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Shih Tzu Supplies

Please note that the Shih Tzu Specialty Shoppe has been combined with this Supplies page. This was done to offer you a streamlined, easy method to see exactly what you may need for optimal care of your Shih Tzu puppy or dog. 


To take proper care of a Shih Tzu, you will need certain supplies. It is important to note that while these are needed for a new puppy, most are life-long items of necessity for Shih Tzu of all ages.

And as your Shih Tzu matures, there will be a need to reassess if something needs to be replaced either due to wear or a requirement for a new size, type, level, etc. 

First, we'll take a look at a short list of supplies that you'll need and then dive into more details. 

List of supplies
  • Food and treats
  • Food and water bowls
  • A quality dog bed
  • Canine playpen or gate
  • A carrier method
  • Leash, collar, harness
  • ID Tag
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Bathing & coat supplies
  • Dental care items
  • Nail clipper or grinder
  • Paw and nose care items
  • Car seat
  • Basic first aid items

Food & Treats

While food may be the most basic supply, it's wise to put some thought into which brand you will choose. Inferior food products can have very negative effects on both short and long term health.

When a pup first enters into his new home, he should be fed what he is used to eating, with a gradual change-over to a new, chosen brand (should you not agree with what he is currently eating).

Steer clear of food that contains chemicals; these can wreak havoc on the skin (dry skin, itching, hair loss) and gastrointestinal upset. 

For main meals, look for 4 or 5 star-rated brands. Orijen is a 5-star food that most Shih Tzu tolerate very well. If you are not sure of the rating for the food you have chosen for your Shih Tzu, a good resource to check this is DogFoodAdvisor

For snacks, look for made in the USA all-natural, no-chemical treats. You can also feed some wholesome, fresh foods to your Shih Tzu. In moderation, some fruits are a great choice. 

Bowls for Food & Water

While it may seem like one of the simplest supplies to have, choosing the right dishes for both food and water is an important element.

You'll want the size to be appropriately match your Shih Tzu, so that there are no barriers to eating such as bumping the forehead on the rim or having the bowl too deep to reach without over-stretching.

In addition, the material of the dishes is of utmost importance, as this can affect everything from hair stains to allergic reaction.

A Quality Dog Bed

Making sure that your Shih Tzu has his own bed is vital. Even if he sleeps with you at night, when you are not home, the best place for him to be is in his own area, with his own bed and supplies.

Since dogs sleep, nap and rest an average of 15 hours per day, the surface that a Shih Tzu lays his body down onto is paramount for good orthopedic health, especially since this breed is prone to hip issues. 

The best type of bed for a Shih Tzu is an orthopedic memory foam mattress with or without bumpers. Though, you may find that your pup or dog does best with a specialty bed, depending on his particular preferences.

A Canine Playpen or Gates

An abundance of issues can be resolved if a Shih Tzu is given a designated area to be in when his humans are not supervising him. Both destructive chewing and housebreaking accidents are at the top of that list.

In addition, offering the right canine playpen can help with separation anxiety; many dogs that suffer from this do much worse when given free reign in an empty house. 

When in a playpen, dogs have all their immediate needs right there, it offers a comforting feeling of security and other methods (such as a window vs non-window view, playing home-alone music, etc.) are easy to control and set-up. 

A Carry Method (optional, but very helpful)

This is not a needed supply for medium and large dogs, however when you have a toy breed like the Shih Tzu, you may find that a carry method really comes in handy. Though, this does depend on your lifestyle and the endurance level of your Shih Tzu.

Choices are a bag or sling (great for puppies and smaller adults) or a stroller (all ages, all sizes).

While exercising your Shih Tzu is vital for good health, having a way to bring him along with you to stores and places where there will be lots of walking, opens up more possibilities and allows you to spend more time with your puppy or dog (meaning less time home alone). 

Strollers are also great choices for seniors that cannot walk as much as their younger counterparts and for Shih Tzu of all ages in the summer when you want to keep your dog shaded. 

Leash, Collar & Harness

Leash - Best is a 6 foot or retractable leash. The short 6-foot length is good for both housebreaking and heeling. It is also the right distance to keep your Shih Tzu safe by your side. A retractable leash allows you to control a greater freedom when you deem it safe to do so.

Collars and harnesses - Both toy breeds and brachycephalic breeds should always be on harness and leash, not collar. So, since the Shih Tzu falls into both of these categories, it is important to use a harness. 

If on collar, tension and pressure applied to the neck can increase breathing issues, cause acute injury including collapsed trachea and cause long term wear damage due to stress on the windpipe. 

Harnesses are very easy to put on (if you buy the right one) as these will have Velcro fasteners and most Shih Tzu find them to be very comfortable (even finding a sense of security)

Read more about collars and harnesses for Shih Tzu or check out our recommended items below. 

ID Tag

All dogs should wear identification. Though this is the law in many states in regard to registered dogs, this also is vital for finding a lost dog. And even if you think that there is no possible way for your Shih Tzu to ever get free or even want to run away, it can and does happen. 

The ASPCA conducted a survey regarding lost pets. 15% of owners lost their pet within the previous 5 years. Of those, 85% were found. 49% of owners found their pets by searching and 15% were recovered due to either an ID tag or from a micro-chip (another wise choice that you may wish to speak to your vet about)

When you choose a tag, do be sure that it is made of stainless steel or another durable material what will stand up to weather and in which the engraving will not fade.

Clothing (weather dependent)

The Shih Tzu is a rather sturdy toy breed and does not get as chilled as some other toys that are smaller in stature. However, having hair instead of thick fur, each Shih Tzu has his or her own limits for the cold in the winter and may even get chills from the AC in the summer.

If you find that your Shih Tzu balks at going for walks during cold weather or if he tends to shiver or show other signs of cold intolerance (do be sure to rule out health issues), you will find that having a few key pieces of clothing are all that it takes to make your Shih Tzu comfortable.  

Read more and see examples of adorble yet functional Shih Tzu clothing


Having a great supply of toys will be much more than simply things that a Shih Tzu plays with. They will serve a function to meet his needs at various ages and times. 

The main categories of toys are:
  • Teething - Young pups going through this phase are desperate to chew in order to soothe itching gums.
  • Boredom - Face it, dogs don't have a whole lot to keep themselves entertained. And a bored dog is a dog that can get into trouble.  These toys will have aspects to draw a dog in and keep him focused.
  • Chew - While all toys are made to chew on, a few for 'tough chewers' is always a good idea. For times when a Shih Tzu wants to work his jaws and gnaw away.
  • Retrieval - Playing fetch is a long-held tradition and for good reason; it combines a cardio workout and lots of fun. Inside down a hallway or outside in a yard, throwing a ball for your Shih Tzu is a great activity for both of you.
  • Learning - There's nothing greater than allowing your dog's capabilities to expand, see the mind's gears in action and to watch him gain self-confidence. And this can be done while creating a strong teacher-student bond with your Shih Tzu by using puzzle games.
  • Treat release - These are great to leave in a dog's area when he's home alone as they offer incentive for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to work to release treats. A treat-release toy can take the place of one mealtime if a dog is by himself.
  • Companion - For those that struggle with separation anxiety, the right toy prevent feelings of isolation. 
Read more and see examples of some of the best toys for Shih Tzu puppies and dogs.

Bathing and Coat Supplies

It may seem overwhelming at first to have the responsibility to take care of your Shih Tzu's coat; however, if you have the right supplies and know when & how to use them, you can fall into a routine that is easy to manage. 

Brushes & Combs - Since the coat should be brushed before a bath, let's start here. Whether your Shih Tzu has a short, medium or long hair style, there are 3 basic grooming tools you'll want to have:
  • A two-level steel comb. This is to comb the face hairs (narrow teeth) and once you have brushed the coat, to comb through (wide teeth) to check for any tangles.
  • A mat remover tool. If you do find a tangle that cannot be worked out, this will remove it with minimal disruption to other areas. 
  • A pin brush - These work well for most coats. It's imperative to go for a high quality brush with proper tension and pin width. If a Shih Tzu has a very long show coat, a boar bristle brush can be used for a finishing touch. 
Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in - One of the most important aspects of keeping the coat looking luscious is to use the right products. Inferior shampoo can be drying and strip away the protective outer layer of hairs. You'll want one with proper pH balance that cleans well, leaving a great texture and shine.

For conditioner, you'll want one that protects but is not so heavy that it weighs the coat down or blocks skin pores. And for a leave-in (to be used at least every 3 days), opt for one that serves multiple purposes: A fresh scent, protection from the sun, static, breakage, and contact friction.

Read more about shampooing a Shih Tzu or see recommended bathing supplies below. 

Dental Care Items

Never overlook the importance of at-home dental care for your Shih Tzu. While chewing on toys and having dental treats does help to some extent, these methods are not meant to be used alone as an all-encompassing care plan. 

Plaque is constantly being produced. If it is not properly cleaned off, it will eat away at teeth and spread under the gum line. There, it will continue to cause tooth decay. This can lead to very painful infection, which can also spread to the sinuses or even cause blood infection. Eventually, it leads to tooth loss. 

This all happens silently. Most dogs do not show clinical signs until a tooth is so rotted that it loosens or the decay is so deep it reaches the root causing terrible pain.

Once per year, your Shih Tzu's vet should perform a dental exam. In addition, regular brushings and effective dental treats will help keep plaque and tartar from attacking the teeth. You may also want to add in a canine 'mouthwash', which is actually a tasteless liquid supplement that is added to water (1 teaspoon per 8 oz.).

Read more about at home dental care for a Shih Tzu, more details regarding choosing the best toothbrush and paste or see recommendations below. 

Nail, Paw & Nose Care

Nails need to be trimmed about every 6 weeks, though this does vary and often can depend on the frequency of outdoor walking. If they are left to grow too long, nails can break or grow inward. You may wish to do this at home or have the vet or groomer clip them. At the vet office, the typical cost is $10 to $15. 

If you opt to do this at home, you may wish to use a grinder, which is an electronic filer; these are easy to use and helps avoid clipping too short and reaching the quick (vein that runs down the center).

Paw pads put up with a lot. Heat, cold, pebbles, snow. A quality paw wax can restore paw health and protect against the elements. This can offer a layer from hot pavements in the summer and freezing surfaces in the winter. Paw wax can also prevent snowballing (tiny pieces of snow that wedge between pads or toes). 

The Nose is also exposed to the elements. It's not uncommon for the nose to dry out or even peel or crack in the winter. In the summer, while some sun is good (and can keep the nose black), too much exposure can cause issues as well. A good nose balm can keep the nose leather in good condition. 

A Safe Car Seat

Having your Shih Tzu free in the car or on your lap while you're driving is one of the deadliest risks you can take. If you would buckle up a child, use this same mindset for your puppy or dog.

Even excellent drivers can get into accidents, having zero control over others on the road, road and weather conditions. Did you know that every year there are over 5,000,000 car crashes in the U.S alone?

In a crash going 35 mph, a 10-pound Shih Tzu will be thrown with the force of a 400-pound object.

This breed does best with booster seats, which allow a Shih Tzu to look out of the window and be close to fresh air coming in from a slightly opened window. This can greatly cut down on motion sickness. Please note that the seat connector is meant to be hooked to a dog's harness (see harnesses, above), NOT a collar, as that could cause terrible neck injury. 

Basic First Aid Supplies

While having a full first aid kit is always a good idea, at the very least it's wise to have a few staple items that are most commonly used.

You'll want a canine thermometer, Vaseline (to lubricate), saline eye rinse, both hydrogen peroxide and charcoal tablets (in case of poisoning; call your vet for exact instructions to use either or the Pet Poison Hotline 855-764-7661, * charge applies), and Betadine solution & sterile gauze pads (for cleaning cuts). 
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