Shih Tzu puppies are all the rage these days. With their gorgeous locks and fun personality, it is no wonder that people are in love with them. However, a Shih Tzu requires more maintenance than the average dog.
Since they have two coats and heavy ones, it is necessary to groom a Shih Tzu frequently. If you’re not sure what goes into the grooming process, then no need to worry. Here is a guide to grooming your Shih Tzu!
When to Start Grooming Shih Tzu Puppy?
Shih Tzu puppies need to be carefully handled. Generally, you will receive your puppy clean and freshly bathed from the breeder. Grooming doesn’t start until the puppy is 10 to 12 weeks.
At this age, the puppy is easier to handle and can be held in check. The extent of grooming before this age is the bath your puppy receives from the breeder.
Before you start grooming a puppy, you need to get it acclimated to being handled. Even grooming requires training. A puppy that can’t stay still, flinches when being handled, or is too scared to be groomed will pose too many difficulties, even for a professional groomer.
Benefits of Grooming
Anybody can tell you how important grooming a Shih Tzu is for its well-being. Every pet benefits in some way with a little grooming. However, there are several other benefits to grooming that you might not have considered.
If you’ve ever watched dogs interact, you know that grooming is a large part of bonding. Dogs tend to groom each other to improve the relationship between them. Mothers also groom their puppies as a way of keeping them clean and bonding with them.
When you groom your Shih Tzu on a daily basis, you’re getting that time to bond with your puppy. You’ll develop a strong connection and improve their general well-being.
Daily pampering and regular grooming allow you to keep a check on the skin health of your Shih Tzu. Skin conditions are often caught too late because there isn’t regular contact that helps you quickly catch the problem. You tend to notice warts, lumps, dry skin, and more if you’re used to doing some daily grooming.
Considering the length and thickness of Shih Tzu hair, it isn’t surprising that parasites and ticks might find their way in there. A tick infestation is one of the hardest problems to deal with, so nipping in the issue quickly and efficiently is the best way to handle the problem.
How Often do Shih Tzu need Grooming?
Grooming a Shih Tzu isn’t an easy, quick task. It is necessary to establish a routine of grooming tasks to keep your dog in the healthiest of conditions. However, not every step needs to be done every single day. Having to shampoo and condition their hair every day would lead to dryness and a lot of work for you.
So, here’s a list of tasks and when you’ll need to execute them!
- Daily: You’ll need to wipe their faces and eyes daily. Not doing so leads to their face hair staining and a bad smell.
- 1 – 3 Days: If your Shih Tzu has a long coat, then brush it every day. Shorter coats need to be brushed every 2-3 days for best results.
- 6 Weeks: Nails have to be trimmed every 6 weeks.
- As Needed: You can get their coat trimmed as you’d like. If you see issues with the paws and nose, they’ll have to be taken care of as and when they crop up. There are chances you’ll need to do a few touch-up body wipes every now and then.
How to Groom Shih Tzu
While a groomer is a great resource that you can definitely use when required, you also need to know how to groom your Shih Tzu at home. Not only does this help you keep up with day-to-day grooming, but it can save a lot of money in the long run!
Grooming Tools for Shih Tzu
Before we get into how to groom your Shih Tzu, it is essential that you have all the tools required to do so. The tools you get can be either for a puppy or an adult. Unless it is specifically mentioned that you require puppy grooming tools, getting adult grooming tools is okay.
When buying your tools, you’ll need to buy the best. It lasts longer and provides the best outcome!
If you’re confident enough to trim your dog’s hair or are planning to learn, then you’ll need electric clippers. Most come with clip-on combs, spare blades, and more. You will probably need an oil and coolant to go along with the clippers.
Most electric clippers come with a standard 10 blade that you can use for any part of the body. Depending on the length that you’re looking for, you might need to buy a different blade. Make sure you have some experience before buying finish-cut blades.
The best electric clippers you’ll come across are the Wahl Bravura Lithium Clippers. They have several advantages:
- Cordless mode making it easier to operate.
- They are very quiet and aren’t likely to scare the dog.
- Very lightweight.
- It doesn’t heat up.
- Long-lasting battery
- Convenient blades.
- The clippers are a little expensive and may not be within everybody’s budget.
Brushing your Shih Tzu coat is an essential part of the grooming process. You’ll require both or one of these brushes.
Pin brushes are similar to human hairbrushes, except have larger and more spaced-out pins. The brushes add to the smoothness of the coat and uniformly brush through their coat. If your pup has sensitive skin, a pin brush will probably be a better option.
If you’re looking for a good quality pin brush, the Chris Christensen Oblong Pin Brush is always a good option. It is a lightweight, stainless steel brush. The 20mm pins are useful for any length of coat.
A slicker brush is a necessity when it comes to dog grooming. It is a densely packed brush that separates the hair and makes the process of grooming enjoyable for the Shih Tzu and you! A great slicker brush is the Chris Christensen Coral Slicker Brush. It works for a number of coat types and quickly detangles tangles and mats.
Combing is necessary to get the various tangles and mats out from the hair of your Shih Tzu. When used in combination with a brush, it leads to a soft, shiny, and well-groomed coat.
The greyhound comb is a staple in any groomer’s kit and should be in yours. They are an inexpensive and easy tool to use when detangling hair. The Andis Steel Greyhound Comb has a range of bristles spaced out for a myriad of uses.
Nail Clippers, File, and Styptic Powder
Nail maintenance can be done by a groomer every 6 weeks. However, doing it at home can save you a lot of money and time. The tools required to groom are inexpensive and easy to use.
- Nail clippers like the Safari Deluxe Nail Trimmers are long-lasting and are comfortable to use for a range of hand sizes.
- Electric nail files like the Dremel 7300-PT might be a more comfortable option for anybody too scared to use a nail clipper. It is faster, safer but does make more noise than a nail clipper.
- Styptic powder, such as the Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Solution, is necessary to get nails to stop bleeding in case of accidents. The brand is well-known and inexpensive. It quickly stops bleeding and comes in various sizes.
Ear Cleaner, Cotton Balls, Ear Powder
Your groomer can do ear care, but learning to do it home prevents you from waiting 6 weeks to clean your pup’s ears.
- Ear cleaner such as the Virbac EPIOTIC Advanced Ear Cleanser, safely removes wax and debris from the ear. It also reduces the chances of bacterial infections and can calm chronic ear inflammations.
- The Miracle Care Ear Powder is a great powder to use before plucking the hair from inside your puppy’s ears. It helps remove dust, debris and reduces waxy build-up.
Shampoo and Conditioner
The right shampoo and conditioner do wonders for a dog’s coat. When it comes to a Shih Tzu, you need to be careful which shampoo and conditioner you use. The Healthy Breeds Shampoo and Conditioner for Shih Tzu is a great option. Not only is it a reasonable price, but it is gentle and moisturizes the coat. It works great for sensitive skin and has several natural ingredients.
Shih Tzu Haircuts Styles
Once you’ve acquired your tools, you’ll need to choose the style you’re going to try and achieve. There are several styles you can get for your precious pooch. Here are a few popular grooming styles for Shih Tzus.
The heat can really get to a dog as heavily coated as a Shih Tzu. The puppy cut or a ‘Summer Cut’ is when the fur is trimmed to around 1 – 2 inches all over the body. It is an easy and adorable cut that you can do at home!
Apart from keeping your puppy from over-heating, the summer cut is easy to maintain. While it does require brushing and trimming, it is much easier to maintain than any other style.
Teddy Bear Cut
The teddy bear cut is aptly named as it’ll make your puppy look extremely similar to a stuffed toy! It is also very similar to a summer cut in that the length of the fur all over the body is cut down to 2 inches. The facial hair is left a little longer and puffed up.
Where the summer cut doesn’t require heavy maintenance, you’ll find yourself giving your Shih Tzu frequent hair cuts to keep them looking like a stuffed animal.
The top knot is a popular cut or hairstyle for Shih Tzus. Not only does it keep the hair out of their eyes and mouths, but it looks adorable. You can purchase several cute clips and ribbons to help you secure a small top knot for your precious pooch.
But, a top knot requires the fur to be longer on top, and the rest of the fur can be trimmed down as short as you’d like it. It is a great way to show off your dog’s personality while keeping them comfortable.
If you’re looking for an adorable cut for your Shih Tzu puppy and have the time to maintain something unique, the Lion Cut is for you! A Lion Cut involves a mane-like cut with the hair on their bodies cropped close.
The hair on their bodies will be cropped to about 1.5 – 2 inches. The mane-like cut around their faces will require a little more maintenance. Either you can crop it whenever you see it getting too long or keep your groomer on standby.
Step by Step Shih Tzu Grooming
Once you’ve got your tools and chosen a cut, it is time to start actually grooming your Shih Tzu. Here is how you groom each part of a Shih Tzu.
The face is one of the most important parts of your Shih Tzu. It has a dramatic effect on the overall appearance of your pup. Since the hair on the face is prone to staining easily, maintaining the face hair is a daily grooming task.
For everyday cleaning, you’ll need to wipe the face at least a couple of times a day. Use quality face wipes near the eyes. Swipe the wipe down the beard and over the cheeks as well. If you find stains in the fur, take the necessary measures to prevent further straining and use a stronger applied remover.
Cleaning the ears is an important step in the grooming process of your Shih Tzu. Not only can the hair inside collect dust, grime, and ticks, but they also contribute to your puppy smelling bad if left uncleaned for too long.
Cleaning the ears is a sensitive grooming task. Here are the steps you’ll need to take for ear care.
- Pluck out the inner ear hair.
- Trim the hair near the ear.
- Squeeze the ear cleaner into the ear.
- Massage the bottom of the ear while holding the ear flap closed.
- Let your Shih Tzu shake around his head to loosen debris.
- Use a cotton ball or ear wipe to clean up what you can see.
- Use the ear powder once the cleaning is complete.
Brushing your Shih Tzu is the secret to a healthy and shiny coat. However, there are several other benefits to brushing, including removing debris and ticks.
Here is how to completely brush down your dog.
- Spritz the hair with some leave-in conditioner before starting, but don’t overdo it.
- Start by combing the hair in sections, lightly spritzing near the roots if required.
- Once thoroughly combed, run a brush through the hair. You can lightly spritz if the hair has gone too dry.
- Comb the hair near the face and be careful as you spritz (if you do).
- If there is a mat, wet your hands with water or use a leave-in conditioner to detangle the knot with your hands. You can use a detangling brush or a fine-toothed comb as an alternative.
The amount of hair on a Shih Tzu means that dirt is bound to stick around. Even when in between baths, you’ll need to wipe your Shih Tzu down with a grooming wipe or a soft cloth. Be sure to wipe away any stray feces, urine, dirt, mud, dust, and allergy I ducking materials.
Your Shih Tzu has nails that need to be trimmed promptly so that they don’t curve back inwards. While it is a task that requires you to be delicate, it is helpful to know how to trim your dog’s nails.
For best and fast results, you can use a Dremel tool to quickly and efficiently file away the excess nail. You’ll know it is time to whip out the nail cutter or electronic file when you can hear the ‘click-clack’ of their nails on the floor. This is generally done every 6 weeks, but you can be the judge for yourself!
Bathing is a huge part of the grooming process. Your dog will require a bath every 3 weeks. This prevents the dog from getting too smelly and also prevents the accumulation of body oil and itching. Bathing your pup is pretty straightforward, but here’s a step-by-step guide to bathing a Shih Tzu.
- Collect the necessary materials such as shampoo, conditioner, combs, washcloths, and an absorbent towel.
- Comb the coat to ensure there are no tangles.
- Place small pieces of cotton into the ear to prevent water from entering the ears.
- Test the temperature of the water on your wrist; it should be a manageable lukewarm.
- Wet the body using a small cup or nozzle.
- Shampoo the body thoroughly.
- Use the washcloth to wipe the face clean.
- Gently clean the genital area.
- Rinse out the shampoo and condition the hair.
- After rinsing out any product, wrap your Shih Tzu in a towel before blow-drying.
- if your puppy has a short coat and it isn’t too cold outside, then allow the coat to air dry.
- Towel dry and spritz in some leave-in conditioner.
- To blow-dry, mist the coat liberally and don’t miss the roots.
- Once the body has been coated, hold the blow dryer 5 – 6 inches away and use your hands to run through the coat.
- Use a pin brush once all the hair is dry.
Shih Tzu Grooming Tips
Even with the best of products and techniques at your disposal, a few tips always come in handy. Here is how to make grooming your Shih Tzu easier for you and your dog!
- Make sure to use a leave-in conditioner before brushing and after shampoo.
- Brush from the bottom to top. Brush out the undercoat before getting to the top layer; you’ll avoid mats this way!
- Using a greyhound comb is the easiest way to get tangles out of your dog’s hair.
- Train your dog to stand still or lie down during daily grooming sessions.
- Brush out the coat before you decide to bathe the dog.
Q: How much does a groomer cost?
A: Groomers are generally the easiest way to maintain the coat of your dog. Not only do the professionals do a great job, but they’re skilled at handling the many antics of your precious puppy. The general cost of grooming a Shih Tzu is around $40. However, rates depend on location, groomer, length of your puppy’s coat, and services rendered.
Q: How do you get a Shih Tzu used to an electric trimmer?
A: The best way to get your pup used an electric trimmer is to start grooming at 10 or 12 weeks with an electric trimmer. If you haven’t used an electric trimmer till now, then show your pup the trimmer and give them access to the tool.
Once they seem to be used to the presence of the trimmer, then get them used to the sound of the clippers. Do this until they aren’t curious about the noise and be patient. Don’t force your dog into the process, as it does take more than a few days to get them used to the sound.
Q: Should I use a groomer or groom at home?
A: There is no rule against using a groomer and doing some of the grooming at home. When it comes to hair trims, nail trims, and specialized hairstyles, you can always approach a groomer.
The daily grooming such as eye care, ear care, and more will need to be done by you at home. These are basic tasks that need to be performed every day.
Q: Will my Shih Tzu shed during grooming?
A: A Shih Tzu is known not to shed; however, this is not true. Like any other dog, a Shih Tzu will shed, but the loose hair gets trapped between the undercoat and top layer, leading to mats. When groomed, all the loose fur is brushed out. Grooming prevents any mats, tangles, and dust build-ups.