Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shih-Tzu hairstyles


I, for one, am fascinated by the hairstyles given to Shih-Tzus. In particular the "top knot" seems to be the thing to do with this breed.

Although my boys have short hair, I've found some links for those who are a bit more adventurous and want to give their dog a bit more panache.

1. Shih-Tzu top knots - illustrations of how to tie the top knot, show knot and puppy knot.
2. A casual Shih-Tzu top knot and the illustrated guide to the Show knot (curling iron required. Really!)
3. One of the most fabulous pics I've seen of a Shih-Tzu. I have no idea how they got the dog to look so perfect, but I suspect it took quite a few hours and hairspray was involved.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ear infections

Dogs with long, floppy ears are prone to ear infections, and Shih-Tzus are certainly not immune. My oldest just got treated for one.

At first, I didn't even realize he had an infection. When I was growing up, we had a Lhasa Apso and whenever she got the infection, there was a distinct odor that came from her ear so we knew it was time to go to the vet. However, when I checked my oldest, there was no odor so I let it go longer than I should have because I thought that it was just overly itchy and perhaps a bit irritated because of this scratching. I realized something was wrong after my husband told me he got up in the middle of the night and found our oldest scratching his ear and crying. That was enough to convince me something wasn't right. I immediately made an appointment with the vet and, lo and behold, he had an ear infection.

So what are the signs? Assuming there is no odor (which is a dead giveaway), this is what you need to watch for:
1. repeated scratching of the affected ear
2. repeatedly licking the paw that scratches the ear (in our case, he would scratch, lick, scratch, lick over and over)
3. shaking the head
4. rubbing the head against a carpet or floor

The vet took a swab from his ear and tested it. It turned out he had a yeast infection. They also said his ear canal was thickened due to the infection. They flushed out his ear to clean it. I was given antibiotics and ear drops that I have to give him twice a day.

Already I am seeing signs of improvement just after a day. He sleeps a bit more (which is probably the antibiotic) but when he's awake he seems to have more spunk to his step. Most importantly, he is not scratching his ear anymore.

Looking back, I was stupid not to have gotten him to the vet sooner. Sometimes we think we can diagnose a problem, but in the end we're not experts. I was relying on past experience, other people's knowledge and what I read on the internet. However, nothing compares to having a vet have a look at the problem. So if you notice these types of behaviors in your dog, take them immediately to the vet to have it checked out so your pet doesn't suffer any longer than they have to. Dogs can't tell you when they're in pain, and my little guy probably endured this pain and discomfort for longer than he should have.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

It all comes down to...ice cream

The boys know when they get their "special" treat...vanilla ice cream.

They stand at attention...there is no movement...when that container carrying the luscious commodity known as "ice cream" comes from the freezer. (and just as an aside to all you decorators...isn't my floor hideous, but I digress...)

There is absolutely nothing the boys won't do for their special treat. Even sitting still is not a problem!

Of course, a precaution - nothing with chocolate because that is toxic. And, although sugar is not good for their teeth, they do deserve a sweet treat once in a while, and vanilla ice cream is their favorite. I usually buy Breyers All Natural. And I'll tell you...you're dishwasher couldn't clean a bowl like two Shih-Tzus with ice cream in a bowl!