“The Shih-Tzu is so beautiful… but how in the world do you groom them?” Well, it isn’t as hard as you think! First of all, the Shih Tzu is beautiful, but that’s only one of the wonders of this breed with the long, silky, flowing coat. If you want a Shih Tzu only because it’s beautiful, then you’re missing the whole point of owning one! The Shih Tzu is not just beautiful… they are very intelligent, loyal, loving, and have really unique personalities!
Here are a few of the questions I have gotten over the years, along with my answers. I hope they will quell any concerns you have about grooming. It is not that hard to take care of a Shih Tzu in a long coat, but keep in mind that you can groom them in a puppy cut for a lot less work. There’s no need to keep them in long coat, unless of course it’s what you want and you have the time to spend keeping it beautiful… which, like I said, is not as hard as you may think! Take a look….
Q. How often do you bathe your Shih Tzu, and what products do you use to keep that beautiful coat?
A. I bath my babies every 7 to 10 days. I have used many products for my babies over time. You can find many great shampoos at your local pet supply store, and groomer. Although I have to be honest and say that my favorite products are human shampoos and conditioners such as Pro Vitamin.
Q. How often do you brush your Shih Tzu, and with what kind of brushes do you use?
A. I brush my full-coated Shih Tzu daily. A really good time to brush is when everyone is settled in for the evening and my dogs and I have some quiet time together. Chances are they have been running all day with the kids and have had plenty of time to play and potty! So now they are all tuckered out and ready to welcome a grooming session. Shih Tzu love the attention they get when being brushed… long coat or short. You will need a few different brushes depending on your Shih Tzu’s coat. If they have a longer coat and you see tangles, a slicker brush and a detangling comb are your best friend. But if you groom daily–or at least ever other day–their coat won’t tangle often. I always use a finishing comb, which does something extra to the finishing touches of combing and brushing out your Shih Tzu. Short coats, of course, are usually tangle free, but you want to keep those brushes handy for ears and tails.
Q. What about the hair that grows around their eyes, and how do I keep that area clean?
A. That’s a good question. Since I don’t show my long-coated Shih Tzu, I trim the hair just over their nose. That way it doesn’t grow out and poke them in the eyes which could cause all kinds of trouble, including eye ulcers… and we don’t want those! Keeping the eye area clean is another trick. They do tear a lot from the hair getting in their eyes, which can cause white hair to turn color. First, I always wash their faces, just like a baby’s face. There are a few products that help keep that area clean that you may want to get, but the best remedy for that is, like I said, trimming the hair around and over the nose so it doesn’t hit them in the eyes and make them tear. Trimming means a much nicer, cleaner looking face.
Q. What if my Shih Tzu gets matted?
A. First of all, never panic. And second: never ever wash them when they are matted! That will only cause them to mat even more. What you do is get your slicker and your de-matting comb out. Patience and persistence is the rule of thumb here. However always keep in mind that if you are grooming regularly, serious matting isn’t going to happen. Make sure you get all mats out before washing. If your Shih Tzu ever gets so bad that you just can’t get them out, the only thing left to do is to cut them down. And if this does occur, promise yourself that you will never let it happen again! Mats are a great place for dirt and grime to stay in your Shih Tzu’s coat, causing skin irritations and many other potentially serious problems!
Q. How do I get my dog to sit still while grooming him?
A. That’s an easy one. If you’re relaxed and your dog knows it, chances are he will sit for you. First of all you start bathing him right away as soon as you get him at 8 weeks old. I am almost certain that the breeder you purchased your pup from has already given him baths. You will want to talk to him the whole time. Let him know what a good boy he is and how beautiful he is. Talking to him will keep him calm. Never yell at him or hit him. This is not only unacceptable in my book, but it will make grooming your Shih Tzu a horrible experience for both of you! By the time the dog is old enough to be really groomed with his beautiful coat, you won’t have any problems with him. He’ll sit perfect for you without moving if taught correctly in the beginning. I love to groom my dogs, and they love it too! But it took time and patience to achieve that end.
I know you probably have more questions than were answered here–I would be happy to answer them the best I can if you e-mail them to me! Thanks,