Shih Tzu Allergies
Dog Allergy Symptoms

There are five primary causes of most Shih Tzu allergies; genetics, food, fleas, contact dermatitis and airborne particles.

Is your Shih Tzu constantly scratching and biting himself? Are you noticing open wounds or hot spots on their skin? These are all signs that your dog may be suffering from allergies. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing an allergy related issue, please take the time to read this information and take the proper steps needed to identify and remedy the situation.


The first source of Shih Tzu allergies that we will discuss is genetics. Just like in humans, genetics plays a huge role in determining how healthy a dog will be and how efficient the immune system will operate. Many times dog allergies are hereditary, passed down from one litter to the next through improper breeding practices. For this reason, it is always best to acquire your Shih Tzu puppies from reputable, responsible breeders, for the main fact that such conditions can be eliminated altogether, at least the hereditary ones.


The second source of Shih Tzu allergies is food. Besides genetics, certain dietary ingredients are causing most of the allergy problems associated with the Shih Tzu. This is such an important topic. As such, we would highly recommend that you read our Shih Tzu diet page to learn much more about the necessity of feeding your dog a healthy dog food. Many of the dog foods on the market today are unhealthy and contain ingredients that can trigger allergies. These would include unsafe by-products, corn, artificial colors, wheat, certain oils, fats and preservatives. Just by switching to healthy organic or holistic dog foods, many Shih Tzu owners have seen dramatic improvements in the health of their pets, including allergies caused by foods totally disappearing.


The third source of Shih Tzu allergies is fleas. A flea, in and of itself, doesn't create the problem but their bite is what creates the havoc. When a flea bites the skin of a Shih Tzu, it results in a tiny, itchy flesh wound. This why you will see dogs licking or scratching these areas, simply trying to get a little relief. Some dogs are affected by flea bites worse than others. A Shih Tzu that is extremely sensitive and bothered by these bites most likely suffers from hereditary flea allergies. Your best course of action with fleas is to try a natural flea shampoo that is free of chemicals or visit with your vet for recommended treatments.

Contact Dermatitis

The fourth source of Shih Tzu allergies is contact dermatitis. This type of trigger would include things such as grass, dirt, dust, leaves, shampoo, conditioner, mites, pest control chemicals, etc. Basically anything that may come in contact with the skin of your Shih Tzu. If your dog is suffering from an allergy due to contact dermatitis it might be a little hard to pinpoint. You might have to start a daily journal and record your observations over time to narrow down the culprit. For example: The next time you bathe your Shih Tzu, take note if there is an over abundance of scratching going on a day or two following the bath. This could be an allergic reaction to any shampoo residue left in the coat. So you might need to switch brands or just rinse more thoroughly. Shih Tzu allergies caused by contact dermatitis is best remedied with prevention and common sense. Here are some steps that you can take to help prevent contact dermatitis allergies.

  • Be sure to brush your Shih Tzu every day. This will remove particles such as dander, grass, dirt, etc from your dog's coat.
  • When you bathe your Shih Tzu, always thoroughly rinse the coat with clean fresh water.
  • Dust your home on a regular basis.
  • Vacuum your carpets every few days. Your dogs are constantly tracking in dirt on their paws even if you can't always see it.
  • Try making it a habit to steam clean your floors and carpets every month or so. This will dramatically cut down on the allergens found in your home.

Airborne Particles

The fifth source of Shih Tzu allergies is airborne particles. This is primarily a seasonal issue and is caused by pollen floating around in the air. Thankfully, not many Shih Tzu's suffer from pollen but if they do, your best plan of action would be allergy pills prescribed by your vet, allergy shots and limiting their time outdoors.

Final Thoughts on Shih Tzu Allergies

Allergies are very common and prevalent to the Shih Tzu breed. There are basically five major causes of dog allergies with the top two being genetics and certain dog food ingredients. Our best recommendations:

  1. Purchase Shih Tzu puppies from reputable, responsible Shih Tzu breeders.
  2. Feed your Shih Tzu a healthy holistic dog food such as California Natural, which can be purchased at
  3. Brush your Shih Tzu on a daily basis.
  4. Maintain a clean home and living environment for yourself and your Shih Tzu.
  5. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect that your Shih Tzu is suffering from severe allergies.

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