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Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Shih Tzu


You may be surprised how much of a difference you will see with your Shih Tzu depending on the products that you use. The 3 main bathing products of shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in spritz will all work together, either producing a silky, shiny, healthy coat... or something entirely different. Let's take a look at the important elements to be aware of. 

About Shampoo for a Shih Tzu

A good shampoo must be able to do the following:

1) Gently remove body oils and debris - All throughout the day and each day from when you shampoo your Shih Tzu to the next time that you cleanse the coat, body oils are accumulating. These are secreted from pores in the skin and are the body's natural way of keeping both skin and coat moisturized. However, when this oil builds up, it has nowhere to go.

Without the right shampoo to properly wash it away, it will start to become smelly and hair will look greasy. You probably know that water and oil do not mix, right? Well, cheap shampoo that is too much water and not even proper cleansing agents will not be able to wash away that oil. 

If you've ever shampooed your Shih Tzu only to notice that he still smelled a bit funny or that the coat really did not have that much improvement, this is the most likely reason why. 

2) But without stripping the coat - The element of cleaning without stripping is also crucially important. Sure, a product may wash away that oil and small particles of debris, but some shampoos over-clean. If a shampoo is too harsh, it takes away so much and is so rough on hairs, that the coat will be in worse condition after a bath. 

Low-grade ingredients and fillers can be terrible for silky hair, damaging the outer coating that naturally protects each strand, leaving it vulnerable to split ends. This in turn, will not only cause the hairs to lose their shine but will also affect the coat's ability to grow as it should. 

3) Must be correctly pH balanced. This is such an important element in choosing the best shampoos for Shih Tzu and will have a major effect on the skin and coat. Human shampoos and many inferior pet shampoos are pH balanced to be acidic. Humans need a 4.5 to 5.5 acidic level, canines are close to neutral and a great deal more alkaline. 

If the chemical makeup of a shampoo is too acidic or lacks in alkaline, this can have many negative effects. It can lead to dry skin, irritation and even yeast infections due to the top layer of skin (the body's natural defense mechanism) being chemically stripped away. In addition, inappropriate selection of a shampoo can affect a Shih Tzu's coloring, dulling colors and removing shine.

4) Are chemical-free. Beware of pet shampoos that contain paraben, phthalate and/or phosphate. These ingredients are notorious for being difficult to wash away. Any remaining particles can cause irritation and in some cases, if licked the shampoo is routinely used and a Shih Tzu licks excessively due to the itchiness the chemicals cause, can lead to upset stomach.  

5) Wash out appropriately - If a shampoo is too thick and its ingredients are oil-based, some residue will remain on the skin. This clogs skin pores and can leave the coat looking oily. 
Shampoos for different needs:

Basic - For Shih Tzu without issues such as itchy skin or frizzed or broken hairs, your essential basic shampoo will be best to move forward as a good foundation. Used in conjunction with the right conditioner and leave-in, you'll have all 3 products working harmoniously for a luxurious coat. 

For sensitive skin - In most cases, if a Shih Tzu has intolerance for shampoos, this is due to those products being improperly pH balanced and/or containing irritating chemicals; you'll be able to use essential basic shampoos that will resolve the issue(s). 

With allergies - Allergies can really do a number on this tiny toy breed. A shampoo for Shih Tzu with allergies will properly clean while meeting all 5 elements as listed above, but will also add soothing elements for red, itchy or irritated skin. 

For skin & coat issues - For skin yeast infection, fungal & bacterial skin infections and dandruff, you'll need specialty shampoo that are formulated for these issues while maintaining the integrity of a high quality shampoo. 

About Conditioner & Leave-in Sprays for a Shih Tzu

Why Conditioners and Sprays Are Vital

Even with an exceptional shampoo, a condition and leave-in are needed for optimal coat health, shine and color retention. Once the bath is over, what is going to protect your Shih Tzu's hair? A super-good conditioner will offer a good foundation to protect hair cuticles and hair shafts and a leave-in will continue that protection as the days go on in between washings. 

These products will help prevent split ends, protect from contact friction and add a layer of protection from outside elements including the sun and arid air. In addition, using one of the best leave-ins will help keep hairs separated so that mats do not quickly form and when you brush, will aid in working out small tangles. 

Shampooing, Conditioning and Spritzing Tips

  • Once you are satisfied with your chosen products, shampoo and condition 1 time every 3 weeks, unless your Shih Tzu has an issue such as yeast or mites (more ahead on this). If you shampoo too often, even the best shampoos will not be able to keep up with the oils being washed away too often. And if you wait too long in between baths, too much oil will have accumulated. 
  • Before the bath, comb the coat to separate hairs. 
  • Thoroughly wet the coat (a nuzzle is best) before adding shampoo. Use your hands to work this into a lather, taking 5 minutes or so to scrub the entire body. 
  • When you are ready to rinse, when you think you've done this enough, do it once more. You do not want any residue to remain at skin level and you want the coat to be ready for the conditioner. 
  • Massage the conditioner in for 3 to 4 minutes. Any longer than this will be not add extra benefits.
  • Do not rub the coat dry; use a patting motion. Then, use your chosen spritz before you comb. Spritz 1 inch from the roots and use a metal two-level comb to distribute the product to the ends. 
  • Spritz the coat lightly any time that you brush. Most Shih Tzu do best with a misting every 3 days or so. 

Shampoos & Conditioner

Items 1 & 2: Best essential shampoo & conditioner. Earthbath, a superior shampoo and conditioner for both Shih Tzu puppies and adults. 

Item 3: Best shampoo for dry skin, dandruff and or itchy skin. Furrever Medicated Shampoo for dogs; Sulftate-free with natural Chamomile and Aloe Vera.
Item 4: Best shampoo for a Shih Tzu with suffering from allergies. Zymox - One of the best to aid with terribly red, itchy skin from allergies.
Item 5: Best shampoo for smelly, yeast infections. Nootie's Medicated Anti-fungal - If your Shih Tzu has a sour-type smell with itchy, peeling or a grease-type issue, it may be yeast and product works extremely well for this issue.

Item 6: Best shampoo for skin scaling, skin yeast infection, fungal and/or bacterial infections. Synergy Clinical Care - A very effective medicated shampoo; not overly harsh so this will resolve issues while maintaining a good hair health. 

Item 7: One of the best leave-in sprays. The Stuff is amazing. The perfect balance to keep the coat super shiny, bouncy, healthy, does not weight it down, protects from contact friction, the sun & split ends. Perfection. 

Item 8: Another superior leave-in coat spritz for Shih Tzu. Nootie Daily Spritz is a super high quality leave-in coat spray; does it all and comes in 5 scents: coconut lime, cucumber melon, Japanese cherry blossom, sweat pea & vanilla and warm vanilla cookie. 
You may also like:
Shih Tzu Summer Care Tips - Covering all the summertime elements that can affect this breed. 
Shih Tzu Wintertime Tips - When the weather starts to get cold and the air turns dry, be sure that you have your Shih Tzu prepped for winter. 
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