A Shihpoo is a crossbreed between a Shih Tzu and Toy Poodle, and they can possess the personality traits of both or other of their parents. Like Shih Tzus, they are one of the cutest dog breeds, and their Poodle parent gives them their non-shedding coat. Altogether, they are cute little indoor dogs, usually known to be very intelligent, and can sometimes be stubborn depending upon which parent they inherited the most traits from.
The Shihpoo is a very energetic dog; they love to play with their families and can sometimes seem like a little ball of energy. Most Shihpoo will thrive with a lot of attention from their mamas and papas, being very social with humans and other dogs. Leaving them alone for long periods is not a good idea. Show your love for your Shihpoo by giving her or him all the attention they require, especially early on before they develop negative traits and get feisty.
Like all dogs, whether purebred or mixed, Shihpoos not only inherited the personality traits of both parents but also their potential health problems. These crossbreeds are vulnerable to the same health problems as Shih Tzus and Poodles. In this blog, we will discuss the potential health problems seen in Shihpoos that one should definitely be aware of before buying/adopting a puppy.
Editors Note: Most Shihpoos will live healthy lives. While you should talk to your puppy’s veterinarian about the following diseases and health issues, take care not to allow fear of the potential to interfere with the reality of your Shihpoo’s general wellness.
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS) is one of the most common health problems in many toy breeds and mixes, including Shihpoos. BAS occurs because of anatomical malformation in the dog. A malformed or damaged trachea, contracted nostrils, and the protraction of the soft palate can make it difficult to breathe.
Such physiological challenges are not uncommonly in Shihpoos and are not necessarily severe. Signs can appear during physical activity or when the Shihpoo is experiencing stress. Talk to your veterinarian about such breathing problems and under which unlikely circumstances you will need to bring your dog in for treatment.
Radical Retinal Atrophy
Radical Retinal Atrophy (RRA) is seen among almost all the Poodle hybrids, and the Shihpoo is no exception. This health condition can cause night blindness and loss of vision. RRA is a regressive disorder of the retinal nerves and can lead to the deterioration and loss of vision.
This health problem can cause understandable concern to Shihpoo families and may require medical attention and early treatment. Unfortunately, there is no proven medical cure for this condition in dogs. Those dogs that lose their vision will have to adapt to it, just as their families will too.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IDD) involves the deterioration of the intervertebral disk. This disk is the shock-absorbing disc between the vertebras of the spinal cord. These discs are called shock-absorbing discs because of their ability to absorb shocks during different movements.
In severe cases, compression and degeneration of nerves may be present in the IDD, which can cause quite a bit of pain in older Shihpoos. Medical care may become necessary. Generally, anti-inflammatory treatments are sufficient properly treat such cases, although surgery of the intervertebral disc may also be an option.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) is an inflammatory skin condition that you might notice in your Shihpoo. This skin problem occurs when the sebaceous glands in the skin swell and cause irritation, hair loss, and other skin infections. In some cases, you may want to take your furbaby to the vet, who might recommend anti-inflammatory treatments for skin irritation and skin infections. Medical shampoos might also reduce skin irritation.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most common medical conditions seen in Shihpoos, although it is more common in medium- and large-breed dogs, according to research at Cornell University. Typically, CHD appears during the dog’s growth years and leads to a loosening of one or both hip joints.
CHD and the osteoarthritis that often follows it can lead to walking problems, limping, and even disabilities in dogs. Lethargy is the most common first sign in dogs with CHD, and the symptoms progress to difficulty in moving, loss of thigh muscles, lameness, pain, and even immobility.
CHD should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed. The treatment often includes pain relief procedures since there is no cure for hip dysplasia. However, you can improve your dog’s condition by working on his diet and exercising to slow down the process. Doctors are even doing total hip replacements in dogs, where the entire hip joint is removed and is replaced with plastic and metal implants.
Canine oral hygiene is very important, especially if they are prone to dental issues like many small breeds. The Shihpoo is vulnerable to dental problems thanks (or no thanks) to their poodle parentage. Shihpoos thus require greater dental care attention than many other breeds to maintain healthy dental and oral hygiene.
The most common dental problems seen in the crossbred Shihpoos are tar-tar build-up, dental jamming, and periodontal diseases. The most common age in Shihpoos where dental diseases occur is six to seven months. Six to seven months old Shihpoos are more prone to dental diseases, and the main reason is that Shihpoos are prone to the health conditions of both their parents.
Why is it so important to take care of the oral hygiene of your Shihpoos? Dental disease can spread bacteria and inflammation to the vital organs of the dog, and the vital organs might get affected too.
The most commonly affected organs due to infection spread include the lungs, kidneys, heart, and liver. These are major organs of the body. Any problem in these organs severely affects the overall health of the Shihpoos.
Over To You!
Whether you have a designer dog or not, regular visits to the veterinarian are critically important for your dog’s health. Your vet can examine your puppy’s health and rule out any health problems they might have. This helps you in diagnosing diseases at early stages. Early treatment can also save your dog from the progression of many diseases and disabilities.
The most impactful way to keep your Shihpoo healthy is to get him or her the immunizations recommended by the veterinarian.
Most Shihpoos can live a happy and healthy life of ten to fifteen years if they are kept healthy and active!
Myrah Abrar is a computer science graduate with a passion for web development and digital marketing. She writes blog articles for the cutest dog breeds.