Just as school delays and closings are broadcast to protect children from inclement weather, you should be concerned for the outdoor safety of your pets. While most dogs and cats come equipped with fur coats, their coat does not ensure they have sufficient protection from the winter cold when temperatures dip below freezing. In general, cats should be kept indoors when temperatures near freezing to protect them from hypothermia and frostbite. Since dogs differ in their cold tolerance, there is no strict temperature cut-off for when it is no longer safe for dogs to be outside. Puppies and elderly dogs are less able to effectively regulate their body temperature than adult dogs, and this should be taken into consideration when deciding how long they can safely stay outdoors in both cold and warm weather. Dogs with some health conditions such as hypothyroid disease, anemia, and laryngeal paralysis (which is also exacerbated by warm weather) may be less tolerant of cold weather. Even a dog’s conformation or “body type” can play a role—dogs with short legs that are lower to the ground may be more susceptible to the cold if their abdomens get cold and wet from the snow.
The only published guideline for cold weather safety for dogs is the Tufts Animal Care and Condition (TACC) Weather Safety Scale. A more user-friendly cold weather safety chart (below) can give you an idea of the level of concern you should have for your dog based the temperature and conditions outside.
History of the Breed
The name "Shih Tzu" comes from the Chinese word for "lion dog" because this dog was bred to resemble lions that were depicted in ancient Chinese art
DNA analysis proves that the Shih Tzu is in that group of "ancient breeds" that arose in China around the time of 800BC. Other ancient breeds include the Pug, Pekingese and Lhasa Apso.
In fact, the Shih Tzu is sometimes confused with the Lhasa Apso in appearance. But be aware that the temperament of these to dogs is very different. Shih Tzu were bred to be companions and Lhasa Apso were bred to be guard dogs. Thus, the Shih Tzu tends to be friendy and playful, the Lhasa Apso tends to be more aloof and wary of strangers.
Shih Tzu come in a variety of colors and color pattern. They can be recognized by their short snout and legs, dropped ears and large dark eyes. They have hair instead of fur, which means that their hair is silky and grows continuously. This means that they do not shed very much, but they also need regular grooming and trimming. Most Shih Tzu owners will have their dogs groomed every 4-8 weeks.