Not all Shih Tzu owners keep their pets healthy and free from disease. Flea infestations are one of the most common issues among dogs regardless of its breed. Fleas feed on the blood of the host which causes skin irritation, allergic reactions, anemia, and sometimes can lead to death. It is difficult to identify flea infestation in the Shih Tzu because of its long, thick, and double coat. One signs of flea infestation is scratching, particularly the back and tail areas, or behind the thighs.
There are quite a few ways to prevent fleas. You can use a flea comb or choose to dab some petroleum jelly on the comb for the fleas to stick to. When combing, pay attention to the armpits, the areas between the toes, behind the ears, around the tail and the head. Some owners use chemicals and drugs as well as electronic flea traps to remove fleas. Due to safety concerns with some of these options, other pet owners choose to use natural treatments and preventative methods. Ticks are about five times the size of a flea, and are easier to control as they are often found outdoors.
Flea and Tick Carpet Powders
Carpet powders will kill all fleas and ticks, but they will not be able to protect your dog when they go outside. When applying carpet powder, you have to brush it deep into the fibers and leave it in for 24 hours. It is important to ensure that nobody comes near or walks bare foot on the carpet during this stage, as it may prove harmful to the skin and toxic if inhaled. It is advisable to open your windows and circulate the room after application.
Flea and Tick Shampoos
Flea and tick shampoos vary in their effectiveness. There are oatmeal based products available which prevent dryness of the skin and which can also remove fleas from the body. However, these will not provide protection from future infestations. For ticks, the chemicals may not start to work for at least three days.
Flea and Tick Topical/Liquid/Pill Treatments
These work by being absorbed it into the Shih Tzu’s bloodstream, killing the fleas and ticks as they feed. Some pet owners may avoid using chemicals as they may have serious health risks. It is important to seek advice from your veterinarian regarding these products. For example, they are not recommended for a breeding female or a puppy less than 12 weeks old, as these can have serious health consequences.
Vaccinations play a vital role in your pet’s overall health and always follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding your pet’s vaccination schedule. Be aware that if you travel, airlines, cruise ships, and trains will only allow pets on board if the vaccinations are up-to-date.