your Shih Tzu with other dogs, a caretaker, or anyone they can interact with.
12. Pet insurance
Your Shih Tzu’s health complication won’t be your headache after getting a health insurance plan. A good pet insurance company will liberate you from financial burdens and help you get the best possible treatment for your canine buddy.
Some Shih Tzu health conditions can cost a pretty penny. Don’t let your budget keep you from saving your beloved companion’s life.
How many years do Shih Tzu dogs live?
Shih Tzus have a maximum life expectancy of 16 years. But how long do Shih Tzus live in human years?
As per AKC’s measuring metrics, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu would be as old as an 87-year-old human. This figure varies depending on how old a Shih Tzu gets to be.
How long do Shih Tzus live in dog years?
In dog years, Shih Tzus can live for as long as 10 to 16 years.
What is the lifespan of a Shih Tzu?
Despite their predisposition to several ailments, Shih Tzus have a lifespan of about 10 to 16 years. If you want to know what’s the lifespan of a Shih Tzu on average, you can calculate it from these figures. But let us do that for you.
Average lifespan of a Shih Tzu
If you’re a Shih Tzu owner, you’ve probably wondered, “what is the average lifespan of a Shih Tzu?” and “what is the life expectancy of a Shih Tzu dog?”
The life expectancy of a Shih Tzu dog depends on the frequency of medical visits and history of medical conditions in its family. But despite their vulnerability to several health issues, the average life expectancy of a Shih Tzu, or the average life of a Shih Tzu, is 13 years.
The average age of Shih Tzu can be anywhere between 10 to 16 years; therefore, we can settle on a mean figure of 13 years.
How long can a Shih Tzu live with heart disease?
It depends on the age when the Shih Tzu contracted the heart condition. On average, you can expect a Shih Tzu to live no longer than a year after he or she has contracted a cardiac disease.
How long can a Shih Tzu live with cancer?
Shih Tzus with cancer can make a full recovery and live a normal life, but only if the cancer was detected and treated early. Once cancer spreads, your little buddy has no more than a couple of months to live.
How long do male Shih Tzus live?
Male Shih Tzus live an average of 13 years.
How long do bichon Shih Tzus live?
Bichon Shih Tzus can live for up to 12 to 18 years. They are among the longest-living Shih Tzu mixes.
How long do teacup Shih Tzus live?
Teacup Shih Tzus have a similar lifespan to their larger counterparts. Teacup Shih Tzus live as long as 12 to 15 years despite being more prone to health issues.
You may be interested in: Teacup Chihuahua! Complete Guide
How long do imperial Shih Tzus live?
According to the official UK kennel club, Imperial Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of a little over 13 years.
How long do Maltese Shih Tzu live?
Dog owners also wonder how long do Maltese Shih Tzu live for and how long do Maltese Shih Tzu mix live. They’ll be happy knowing their Maltese Shih Tzus can live for 14 years.
How long do Maltese Shih Tzu dogs live depends on their parentage. Maltese Shih Tzus bred by a reputable breeder who mated healthy parents live a long life.
What is the average lifespan of a maltese Shih Tzu?
Maltese Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of about 13 years.
How long do Shih Tzu poodles live?
If you’re wondering how long do Shih Tzu poodles live for, then we have good news. Shih Tzu poodles are adorable designer dogs that can live a healthy life of up to 17 years. Now that you know how long do Shih Tzu poodle mix live, you can rest easy knowing that your Shih-Poo will stay by you for a long time.
Average lifespan of a Shih Tzu poodle
The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu poodle is about 15 years.
So, how long do Shih Tzus live?
Shih Tzus are rugged little dogs, and despite their predisposition to several health conditions, they can live a long life. While pure Shih Tzus have an admirable 10 to 16 year lifespan, some Shih Tzu mixes can live as long as 18 years.
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I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!