Grooming Your Dog At Home

Basics of Shih Tzu Grooming

Grooming your dog is an essential part of keeping your Shih Tzu or any breed, healthy and happy.  And grooming your dog at home is a great way to save a little money too.

Beautifully groomed Shih Tzu dogBeautifully Groomed Shih Tzu Dog

Not only will grooming your dog be a good way to build a bond, but it will be a great time to look for any skin and coat problems.

The puppy that is exposed to grooming becomes the dog that accepts it.

Whether you want to learn to groom him yourself, or bring him to a professional dog groomer, your Shih Tzu will love it.

When you see a Shih Tzu at a show, you are probably thinking how beautiful his coat looks, and how it flows so elegantly across the floor, and how you would love to have your Shih Tzu look like that.

While they certainly are beautiful with their long flowing coat, keep in mind that grooming him to look like a show dog, is a lot work and requires quite a bit of your time. 

But...the experience can enhance the relationship between your and your beautiful pooch.

Supplies for Grooming Your Dog at Home

Shih Tzu dogs are double-coated with longer hair over a softer downy coat that requires the right grooming supplies to do a good job.

Your basic home grooming supplies kit should include at the very least...

  • A brush with flexible pins
  • A fine slicker brush
  • A comb that is fine on one end and coarse on the other (teeth spacing)
  • Scissors (blunt-tipped, especially for wiggly puppies.)
Beautiful Shih Tzu Grooming

Some additional grooming supplies you can have on hand may include:

  • A table, you can buy a complete table or just the clamp to keep them from jumping off
  • Non-slip mat for bathing
  • A spray nozzle for your sink or tub I use the Waterpik's Pet Wand which makes bathing my boys in the tub super easy and convenient
  • Electric clippers
  • Nail trimmers, and maybe an electric nail sander to make the freshly cut nails smoother.
  • Emollient shampoo (pH balanced for dogs)
  • Ear-cleaning solution (available from your veterinarian)
  • Cotton-tipped swaps, cotton balls and soft wipes for eye care
  • Washcloth or sponge for their face
  • Towels
  • Hair dryer - You can use a regular hair dryer on a cool to warm setting, or use one specifically made for drying pets
  • Also, ribbons and bows for his top knot

Grooming weekly, keeps a healthy mat free coat and prevents parasite infestation, skin lesions and diseases.

Steps in Grooming Your Shih Tzu Dog 

Comb out the coat of your Shih Tzu prior to wetting the coat, as the tangles are even more problematic when wet.

  • Bathing - You can bathe them in the sink or your tub, but either way you will need a spray hoseAfter working out all mats and tangles with your brush, thoroughly wet your Shih Tzu starting from the head (avoid their face, use a face cloth for this area) and work the shampoo in the direction of the hair growth.  Once they have been fully shampooed, carefully rinse them off, protecting their eyes and nose from being irritated by the shampoo.    Do not let water get into their ears.
  • Cleaning ears - Cleaning solutions should be placed in the ear and then work mats, and dirt from the inside out.  Using a Muslim cloth or cotton pads to cleanse any wax, again working from the inside to the outside.
  • Teeth brushing -A small rubber pet brush that fits over the finger gives the most control to ward off gum and teeth problems.  Make sure you use toothpaste specifically made for pets.  Tip:  Put the pet toothpaste on the brush and let your dog lick some of it off, as if it is a treat.  Then brush 1 section at a time, and give a good boy, or girl, as you are brushing.  Use light, gentle pressure, but firm enough that it will clean their teeth.   A minimum of 2 to 3 times a week.  Once a day would be ideal.

  • Nail clipping - Nails should be clipped short enough that they do not touch the floor which put pressure on the toes. Clean and trim the hair between the pads.  Read our article on tips to cutting your dogs nails.
  • Expressing anal sacs - These glands need to be expressed when it feels like two small peas on either side of the anus below the tail or you see him scooting along surfaces.

    It is highly recommended to learn the procedure from a groomer or veterinarian in order to protect your Shih Tzu from an injury or infection, also to keep yourself from being sprayed with the pungent liquid from their glands.  

Grooming a Shih Tzu keeps this little beauty healthy which lets you enjoy years of companionship.

Shih Tzu Haircuts

The three common Shih Tzu cuts are the puppy cut, the show cut and the teddy bear cut.

The Shih Tzu puppy cut, also known as the summer cut, trims the hair to one to two inches in length.

It significantly eases the grooming care as it only needs to be cut every three months or so.

It is important to continue to brush her daily, but it is a much shorter session since there is less hair to untangle.

  • Shih Tzu Teddy Bear Cut allows the top knot, but cuts down on the amount of maintenance. The hair on the head and face is trimmed to a normal or little longer length but the body is clipped close.
  • The Shih Tzu Show cut is the long flowing coat with the signature Shih Tzu Top Knot adorning their little heads. This style requires the most maintenance to keep the coat flowing and tangle free.

The grooming styles that owners choose should directly relate to how much time they have to commit to grooming.

These tips are not limited to only Shih Tzu grooming but of any dog with longer hair.

Shih Tzu dog

The difference is the coats of Shih Tzu require more intense work than that of short-haired dogs but the cute little faces and loving nature of these dogs make it all worthwhile.

While grooming your dog may seem like a lot of work, it can be rewarding for both your and your Shih Tzu.

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