How Obesity Can Affect Your Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog sitting on couch

Shih Tzus are hardy dogs with a relatively square body structure. Though they are considered a miniature breed, Shih Tzus can still reach a rather large weight for their relative size. Because of this, Shih Tzus are highly susceptible to gaining excess weight, which can lead to obesity. Taking steps to ensure your Shih Tzu is at a healthy weight can help prevent obesity and the other health conditions this disease can cause. To ensure your dog lives the longest and healthiest life that they can, be sure to have obesity on your radar.

Shih Tzu Obesity Explained

Obesity is a disease that can affect humans, dogs, cats and other animals, including Shih Tzus. This disease can cause a number of other severe health issues that could otherwise easily be prevented. Different from being overweight, obesity is a more severe health risk that involves an excess of body fat. Fortunately, this disease is preventable with a healthy lifestyle consisting of a good diet and exercise.

Obesity in Shih Tzus is determined through a scale that scores where your dog is weight wise between underweight and obese. This scale consists of numbers one though five, one being extremely thin and five being moderately obese. Receiving a score of five that signifies your Shih Tzu has developed obesity means that they are 40% above their ideal weight.

The ideal weight falls between nine and sixteen pounds, depending on the height of your Shih Tzu. A Shih Tzu dealing with obesity will have an absent waist, massive fat deposits on their chest, spine and abdomen, and bones that are hard to feel when examining them. 

jeune chien shih tzu beige blanc
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Causes Of Obesity in Shih Tzus

There are three categories of obesity causes in dogs, including medical, dietary and lack of activity. Causes of obesity in Shih Tzus can be due to lifestyle components or medical factors.

Medical Causes of Shih Tzu Obesity

Medical reasons for gaining weight to the point of obesity can exist within Shih Tzus. Heart, thyroid and other disorders can contribute to rapid weight gain that leads to obesity. Shih Tzus are prone to thyroid issues, making them also susceptible to obesity because of this. If you notice your Shih Tzu gaining weight without a change in diet or exercise, getting them checked out by their vet may be a good idea.

When consulting with your vet about weight gain and possible medical causes, you will need to inform them exactly how much food your dog is consuming each day. In addition, be sure to tell them how much exercise they do daily, the type of food that they are eating and how often, as well as any other changes you may have noticed in your Shih Tzu.

Dietary Causes of Shih Tzu Obesity

Diet is a preventable cause of obesity that can easily be controlled by a Shih Tzu owner. One of the most common causes of Shih Tzu obesity is diet, such as overeating or eating unhealthy food that causes weight gain. Though dogs love special treats, and we love to see them happy, special treats should remain special and not a regular part of their diet. Overfeeding treats can mean your dog is taking in too many calories, and if they do not burn off just as many they are at risk for obesity. 

In addition to treats, overfeeding regular dog food can be another risk factor for Shih Tzu obesity. With any type of dog food, there is a recommended amount that should be served daily. This amount is based on your dog’s weight and size. Since Shih Tzus are at a healthy weight between nine and sixteen pounds, their dinner serving size should be correspondent with this weight. Most dogs love food and will eat whatever you feed them, whether it is too large of a serving or not. Being aware of a healthy serving size and amount is key to preventing obesity that is caused by overfeeding. 

Many Shih Tzu owners are guilty of giving their dog a few bites of their leftovers. While this is fine here and there, as long as the food is safe for them to consume, doing this regularly may put them at risk of obesity. Dogs can become skilled at begging, especially when they can smell the delicious food on your plate. This doesn’t mean tossing a bit of whatever your enjoying their way is the way to handle it. Table scraps are rich in calories and other components dogs are not used to consuming, and can be deadly for your pet, such as onions or grapes. By feeding your Shih Tzu whatever you have prepared rather than only food dedicated to their diet, you can be flooding them with obesity-causing ingredients that they are not meant to process. Avoiding handouts of table scraps is a good way to prevent obesity and other related health issues. 

Shih-Tzu ( Shih Tzu ) puppy and mother black and white and grey,
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Lack Of Activity Causes of Obesity

It is common knowledge that calories that are consumed need to be burnt off through physical activity to avoid excess gain weight. If your Shih Tzu is not receiving adequate exercise per day, they may be at risk of obesity. Since Shih Tzus are a relatively active dog breed, this cause of obesity can easily be avoided. Recommended amounts of daily activity being met are easy ways to prevent or cure obesity.

Walks, fetch, rough housing and other forms of exercise are not only enjoyable to Shih Tzus, but also beneficial for their health. By regularly exercising your dog, you can help them maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Since this is an environmental factor that causes obesity, it can easily be controlled and eliminated with careful planning and attention.

How Obesity Can Affect Your Shih Tzu

Obesity can affect your Shih Tzu’s life in a variety of ways. Lifestyle is an important component of life satisfaction for both humans and dogs. Dogs who develop obesity may struggle to do simple tasks such as reaching an itch, walking around their neighborhood, and playing with their owners. These are tasks dogs typically love to do, and being unable to do so may affect their quality of life. 

In addition, obesity can lead to a number of other ailments, including heart problems, cancer, diabetes and much more. These conditions will greatly affect your dog’s life as they are already dealing with the impacts of obesity. Obesity can even take years off of your Shih Tzus life if left untreated. This is a powerful disease that can become very severe with a lack of management and more weight gain. Due to the harmful impact obesity has on your Shih Tzu’s life, it’s highly recommended to get them treated and reverse this disease as quickly as possible. No one wants to watch their dog suffer due to obesity, which is why all owners should be vigilant about their dog’s weight and lifestyle.

Life Expectancy of a Shih Tzu With Diabetes

Overweight and obese dogs can face a shorter life expectancy due to this disease. Obesity puts a lot of strain on many parts of your Shih Tzu’s body, including their heart, organs, bones and joints. More wear and tear on various bodily systems can be detrimental as dogs grow older. Their bodies become less able to fight off illnesses, maintain health and go about daily functions. One study has found that overweight or obese Shih Tzus have a lifespan average of almost one whole year shorter than Shih Tzus who are at a healthy weight. 

Thankfully, Shih Tzus who have been obese before but are now a healthy weight do not have a limited life expectancy. Reversing obesity is a good way to make sure that your Shih Tzu lives its longest, most fulfilling life possible. In order to spend the longest amount of time possible with your Shih Tzu, it is important to manage their lifestyle and keep them at a healthy weight. 

Portrait of a black Shih Tzu dog outdoors
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Signs That Your Shih Tzu Might Have Obesity

There are many different types of recognizable signs of obesity. Knowing the healthy weight range for your Shih Tzu is vital in ensuring that they are not obese. If your Shih Tzu is 40% above their ideal weight of nine to sixteen pounds, they are considered obese. 40% will vary greatly depending on the ideal weight of your Shih Tzu, which is dependent on their height. If you are concerned your Shih Tzu may be obese, it is recommended to get them checked out by your vet. 

In addition to weight, your Shih Tzu’s appearance may be a sign that they are suffering from obesity. At a healthy weight, your Shih Tzu should have an obvious waist, little abdominal fat and bones that can easily be felt but are not visible. If you Shih Tzu has fat deposits on their body, an absent waist and bones that are hard to feel, they are most likely considered obese.

Activities can also be a sign of obesity if they become difficult to complete. Tasks such as walks, jumping on furniture, reaching an itch and other common activities should not be a struggle for your dog. If you Shih Tzu is having trouble doing things they could easily do before, this may be a sign of obesity.

When concerned that your Shih Tzu has obesity, be sure to consider all possible signs. Weight, appearance and abilities can all signal whether or not they are suffering from obesity. If you are unsure if your Shih Tzu is obese or not, be sure to get them examined by a vet. 

A cute Shih Tzu mixed breed dog outdoors
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How To Care for and Treat Your Shih Tzu With Obesity

Obesity is a scary diagnosis that can be the beginning of a difficult health journey if it isn’t treated. Luckily, obesity can be managed and reversed in a number of relatively easy ways. It will take time and commitment, but your Shih Tzu can return to a healthy weight with your help.

Dietary changes are one way to treat obesity. After consulting with your vet, try and determine how many calories are being consumed per day by your Shih Tzu. Once you have an average daily intake, find ways to reduce this to a healthy amount of calories. This may be done in a variety of ways, such as minimizing treats, giving smaller meal portions, not giving table scraps to your Shih Tzu and possibly changing them to a food that helps reduce weight gain. Thankfully, there are specific, sometimes prescription, foods that are meant to be eaten when trying to obtain a healthy weight, making it easier to find the correct food for your dog. Always consult with your vet before changing your Shih Tzu over to a new food. 

In addition to dietary changes, increasing exercise can help reverse obesity. Shih Tzu exercise recommendations include two 20-30 minute walks per day, in addition to other cardio activities such as fetch. If you feel your dog is not getting enough exercise, be sure to get them active as much as you can each day. Some obese Shih Tzus may not be able to walk for 20-30 minutes at a time, so start with a duration that is doable for them. With time and consistent walking, they will be able to walk the recommended amount everyday. This will help ensure that they are getting enough exercise to burn off any excess calories they may have consumed, leading to a healthy weight. 

Finally, if your Shih Tzu has become obese due to weight gain from a medical reason, be sure to get them treated for both. Thyroid issues and other medical conditions that may cause weight gain need to be taken care of in order for them to be healthy and to obtain an ideal weight.

Your vet may even prescribe medication to help manage obesity and help your Shih Tzu reverse this disease. Weight loss is the key to treating obesity and can be done through multiple different strategies that will be discussed with your vet.

Preventing Shih Tzu Obesity

Obesity is a preventable disease that is caused by environmental and medical factors. To avoid your Shih Tzu getting diagnosed with obesity, be sure to instill an active and healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and an appropriate diet are the key to preventing your Shih Tzu from becoming obese. Thankfully, with as scary as this disease is, it can easily be avoided through small everyday decisions and habits that make a big impact on your Shih Tzu’s health. 

Being aware of healthy and unhealthy foods for your dog, along with ideal caloric intakes can make preventing obesity much easier. Some foods may appear healthy but are actually filled with harmful ingredients for your Shih Tzu. To make sure you are feeding them the best food out there, do your research on food brands and treats they are consuming. You may be surprised by what you find. 

Happy Adorable Face of a Shih Tzu Dog
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How To Help Your Shih Tzu Live a Fulfilling Life With Obesity

The best way to give your Shih Tzu with this disease the happiest and healthiest life possible is by taking the steps to cure their obesity. This disease will continue to progress if left untreated, causing them a lifetime of discomfort and possible additional related health issues. By treating obesity through diet and exercise, you can make sure that they are getting the most out of their days. There are many simple strategies owners can use to prevent and reverse Shih Tzu obesity. Be sure to discuss this condition with your vet and make a plan to obtain a healthy weight for your Shih Tzu.

Dogs that have had obesity in the past and recovered can still live a full and happy life. Once they reach a healthy weight, a Shih Tzu that has reversed obesity is able to do many things that were challenging before. Going on walks, playing fetch, chasing their friends and much more are all enjoyable when they are no longer hard to accomplish. Once a Shih Tzu is no longer obese, their chances for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more all significantly decrease. Without the fear of these obesity related conditions, you can feel confident that your Shih Tau will live their life to its fullest potential. 

We all want what is best for our pet, and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is part of that. Obesity is a rampant disease that affects many humans and animals all over the world. Unfortunately this disease can have difficult, and even deadly outcomes, causing for other related health conditions and shorter life expectancy. While this disease has many risks and potential problems, it can also be prevented and reversed. Diet and exercise are key to avoiding obesity. Through a healthy diet, appropriate calorie intake and regular exercise your Shih Tzu can maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. Be sure to keep an eye on how much and what your dog eats, how active they are and any other health conditions they may develop. Being aware as an owner will help your Shih Tzu live the healthiest, most fulfilling life that they can. 

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