How To Groom A Shih Tzu

how to groom a shih tzu

Guidelines on how to properly groom and take care of your Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are called Chrysanthemum Dogs for a reason. When healthy and properly groomed they are beautiful like the flower. If you happen to be a new owner of this adorable dog breed and would like to learn some great tips on grooming a Shih Tzu, then keep on reading for guides and tips.

The Basics:

The Shih Tzu is a high maintenance breed, they may be small but they require plenty of care. Whether you simply want to give them the best care or you’re planning to enter them in a dog show, then here are the few basic tasks that you frequently need to do when grooming your Shih Tzu.

  • Wiping: Wiping your dog’s face and eyes daily is a must. This helps avoid build-up and infections from their eye secretions. Surely, you wouldn’t want your pet to be full of eye gunk when they cuddle up to you.
  • Brushing: Depending on their coat length, brushing your Shih Tzu’s fur can vary from daily to every 3 days. For long coats, you need to brush it daily while medium coats need to be brushed every 2 days. The maximum interval for brushing short coats is every 3 days.
  • Baths: Bathing your dog can be done every 3 weeks. Although, if your Shih Tzu is suffering from a skin or coat disorder then you will need to bathe them regularly. Make sure you have a good dog dryer.
  • Nail Clipping: This can be done every 6 weeks depending on how fast your pet grow their nails. If they grow their nails quite fast then you might need to clip them more often.

There are also a few more grooming tasks that can be done as needed. This includes: Body Wiping or a discreet term for cleaning your dog’s tush. Paw and Nose Care which also depends on the season (more on these later). If your Shih Tzu suffers from a dry nose don’t panic yet because it might not be an underlying health issue but either one of the reasons below.

5 Possible Cause of Dry Nose of your Shih Tzu:

  1. Your pet might have just woken up from a nap or sleep. Dogs, in general, always have a dry nose after waking up, especially if they are a deep sleeper. Wait for about 30 minutes then check again if it’s still dry or not.


  1. Any type of heat source can make your dog’s nose dry up. If your pet’s bedding is placed near a fireplace or heater you should consider moving it elsewhere. Overexposure under the sun could also be a cause of this. Remember that your Shih Tzu is prone to heatstroke and heat exhaustion thus, limit the time you let your dog bask under the sun.


  1. Dehydration is another factor that causes a dry nose. Make sure that you always leave a fresh bowl of water out for them, especially on a hot summer day and right after they had played outside. You may also throw in an ice cube or two into their water bowl for a little extra cooling treat.


  1. Believe it or not, but dogs can also have allergies. Now this one is tricky, you might want to check what is causing their allergy. Start off with changing your dog’s food bowl if they are using a plastic one, because compared to a stainless-steel bowl a plastic bowl can accumulate more bacteria that may cause the dryness of your Shih Tzu’s nose.


  1. Low Thyroid. If everything else in this list is clear of the possible cause then you might want to bring your pet to the vet to have it checked and treated.

You can remedy your Shih Tzu’s dry nose by gently dabbing or wiping their nose with some moist cloth every few hours or so. Petroleum Jelly is also safe to apply and can be applied for 2-3 times a day, but if you are still worried about the chemicals of the petroleum jelly then you may use coconut oil! It’s yummy for dogs and definitely safe for them to consume as well.

Shedding and Allergies:

Shih Tzus are typically not hypoallergenic dogs, they are 50% cuteness, 30% dogs and 20% allergen. They have what is called a double coat that is composed of an outercoat and an undercoat; the latter is what usually holds the dander that causes allergy. It is advised for people who have allergies, but still want to own a Shih Tzu to let their pet’s coat grow long to have lesser shedding. The logic behind this is that whenever the undercoat sheds, the fur can get caught in between the longer outercoat and this can be brushed off daily instead of it falling all over the floor or getting caught in your clothing.

We all know that fur can be a pain to remove from our clothes! A long, straight and well-kept Shih Tzu coat is considered hypoallergenic, although it requires more attention and grooming.

Grooming Benefits and Tools:

Being meticulous about grooming your Shih Tzu has its benefits. Especially if you manage to brush their coat religiously. Not only will your beloved pet look very adorable but brushing your dog frequently will:

  • Stimulate the blood flow, aiding in the delivery of nutrients to your Shih Tzu’s fur roots and stem.
  • Distribute the natural body oil all over their coat, avoiding its accumulation in the root that makes their coat look matte, dry and frizzy.
  • Keep the tangle away and remove the debris from their body.

Here are some tools that are used for grooming:

  • Pin Brush: the best brush size is usually 16-20 mm; this size can be easily used to reach all the areas of the body of a long to medium length coat.
  • Bristle Brush: commonly used on short trimmed coats.
  • Two-sided Comb: the wider toothed side is used on the body while the smaller toothed side is used to brush on areas like the paws but it is commonly used on the face and beard.
  • De-matting Tool: used to safely and painlessly remove mat or knots in the coat.
  • Coat & Leave On Spray: this gives extra nutrients in your Shih Tzu’s coat and a little bit of fragrance too. Some brands also serve as sunscreen for the fur in summer.


This grooming method is a must when it comes to Shih Tzu grooming. It helps in avoiding static that leads to fur damage and breakage. You absolutely do not want to brush your Shih Tzu’s coat when it is dry! Not only will it be uncomfortable for them but it will also damage the strands. Spritzing is also done as an in-between bath method or commonly called a “dry bath”.

There are also some benefits in spritzing your dog’s coat such as:

  • It prevents split ends.
  • It protects the coat from any type of friction such as contact friction.
  • It gives a layer of protection especially from the harsh winds of the summer and winter seasons.
  • It adds moisture to the coat, keeping it shiny and healthy.
  • It leaves the coat of your Shih Tzu smelling fresh and clean.

Tips on application: Do not over spritz! It will make the fur feel sticky and heavy! This will not be a pleasant feeling for both you and your pet when you cuddle up with them. For long and medium coat lengths you will need to patiently work in sections so don’t just spray away!

And more importantly, spray from a distance. Hold the bottle 5 to 6 inches away, and with a quick press spritz near the roots feathering down to the tip. If your Shih Tzu has a short coat you may just spritz as you go. For an additional step, you may spray some product on your hand and scrunch up on the hard to reach areas such as the creases behind their legs or in other terms, their underarm.

Spot Cleaning:

Aside from spritzing you can also do spot cleaning in-between baths, this is considered as a touch up and makes your pup a little bit cleaner until bath time. Usually, when your dog has been urinating and defecating, splashes of urine and bits of feces gets caught up in the surrounding fur of the area.

It is important that you clean this up. Especially if your pet sleeps on the bed or the couch next to to groom a shih tzu

You could also do a wipe down on the paws using grooming wipes after they have spent time outside playing. This is meant to clean off the dirt and grass that they could have swiped up (more so if your pup is a little ball of energy that bounced around their playground).

You can also eliminate the chance of an allergy trigger. When dogs play outside they can’t help but bring back allergens into your home like pollen and dust which could cause a trigger, so giving them a quick wipe down before they go back in may help avoid it.


Home Grooming vs Professional Grooming:

There are a few pros and cons of grooming of your Shih Tzu yourself, especially if you want to save some gas and cash. But without the proper tools and training you might just put your pet (and you) at risk in many ways. For example, trimming your pup’s nails isn’t as easy as it would appear to be, more so when your pet won’t sit still and you are inexperienced. You might end up over trimming and making your dog hurt and their foot to bleed.

It is also advisable to simply bring your Shih Tzu to the grooming center for coat trimming and styling, rather than doing it yourself and ending up with a disastrous cut. If you really want to save money and try to do the grooming at home, it is advisable that you start trimming bit by bit for both coat styling and nail trimming until you get the desired to groom a shih tzu

A Few More Extra Tips and DIYs on Shih Tzu Grooming:

  • You may give your dog natural food supplements like fish oil and flaxseed oil for essential fatty acids to achieve a shiny and healthy coat.
  • Use a dryer sheet to wipe down your dog if they have that wet dog smell.
  • DIY Toothbrush: Make a paste out of baking soda and water then take a clean piece of gauze and brush your pet’s teeth until they’re clean.
  • If ever your dog unfortunately gets a gum stuck on their fur do not snip it off! Grab some olive oil and douse the gum then gently rub it until the strands loosen up. After the piece is off, shampoo and wash your pet’s fur right away.
  • Want to kill fleas instantly and leave your Shih Tzu smelling fresh? Pour a cup of hot water over a slice of lemon and some scored lemon peel. Let it sit overnight then apply the mixture onto the infected area and leave it on for a few minutes before gently rinsing it away.
  • If you don’t have any spritz product you can make your own mixture to make your pet’s coat shine by mixing a cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water into a spray bottle. Spray in on the fur and watch them shine.
  • To freshen your dog’s breath you may add some parsley into their food.
  • If you feed your pet some moist dog food and want to keep the food bowl clean after meals then spray the inside of the bowl with some PAM spray oil. It will prevent the pieces of left-over food from sticking to the bowl.
  • Does your pet eat too fast? To help train them you may put a tennis ball over their food. It will slow them down as they move the ball around to get to their food.
  • In Winter time to prevent your pet’s paws from chapping and cracking, apply Vaseline in their paws.

And there you have it, these are the tips on How to Groom a Shih Tzu. We hope that this guideline has helped you learn a few things on how to care for your pet.

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