The little, cute and cuddly Shih Tzu dog is friendly, affectionate and a good fit for even the smallest of households. They also have rather long hair that can be prone to getting messy and dirty, particularly when you consider how low to the ground the Shih Tzu is! Grooming, bathing, proper coat care and sometimes trimming and getting your dog professionally groomed is all part and parcel of Shih Tzu ownership, so in this article we will look at how to properly groom, clean and care for the coat of the Shih Tzu dog.
It is a good idea to brush your Shih Tzu’s coat every day, using both a brush and a comb to get the hair smooth, sleek and remove knots. If your dog tends to get mucky or pick up dirt on the underside of their belly when out walking, wait for any mud or water to dry before carefully combing it out.
Shih Tzus are one of the breeds of dog that are commonly bathed on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once a month or even more. Bathing your dog also gives you the opportunity to check the condition of their skin and work out any stubborn tangles, and provided that your dog is introduced to bathing carefully, they will probably enjoy the procedure and treat it as something of a game.
Because they are small dogs, you might even be able to bathe them in the sink, which makes things much easier for you as the dog will be higher up and you will not have to keep bending down. Make sure that you rinse any shampoo out of their hair thoroughly, use a coat conditioner, and pay special attention to the underbelly and between the back legs, as these areas are especially likely to get grubby as part of day to day life.
It is important to dry your Shih Tzu off thoroughly after they have had their bath, but it is often much easier to groom, comb and brush your dog while they are still wet. Towel dry them to remove the worst of the water, and then use a detangling spray to make the coat smoother and easier to brush and comb.
Then, comb out the dog’s coat and ensure that it is sleek, silky and knot-free, before drying your dog off fully.
You cannot shampoo the face of the dog without extreme care, and you will almost certainly find it easier and less stressful for your dog to clean your Shih Tzu’s face off with a clean, damp cloth. This will also allow you to clean up any dried-on food around the muzzle! Ensure that the face is dried off as well, and not left soaking wet.
You should pay special attention to cleaning your dog’s eyes and ears when you bathe them, using a clean damp cloth that is reserved for the eyes to gently wipe over the eye area and remove any tear stains or goo collecting in the corners of the eyes. Then, using a separate cloth that is damp but not soaked in warm water, clean the inside of the ears, taking care not to poke the interior of the ear. Keep an eye out for any problems such as excessive earwax or ear mites while you are doing this as well, an dry the ear folds thoroughly before moving on.
Unless you have your dog’s facial hair trimmed to keep it out of their eyes, the hair on the top of the Shih Tzu’s head can easily grow to obstruct their vision! Dogs do of course need to be able to see clearly at all times, and many Shih Tzu owners who do not wish to trim their dog’s facial hair tie it up off their faces with a hair band or ribbon. If you do choose to do this, be sure that you do not pull the “ponytail” too tightly, as this will be uncomfortable for the dog. Also, always use proper hair bands and ribbons and never elastic bands, as these can damage the hair.
As with all breeds of dog, you may decide to have your Shih Tzu professionally groomed, taking them along to the canine beauty salon to bathe, brush and take care of your dog’s skin and coat on a monthly basis. You will also then have the opportunity to have your dog trimmed or even clipped, in order to keep their coats neat, easier to manage and under control. Remember that even if you do do this, you will still need to brush your dog in the interim, as they will soon become knotty and uncomfortable if you neglect their daily care!