Shih Tzu Diabetes

Shih Tzu is a popular Asian toy breed dog that is widely loved for its friendly nature and distinct looks. As Shih Tzu are small dogs,  they are prone to many health issues and Diabetes is one of them. If your Shih Tzu has diabetes,  you need to read the following article.

shih tzu diabetes

Are Shih Tzu prone to diabetes? 

Shih Tzu are generally healthy dogs but as they are a small toy breed,  they are sensitive and fragile. They can easily get diseases if exposed to certain conditions. Shih Tzu are prone to get Hernias,  allergies,  joint displacement,  eye diseases, and diabetes.

When Shih Tzu has diabetes, they need more care because they are small. As Diabetes makes the body weaker so you must manage their diabetes very carefully. You may wonder

Why does Shih Tzu get diabetes?

There is no hard and fast rule about the why and when of diabetes. It can occur in any dog. However, some breeds can get diabetes because of “favorable” conditions. By favorable we mean that Certain factors contribute to your dog having diabetes.

  • Being small-sized is one of them. Small dogs are usually sensitive. They need careful handling in every sense because their body deteriorates faster. As diabetes is linked to the function of the pancreas and liver, dogs who are prone to these health conditions can get diabetes.

Shih Tzu is also prone to liver disorders. Any disturbance in their organs like liver,  gut health, or pancreas can lead to diabetes.

  • However, Being small-sized is not the only reason why Shih Tzu gets diabetes. There are emotional factors too. Shih Tzu are friendly dogs. Their attachment is great with their owners. Dog breeds who can’t live alone for more time get relatively more depressed than others.

Stress is a major factor that contributes to diabetes. It messes up with body hormones. If your Shih Tzu is under stress for a longer period,  most probably he will develop diabetes.

  • Diabetes in Shih Tzu could be hereditary too. It comes with a fault in a genetic system where a dog’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells.
  • Obesity is another factor directly linked to diabetes in Shih Tzu. As they are small, even being a little overweight is not good for them.
  • Viral infections can also cause diabetes and Shih Tzu is prone to viral and bacterial allergies that can turn later on into diabetes.

How to know if your Shih Tzu has diabetes?

When Shih Tzu has diabetes,  he will more likely show regular diabetes symptoms. If you observe anyone of the following, consult your vet for a diabetes check-up.

Excessive thirst

Shih Tzu will likely drink water twice or thrice a day.  If they are drinking more than this pay attention. The first symptom of diabetes is thirst. In diabetes,  due to excessive glucose levels, the kidneys work hard to flush it out. As a result, the cells become dehydrated and can cause thirst. (read glucose level 500)

Frequent urination

Thirst is linked to urination. More water means more urine. Also,  as we have mentioned above that kidneys will work more to filter glucose so more urine will be produced.

If your Shih Tzu is peeing everywhere, do check for the possibility that he has diabetes. (Also read diabetic dog peeing sticky urine everywhere). Potty trained Shih Tzu may ask for going out again and again.

Increased cravings and hunger

Your Shih Tzu staying hungry 24/7 is another red flag. Shih Tzu is demanding so they will ask for food. If they are restless at night, don’t give a happy feeling when done eating, and constantly wants more to eat, these points towards your dog being diabetic. (also read diabetic dog restless at night).

Weight loss

Shih Tzu is small. If they are losing weight for any reason,  this may not be good for them. They can get other diseases too. It’s better to monitor their weight every once in a while. We suggest keeping a monthly record so that if they are losing weight,  you can track at first stages of diabetes.

Vision loss

Sometimes owners don’t pay attention to symptoms like hunger or urination.  Also, these symptoms may not happen with enough severity to get the owner’s attention. Vision problems happen at a further stage of diabetes. Most probably,  you will catch diabetes before that.

If you are feeling your Shih Tzu is bumping here and there or can’t see in dim light, check for diabetes. Vision loss is common in diabetic dogs and they can end up being blind too. ( also read diabetic dog eye discharge to know more about eye problems in diabetic dogs).

How to prevent diabetes in Shih Tzu?

Prevention is always better than cure. If you want to prevent your Shih Tzu from getting diabetes

  • Take your Shih Tzu for a regular checkup. Vet appointments are important and with dogs as fragile as Shih Tzu you must not take it lightly.
  • Keep a regular record of his things like weight, height, illnesses, etc.
  • Daily take your dog out for a walk. Give him enough time for exercise and play. Obesity is a major factor of diabetes in Shih Tzu.
  • Make sure your dog eats healthy food. Don’t feed him commercial snacks. Instead, try giving him homemade food. (Read is Freshpet food good for diabetic dogs).

What to do if your Shih Tzu has diabetes?

If your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with diabetes, it’s time to double up your care for them.

They will be given insulin to manage diabetes. Don’t miss insulin dose ever.  (Read double dose of insulin dogs). Also, you have to make a strict daily routine chart where they will follow a regime to keep things on track. Maintain a healthy lifestyle for them where they can eat fresh, play daily and follow healthy activities all day long.

How long a Shih Tzu will live after having diabetes?

Mostly diabetes happens in dogs when they are young or older. Rarely it is by birth or occurs in very young puppies. A Shih Tzu has a life expectancy of 10- 16 years.

If your Shih Tzu has successfully passed the first three to four months with diabetes, most probably he will live for the next few years too. In some cases, the life expectancy of Shih Tzu is recorded as two years when they have diabetes.

Also, keep in mind that most dogs don’t die from diabetes directly. It’s another disease that attacks the body when a dog already has diabetes.


Shih Tzu can get diabetes but with careful management,  you can make the hardships of diabetes easy for them. Take their proper care and give insulin on time.

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