It’s an exciting time when you first welcome a Shih Tzu puppy into your home! However, it is important to remember that this new life is entirely dependent on you for its care. Here are some tips for taking good care of newborn Shih Tzu puppies.
First thing first: A lot of people forget how young newborn Shih Tzu puppies actually are! Newborn Shih Tzu’s still have their baby teeth and umbilical cords attached. They need to eat every two hours, and cannot go to the bathroom by themselves. By three weeks old, they should be weaned onto solid foods and using the bathroom on their own.
Crate training: If you have not crate train your Shih Tzu before, now is the time to start. Newborn Shih Tzu puppies are still learning vital life skills like how to potty outside and obeying basic commands. When they are so young, it will be difficult for them to hold their bladders or bowels for extended periods of time. Crate training will help you avoid the mess of pottying your new puppy in the wrong place, and also give you an easier time housetraining your Shih Tzu later.
Bedding: Make sure that you have soft bedding available for your newborn Shih Tzu puppies to lay on. You can use anything comfortable like towels or old t-shirts. Be sure to take them out of the bedding and clean it regularly, as Shih Tzu puppies are prone to developing skin infections if left in dirty bedding for too long.
Feeding: Your newborn Shih Tzu puppies will need to eat 8 times a day. They should be fed at 7am, 11am, 2pm, 5 pm, 9 pm and 12 am, 3 am, and finally 6 am.
It is important to remember that your newborn Shih Tzu puppies still look like puppies! They do not have adult teeth or a full coat of hair yet. You can expect their growth to be fast during the next few weeks, so you will have to continue feeding them every two hours.
Accidents: All puppies, Shih Tzu or not, need to learn how to properly potty outside. You can expect your newborn Shih Tzu puppies to pee and poop everywhere while they are getting the hang of potty training. Be patient with them and clean up any accidents that happen in the house immediately.
Housetraining: At around 3-4 weeks of age, your Shih Tzu puppies should be able to start learning how to “hold it” while they are sleeping at night. However, you will probably still have some accidents on your new carpets or floors. You can use a puppy pen to confine your Shih Tzu puppies to a smaller area of the house while they are still learning.
Shih Tzu is a very intelligent dog, but they are also stubborn. It may take some time for them to understand that you want them to go outside to potty, not on your new carpet! Be patient with your newborn Shih Tzu puppies and continue to feed them at regular times during the day, and they will eventually learn.
Grooming: Although your newborn Shih Tzu puppies still do not yet have much hair (and therefore cannot get very dirty), it is important for you to start grooming them. Get in the habit of brushing out their coats every day so that they get used to the feeling. Shih Tzu tends to be fastidious dogs and does not like getting dirty or having matted hair.
Following are some of the FAQs on Shih Tzu puppies:
1. How much should I feed my Shih Tzu puppies?
Each day your Shih Tzu puppies will need to be fed 165g of milk replacer and 4 tablespoons (60cc) of baby food (either meat or fruit flavor). You can add a few pieces of dry puppy kibble to the mixture if you wish.
2. How do I know how much to feed?
Your newborn Shih Tzu puppies should be fed every 2 hours (8 times per day). For example, you would feed them at 7am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 9pm and 12 am, 3am and finally 6am. You will need to adjust the times if they are sleeping longer.
3. My Shih Tzu puppies won’t eat! How do I get them to eat?
Newborn Shih Tzu puppies will only feed for between 5-20 minutes before falling asleep. It is important that you wake them up in order to ensure that they finish all the milk replacer within that time. You can also feed them every two hours, then put them back to sleep an hour later for their next feeding.
4. My Shih Tzu puppies are vomiting after each feeding! What happened?
For the first few days, your newborn Shih Tzu puppies will vomit small amounts of milk replacer immediately after you feed them. Don’t worry, this is normal and will stop in a few days once they become used to the new diet. If your Shih Tzu puppies continue vomiting after 24 hours of starting on a milk replacer, consult your vet immediately.
5. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies don’t seem to be growing! What’s wrong?
Your newborn Shih Tzu puppies should double their birth weight in the first 2-3 weeks. If they are not growing at a normal rate, consult your veterinarian immediately.
6. Shouldn’t my newborn Shih Tzu puppies have started teething by now?
No! Your newborn Shih Tzu puppies still only have baby teeth and will not start teething until around 8 weeks old.
7. When should I take my newborn Shih Tzu puppies to the vet?
Your newborn Shih Tzu puppies should visit the vet for their first check-up at 7-8 weeks of age before they are fully weaned. This is also a good time to discuss any concerns you may have about your Shih Tzu puppies’ health, as well as get them all their necessary vaccinations.
8. My newborn Shih Tzu is scratching a lot! What’s wrong?
If your newborn Shih Tzu puppy is scratching a lot, it could be suffering from an insect bite or an allergy (usually to something like shampoo or soap). If you cannot see any insects on your Shih Tzu puppy, take it to the vet for an examination and discuss possible causes.
9. I think my newborn Shih Tzu puppies need more milk! What do I do?
If possible, ask the person who gave the orphaned Shih Tzu puppies to you if they can get more milk replacers. If not, feel free to give us a call here at the Animal Hospital of Canton and we will be happy to discuss your options.
10. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies are still very restless! What’s wrong?
Newborn Shih Tzu puppies are very active and restless until they reach around 4 weeks old. After this time, they will start to calm down and become more content. Until then, just ensure that your Shih Tzu has a warm and comfortable place to sleep.
11. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies seem to be crying a lot! Why?
Shih Tzu puppies will always vocalize when they are hungry, bored, want to play, or want their mother. The best thing you can do is ensure that your Shih Tzu has a warm and comfortable place to sleep and is not lonely or bored.
12. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies have started playing with me! That’s great!
At around 3 weeks old, your Shih Tzu puppies will start to play on their own. Before this time, you can try and stimulate their senses by playing with them yourself – without interfering or getting too close. It is important that you do not touch your newborn Shih Tzu’s head until they are at least 14 days old.
13. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies are teething! What can I do?
Teething is just like with human babies – your Shih Tzu puppy will start to feel unwell and its gums will bleed, it may lose weight, and it just won’t want to eat much. To soothe your Shih Tzu during this time, make sure its sleeping area is soft and comfortable, and give it toys to play with.
14. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies have started to lose their baby teeth! What will this mean for me?
At around 6-8 weeks of age, your Shih Tzu puppies will start to lose their baby teeth and be ready for adult ones. Their adult teeth should come in without any problems, and your vet can discuss with you the best way to care for your Shih Tzu during this time.
15. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies have been weaned! What can I give them?
You should be able to take your Shih Tzu to a good pet store and choose from a wide variety of puppy brands. If you don’t want to do that, you can still feed your Shih Tzu puppy high-quality kibble as well as wet food.
16. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies are eating some solid food! Should I give them more milk?
No – it is recommended not to give any more milk to your Shih Tzu after it has been weaned. Solid food should be its only source of nutrition after 7-8 weeks old.
17. I think my newborn Shih Tzu puppies have worms! What can I do?
If you suspect your Shih Tzu puppy has worms, take it to the vet for an examination and discuss treatment options that are best for its age.
18. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies keep crying and scratching! Is this normal?
Yes – as I said, newborn Shih Tzu puppies are very active and restless until they reach around 4 weeks old. After this time, they will start to calm down and become more content. Until then, make sure your Shih Tzu has a warm and comfortable place to sleep.
19. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies seem bored! What should I do?
Newborn Shih Tzu puppies are very active, so keep this in mind when you have them at home. They need lots of attention, exercise, stimulation, and playtime – otherwise, they may become bored and develop bad habits.
20. My newborn Shih Tzu puppies seem to be afraid of everything! What should I do?
It is recommended that you get your Shih Tzu puppy used to being around other people, animals, sights, sounds, smells, etc., right from when it is just a few weeks old. Do this by visiting other pets stores, having your family and friends around, taking it for walks, visiting the dog park, etc.
Shih Tzu puppies are very special, and they deserve all the love and attention. If you give your Shih Tzu the best care possible, it will be loyal to you for life!
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