Shih Tzu Grooming
Probably the most difficult aspect of owning a Shih Tzu is the amount of grooming that is required. This factor should be taken into consideration when adopting/buying a Shih Tzu.
Depending on the length and type of coat, Shih Tzus require combing and brushing anywhere from three times a week for shorter trimmed hair to every day of the week for longer, softer and thicker coated Shih Tzus.
Frequent brushing is essential because without it the Shih Tzu’s coat will become badly matted.
In addition to brushing, regular bathing, eye and ear cleaning and nail trimming are also essential for the wellbeing of the Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzus can be taken to a veterinarian or a professional groomer for grooming and trimming however, brushing, bathing, eye and ear cleaning and nail trimming need to be performed at home on a regular basis.
It is important to begin grooming your Shih Tzu from a very young age so that the dog will become used to it and comfortable with it. Remember to praise your dog in the beginning too.
Below is a guide and some helpful tips covering the basics when grooming your Shih Tzu.
As mentioned previously your Shih Tzu will require regular brushing, the amount depends on the length and type of coat your dog possesses.
To begin with you will need a good quality pin brush. You will also need to dampen your Shih Tzu’s coat with a mixture of water (full spray bottle) and a capful of cream rinse or coat conditioner. You should never brush your Shih Tzu without slightly wetting him/her first as this will lead to breakage of the hair.
Once you have sprayed your dog, begin by brushing all the hair back, start from the feet and legs and work your way up to the belly and the center of the dogs back. Be gentle and do not tug at any tangles, but make sure that you brush all the way down to the skin and not just the outer layer of hair. For larger tangles use your fingers first before using the brush.
Some areas are more prone to tangles than others like the inside leg area as well as near the neck and ears.
Special care is necessary around the eyes and the mustache and a smaller comb should be used.
Once your puppy’s hair has developed (four to five months onwards) you will need to keep the hair away from its eyes and nose by tying a topknot.
Topknot: You will need to brush the hair on top of the dog’s head and away from its eyes. The hair should be parted from the centre of each eye straight up to the middle of the head. A latex band can then be used to fasten the hair. Remember not to pull so tight that the dog is unable to blink.
Do not bath your Shih Tzu unless he/she has been brushed first. Bathing before brushing will cause any tangles to become a lot worse to brush out.
Put a rubber mat in the bottom of your sink to avoid the Shih Tzu from slipping and/or struggling. Use lukewarm water and apply shampoo gently on the dog’s coat. (There are many shampoos available for purchase to suit your Shih Tzu’s coat). Do not rub in the shampoo as this will cause mats but ensure that you wash thoroughly.
Leave the head until last and use a no-tear baby shampoo. Be-careful not to get any water in Shih Tzu’s eyes and nose and rinse well. A useful tip is to put one drop of mineral oil in each of your Shih Tzu’s eyes before bathing as this helps avoid irritation.
Once you have finished the bath, use a towel for a few minutes to soak up some of the excess water, and then use a dryer on a low setting to finish drying off while brushing to remove any left over tangles. While blow-drying avoid blowing directly into the Shih Tzu’s eyes.
Bathing should be performed on a weekly basis.
Eyes and Ear Cleaning
The Shih Tzu’s eyes need to be checked daily because dirt and stray hair can cause irritation, furthermore Shih Tzus’s may develop eye ulcers. When brushing your Shih Tzu use a warm damp cloth which has been soaked in warm water to clean the inside corners of the eyes. Eye drops and other cleaning liquids are also available for purchase.
The Shih Tzus ears also require attention and cleaning. Cleaning can be performed by using a cotton ball doused in mineral oil (or other ear cleaning liquids). Once the ears have been cleaned a dry cotton ball should be used to dry the ears. Shih Tzus also have hair growing out of their ears. The hair needs to be watched and removed as it attracts bacteria and can lead to health problems. To pluck the hairs with virtually no pain you can purchase ear powder which you must apply to the ears, before slowly plucking the hairs out. Once the hair has been plucked, the ears must be cleaned and dried.
Nail trimming should be done every one to two weeks depending on your Shih Tzu.
You will need a good set of nail clippers. The nails must be cut to the point where they hook over but care must be taken not to cut into the quick (the pink part of the nail). If you accidentally cut too far and into the quick you may need to use something such as styptic powder to stop any bleeding. A good time to trim your Shih Tzu’s nails is right after a bath when he/she is wrapped up in a towel.
There are many professional groomers and veterinarians who are available to assist in grooming your Shih Tzu as well as offering you advice. If your Shih Tzu is not a show dog you may choose to keep it trimmed so that grooming at home will not be as hard. Trims vary and there are many styles to choose from. Groomers and vets are also able to trim your Shih Tzu’s nails and express their anal glands, this being something that may need to be done at times that you may not wish to do yourself.
Youtube Video On How To Make A TopKnot