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Shih Tzu Grooming

Shih Tzu Grooming Overview

In order for your Shih Tzu to have a lovely coat, both genetics and the care you give will come into play. If you your dog has a quality coat, then with these instructions you can be sure that your Tzu will look as lovely as possible.

We receive many questions regarding what products work best for grooming a Shih Tzu. The answer is not a simple one. Each dog’s coat and skin will react differently to different canine hair products. Even the mineral content of your water will have an impact on the end result of a bath. Therefore, it really is best to buy small bottles and experiment to see which work best for your particular Tzu. 

No matter which dog grooming products you use, the technique will be the same and as long as they are quality products, the results will be pleasing. We do have a list of the products we personally love under 'Grooming' in the Shih Tzu Specialty Shoppe.
Brushing

It cannot be overstated how important this element is in regard to Shih Tzu grooming. With the long coat that makes the Shih Tzu so special, grooming your Shih Tzu must include brushings that keep it tangle free. Once a tangle (mat) appears, it can rapidly grow….and when it becomes too large most owners have no choice but to snip it off – a HUGE no-no! 

The coat of the Tzu differs from dog to dog. Some are soft, some are thick. Brushing will need to be done according to your Tzu’s coat. This will range from one time per day to once every 3 days.
Shih Tzu perfectly groomed
Photo courtesy of Shih Tzu Garden
NEVER dry brush! If you do, this will create static and cause breakage and/or split ends. Once the end of a hair strand is split, it will run up the length of the hair shaft. Always use a mist bottle to lightly spray with a 50/50 solution of water and cream rinse or conditioner.

Be sure to cover all areas of the body. Owners must not take the easy way out and only brush the back and chest. A proper brushing must include the head, face, neck, chest, legs, paws, tail, back and even under the tail…. This area should always brushed; doing so helps repel fecal matter that may otherwise stick to the hairs. With this breed, you may not need to clip the hairs short here, as with many Shih Tzu as they grow long, they tend to separate around the anus and out of the way of bowel movements. 
However, any time that you notice any feces stuck to the coat, wash it away with warm soapy water and then blow dry on a low setting.

Many owners find that a wire brush with flexible pins works best. Begin at the paws, working up the legs and ultimately ending with the back.

It works best to brush in layers. Lift top layers up (or pin back) and carefully glide through the bottom layer. Then you can let down some more hairs and brush through those…ultimately ending with all layers being combed through, soft and silky with no tangles.

You will want to go gently, however make sure that the brush reaches down to the skin.
male Shih Tzu groomed
Photo courtesy of Puppies in a Box Shih Tzu
For the face and paws, it is recommended to use a medium toothed comb.

Note: At approximately 10 to 12 months, a Shih Tzu will begin to shed, changing from puppy coat to adult. During this time grooming must be done more often….The shedding hairs can become tangled into the coat and this can cause quite a few mats to develop….and it can happen quickly. Remember that this is a temporary stage. It lasts for about a couple of months.
beautiful Shih Tzu
Photo courtesy of Show Tyme Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu Grooming That Should be done EACH DAY

There are a few little grooming elements that should be done every day….

One should comb the mustache and the topknot each day with a wide toothed comb.

The inside corners of the eyes should be cleaned each day, using a soft, warm, damp washcloth then dried so that hairs do not remain wet. Using a special canine eye wipe is also a good choice since it will contain gentle cleansers that work to combat tear stains.
When you are gently cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes, take this time to look for any injuries, out of place lashes and other such things. You will want to keep an eye out for any redness or squinting.
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