How to Groom a Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu’s are originally from Chinese descent. During the 1800’s, they were prized house pets for the royal families throughout the Ming dynasty. They are best known for their coat of thick hair that requires constant attention. Caring for a Shih Tzu involves the grooming of its flowing coat – as well as its ears, nails, and eyes. Learn how to groom a Shih Tzu at home using just a few basic tools and easy-to-learn techniques.
1. Fill a water bottle with warm tap water and spray the Shih Tzu to dampen its coat. Gently brush out any matted hair or tangles. Use a steel brush with thin teeth for the long outside coat and a soft brush for the dog’s undercoat. Brush the dog’s coat in layers, starting from the bottom and working your way towards the top. Brush two to three times per week for cottony-haired dogs and weekly for silky-haired breeds.
2. Wash the Shih Tzu with a shampoo formulated for your dog’s specific coat. Ask your local pet store or veterinarian for product suggestions. Take care to remove dirt and sand from the dog’s coat, especially in the facial area and around the eyes and mouth. Focus washing on the feet and legs of the dog where dirt tends to accumulate. Use a toothbrush to carefully wash small, delicate areas. Rinse thoroughly and use a dog conditioner, if desired.
3. Pat the Shi Tzu’s coat dry with a soft bath towel. Brush the dog’s wet coat to separate the hair and dry his coat with a blow dryer. As you dry with the blow dryer on the lowest setting, use a slicker comb to brush out the hair and any tangles you come across. Try to separate large matted areas of hair with your fingers. Apply a small amount of conditioner to these areas to help work out difficult tangles. Shih Tzu’s should be bathed once every three weeks to maintain cleanliness and aid in the grooming process.
4. Part the Shih Tzu’s hair in the front using a slicker comb once the dog is completely dry. Use a small pony tail holder or rubber band to tie a topknot on the dog’s head to help keep the hair out of his eyes. Most Shit Tzu’s are ready to sport a typically Shih Tzu topknot once he reaches five months of age. Comb the topknot and mustache each day. As you do this, gently wipe the dog’s eyes to prevent buildup.
5. Trim the Shit Tzu’s nails as needed, but at least once a month. Use nail clippers designed for use on small breed dogs. Shih Tzu’s are prone to various dental problems, including gingivitis and plaque. Brush the dog’s teeth at least twice per week with toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. Consult with your veterinarian about ear and eye care, as this breed is susceptible to ear and eye conditions. Check for signs of irritation in these areas as you groom your pet.
Whether you already have a Shih Tzu or you plan to adopt one, it’s important to learn how to groom a Shih Tzu the proper way. These sweet, yet headstrong dogs can be challenging to care for. Due to their hair type which is similar to that of human hair, the Shih Tzu requires regular grooming to maintain a tangle-free coat. While professional grooming every six to eight weeks is one option, it can be costly. Consider doing this job yourself with just a few simple tips.