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Why Does My Shih Tzu Cry? 6 Vet Approved Reasons

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Brown Shih Tzu

Why Does My Shih Tzu Cry? 6 Vet Approved Reasons


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Choosing a Shih Tzu as the right companion for you is a choice you won’t regret. These little dogs are full of love, enjoy spending time with their owners, and can be a joy to watch. One thing new Shih Tzu owners tend to notice is how much this breed cries. Of course, a lot of crying can be alarming. But before you simply label your Shih Tzu as moody or whiny, you should realize there are reasons for their cries.

While all dogs vocalize to some degree, others are more open to letting you know when they need something. This is the main reason for your Shih Tzu’s behavior. But what do they need? There’s a long list of reasons your Shih Tzu may cry. To better understand this breed and the reasons for their whimpering, read on below where we’ll take a look at what’s going on with your fur baby.

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Why Do Shih Tzus Cry? 6 Main Reasons

If you haven’t had a dog that cries, it may be surprising. For most dog breeds, including the Shih Tzu, a little crying here and there is normal behavior. However, you can’t deny that this action is a sign of distress. The key is understanding why dogs cry so you can pinpoint what’s up with your best pal. Let’s take a look below at the potential reasons your Shih Tzu is crying so you can make things better for your dog.

1. Separation Issues

Separation anxiety can be a real issue with many dog breeds. Shih Tzus enjoy spending time with their humans and need lots of mental stimulation to be content. You’ll find that this breed doesn’t do well when they are left alone for several hours a day. In severe cases, the Shih Tzu in question may begin suffering from separation anxiety. If you feel your pup is showing signs of separation anxiety, contact your veterinarian or behaviorist to get expert advice. There is a lot you can do to help your Shih Tzu if that is the reason they are crying.

Here are other signs of separation anxiety you should be aware of:
  • Destructive behavior
  • Excessive whining
  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Shivering
  • Shaking
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Excessive licking
  • Aggression
  • Pacing
  • Cowering
  • Hiding
Brown Shih Tzu
Image by: David Soanes Photography, Shutterstock

2. Pain or Illness

Your Shih Tzu may be crying due to pain or illness. Crying is one of the ways your dog vocalizes to you that something is wrong. While you may watch your dog closely when you’re at home, there are times when you aren’t there and they can injure themselves. Your Shih Tzu could also be in pain from arthritis or other health issues. If your pet is crying more than usual, taking them to the vet could be the only way to determine what’s going on.

3. Wanting Attention

Shih Tzus enjoy spending as much time with their owners as possible. One of the ways they let you know is by crying, whining, or even barking. You may find that crying for attention happens more often with Shih Tzus due to them being specifically bred to be companion dogs.

soldier cuddling his shih tzu dog
Image By: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

4. Stress

As a little dog breed, Shih Tzus may get scared, anxious, and even sad more often than others. Any form of stress may be demonstrated to you through your dog’s cries. You should never ignore your pup when they are upset. Instead, try to reassure them and make them feel better.

5. Allergies

Another thing the Shih Tzu is notorious for is suffering from allergies. Whether it’s an allergy to food, flea bites, or seasonal allergies, when they strike, your pet may be uncomfortable. Crying is one of the ways they will let you know.

Here are the major signs of allergies to watch for:
  • Tearing
  • Itching or biting their skin
  • Red skin
  • Hair loss
  • Poor coat quality
  • Ear shaking or scratching of the ears
  • Licking their feet
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Low energy
  • Behavioral changes

6. Hunger

Yes, your Shih Tzu will cry when they are hungry. While you may be on top of the feeding schedule most days, if you’re late for some reason, your pooch will be sure to let you know. This can also be the case if your Shih Tzu wants a treat after playtime.

shih tzu playing with dog toy on the grass
Image By: Castorly Stock, Pexels

How Do I Pinpoint Why My Shih Tzu Is Crying?

Determining the exact reason a Shih Tzu is crying can be difficult. This is thanks in part to this dog breed being known for crying. If you notice your pet is crying more than usual, it’s up to you to observe the situation. If you watch your dog’s behavior, the times when it happens, and the factors involved, you may determine why your Shih Tzu is crying more and help solve the problem.

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Final Thoughts

It’s upsetting to hear your dog crying.  It’s even worse when you don’t know why. While Shih Tzus are small dogs that cry when they’re upset, it’s up to you, as their loving pet owner, to determine why your dog is upset. There are lots of reasons why your pet is crying but with close observation, you can solve the problem and make them feel better quickly.

Featured Image Credit: Ricardo Alves 1975, Shutterstock

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