Early Shih Tzu Puppy Eye Development
By Connie Limon
The average puppy or Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes open between 12 and 15 days of age. The ear canals open soon thereafter, usually within a day or two. All puppies are born with their eyes and ears sealed shut. Do not try to open them. If you force or pry open the puppy’s eyelids during any development stage, you can cause the puppy irreversible injury. Shih Tzu puppies are unable to see or hear before this time. Shih Tzu puppies are receptive to the stimuli of light and dark, noise and quiet. Some Shih Tzu puppies will open their eyes before 12 days; some are even later than the 15 days.
If all but one or two Shih Tzu puppies have their eyes open and functioning well, check with your veterinarian about the slower developing Shih Tzu puppies. A Shih Tzu brood matron’s eggs become fertilized during the breeding process at different times due to multiple inseminations. Some Shih Tzu puppies that develop later may be just simply because they were conceived at a later time.
Keep the Shih Tzu puppy area under subdued lighting conditions during the eye-opening period. Use heat lamps with caution once Shih Tzu puppies’ eyes have begun to open. If you need to continue using a heat lamp, construct a large aluminum foil “basket” or “hood” around the light. Punch numerous tiny holes in the fabric with a pin, thin, sharp pen or pencil tip.
Check the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes as they first open to see if the ear ducts are functioning properly. Wash the eyes and keep them moist with a warm washcloth. The glands do not always initially function adequately. Well-functioning tear ducts are indicated by glisteningly bright “reflective” eyes. Sometimes if the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes open early or if the Shih Tzu puppy is premature they do not have fully developed and functioning tears ducts. In these cases apply an ophthalmic ointment just under the eyelid, or consult with your vet for an appropriate routine to follow. If you use the ointment, apply it five or six times daily or according to your vet’s instructions. It is important to treat unproductive tear duct glands. Blindness can result if left unattended. Treatment is usually only a few days. A sterile 5 percent boric ophthalmic ointment solution can be purchased from your vet or pharmacy (under your vet’s instructions). The ointment can be applied every four hours. Treatment should continue until the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes lose the dry “flat” (non-reflective) appearance.
Shih Tzu puppies’ eyes when first opened will have a protective film, bluish in color. If the Shih Tzu puppy’s eyes are white or solid blue consult your veterinarian.
By three weeks of age, Shih Tzu puppies’ should be able to focus fairly well.
Use extreme caution when photographing Shih Tzu puppies between 8 and 20 days of age. Prior and after this time a flash may be safer. Extreme and bright light can damage a Shih Tzu puppy’s delicate eye tissues.
Author: Connie Limon. I raise Shih Tzu puppies from top champion bloodlines. We have standard and smaller imperial/teacups. Sign up for our newsletter and purchase online at: http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com
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