My Shih Tzu Can't Walk or Stand
After Dog Kennel Stay
Plus Tips on Finding Best Shih Tzu Kennels

by Kay
(Dacula, GA)

My shih tzu is dragging his hind legs and walking sideways with difficulty standing after returning from 3 days in the kennels. I'm not sure if he was injured or if there is a medical issue causing this. Has anyone seen this in their dogs? We have a vet visit tomorrow. Thx




Sue Says:

That’s awful. Something must have happened to him. Find out and sue them. Hope he’s ok. Let us know.



Carlo Says:

See your vet a.s.a.p.



Our Answer

Kay we’re so relieved to read that your first thought was to make a vet’s appointment. Any time an animal cannot walk or stand it should be considered a medical emergency – just as if a person suddenly couldn’t walk or stand. Of course we don’t want to immediately assume that the boarding kennel was negligible, it’s always possible that your furbaby has a medical issue that would have developed whether it was at home or not. But it’s understandably concerning when a healthy dog comes home sick after being boarded.

There are many problems that could cause the symptoms you describe such as a spinal injury, dehydration or ataxia. All of these health issues are serious and require diagnosis and care from a qualified veterinarian. Since we can’t advise you on specific health problems in this case we thought it might be helpful to offer our reader tips on finding the best dog kennels for their Shih Tzu.

Tips for Finding Good Shih Tzu Kennels
Almost all boarding kennel operators get into the business because they truly care for animals. They want your pet to have a great experience and are willing to go above and beyond to make their “guests” as comfortable as possible. But obviously some holiday kennels are better than others.

It’s smart to find a kennel for your Shih Tzu even if you don’t anticipate needing one; if an emergency arises that takes you out of town, it’s good to know your furry friends will be taken care of.

Use these tips to go shopping for Shih Tzu kennels before you need one and you can rest assured you’re leaving your furbaby in the best possible care:

  • Look for a dog kennel that belongs to the American Boarding Kennels Association (or a similar local association if you live in another country)
  • Check the Better Business Bureau and review sites such as Yelp as well as asking other pet owners for recommendations
  • Phone the kennel to ask for a tour. Any operation not willing to accommodate your request should be taken off the list immediately
  • Once at the boarding kennel look for signs of general cleanliness and safety. Outdoor areas should be reasonably free of feces and individual accommodations should look and smell clean.
  • Does the kennel have a cool shady place for your heat-sensitive Shih Tzu to relax outside on warm days?
  • Do they require proof of vaccinations for all dogs?
  • Ask how many times a day your dog will be checked, walked or played with. If the answers seem vague choose another facility
  • Are staff qualified and willing to administer medications or special feeding requests?
  • Indoor facilities should be temperature-controlled, especially for breeds like Shih Tzus who are sensitive to heat and cold.
  • How does the staff handle medical emergencies? If a standard protocol is not in place, choose another facility.


There are many good Shih Tzu kennels - it just takes a little effort and asking the right questions to be sure you've found one.

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We hope that your furry companion recovers quickly from whatever’s got him feeling down. If it does turn out that he was injured or became ill due to neglect at the kennel we want you to remember that it’s not your fault.

Boarding is common; more than 30 million pet owners board their animals each year according to PetMD, and it is usually the best possible choice when a human companion has to be away.

You did everything right by choosing a reputable kennel and getting your Shih Tzu medical care when it was needed.


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