You’ve got the flu, or maybe something much more serious, and your Shih Tzu is being overly attentive. Do Shih Tzus know when you are sick? Actually, they do. It’s pretty amazing, but that little doggy nose can sniff out the changes in your body when you’re under the weather.
Do Shih Tzus Know When You Are Sick?
I’m sure you have noticed that when you are sick your little Shih Tzu is even more attentive than normal and wants to stay by your side.
How do Shih Tzus or any dog really know that you aren’t feeling well?
There are a couple of ways your dog can tell you are under the weather or even seriously ill.
1. By Your Mood Change
Your mood can change from moment to moment and day to day.
Sometimes you’re happy and in a good mood and sometimes you’re not.
Typically, when you are sick and not feeling well, your mood isn’t great.
Part of how you feel, mood-wise, is dependent on hormones produced in your body.
These include serotonin and dopamine.
Your Shih Tzu can smell these hormones, so they know whey you are happy and when you aren’t.
They pick up on this pretty easily.
When you’re sick, you produce fewer of these hormones.
Your dog can pick up on that too.
They can also pick up on the fact that when they cuddle up next to you, you feel better which increases these hormones.
2. By Smell
As you know, dogs, including Shih Tzus have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do.
In fact, some dogs will have up to 50 times the number of sense receptors that you do.
That means their sense of smell can be up to 100,000 times stronger than yours.
This allows them to smell things we don’t even know are there.
And while you might not be aware of it, when you are sick there are chemical changes in your body.
This can mean that your normal smell is different.
Your Shih Tzu can pick up on that.
In fact, dogs can sense cancer in a person with great accuracy as well as diabetes and even epilepsy and if someone with epilepsy is about to have a seizure.
I have a friend whose ten-year-old daughter has Type 1, childhood diabetes.
Her diabetes is quite severe, unfortunately.
And her blood sugar can rise or fall very quickly to dangerous levels even though she is on medication and follows all protocols to keep that from happening.
Things got to the point where her parents felt they needed to do something more to help protect her in the case of a big blood sugar swing.
So, they got her a dog that is specifically trained to sniff out changes in blood sugar.
The dog will alert when there is an issue and she can deal with it before it becomes serious.
It was a real game-changer for her and her family.
While I don’t personally know of any Shih Tzus that have been trained for this type of work, they can still smell changes in your body chemistry and know that you are sick.
That can include bad breath or your sweat.
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3. By Your Face
Dogs study their pet owner’s faces and body language.
It helps them to understand your mood.
Health issues may put a frown on your face and you may carry yourself differently than when you’re feeling well.
There are some health conditions that will have you acting in completely different ways than normal.
Your Shih Tzu can pick up on that and will respond with kindness.
While human health can be a mystery at times, for your dog, it is pretty cut and dry and they are willing to help you feel better.
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To Sum it All Up:
Pet parents might be surprised to learn that their canine companion might know they are sick before they do. Watch how your Shih Tzu acts when flu season rolls around and you are wiped out by the flu. Chances are your pup will be more attentive and want to be by your side. They can even sniff out more serious health concerns such as cancer or diabetes.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.