1. Are you able to provide the dog the attention he/she needs?
These breeds were bred for companionship, and need a lot of attention and affection. They are very loving, family oriented, and loyal. They will
want to spend a lot of time with their adopter/family member.
2. Do you have time and are willing to brush and clean the eyes of a Shih Tzu, Lhasa, or other small, fluffy dog?
These are high maintenance breeds, and require daily grooming - hair brushing and eye cleaning.
Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apsos should be brushed daily to prevent matting of hair(at least ears and tail daily, and whole body every other day). Matting
could be harmful to your little one, as the tangled hair pulls on his/her sensitive skin. Severe pain and discomfort resulting from matting is not what
you want your Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso to experience.
How to brush
A soft, bristled brush is recommended as it is most comfortable for your dog. Your dog will feel like he/she is receiving a massage from the soft
bristles, and may find that being brushed is an enjoyable experience. Brush your dog all over his/her body, including neck, ears, belly, and tail. Be
extra gentle around sensitive areas, but also make sure the brushing is effective. At times, you may need to use a de-matter type brush on thick
In addition to daily brushing, daily eye cleaning is essential. Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos have large, protruding, and sensitive eyes that are
vulnerable to injury. Dust, dirt, and hair can cause eye irritation, which can lead to discharge and swelling. Removal of eye discharge through daily
cleaning can prevent eye infections caused by discharge.
How to clean eyes
Before cleaning the eyes, always make sure your hands are washed thoroughly with soap and water. Next, take a clean, soft washcloth, and wet it
with cool to lukewarm water. Gently wipe around the eyes of your Tzu or Lhasa, and you are done.
In addition to daily, at-home grooming, taking your Shih-Tzu, Lhasa, or other small, fluffy dog to a professional groomer every 4-8 weeks is a
3. Are you willing to pay for professional grooming once every 4-8 weeks?
The cost of grooming varies from groomer-to-groomer, but is usually around $40. Professional groomers should know what to do for any dog,
regardless of breed, as they are trained to know what the needs are of each dog breed. If a professional groomer does not perform any of the
following things discussed below, another groomer may need to be considered.
Hair around eyes needs to be trimmed in order to reduce eye infections and to allow the dog to see clearly. Nails need to be trimmed so that the
dog will walk comfortably and to prevent long nails from growing into his/her skin, as nails and dewclaws of dogs may curl inward. Hair grown
in-between paw pads need to be trimmed in order to reduce risk of matting, and to allow the dog to walk comfortably. Hair in ears needs to be
removed to allow ears to breathe properly, and reduce the risk of an ear infection. Ears should be cleaned in order to remove ear wax build-up,
and to reduce the risk of ear infection as well.
Grooming is a contributor to good health. Neglecting to groom a Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso can result in the development of eye infections, ear
infections, skin infections, painful mats, hot spots, and/or parasite infestations.
It is necessary to take the dog to a professional groomer in order to reduce the risk of harm to him/her. The alternative is to learn to groom the
dog yourself. This can be done, but the proper equipment, such as good electric clippers are a must.
4. Are you able to ensure the dog will receive proper veterinary care, i.e. vaccinations, heartworm testing, annual check-ups?
Ensuring the dog's health requires knowledge about the importance of preventative care, money to pay for these procedures, and making sure
these procedures are performed on-time.
5. Are you able to provide the dog heartworm prevention once-a-month?
Heartworm disease is extremely serious, as treatment and recovery for an infected dog can be painful and lengthy. If found too late, matured
heartworms can be fatal for an infected dog because it can cause congestive heart failure.
Heartworms are parasitic roundworms and are spread by mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes are inescapable, heartworm prevention should be
given to your dog regularly, that is, once-a-month. If given monthly, heartworm preventative chews or pills, such as Heartguard(generic is
Iverhart), Interceptor, and Sentinal, protects more than 99% of dogs. Failure to provide your dog monthly heartworm prevention can be harmful,
as many dogs who have been infected with heartworm will show little or no symptoms until the heartworms have matured.
6. Do you have an emergency fund if dog becomes ill?
Having an emergency fund is necessary when caring for a dog, as it prepares you and allows you to provide the dog with immediate medical
treatment. Unexpected events can occur, and it is important to take the dog to a vet immediately if your dog appears to express symptoms of
illness or unusual behavior.
7. Are you prepared to take care of skin allergies or ear infections...even if they get expensive?
Dogs should be treated as family members. If the dog appears to have a skin allergy or an ear infection, time should be made to take the dog to
the veterinarian immediately. Also, the cost to treat these problems can be expensive, so decide if you are willing and are prepared to handle this.
As mentioned above, having an emergency fund allows you to prepare for these events.
8. Are you able to protect the dog from temperature extremes?
These breeds can easily suffer from heatstroke if they are exposed to hot temperatures. They are not outdoor dogs.
9. Are you aware that not all Shih Tzu/Lhasas are good with other small dogs?
Not all dogs work well with other dogs, because some dogs may have not been well socialized with other dogs in the past. There are dogs who
enjoy the company of other dogs, and there are dogs who prefer and are content with having the companionship of only humans. DFW Tzus &
More evaluates all fosters and can advise which dogs are best alone, or best with another canine companion.
10. If you have children, have they been taught to interact appropriately with a small dog?
Due to their small size, Shih Tzu, Lhasas, and other small dogs should be treated with extra care. Small dogs may look like stuffed animals, and
there have been many cases where children have pulled on a dog's ears and tails. Children are unable to interpret a dog's language- sometimes
a dog may want to relax, and a child may not understand what the dog wants. The same goes for dogs- they are unable to interpret a child's
language. Most child/dog problems occur with children under the age of six. Educating yourself about dog/child interaction through research,
exposing your child to dogs, and teaching your child to treat the dog as a respected member of the family, can reduce problems regarding
mishandling or mistreatment of dogs.
11. Are you willing to always search out a residence that allows dogs?
If you live in an apartment or a condominium, you are aware that some may not allow dogs. An unexpected move may be necessary for you in the
future. Decide if searching for a residence that allows dogs would be too difficult for you.
12. Have you found a place you are comfortable leaving the dog if you travel
It is important to leave the dog with someone whom you trust and is capable of properly caring for a dog. If a friend or a family member cannot
care for the dog while you are away, research veterinary clinics and animal boarding facilities. Make sure you bring a list of questions with you,
e.g. where will the dog sleep, how often will the dog be let out to potty, etc. Also, observe the facility - Is it clean? Are the caretakers friendly? Do
they treat the boarded animals well?
13. Are you willing to confine the dog while he/she is in the car?
Confining your dog while he/she is in the car with you protects both you and your dog. A dog who is not confined in a car can easily become a
missile, and fly through a windshield during sudden stops, or during impact resulting from a car accident. People in vehicles wear seat belts for the
same reason. Also, confining your dog reduces driver distraction.
There are several options to confine a dog in a vehicle, but only one that is safest. A crate is the most recommended and commonly used tool to
transport a dog, as they not only keep dogs comfortably in place, but also provide a protective guard around the dog. This can reduce a dog's
exposure to debris if an accident occurs. Furthermore, a crate can serve a variety of functions, including housetraining. Other options are doggie
car seats or padded harnesses made specifically for riding in a car.
14. Are you prepared for travel with your dog during warm months?
Make sure your car is air conditioned, as Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos are snubbed nosed dogs, and are vulnerable to respiratory/breathing
Never leave your dog in the car alone, as the temperature in the car increases quickly during warm months- in DFW, this is almost all year-round.
Make sure you bring water and a small bowl in case your dog gets thirsty during longer driving trips.
Place car window shades on your back seat windows to protect your dog from the glare and heat from the sun.