Congratulations on your fluffy, sweet, and loving new Shih Tzu! These little furballs will bring so much joy into your life. Shih Tzus are known to be playful and quite mischievous, so be prepared for lots of fun—and a little bit of trouble!
These dogs are also fantastic family pets and get along well with other animals and children. Shih Tzus are quite smart, too, and they look so adorable shaking their little bottoms when they’re happy.
Before you bring your new Shih Tzu home, make sure you have all of the essential supplies to make their transition as smooth as possible.
17 Essential Shih Tzu Puppy Supplies
This is one of the first things you’ll need for your new Shih Tzu. A collar is essential for walks, car rides, and even just potty training around the house. It’s also important for identification in case your pup ever gets lost.
Choose a collar that is comfortable and adjustable so it can grow with your puppy. Remember that a Shih Tzu’s trachea is very delicate, so avoid using a collar that’s too tight or made of harsh materials like metal. A soft, fabric collar is the best option.
A leash is a must-have for taking your Shih Tzu on walks, to the dog park, or anywhere else outside of your home. Just like with a collar, pick a leash that is comfortable and adjustable. A retractable leash is a good option because it allows your pup to have some freedom while still being under your control.
A harness may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s actually a very helpful tool, especially for small breeds like Shih Tzus. Your new pup may think of itself as indestructible, but they’re actually quite delicate.
Unlike the usual collar and leash combo, a harness evenly distributes the weight and pressure around your Shih Tzu’s chest, which helps to prevent neck and back injuries.
Try to choose one with a breathable fabric and comfortable padding. You’ll also want to make sure the harness is adjustable so it can be used as your pup grows.
A crate is a great way to keep your Shih Tzu safe and out of trouble when you can’t directly supervise them. It’s also essential for crate training, which is helpful for everything from potty training to teaching them how to enjoy their alone time.
Choose a crate that is big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lay down in comfortably. It should also be made of sturdy material that won’t collapse if your pup jumps or scratches at it.
As for material, avoid anything made of wood since Shih Tzus love to chew. Wire or plastic crates are the best options.
5. Soft Bedding
Just like you, your Shih Tzu will want a warm and cozy place to sleep. You don’t need to get anything high-end at this point yet. Expect their first dog bed to get ruined within a few months due to potty accidents, chewing, and general wear and tear.
Therefore, get a cheap, washable bed for now. Consider getting two, so you have a backup while the first one is in the wash.
6. Wire Mesh Puppy Gate
Don’t be fooled by your Shih Tzu pup’s angelic face—they’re tiny troublemakers! Because they’re so smart and curious, Shih Tzus need a lot of supervision, especially when they’re young. You don’t want them getting into things they’re not supposed to, like your trash can or that new pair of shoes you just bought.
A puppy gate is a great way to keep them contained in one area of your home while still allowing them to move around and explore. It also lets you keep an eye on them while you’re doing other things.
Shih Tzu pups are quite small under all that fur, so get a wire mesh gate that won’t allow them to squeeze through.
7. Stainless Steel or Ceramic Dog Bowls
You’ll need two bowls for your new Shih Tzu—one for food and one for water. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are the best options because they’re durable, easy to clean, and won’t harbor bacteria like plastic bowls can.
They’re also harder to tip over than plastic bowls, which is important because some puppies like to play with their bowls and push them around.
An elevated dog bowl is a great option for Shih Tzus since they tend to have sensitive stomachs. This type of bowl puts less strain on their neck and back while they eat. It also grows with them, so you don’t have to replace it as they get bigger.
8. Species-Appropriate Food
Small breed puppies have different nutritional needs than larger breeds. They need more calories per pound of body weight and they eat more frequently. They also have small mouths and tummies, so their food needs to be highly digestible while being easy to chew.
In general, choose a food that is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Puppies need protein for muscle development and fat for energy.
Shih Tzus are prone to obesity, so avoid foods that are high in fillers and empty calories. Common fillers in dog food include corn, wheat, and soy. These ingredients add bulk but don’t provide any nutritional value.
Instead, look for whole ingredients like real meat, vegetables, and fruits. These will be listed first on the ingredient label. Fresh dog food such as Ollie is a great choice. Feeding fresh, minimally processed high-quality food will have a positive impact on your pup’s health. Ollie offers delicious, complete, and balanced recipes that cover all of your Shih Tzu’s nutritional needs from puppy to senior. And the best part is that it is delivered right to your doorstep!
9. Soft Training Treats
Shih Tzus are highly trainable, but like all dogs, they need positive reinforcement to learn new things. Small, soft training treats are the best way to do this. They’re easy to chew and they won’t ruin your pup’s appetite.
Like their food, choose high-protein training treats that are low in fillers. Steer clear of anything with artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
10. Dental Chews
Dental chews are an important part of Shih Tzu care. Due to the anatomy of their heads and mouths, small breeds are prone to dental problems like tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Dental chews help remove tartar and plaque from your pup’s teeth while massaging gums and freshening breath. They’re a much healthier option than rawhide bones, which can splinter and cause digestive problems.
When choosing dental chews, look for ones that are specifically designed for small breeds. These will be the right size and texture for your Shih Tzu’s mouth.
11. Puppy Toys
Shih Tzus love to play. They’re known for being lively and playful, so it’s important to have a few toys on hand to keep them entertained.
Puppy toys should be soft since their teeth and gums are delicate. They should also be small enough to fit in their mouths. Get a nice mix of toys, including chew toys, plush toys, and interactive toys like balls and Kongs.
Their long, fluffy fur is one of the reasons why Shih Tzus are such a popular breed. You can even style it in a topknot, braids, and other creative ways. But all that fur also requires maintenance to keep it looking its best.
A good brush is a must-have for any Shih Tzu owner. You’ll need a couple of different types, including a slicker brush for detangling, a bristle brush for everyday brushing, and a comb for those pesky knots.
Shih Tzus need to be bathed regularly, but you can’t use just any shampoo on their delicate skin and fur. Look for a shampoo that is specifically designed for puppies or dogs with sensitive skin. It should be tear-free and hypoallergenic.
Avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals, fragrances, and sulfates. These can dry out your pup’s skin and strip away the natural oils in their fur. Look for ingredients like oatmeal, aloe, and coconut oil, which will nourish their skin and leave their fur looking soft and shiny.
You may also want to get a de-shedding shampoo to help control all that fur. This type of shampoo will help reduce shedding and make grooming a lot easier.
14. Travel Crate
A travel crate is a must if you ever plan on taking your Shih Tzu on vacation or even just out for a day trip. It’s also essential for trips to the vet.
Like their crate, their travel crate should be the right size. It should be big enough for them to stand up and turn around in, but not so big that they can use one end as a bathroom.
You’ll also want to get a travel crate that is easy to set up and take down. Some crates even come with a carrying case for easy transport.
15. Puppy Pads
Shih Tzus are quite easy to potty train. These clever pups are quick learners as long as you are consistent with your training methods.
Puppy pads can be a helpful tool during the potty training process. They’re absorbent pads that you can put down in your pup’s designated potty area. When they need to go, they’ll use the pad instead of your floor or furniture.
Puppy pads are also great for Shih Tzus who live in apartments or other small spaces. They can use the puppy pads when they can’t go outside. Just be sure to praise them lavishly when they use the pad so they know they’re doing a good job.
16. Pet Enzyme Cleaner
Even if you’re using puppy pads, there’s a good chance your Shih Tzu will have an accident or two while they’re learning to use the potty. That’s where a pet enzyme cleaner comes in handy.
This type of cleaner is specially designed to break down pet urine and remove the odor. This is important because as long as your pup can smell their urine, they’ll be more likely to use that spot again.
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17. Poop Bags
Being a responsible Shih Tzu owner means picking up your pup’s poop, even when you’re out on a walk. But you can’t just use any old bag. Dog poop bags are specifically designed to be sturdy, leak-proof, and easy to tie up.
Some poop bags even come with dispensers that you can attach to your dog’s leash. This makes it easy to grab a bag when you need it without having to carry them around in your pocket.
You can also get scented, eco-friendly, or biodegradable poop bags. These are all great options if you’re looking for a more sustainable way to deal with your pup’s waste.
The First Week With Your New Shih Tzu Puppy
Got all your supplies? Great! If you’re a new dog owner, you might be wondering what to expect during the first week with your new pup.
It’s important to set your expectations. Owning a dog is a bit like having a child. You’ll need to be understanding and have a lot of love and patience.
Be ready for the puppy blues as well. Some new dog owners get overwhelmed during the first week and start to second-guess their decision to get a dog. This is normal. Just take a deep breath and remember that it will get easier.
In general, the more prepared you are for the first week, the easier it will be. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:
1. Your Shih Tzu Pup Will Be Scared and Confused at First
Don’t expect your pup to immediately be cuddly and ready to play fetch. Keep in mind that they’ve just been taken away from their mom and everything they know. It’s normal for them to be scared and confused at first.
Give them time to adjust and settle in. Don’t force them to come out of their shell. Instead, let them do it on their own. They’ll come around when they’re ready.
2. Your Pup Will Need to Sleep a Lot
Shih Tzus are not exactly couch potatoes, but they’re lap dogs. This is why they do so well in apartments. They’re content to just lay around and relax.
Still, most puppies, regardless of breed, will need to sleep a lot. They’re growing and developing, so they need all the rest they can get. Expect your puppy to take lots of naps throughout the day.
3. Your Puppy Will Need to Go Potty Frequently
Puppies have small bladders, so they’ll need to go potty often. As a rule of thumb, puppies can only hold it for 1 hour for every month they’ve been alive. So, if your puppy is 2 months old, they can only hold it for about 2 hours.
Expect your Shih Tzu to go potty after every meal, nap, and play session. They’ll also need to go first thing in the morning and right before bed.
This is a critical time for potty training, so be vigilant and take them out as often as possible. The more times they go outside, the less likely they are to have an accident in the house.
Remember not to punish your puppy if they have an accident. It’s not their fault—they’re still learning. Ignore any accidents and clean it up thoroughly with your enzyme cleaner. Every time they go in the right spot, shower them with praise so they know they’re doing a good job.
4. Your Pup Will Eat Often and Make Messes
Puppies need to eat often because they’re growing so fast. Expect your Shih Tzu to eat three to four times a day or more. They won’t be clean eaters yet, so be prepared for some spillage and make sure to have a towel handy.
Since they have long facial fur, Shih Tzus are especially prone to making messes while they eat. Keep wipes handy to clean up any food that gets stuck in their fur.
5. Your Pup Will Need Lots of Socialization
Shih Tzus are social creatures and need lots of interaction to stay happy. This is especially true during their puppyhood.
Make sure to introduce your Shih Tzu pup to as many people and animals as possible. The more they’re around different types of people and animals, the less likely they are to be afraid of them later in life. But first, please make sure they get all their shots.
Once your Shih Tzus have completed their vaccination schedule, take them for walks around the neighborhood and to the dog park. If you have friends or family with pets, invite them over for a playdate.
Since they don’t know how to walk nicely on a leash yet, it’s best to make them wear a harness during their walks. This will prevent them from getting tangled and hurt.
6. You’ll Need to Be Very Patient
Like with any new pet, there will be a learning curve. Be prepared for some bumps in the road and try to be patient.
There will be accidents, messes, and plenty of chewing. It’s all part of having a puppy. With lots of love, patience, and training, your Shih Tzu will grow into a wonderful family member and companion.
7. Enjoy Every Moment With Your Shih Tzu Puppy
Puppies are only puppies for a short time, especially when they’re a small breed like Shih Tzus. They grow up so fast!
So, savor every moment, even the frustrating ones. Because before you know it, your puppy will be all grown up.
Wrapping It Up
Welcoming a new Shih Tzu puppy to your family is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. It’ll be fun and challenging at the same time, but getting as many of the essential supplies above will help make the experience easier for everyone.
Featured Image Credit: carlosleucipo, Pixabay