Why Do Shih Tzus Wink

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Have you ever noticed your little pup giving you a wink? It can be super cute or even a little concerning if you don’t understand why it is happening, and you might be surprised to discover that dogs can wink at all. So, if you’re wondering why do Shih Tzus wink, here are the answers you’re looking for. Some are downright scary.

Why Do Shih Tzus Wink

There are a number of reasons why Shih Tzus wink at you.

Some of them are good and some not so good.

Eye contact is a lot different for dogs than it is for humans.

So, if your furry friend has started winking at you you’re going to want to make sure it’s for the right reasons and that there’s not a medical issue behind the winking.

1. Following Your Lead

If you often wink at your dog then there’s a good chance they’re winking back at you to mimic your behavior.

While winking may seem like it would be a human behavior in reality your dog can do so as well.

Their eyes are pretty much the same as yours so they can wink them just like you do.

That means if you’re winking at your dog fairly often don’t be surprised if you get a cute wink back.

And, amazingly enough, dogs can pick up new behaviors simply by watching someone else in the household.

They don’t have to be trained as if they are learning a new trick.

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2. Eye Contact as a Sign of Affection

When two dogs meet on the street or at a dog park they will initially look each other in the eye.

They do this to size each other up.

Typically one of them will look away or look down or wink or even blink.

When one dog looks down it’s a sign of submission or submissive behavior.

If neither dog decides to look away then this is a sign of aggression or a sign of dominance.

Chances are they’ll be some sort of dog fight.

So you may notice that when your dog is looking at you they only look so long before they look down, look away, or wink.

They’re showing that they see you as the leader of the pack and they are being submissive.

Dogs like to look you in the face to show you their love but they know they need to look away or blink or wink to show that they’re not being aggressive or challenging you.

Winking is part of a dog’s body language to help them communicate with you.

It also allows them to break eye contact for a moment, so they can look back at you without you getting the wrong idea.

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3. Eye Irritation 

Not all dog winking is a good thing.

If your pooch is winking a lot, they may have a medical condition.

Think about how you feel when you get something in your eye.

It is horrible.

It can hurt quite a bit and cause a lot of irritation.

At least as humans, we can wash our eyes out or add drops or find what might be in our eye and remove it.

Dogs aren’t so lucky.

If there is a hair or other object in your Shih Tzu’s eye or if they have scratched their eye, then you might notice them winking a lot.

They aren’t winking to say hi.

They are doing so to try to clear whatever is in their eye.

This is especially true if you notice excessive winking.

Other signs include:

  • Scratching their eye
  • Rubbing their eye on the carpet

Try to take a close look at your dog’s eye to see if you can determine what is causing the irritation.

If it is a strand of hair or something that is clearly visible, you might be able to remove it yourself.

If not, it is time to call your vet.

4. Allergies

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with eye irritation.

Dogs just like humans can have allergies.

A lot of dog allergies are food-related, but not all of them.

I know that one of my Shih Tzus has seasonal hayfever allergies.

Mostly he sneezes, but his eyes do get irritated as well.

This isn’t the most common reason why your dog might wink, but it does happen.

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5. Canine Blepharospasm and Entropion

Canine Blepharospasm is a condition that causes the spasm of your dog’s eyelids. 

You will notice your Shih Tzu’s eye twitching or even excessive blinking.

If you feel your canine friend has this type of condition, you will need to take them to the vet.

Entropion will make your dog’s eyelid flip forward.

This is certainly uncomfortable for your dog.

This condition is most common in dogs that have short noses and flat faces such as Shih Tzus.

You may notice rapid blinking.

While winking seems like harmless behavior, in both of these cases it is something to be concerned about.

Entropion will most likely require surgery to be corrected.

When eye issues such as this go untreated it can lead to serious vision issues.

There’s nothing like a cute little wink from your dog but make sure there’s no medical reason for it happening.

If it is just because your pooch wants to show you some love, that’s fantastic.

I know my Shih Tzus like to sit there and look up at me and they will even stare at me but that’s just because they feel safe and secure around me which is a great thing.

But if winking is a new habit for your dog, do what you can to make sure that they don’t have a medical issue that is affecting their eyes.

You may also enjoy:

Does a Shih Tzu Become Less Social as it Ages?

Do Shih Tzus Like to Cuddle?

Why Do Dogs Wink – In General

Shih Tzus aren’t the only dogs that wink. All dogs of any breed can do so for the reasons listed above.

While it may not be as common for a long-nosed dog such as a German Shepard to be afflicted with Entropion it can happen, so do be on the lookout.

Hopefully, your dog is winking at you for all the right reasons.

You may also enjoy:

How do You Know if Your Shih Tzu Loves You? – 14 Clues

My Shih Tzu Seems Sad (Shih Tzu Depression) Signs/Tips

To Sum it All Up:

Your dog may wink at you to show love or to mimic your human behavior, but it can also be due to a medical issue as well. Be sure to watch closely to what else is going on with your pup to make sure it is winking with love and not out of distress.


Please Note:

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’s behavior and any other issues. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.

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