Imperial Shih Tzu
Care of your new
Imperial Shih Tzu

Every effort has been made to assure that your puppy is healthy, happy and well socialized when you take him/her home.  We cannot control what happens once a healthy puppy leaves us, but we can give you some information so that your puppy stays healthy and happy.

First your puppy has been eating Bil Jac Puppy Select kibble &  Simply Nourish Puppy kibble.    Make sure he/she has access to food and  fresh water at all times.  ( Please make sure your puppy is actually eating as sometimes the stress of changing environments will cause them to go off of their food and they then risk hypoglycemia.)
To make sure they are eating enough, weighing them is important, especially on those puppies who are 2.5 pounds or less, I highly recommend that you have an accurate scale that weighs in ounces for the tinier one's..  A common food scale is usually sufficient for this.  Not gaining is fine for a while, but losing weight can be fatal!  It is common for them to weigh a little less in the morning than later in the day, just like it is for people, but if they continue to lose weight you must intervene. 
Second, your puppy is used to sleeping with either siblings or mom and therefore body temperature is easier for them to regulate.  When you take your puppy home, most likely they will be sleeping by themselves.  Remember to keep them out of drafts, and in a warm place (comfortable for you).  Puppies can catch colds an upper respiratory infections if they are chilled.  Never feed a chilled puppy.  Always warm them first.  Only a touch of Nutri cal under the tongue until the puppy is fully warmed, then feed normally.

Please keep in mind that your new puppy is NOT fully protecting from Parvo or Distemper until they have finished their full series of shots.  When your puppy leaves here, they are up to date on shots but may still need one or two to complete the series.  It is recommended that you do NOT take your puppy places that other dogs frequent until they have had their full series of shots.  This includes your pet food stores, dog parks, groomers etc.  It is common practice for many breeders to give their own core shots.  This keeps perfectly healthy puppies out of a vet's office while their immune systems are not mature and reduces the possibility of exposure to the very diseases we are trying to prevent by vaccinating.  It also reduces the stress to the puppy during vaccinations as they are in an environment that they are comfortable and secure.  I have recently had the experience where a new puppy owner's vet refused to recognize the core shots that had already been given to this puppy and gave him another vaccination only 1 week after this puppy had already been vaccinated. This was not only unnecessary, but potentially dangerous to this puppy. The vaccines that I purchase are shipped to me the exact same way that they are shipped to the vets offices, in Styrofoam coolers with ice packs.  The vaccines are promptly refrigerated and given to the puppies the exact same way that a vet does it.  These vaccines are no less valid nor do they offer any less protection than if they were to be given by a vet.  The due date for the next shot will be noted on your shot record that is provided with your puppy.  The lables from each vaccine given will be on your shot record as well.  Please do NOT allow your vet to give another core shot until the date indicated on their shot record.  No matter how many vaccines a puppy received before the age of 16 weeks they will not be fully immune until 3 to 4 weeks after the 16 week old shot.  It is also recommended that Rabies NOT be given at the same time as the 12 or 16 week core shot.  Give the puppy a chance to build the immunities to the core shots first, then have your vet give the Rabies 3 to 4 weeks later.  You vet may tell you that they do not recognize shots given by the breeder and try to insist that you need them to provide this puppy with an unnecessary duplicate vaccine.  This is your puppy and you have the right to refuse this shot.  I do not routinely provide bortadella vaccines.  This is "  kennel cough"  .  I have seen many young puppies become ill after receiving a bortadella vaccine.  While this vaccine does have it's place and is recommended before you start taking your puppy to a groomer or having it boarded, you have to weigh the risk to the benefit and while this puppy is in your home, not exposed to other dogs in a "  group"   or kennel situation, it is not worth the risk to give this to such a young puppy.

If you have any problems or questions please feel free to call and I will be happy to advise you.

Please read the Common Issues page of the website to familiarize yourself with Hypoglycemia.  This can be life threatening if you do not recognize the symptoms immediately and treat. 

House Breaking and Crate Training:

We highly recommend Crate Training your puppy.  This serves several purposes.  It helps in the house breaking process and it keeps them safe and secure while they are not being supervised.  A puppy is usually capable of holding their bladders and bowels through the night at about 12 weeks old.  Until then, it is good to get your puppy used to their crates by putting them in the crate for short periods of time, first 10 or 15 minutes, then 30, then an hour and so on.  They learn to love their crates and will willingly go in them to sleep even with the door open if they have access to them.  A crate should only be big enough for them to comfortably stand and turn around in and stretch out.  You can buy them slightly larger to allow for room to grow but too big and your puppy will just sleep on one side and do his business on the other.  During the day when your puppy is sleeping, they should be in their crates and when they wake up, take them strait to the place that you want them to do their business weather it be a pad or outdoors.  Tell them go potty or what ever term you want to use.  This gets them used to going on command so you don't have to spend time out in the cold while they figure out what they are out there for.  Once they have finished bring them indoors for play or to eat or drink.  Supervise your puppy during play and when he gets tired, take him out again to see if he can go then put him back in his crate to sleep.  Repeat the process when he wakes.  Puppies usually have to go shortly after eating as well so that is also a good time to take them out.

Basic Grooming:

Weather you want to keep your puppy in full coat throughout his/her life or you want to give him/her a cute little cute there are some basic grooming requirements that you can do at home and special attention must be paid to certain areas. 

With any dog who has long hair, the hair under the tail on his bottom must be trimmed or you risk getting what we call a "   poop plug"  .  This is where their poop sticks to their hair and they will try to rub it off by scooting.  This only makes it worse and smashes it tighter against them.  it dries, and creates a plug.  Aside from being just plain gross, it can cause other problems and if not removed immediately, it will cause redness and swelling of the rectum and is very painful for the dog.  Best to prevent this than to have to "  treat"   it so keep this hair cut very short. 

Another thing is they eyes.  Those little pony tails are very cute, but they need to be maintained.  They will need to be combed out every day or 2 and replaced or you will wind up with a big fat knot of hair on their head.  They are good for keeping the hair out of the eyes if you chose to keep their hair long, or even just keep the hair on their heads long.  Be careful not to put them in so tight that they cannot close their eyes.  This can cause dry eye. Weather you want long, or short, the hair around the eyes needs to be kept out of the eyes.  I keep my dogs in a shorter coat and use a flea comb daily to comb the hair back away from the eyes and to keep the corner of the eye, where there may be dried debris clean.  Hair rubbing on the eyes can cause irritation to the cornea and will need antibiotic drops or ointment to treat.  Do NOT use a steroid on a scratched cornea!!  Steroids can cause the cornea to rupture. Signs of eye irritation are squinting or keeping eyes closed, rubbing the eyes, or crusty or goopy eyes.  Clean the eye area with a soft warm wash cloth to remove any debris and if you suspect a damaged or irritated cornea, see your vet for some antibiotic ointment or drops.  It is a good idea to keep Terramyacin on hand as shih tzu of all sizes are prone to eye irritation from hair and eye injuries because of those cute little flat faces.

Ears and tail are usually kept with some hair on them so they will need to be combed out regularly to prevent matting.  If you keep your Imperial Shih Tzu in full coat, they will need to be combed out and brushed every few days.  Comb all the way to the skin to make sure you have gotten all the little tangles.  Check the ears for things like fox tails or burrs if your dog has been outdoors because if those enter the ear canal, they can do some damage which will need to be treated by your vet.  Check toe nails to make sure they are even with the paw pads.  Overgrown nails are uncomfortable and cause damage to the feet.

You may choose to take your Imperial Shih Tzu to the groomers for baths and hair cuts, or do it at home.  Be careful not to get water in the ears and make sure you rinse completely.  Comb them out before bathing so that you don't set mats in and use a good conditioner to make it easier to comb out after bath.  Blow dry thoroughly while combing.

We use 34"   x 36"   reusable bed pads for initial potty training of our Imperial Shih Tzu Puppies.  They can be washed over and over and over again.  Good for the environment, and they cannot turn them into confetti!
Some Simple Do's & Dont's
  • DO be on time to pick up your puppy... whether at a meeting place or at the airport
  • DO communicate with your breeder when you receive your new puppy
  • DO schedule a vet appointment as soon as you have made arrangements to receive your new puppy to avoid missing contract deadline for wellness check
  • DOvisit with your vet to plan on finishing all appropriate shots and set up an appropriate worming schedule for your area
  • DO keep your new puppy separate from your other pets (quarantine) for at least 14 days
  • DO play with y our puppy, but give it lots of rest!  15 minutes of play to 45 minutes of rest
  • DO keep your new puppy in a small enclosed area qith enough forom for bed, potty pad and easy access to food and frish water
  • DO pay attention to what your puppy eats.  NO table scraps and know what foods & houseplants are poisonous
  • DO read any material & instructions your breeder sends to you or gives to you with the puppy
  • DO communicate directly with y our breeder about any issues and for updates and pictures.  Your breeder is your best resource for advice/help with your new puppy
  • DO read the contract and make sure you understand all terms and can 100% agree to your responsibilities and the terms
  • DO keep food and fresh water available at all times for your new puppy
  • DO brush/comb, blow dry and clip nails of your new puppy on a regular basis
  • DO keep nutriCal or Karo (light corn syrup) on hand for new puppies.  Learn the signs of hypoglycemia and how to react without panic.  I could save your new puppy's life!
  • DO use a harness (if a toy breed) rather than a collar on your puppy's fragile neck
  • DO keep the hair clear around the anus to prevent poop plugs
  • DO use positive reinforcement for training
  • DO make a small play area outside for potty training
  • DO learn the "puppy shuffle"  (We call it the shih tzu shuffle around here..lol)... Keep feet flat on the floor with a small puppy

  • DON'T get a new puppy unless you are fully prepared to properly care for and are ready for the time commitment
  • DON'T get a new puppy unless everyone in your househld is in agreement about getting a new puppy
  • DON'T get a new puppy if you rent without first checking with your landlord
  • DON'T take your new puppy to the store, to the neighbors, to the pet store, groomers, etc.  This is a new baby and just like human babies, they need rest with no interruptions.  Your new puppy should be confined/protected and kept as stress free as possible.  Moving away from it's siblings into a new unfamiliar surrounding is stressful on them and the stress can ignite hypoglycemia and allow opportunistic, otherwise dormant parasites or protozoa to release into their gut and could have very serious consequences.
  • DON'T leave your new puppy unattended in the yard
  • DON'T change the puppies food immediately.. this must be done GRADUALLY over the course of several days.
  • DON'T leave your puppy or dog in a hot car even for a few minutes
  • DON'T allow your small child to handle a puppy unsupervised
  • DON'T put puppies on beds, sofas or chairs where they can fall off
  • DON'T give leptospirosis vaccines to small-breed dogs.