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Grooming Advice for Shih Tzu and other Toy or Small breed dogs


shih tzu

With their round heads, adorable eyes, and long, luscious double coats, Shih Tzu remain one of the most desired dog breeds in the United States according to AKC Registration Statistics. It is important to note their distinctive features in learning how to properly groom them, as they differ from many other dog breeds.

The first to keep in mind is the hair above the nose. Because it grows upward, it gives them a “chrysanthemum” face, accompanied with their large, round eyes which vary in color from dark brown to light blue. Shih Tzu are also known for their heavy underbite, one of the most well known trademarks that represent the breed.

Their muzzles lack wrinkles, and should be on the shorter end of the spectrum in comparison to other dogs. Their ears typically blend in with the body due to the amount of hair they have. Their tails are covered in a thick layer of hair that covers the entire body and can differ in color.

The Double coat

Shih Zhus' double coat is comprised of a thick undercoat and a longer, silky topcoat. Due to an abundance of hair, they should be brushed and combed daily all the way down to the skin to properly remove any tangles and mats.

Some owners prefer to clip their dogs- consequently, these require trims every six to eight weeks. Keep in mind of the following problematic areas: beneath the front legs, behind the face, thighs, and near the anus.

Consistent brushing will also help take away any unwanted matter in the dog's hair. Because Shih Tzu are well known for their long, luscious locks, it is important to keep them shiny and beautiful.

Some groomers require you to sign a waiver that states your dog may look drastically different after the haircut. To prevent the groomer from having your dog's hair completely shaved off, constantly brush and groom your dog at home.

How to groom at home?

It is important to invest in a good pair of sharp grooming scissors or in a pair of good clippers that are easy to handle and cordless, to quickly snip through your dog's hair for a quick trim.

After brushing, inspect the following areas for further maintenance: paws, ears, tail, anus, and around the eyes. Trimming your dog on a regular basis will help him stay clean and healthy.

Additionally, if the dogs toenails are not worn down by taking walks, they should be trimmed once a month. It is time to check your dog's nails when you hear his footsteps as he walks on hard surfaces. If your dog's nails grow past the paws, the pressure may be extremely uncomfortable for your dog's feet. Be extremely cautious not to cut the flesh inside the nail, as it is extremely sensitive and your dog will start bleeding.

Owners should inspect the ears every week for any signs of wax build up, irritation, or infection. To clean the ears, cleanse with water before applying cleanser. Their teeth should also be brushed weekly to prevent gum disease and tartar buildup.

How to tackle Bad breath?

If your dog has bad breath, it is likely that it is a sign of gum disease and tartar. Owners should not depend on chew toys and hard foods to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. It may take some work, but what is most important is your dog to be healthy.

If your dog is unaccustomed to brushing, you can also use tooth wipes to get your dog used to you taking care of his teeth, mouth, and gums. You can find many toothbrushes that are made for dogs specifically at your local pet store.

Your dog will enjoy the toothpaste's scent, and the paste will help remove any plaque from his teeth. It is best to brush your dog's teeth weekly, and make annual appointments with the vet for get his teeth cleaned professionally.

To clean the teeth, adjust the lips with your fingers and brush the teeth after applying toothpaste onto the brush. Keep in mind the teeth towards the back, as they are usually worse than those in the front. If you see the slightest sign of gum disease or infection, make an appointment right away.

How to maintain the Shih Tzu coat?

To maintain its luscious coats, Shih Tzu should be bathed every three weeks. The best way to bathe them to minimize tangles is as follows: Apply the shampoo in a downwards motion on the coat after it is wet, and continue to distribute the shampoo evenly.

Make sure to rinse the coat thoroughly, and lower the temperature down for the last rinse to remove excess product. Afterwards, use a dry towel to eliminate any water from the hair, ears, legs, and face. Using a downward motion is the best option to keep the coat from creating tangles and mats.

Next, remove any stray hairs that stick out, and make sure not to trim excessively. Use a light mist of hair hydrating spray to keep the coat nice and neat. Owners can also make an adorable ponytail by parting from the outside corner of the eye on both sides, and across the skull. Take a couple hairs from the back section and pull them to create a poof, using hair gel and spray to hold it in place.

Check the eyes

Keep in mind that most Shih Tzu have smelly faces due to stains from food and water. They also have tear stains that accumulate beneath the eyes. Their eyes are large and easily irritated, constantly secreting tears that will make the hair under the eyes wet, smelly, and brown in color. Some dogs like to wipe tear stains on bed sheets or carpets, so it is easy for the smell to linger in the house. The best solution to tear stains is to keep the hair below the eyes short.

Don't forget to...

While it is a lot of work to keep your Shih Tzu well groomed, it is very important in the long run to keep both you and your dog happy and healthy. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and all the hard work will definitely pay off in the end.

AUTHOR

Adam Conrad is the author of The Shih Tzu Expert. He is a passionate writer and a dad of 5 Shih Tzu pups. He loves to write about Dog grooming products like clippers & brushes, grooming tips, and techniques.



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