Home Dogs Rabies in Shih Tzu: Separating Fact from Fiction

Rabies in Shih Tzu: Separating Fact from Fiction

by Pawsome Tips
Rabies in shih tzu can result in extremely aggressive behavior.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard some concerning rumors about rabies in this adorable breed. Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects all mammals, including dogs. It’s important to separate fact from fiction regarding rabies in Shih Tzu.

This article will provide accurate information about the risk, prevention, and management of rabies in Shih Tzu. From understanding the vaccination protocols to recognizing potential symptoms, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive in!

Rabies in dogs

Understanding rabies in dogs is vital for all pet owners. Rabies is a serious sickness caused by a virus that affects a dog’s brain and nerves. It spreads when an infected animal bites a dog. If a dog gets rabies, it can become very sick and might even die if not treated quickly. And here’s the thing, rabies is not just bad for dogs; it’s a problem for people too because it can spread from animals to humans.

Some folks might think that small and fluffy dog breeds like Shih Tzus are safe from rabies because they don’t hang out with wild animals much. But that’s not true at all. No matter the dog’s size or fluffiness, they can still get rabies if they come in contact with infected animals. 

One of the best ways to keep our furry friends safe is to ensure they get their shots on time. Visiting the vet regularly can help find any problems early and ensure dogs get the right shots when needed. And when we take our little buddies outside, it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash and watch them closely. That way, we can prevent them from getting too close to wild animals or stray pets that might have rabies.

Taking care of our Shih Tzus and protecting them from rabies is not just about them; it’s also about keeping our whole community safe. We should all be responsible pet owners to ensure our pets are happy and healthy, which also helps keep everyone around us safe. So let’s do our part and keep our furry friends safe from rabies!

Common misconceptions about rabies in Shih Tzu

Several misconceptions surrounding rabies in Shih Tzu need to be addressed. We must clear up some common misunderstandings about rabies in Shih Tzu dogs. One myth is that small dog breeds, like Shih Tzu, cannot get rabies. Another misconception is that indoor dogs are safe from rabies.

While it’s true that indoor dogs have a lower risk, they can still catch rabies through contact with infected animals, like bats or other pets that go outside. Another myth is that if your Shih Tzu has been vaccinated against rabies, they are fully protected and can’t get the disease.

While vaccinations significantly reduce the risk of rabies, they don’t guarantee 100% protection. It is essential to remember that rabies is a deadly disease and should not be taken lightly, regardless of your dog’s living conditions.

Signs and symptoms of rabies in Shih Tzu

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of rabies in Shih Tzu is crucial for early detection and treatment. Initially, the signs might be subtle, like changes in behavior such as increased aggression, fearfulness, excessive drooling, trouble swallowing, paralysis, and seizures.  It’s imperative to know the signs and symptoms of rabies in Shih Tzu dogs so we can catch it early and get them the proper treatment.

It’s good to remember that not all Shih Tzus will show the same signs; it can vary from dog to dog. If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms in your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Detecting and treating rabies early can affect how things turn out.

So let’s always be cautious and take good care of our furry buddies’ health and well-being!

Rabies in Shih Tzu signs might be subtle, like changes in behavior such as increased aggression, fearfulness, excessive drooling, trouble swallowing, paralysis, and seizures. 
Pezibear / Pixabay

How is rabies transmitted to dogs?

You know, rabies can pass on to dogs mainly if they get bitten by an animal carrying the virus. That virus hangs out in the saliva of the infected critter. So, if your dog has any cuts or that infected spit gets in their eyes, nose, or mouth, that virus can sneak in. Here’s the thing, even if an infected animal licks or scratches a cut on your dog, rabies can still spread.

The troublemakers, like raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, often carry rabies. You’ll want to be extra careful, especially if you’ve got a little one like a Shih Tzu. Those animals might come around, and it’s a good plan to keep a close eye on your dog when they’re outside. Using a leash and having a fenced yard are solid ways to add some protection for your Shih Tzu from rabies.

It boils down to watching out for our furry pals and ensuring they’re not in situations where they could get hurt.

Prevention and vaccination against rabies in Shih Tzu

Prevention is the key when protecting your Shih Tzu from rabies, which means vaccinating them. This vaccine is super effective and not only recommended but often required by law in many places, like the United States.

Little puppies should get their first rabies shot at 12 to 16 weeks old. Then, about a year later, they need a booster shot to keep that protection strong. After the initial shots, your dog will need boosters every one to three years, depending on the rules where you live.

Remember to chat with your vet to ensure your Shih Tzu’s rabies shots are current. Regular visits to the vet help keep an eye on your furry friend’s health and ensure they’re good to go. But remember, vaccination isn’t the only thing to think about. You should also play it safe by keeping your Shih Tzu away from wild animals, giving them a cozy spot indoors or in a fenced yard, and keeping things clean when you handle them. It’s all about giving your pet the best shot at staying healthy and happy.

Rabies vaccination for dogs
Image credit: ShihTzuPedia

What to do if your Shih Tzu is exposed to rabies

If your adorable Shih Tzu ever gets into a situation where they might have been near an animal with rabies, don’t worry, but act fast. If they got bitten by a critter that could have rabies, you first want to get on the phone with your vet immediately. They’re like your pet’s superhero and will tell you exactly what to do.

Your vet might say cleaning up the bite gently is essential. They might also suggest giving your Shih Tzu a rabies shot, just in case, even if they’ve had their regular shots before. And while you’re at it, keep a close eye on your pup for any signs that something’s wrong.

The good news is, if your Shih Tzu’s rabies shots are all good, the chances of them getting sick are way lower. But still, it’s wise to listen carefully to and follow your vet’s advice. And remember, if you’re worried or confused about all this rabies stuff, don’t think twice about calling your vet. They’re like pet experts and are there to make sure your furry friend stays safe and happy.

Rabies laws and regulations for dog owners

Regarding rabies, some rules differ from place to place. The laws about vaccines and reporting can vary between countries and even in different parts of a country. Responsible Shih Tzu owners must know the local rabies vaccine rules. Ignoring these rules can lead to fines, keeping your dog away for a while, or even saying goodbye to your dog in challenging situations.

Some countries and states have rules for taking your dog on a trip. This might include proof that your Shih Tzu got a rabies shot and some extra papers from the vet. If you’re considering going somewhere with your Shih Tzu, you must check out the rules in that place. That way, you can avoid problems or stress for you and your little buddy.

Myths and facts about rabies in Shih Tzu

Now, let’s address some common myths and facts about rabies in Shih Tzu to ensure you have accurate information:

  • Shih Tzu is immune to rabies. Fact: like all dogs, Shih Tzu is susceptible to rabies and should be vaccinated and protected.
  • Indoor dogs are safe from rabies. Fact: While indoor dogs have a lower risk of exposure, they can still contract rabies through contact with infected animals or pets that go outdoors.
  • Vaccinated dogs cannot get rabies. Fact: Vaccinations significantly reduce the risk of rabies but do not provide 100% protection. Other preventive measures should also be taken.
  • Rabies is not a significant concern in urban areas. Fact: Rabies can be found in urban and rural areas, and it’s essential to take preventive measures regardless of location.

Rabies awareness and education for Shih Tzu owners

Knowing about rabies and all its ins and outs is a big deal. And that goes for all of us who adore our cute Shih Tzus. Think of it as a safety plan for our fluffy buddies.

Getting to know what rabies is, how it looks, and what we can do to stop it from spreading is like putting on an extra coat of armor for our dogs. So, let’s be aware of the rules where we live, make sure our Shih Tzus get the shots they need, and keep an eye out for any critters that might give them a tough time.

And check this out – when we share this knowledge with other Shih Tzu owners and rock at being responsible pet parents, we’re strengthening our gang. We’re all working together to protect our dogs from this severe thing.

So, let’s chat about rabies, spread the word, and be the kind of pet owners that keep our Shih Tzus wagging their tails with happiness!


Rabies is a serious disease that affects all mammals, including Shih Tzu. Understanding the real deal about rabies and how it can affect your adorable Shih Tzu is important as a pet parent. Shih Tzus can catch rabies, but there’s no need to freak out. The trick is being proactive about prevention and ensuring you have the correct facts.

Remember to stay in the loop about the rules where you live, ensure your Shih Tzu gets their shots when they should, and watch for those wild critters. By knowing what’s true and what’s not, you’re a superstar pet owner for your Shih Tzu. It’s all about their safety and happiness – which counts.


Can Shih Tzus get rabies?

Like all dogs, Shih Tzus can get rabies if an infected animal bites them.

How is rabies transmitted to Shih Tzus?

Rabies is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can enter the Shih Tzu’s body through open wounds or mucous membranes.

Are Shih Tzus required to get rabies vaccinations?

Yes, in many places, including the United States, rabies vaccinations are mandatory by law for all dogs, including Shih Tzus.

What are the signs of rabies in Shih Tzus?

Signs of rabies in Shih Tzus can include behavioral changes, aggression, paralysis, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.

Can indoor Shih Tzus get rabies?

While the risk is lower for indoor dogs, rabies can still be a concern if an infected animal enters the living space and interacts with the Shih Tzu.

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