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Shih Tzus are friendly, loyal dogs with hypoallergenic coats. They are great family dogs because they are so playful, small, and out-going, and their fast-growing coats deserve the best care. Their hair can be cut short or grown out, so there are multiple options for hair care.

        BASIC GROOMING

Before worrying about the particular hair-cut, there are some small grooming issues to address.

  1. The hair in their eyes can bother them and get clumpy, so before it gets matted, wipe your Shih Tzu’s eyes every day. Keep their face and eyes clear of dirt and grime by wiping them daily.
  2. If your Shih Tzu has a long coat, brushing is necessary. Long coats need brushing daily. For mid-length and short coats, your dog will look great being brushed every three days.
  3. Keeping your dog bathed is essential for soft, silky fur. Most groomers recommend bathing your Shih Tzu every three weeks. If there are any skin issues, talk to your vet about skin care and a bathing routine.
  4. Another good idea for your dog’s health is to clean the ears by wiping the inside. Ear infections are common, and drying them is a good preventative measure.
  5. For their feet, keep their toenails clipped and trimmed the hair in between their paw pads.
  6. This is true for all dogs, but make sure their teeth are clean. You can brush them occasionally, feed them organic treats that clean plaque of their teeth, or give them crushed ice to eat.

For a Shih Tzu, brushing is the most essential element of grooming care. The three key elements are combing, brushing, and spritzing.

        COMBING AND BRUSHING

Make sure the fur is wet and begin combing your dog. You don’t want to brush dry fur, keep it damp with a spray bottle! Comb before and after brushing. An ideal comb for a Shih Tzu is a two-level comb. The finer teeth are for the hard to reach areas, the wider teeth are for the body. Make sure to spritz your dog as you comb.

Depending on your dog’s hair-cut, you need either a bristle brush (short coats) or a pin brush (longer coats). Note that pin brushes come in different sizes, 16 or 20 mm being the best. Take each section at a time, spray water at the roots, and brush it out. If you come to a matted area, apply your dog’s conditioner to your hands and work it out with your fingers. You can brush the area once the mat is gone. If you can’t work it out by hand, ask your groomer or shop online for a de-matting tool.

After you finish brushing, do one more comb-through, focusing on the more sensitive areas.

        TRIMS AND HAIR-CUTS

Lastly, once you feel confident caring for your dog’s grooming needs, take your dog for professional hair-cuts and learn how to trim them yourself. The style you want affects how to cut your Shih Tzu’s fur best. In almost any case, blunt-tip scissors are the easiest and most effective clippers to use. You don’t need electric clippers unless you are planning to do the cut yourself. Make sure to communicate with your groomer about the best type of trim you can do for your dog between hair-cuts.

Here are a list of hair-cut style options: puppy cut, teddy bear cut, the “practical” top knot, top knot show cut, shortcut, long cut, lion cut, Japanese cut, among others that are less popular.

This sounds like a laborious process, but it’s an excellent way to bond with your dog. Have some fun with it; there are a variety of clips and bows you can use to give your dog extra flair!

Adam Conrad

The author Adam Conrad

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