Like people, dogs can experience anxiety and become stressed. This can be a behavioral change or be event triggered. Things such as loud noises or when being left alone are common causes of dog anxiety. In Shih Tzus, stress can become a chronic problem known as dog anxiety. We’ll help you understand what dog anxiety is and its symptoms in a Shih Tzu.

Dog anxiety is a state of mind characterized by increased restlessness, nervousness, and insecurity. If your Shih Tzu suffers from this problem, they will try to get rid of their discomfort by developing alterations in their behavior. 

These changes can be very upsetting for you and your pet and can even affect your daily living. Also, if your dog is anxious, they might feel physically unwell and may develop other problems. So it is crucial to solve the situation. For ongoing anxiety a visit to your trusted veterinarian may be advisable. 

 

WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY IN SHIH TZUS?

There are many possible reasons for your Shih Tzu to experience anxiety.

 These are the most common:

  • Lack of socialization. Socialization is the process through which your Shih Tzu learns to interact with people, other dogs, and their environment. It is essential to expose your Shih Tzu to everything that will be part of its environment, especially from the first to the fourth months of life. If we skip this phase, they will not know how to relate to their surroundings and this can cause anxiety for your Shih Tzu.
  • Separation anxiety. Shih Tzus are a companion breed. And they need lots of attention from their owners to feel safe. Separation anxiety symptoms occurs when a Shih Tzu that is very attached to its owner and is left alone for the first time in the house. It can lead the dog to experiencing a panic attack because it does not know how to cope. Your Shih Tzu can also become super-stressed when exposed to sudden changes.
  • Fear of noise. Loud noises like fireworks explosions, loud vehicles, storms, and thunder can trigger anxiety and significant fear in dogs. Some dogs are not bothered at all, but some can develop a phobia that can limit your interaction and activities with them. Shaking, pacing and hiding during noise are all common symptoms of anxiety in your shih tzu
  • Cognitive dysfunction. This problem, similar to dementia in people, appears in elderly Shih Tzus. In these cases, the dog feels disoriented and sometimes is unable to recognize his own house or his family. This tends to be more prevalent during the night. 
  • Changes in the environment. Moving to a new house, the arrival of a new family member or the absence of someone can cause anxiety in your Shih Tzu. They are very sensitive to changes and are not a big fan of unfamiliar places. This type of situational anxiety should lessen overtime but supporting your dog through changes is recommended. 

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY IN A SHIH TZU?

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY IN A SHIH TZU?

  • Destructive behaviors like chewing furniture, clothes, and everything in reach, especially when alone. 
  • A lapse in house training, so soiling inside the house and a deviation from their bathroom routine. 
  • They demand attention exaggerated and may exhibit tremors, nervousness, whines or groans
  • Eating stool to get attention
  • Ride / humping other dogs or people, even if they are neutered. This can be both dogs and bitches. 
  • Displaying a high level of alertness, with tense and vigilant muscles
  • Non-stop barking, whining and howling
  • Hyperactivity at home, like jumping, and running everywhere
  • Persistent  licking of their paws and other objects like their bed, the floor etc.
  • Physical signs of being unwell, mostly vomiting and diarrhea.

Anxiety in Shih Tzus can be slight to severe. There are things you can do to help your dog. But in severe cases we recommend you to visit your veterinarian or an ethologist, a veterinarian who is responsible for behavioral disorders. Then you can find out what causes your dog anxiety and what is the most appropriate treatment. In some cases, the tension in the dog is so intense that it may need medication and concrete coexistence guidelines but, by following the advice of the veterinarian, the problem can be solved.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOUR SHIH TZU?

white shih tzu anxiety symptoms

If your dog has anxiety, you can follow these tips to try to help him:

  • Do not leave your Shih Tzu alone for several hours. When you leave, make sure they judge access to toys. One that keep them stimulated are good like a food-filled kong.
  • Establish a routine of walks, games, and meals. This way, your Shih Tzu will know what to expect at each moment, and this will reduce anxiety.
  • Exercise and play with your Tzu. By providing them with different stimuli, discharging energy, and interacting with other dogs keeps their brain engaged. If your dog is very active naturally practice some sports with them like agility training. You will both strengthen ties, and it will be beneficial for your and their health.

Here are the most effective products to treat anxiety in Shih Tzus:

  • Dog anxiety jacket 
  • Dog-calming collar
  • Anti-anxiety beds. 

 

DOG ANXIETY JACKET

How does a dog anxiety jacket work?

A dog anxiety jacket, also called a dog anxiety shirt or dog anxiety vest can help in situations where your Tzu might be suddenly anxious. Think of the 4th of July fireworks or thunder storms.

The use of anti-anxiety vests has been widespread for dogs who have shown symptoms such as non-stop barking and howling, constant drooling, trembling, and gasping. 

This canine anxiety jacket applies gentle and constant pressure on your Shih Tzu’s torso, creating an incredibly calming effect for them. The pressure it produces has been used successfully to reduce anxiety. 

It can suppress various types of anxiety in dogs. And the good thing about it is that it does not require any prior training to be effective. Many dogs specially a Shih Tzu have shown a reduction or elimination of anxiety symptoms with the first use of them.

Tips to remember before buying an anti-anxiety shirt for your Shih Tzu: 

  • Size: You should take measurements to determine the right size for your dog. It must be just the right fit for your Shih Tzu, and it is essential that they feel comfortable in it. Not too tight that it can no longer move. Not so loose they fit feel the gentle pressure of the anxiety vest. The weight of your Shih Tzu can match most sizes. It is ideal for you to have your dog weighed at home first before making a purchase.
  • Material: Dog anxiety jackets are made of various materials like cotton, polyester, and nylon. However, it is advisable to get a Nylon dog vest because of its durability and comfort. 
  • Closure system: Buckles or velcro are usually used to fasten the Anxiety jackets. It is very convenient to wear and easy to fit and remove.


 

DOG-CALMING COLLAR

What is a dog-calming collar?

It is a particular type of dog collar that emits pheromones. It has been proven to alter problematic behaviors in dogs that are mainly caused by anxiety and stress like excessive barking, chewing and destroying things, jumping, and inappropriate marking. 

  • A pheromone is a substance that is secreted and has a chemical factor that can act as a hormone which can encourage a calming reaction. 

HERE ARE THE BENEFITS OF DOG-CALMING COLLARS:

  • It can improve your Shih Tzu’s overall behavior towards stress-related factors.
  • It can give them a secure and safe feeling because the pheromones that it releases are the same one mother dogs produce to calm and soothe puppies, 
  • It can help calm your Shih Tzu when experiencing fear of thunderstorms, new visitors, car rides, and vet visits.
  • It does not give any long-term side effects on Shih Tzus, and it can be used for dogs of all ages. 
  • It is safe to use and will not cause any pain compared to other alternative collars, which inflict pain on the dog to stop barking and hyperactivity. 


 

ANTI-ANXIETY BED

How can anti-anxiety beds reduce stress in your Shih Tzu?

It creates a secure environment that your pooch will feel comfortable in it, giving them a private space of their own. Some dog beds are even designed to make your Shih Tzu feel like he is with you all the time because of a feature that allows your pillow to be placed into it.

Stressed Shih Tzus may have difficulties trying to get sleep. That is why you need to choose the right bed for them. Many of us think it is okay for them to curl up with us and sleep in most  any area of the house, but the truth is, your furry friend should have a space that is their own. In reality, dogs also need beds just like us, most notably when your Shih Tuz is displaying symptoms of anxiety.

A stressed dog might like to nest…. dig in their bed to ruffle the covers. Or even hide under or inside something to feel safe. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ANTI-ANXIETY BEDS FOR YOUR SHIH TZU?

  • Sense of security: Shih Tzus feel safe and secure just being able to see their owners. Once that feeling is suppressed, they can do a lot of unwanted things to get over their fear. They can be destructive and end up scratching your floor, chew items like slippers and furniture, start making a mess and even poop in various places in the house even when they are potty trained. Giving them a unique bed that is designed to eliminate anxiety will make them have a go-to place whenever they feel stressed. Shih Tzus tends to find a comfortable spot to sleep and having an anti-anxiety bed that makes them feel safe will keep them from doing destructive things because they will always find a comfy place to relax when they are feeling scared and alone. Since it is designed to give them better and longer sleep, it will stop them from doing any further damage to your home and furniture.
  • Good for their Health: Shih Tzus, who are sleeping on the floor and hard surfaces, always experience pain and discomfort. Like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other ailments, which later on can worsen and lead to another problem with the dog – another source of difficulty for the owners.a comfy bed can delay the onset of aches and pains. 
  • Sanitation & Hygienic: Let’s admit it, Shih Tzus are furry breed, and no matter how many times you sweep and vacuum your carpet and sofas, it still would not be the cleanest spot for you to sleep. Getting your dog this anti-anxiety bed will let them enjoy sleeping in their own space. And if in case your Shih Tzu tracked mud outside into his bed, it is effortless for you to clean and wash since they always come with removable liners. It is definitely easier than having to vacuum your carpet and furniture.


 

CONCLUSION

Shih Tzu in an Anxiety jacket

Anxiety in Shih Tzus can be baffling and seem hard to manage.  Giving them enough attention and being attentive to all their needs is a good start as a loving and responsible owner. 

Anxiety is hard for you and them so feel free to explore and try some alternative solutions that will work best for your canine companion. Remember that Shih Tzus are a unique breed, and each dog can behave and react differently. A little trial and error on what helps them can work wonders.