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Shih Tzu Constipation: 7 Causes & Vet-Approved Fixes

If your Shih Tzu is constipated you’ll want to know why and what to do to help them. This article will cover exactly that, and will also explain when it’s time to seek help from a vet!

shih tzu constipated

Shih Tzus & Constipation

Occasional constipation might happen due to simple reasons like a change in diet or temporary stress.

It’s generally not a major concern if it’s a one-time occurrence and resolves with some of the home remedies or a return to their usual routine.

However, if constipation becomes a recurring or persistent issue, it might be a sign of an underlying problem. In that case, it’s not considered normal, and a veterinarian’s consultation is essential to determine the cause and proper treatment.

Signs of constipation include noticing your Shih Tzu straining, has extremely dry, hard or crumbly poops, as well as not being able to poop at all.

7 Likely Causes Behind Constipation

Before we try solving the issue, it’s important for owners to consider the cause.

To know which one applies to your Shih Tzu, you’ll need to consider everything from their diet, kibble nutrients, daily routine, recent events (eating unusual things), as well as their current age and health.

Thinking about this will help you analyze if something out of the ordinary has happened recently to create this change in bowel movement.

1. Lack of Fiber

Fiber helps keep the digestive system running smoothly. When a Shih Tzu’s diet lacks sufficient fiber, the stool can become hard and difficult to pass. This means feeding your pet a balanced diet rich in fiber, like adding canned pumpkin or wheat bran, can help prevent constipation.

2. Dehydration

Water plays a crucial role in digestion. When your Shih Tzu doesn’t drink enough, the stool becomes dry and hard. Ensuring that your pet always has access to fresh, clean water can make a significant difference in their digestive health.

3. Lack of Exercise

Regular exercise helps stimulate the digestive system. Without it, the digestive process can slow down, leading to constipation. Encouraging daily walks, playtime, or other activities can keep things moving along comfortably.

4. Medication Side Effects

Some medications, such as specific pain relievers, can lead to constipation in Shih Tzus. If you notice constipation after starting a new medication, consult your vet. They may adjust the dosage or switch to another type of medicine.

5. Ingesting Foreign Objects

Shih Tzus are curious creatures and might eat something they shouldn’t, like small toys or pieces of clothing. These foreign objects can cause a blockage in the digestive tract, leading to constipation. Keeping an eye on what your pet is chewing on can prevent this issue.

6. Stress and Anxiety

Just like people, Shih Tzus can experience stress and anxiety, which can affect their digestive system. Changes in the household, new family members, or a move can trigger these feelings. Providing a calm environment and lots of love can help alleviate stress-related constipation.

7. Underlying Health Issues

Chronic constipation may signal a more serious underlying health issue, such as kidney problems or an enlarged prostate. If your Shih Tzu continues to suffer from constipation despite trying other solutions, a visit to the vet is essential to rule out significant health problems.

Understanding these causes and addressing them with proper care and attention can make your Shih Tzu happier and healthier. Always consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s well-being.

How Long Can a Shih Tzu Go Without Pooping

Shih Tzus, like most dogs, typically poop at least once a day. However, every dog is different, and some might go once every other day or even less frequently.

If your Shih Tzu hasn’t pooped in 48 hours, it’s usually a sign that something might be off, but It doesn’t mean panic.

Still, at this point it’s a good idea to keep a closer eye on your pet and check for other signs of discomfort or distress.

If your Shih Tzu hasn’t pooped in more than 72 hours, it’s time to call the vet.

Constipation can become a serious health issue if left untreated, and a veterinarian can figure out what’s going on and how to help.

Remember, noticing changes in your pet’s habits and acting on them when needed is an essential part of caring for their health!

5 Simple Solutions To Help Your Shih Tzu at Home

If your Shih Tzu is struggling with constipation, here are five methods you can try at home to help them. Some of them may take a while to have an effect, like increasing fiber. Some on the other hand could have a quicker affect, like drinking more water or a gentle belly rub.

It’s worth noting that these methods are generally safe and can be helpful, but if your Shih Tzu’s constipation continues or appears severe, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian.

They can provide expert care tailored to your pet’s specific situation.

1. Increase Fiber Intake

Adding more fiber to your pet’s diet can help soften the stool and promote regular bowel movements. A spoonful of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) or wheat bran can do the trick. Be sure to introduce new foods gradually to avoid upsetting their stomach.

2. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water

Keeping your Shih Tzu hydrated helps prevent dry and hard stools. Make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times, and encourage them to drink, especially if you notice they haven’t been drinking enough.

3. Encourage Regular Exercise

Exercise is vital for overall health and can stimulate the digestive system. Regular walks, playtime, or other physical activities that your Shih Tzu enjoys will help keep them regular.

4. Gentle Belly Massage

A gentle massage around your Shih Tzu’s abdomen can help stimulate the digestive tract. Use a soft, circular motion, and be gentle. If your pet appears to be in pain, stop immediately and consult your vet.

5. Monitor and Remove Inappropriate Items

Keep an eye on what your Shih Tzu is chewing or attempting to eat. Removing access to small toys, clothing, or other non-food items they might swallow can prevent blockages that lead to constipation.

Once again, if these methods don’t help your Shih Tzu’s constipation improve after 48-72 hours, it’s important to get them to a veterinarian for a health check.

Last thoughts

Let’s run through the key points of the article below. This summarized version contains everything you need to know.

  1. Causes of Constipation:
    • Lack of fiber in the diet
    • Dehydration
    • Insufficient exercise
    • Side effects from medication
    • Ingesting foreign objects
    • Stress and anxiety
    • Underlying health issues
  2. Frequency of Bowel Movements:
    • Shih Tzus typically poop at least once a day.
    • No bowel movement for 48 hours may be a concern.
    • Over 72 hours without pooping requires a vet’s attention.
  3. Home Remedies for Constipation:
    • Increase fiber intake (e.g., canned pumpkin).
    • Ensure access to fresh water.
    • Encourage regular exercise.
    • Try gentle belly massages.
    • Monitor and remove inappropriate items they might eat.
  4. Normalcy of Constipation in Shih Tzus:
    • Occasional constipation can occur in any dog, including Shih Tzus.
    • It’s not a breed-specific or normal condition.
    • Persistent or recurring constipation should be addressed by a vet.

Understanding these key aspects can help Shih Tzu owners recognize and manage constipation, ensuring their furry friend’s health and comfort.

Thanks for reading!

Additional resources:

  1. American Kennel Club (AKC)
    • Website: AKC’s Health Section
    • The AKC provides extensive information on dog breeds, health, training, and more. Their health section may have specific articles about constipation in dogs.
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
    • Website: AVMA’s Pet Care Section
    • AVMA is a well-known organization that offers resources on various pet care topics. Their pet care section may include insights into digestive issues in dogs.
  3. VCA Animal Hospitals
    • Website: VCA’s Dog Care Tips
    • VCA Animal Hospitals operate across the U.S., and their website offers a wide array of information on dog care, including possible content on constipation.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.