For centuries, Shih Tzus were popular companion dogs among Chinese Nobility and later on, European royalty. This was due to their convenient lap dog build, adorable aesthetics, and loveable personality traits.
Today, Shih Tzus are just as popular with their stuffed animal aesthetic making them some of the most sought after dog breeds. If you are interested in getting a Shih Tzu, one of the most important things for you to learn is how to take care of them, especially when it comes to grooming practices.
From coat care guides to tips on how to ensure oral hygiene for your Shih Tzu, we have compiled all the tips and tricks that you need to know for proper Shih Tzu care as a beginner.
First thing’s first, let’s take a look at the tools you will need in your arsenal.
How Can I Groom My Shih Tzu At Home?
The best way to ensure your DIY home Shih Tzu grooming is effective is by investing in the right tools for the job. Here are 6 must-have items in your at-home grooming kit for a beautiful and well-groomed Shih Tzu.
A brush is arguably the most important tool you should have if you want to groom your Shih Tzu at home. Given the long and dense character of their coats, the choice of brush is not one that you can take lightly.
The best grooming brush for a Shih Tzu is one with thick, medium-sized, metallic bristles. They should be strong enough to work on the Shih Tzu’s thick coat. It also helps if the brush has a quick-clean design as you will be dealing with a lot of fur buildup on the brush.
Scissors Or Coat Shears
Shih Tzu fur can very easily get out of hand growing over the doggy’s face, ears, and paws. This is not only unsightly but can be very uncomfortable for the Shih Tzu.
You may therefore need to clip their fur on a regular basis in which case a good pair of coat shears will come in very handy. You should never use human clippers on a Shih Tzu.
Instead, we recommend that you try the Pet Magasin Round Tip Dog Grooming Scissors. This pack comes as a pair with one pair of scissors for close grooming over the face and paws and the other pair for grooming the rest of the Shih Tzu’s coat.
- 【TWO SCISSORS】A complete pet-grooming set with 2 pairs of scissors: a longer pair with smooth blades for trimming...
- 【SAFE】SAFE FOR YOUR PETS - Rounded tips for safety. No need to worry about poking your pet's skin with these...
- 【FINEST MATERIALS】Finest quality surgical stainless steel blades. Pre-sharpened to a fine cutting edge to snip...
High Quality Shampoo And Conditioner
Regular washing is another important aspect of good care for your Shih Tzu. It is important that you use high quality shampoo and conditioner as these doggies are prone to skin sensitivity.
For Shih Tzus that are predominantly white, shampoos with whitening formulas are a great choice to keep the white parts bright and clean.
Nail clippers are often overlooked when it comes to at-home grooming for Shih Tzus. However, for their own safety as well as for the sake of your furniture and carpets, it is best to invest in some nail clippers to keep the Shih’s nails nice and short.
Doggy Toothbrush And Toothpaste
Dental hygiene in a Shih Tzu is something you cannot afford to take lightly as it helps to prevent oral diseases including gum disease and dental cavities. A finger toothbrush and doggy toothpaste may be all you need to help keep your Shih Tzu’s mouth clean and smelling fresh.
Finally, your DIY Shih Tzu grooming kit should include a pack of doggy wipes. These come in handy for everything from wiping tear track stains to cleaning poop streaks from potty accidents.
Just make sure that you get hypoallergenic wipes specifically formulated for use on dogs.
How Do You Groom A Shih Tzu’s Face?
Adequate grooming of a Shih Tzu’s face will involve using the right tools and taking great care not to cause injuries or damage to the coat.
Here are 3 tips to help you groom your Shih Tzu’s face properly.
Comb The Coat First
Brushing out any knots and matts on the Shih Tzu’s face should always be the first step of grooming their face. This helps ensure that the fur is free and straight enough for an even cut.
If you are having a bit of trouble detangling, you could wet the fur with some water or conditioner to make it smoother.
Use Scissors Specifically Designed For The Face
Not all coat shears are created equally. For the best results when grooming your Shih Tzu’s face, find a pair of scissors designed from grooming the face. Similar to the pair previously recommended from Pet Magasin, these usually have rounded tips to protect the Shih Tzu’s eyes and the rest of their face from injuries.
Be Careful Around The Eyes
Speaking of the eyes, you have to be particularly careful when grooming your Shih Tzu’s face around their eyes. It is never enough to just use a round-tipped pair of scissors.
You need to take your time working on the fur around the eyes to avoid injuring your Shih Tzu. If they are being too fidgety, it is actually best to postpone your grooming session.
You also have to be careful not to cut the Shih Tzu’s eyelashes as they are important when it comes to protecting the dog’s eyes from dirt, water, and other debris.
How Do You Groom An Aggressive Shih Tzu?
The best way to groom an aggressive Shih Tzu is to either find ways to calm them down or strategies to help you work safely on them.
Here are a few tips that could come in handy if your Shih Tzu throws a tantrum during your at-home grooming session.
Incentives could be anything from treats to their favorite toy. This will give your Shih Tzu a good reason to behave. Just make the habit of rewarding them for being calm during grooming sessions.
Distract Your Shih Tzu
Distractions are another great way to get your Shih Tzu to behave for long enough for you to groom them.
One of the most effective of these distractions is the lick mat. Just slather it with something tasty like wet dog food or peanut butter and stick it onto the wall near your grooming station. The Shih Tzu will be occupied trying to get the tasty treat giving you time to work on them.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to make grooming sessions easier for yourself is obedience training. That way, if your Shih Tzu acts up all you have to do is use one of the calming commands you taught them and you are good to go.
Work On Your Timing
Your Shih Tzu may be throwing a tantrum because you caught them at the wrong time. If you wish to groom your Shih Tzu peacefully, choose a time where they are in a good mood and content whether it is after a nice workout or meal.
It is also best to keep each grooming session to short periods of 10 to 15 minutes at most.
You could also use restraints to deal with an aggressive Shih Tzu when grooming them from home. This could be as simple as a torso harness or as serious as restraints that include muzzles. The amount of aggression you are dealing with should guide your choice.
Leave It To The Professionals
Finally, consider taking your dog to a professional dog groomer if they are too aggressive to be groomed at home. The experts have a combination of skills, experience, and the tools necessary to safely and effectively groom even the feistiest of Shih Tzus.
How Often Should You Groom Your Shih Tzu?
How often you should groom your Shih Tzu depends on what type of grooming you are doing in particular. Let’s take a quick look at some of the important intervals you need to work into your schedule.
Dental care practices should be an everyday thing when it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu. For convenience, you could just use dental water additives.
However, if you choose to brush the Shih Tzu’s teeth, you can get away with doing so 3 to 4 times a week.
Deshedding And Detangling
For something like brushing their coats to deshed and detangle, Shih Tzus are very low maintenance and may only need to be brushed 2 to 3 times a week at most. This is because the hypoallergenic Shih Tzu sheds very minimally.
You should wash your Shih Tzu every 3 to 4 weeks. This is because they tend to get smelly very quickly. This is largely due to the fact that Shih Tzus often stain their long coats with poop and pee from their potty breaks.
Just make sure to invest in high quality and gentle shampoo and conditioners to avoid damaging the coat.
Is It OK To Shave A Shih Tzu?
It is never okay to shave a Shih Tzu. This could lead to all sorts of problems with the Shih Tzu’s coat. A little trip here and there, on the other hand, is actually important and beneficial both for aesthetics and the Shih Tzu’s comfort.
For some perspective on why it is a bad idea to fully shave a Shih Tzu, here are some of the things that could happen if you do it.
Ingrown hairs are common in Shih Tzus that are shaved to the skin. This irritation causes a lot of discomfort for the dog. It could also result in skin infections as well as long-term coat issues.
Dry And Sensitive Skins
Shaving a Shih Tzu also leaves them with dry and sensitive skin. As with the ingrown hairs, this sensitivity and the associated itchiness often results in skin infections and a generally poor quality coat when it eventually grows back.
A Shih Tzu’s coat will never be the same again after you fully shave them. As a double coat dog breed, the fur grows at a non-uniform rate and in a different texture than the original.
Instead of the long and silky locks that Shih Tzus are popular for, your doggy will have a wiry and disorganized coat.
How Much Does It Cost To Groom Shih Tzu?
On average, it costs about $40 to $70 for basic Shih Tzu grooming. This usually includes washing and drying the dog, coat trimming, nail clipping, and even dental care in some cases.
For special grooming and hairstyles like teddy bear cuts on Shih Tzus, most professional dog groomers in the US will charge an extra $30 to $50 in addition to the cost of basic grooming.
If you choose to groom your Shih Tzu at home, the initial cost of the basic dog grooming tools could set you back $150 to $250 depending on the tools you choose to buy.
If you decide to invest in things like a grooming table or professional-grade dog washers and dryers, you may have to invest a further $200 to $300. The good thing is that these are usually a one-time purchase after which grooming your Shih Tzu at home will be literally free of charge.