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Shih Tzu Lifespan – How Long Do They Live For?

On average, Shih Tzus live for 10-16 years. However, some can live up to 20 years. The lifespan of a Shih Tzu can be affected by several factors, including genetics, environment & lifestyle.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Shih Tzu

  • Genetics: The lifespan of a Shih Tzu can be influenced by the genetics of their parents. Some health issues and lifespan can be inherited from the parents, so it’s important to choose a reputable breeder who breeds healthy dogs.
  • Environment: A Shih Tzu’s environment can affect their lifespan. Exposure to toxins, extreme temperatures and accidents can reduce their lifespan. For example, polluted cities and secondhand smoke can cause respiratory issues, while accidents such as being hit by a car or falling from a high place can shorten their lifespan.
  • Lifestyle: A Shih Tzu’s lifestyle can also impact their longevity. A balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise & playtime and preventative care can all help extend their lifespan. Conversely, a lack of exercise, a poor diet & a lack of preventative care can shorten their lifespan.
  • Healthcare: Proper healthcare can also influence a Shih Tzu’s lifespan. Regular vet checkups and preventative care, such as vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick prevention and regular dental cleanings, can help your Shih Tzu live longer. Additionally, early detection and treatment of health issues can prolong their life.

Common Shih Tzu Health Issues

Shih Tzus are prone to various health issues that can affect their lifespan. These health issues include:

  • Respiratory problems: Shih Tzus have short muzzles, which make them prone to breathing difficulties. Common respiratory problems in Shih Tzus include brachycephalic airway syndrome, collapsed trachea & nasal allergies.
  • Eye diseases: Shih Tzus are prone to eye diseases such as corneal ulcers, cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Dental issues: Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues such as periodontal disease and tooth decay, which can lead to tooth loss, gum disease & bad breath.
  • Skin allergies: Shih Tzus are prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching, rashes & skin infections. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust & certain foods.
  • Liver disease: Shih Tzus are also prone to liver disease, which can be caused by poor nutrition, medications, or infections.

Leading Causes of Death in Shih Tzus

Old age is the most common cause of death in Shih Tzus. However, other health issues can also affect their lifespan. The leading causes of death in Shih Tzus include:

  • Cancer: Shih Tzus are prone to various types of cancer, such as lymphoma, mammary gland tumors & hemangiosarcoma.
  • Liver disease: As mentioned earlier, Shih Tzus are prone to liver disease, which can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Heart problems: Shih Tzus are prone to heart problems such as heart murmurs, heart failure & valve disease.
  • Respiratory problems: Shih Tzus are also prone to respiratory problems that can be fatal if left untreated.

Shih Tzu Life Expectancy Compared to Other Breeds?

Compared to other breeds of similar size, Shih Tzus have a relatively long lifespan. However, larger breeds tend to have shorter lifespans. According to the American Kennel Club, the average lifespan for small breeds is 11-14 years, while for medium and large breeds, it is 10-12 years.

Shih Tzu Lifespan – How Long Do They Live For?