Shih Tzu and Japanese Chin Rescue

Royal Oak, Michigan


Please email us at if you have a question about your Shih Tzu or Japanese Chin that is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions.  All questions will be answered via email, and common questions will be posted to the website's FAQ.




  1. How often do Shih Tzu need to be groomed?

    Shih Tzu are non-shedding dogs and should be professionally groomed every 4-8 weeks.  In addition to giving your dog a hair cut, a professional groomer will also pluck the hair from the ears (not cut it), trim the sensitive areas of the face, and trim the hair between their paw pads.  Some groomers will also express the anal glands, or a least check them and inform you of any potential problems. 

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  1. What should I feed my Shih Tzu?

    Shih Tzu often have skin and/or allergy problems, so we recommend a high quality grain free dry kibble, free of corn, wheat or soy. The extra expense of the food will save you more money than running to the vet every few weeks for bloodwork, skin scrapings, steroids and anti-histamines, medicated shampoos, etc. If skin problems persist, you may need to see your vet for treatment, but try switching to a high quality food for a few months first.

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Special Considerations for Senior Dogs

  1. Do I need to feed a senior formula dog food?

    Not necessarily.  Many senior foods are lower in calories.  If your dog is not overweight (actually, many senior Shih Tzu are underweight), then a lower calorie senior formula may be recommended by your vet.  Otherwise, as with all Shih Tzu, we recommend a high quality, high protein, grain free dry kibble.  Even dogs with few or no teeth can eat dry kibble.  You may need to add a little hot water to soften it, or it doesn't hurt to add a teaspoon or two of high quality canned food.

  2. My dog is very stiff when she wakes up. What can I do?

    Arthritis and joint stiffness is common is elderly dogs.  Good quality joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM will help.  Also, you can get medication for pain relief from your vet.  Even though it seems contrary, light activity and exercise is good for her, even if it is just around the block or a few houses down and back.  Encourage her to climb up one or two steps (with supervision of course).  Daily gentle massage is also good for her.

  3. I think my dog is going blind. Should I put him down?

    Absolutely not!  Our rescue has had several blind dogs, some of which were born blind, some suffered eye injuries as adults, and some ae seniors with cataracts.  All of these dogs adapted with no problems.  You do, however, need to put up safety precautions in your house and yard.  That is, put up gates so the dog can't fall down stairs (or go up and then fall back down).  Install ramps to go down deck and porch steps.  Keep your furniture in the same spot (i.e., keep the kitchen chairs pushed in!)  Check the yard for low-hanging shrub branches and rose bushes that could scratch his eyes.  Continue taking your dog for walks so long as their are comfortable.  Play with your dog, and touch and talk to him frequently so he does not become isolated.  Refer to the website for more information.

  4. Where can I get more information about caring for my senior dog?

    The Grey Muzzle website is full of excellent resources.


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Still have questions? Feel free to Contact Us