The Shih Tzu is a wonderful looking toy breed. He looks lovely whether he is full coated or regularly clipped. A clipped dog is so much easier to maintain in a pet home though, so however your own Shih Tzu wears his hair, stick around for everything you will need to know about how to groom a Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzu Coat Type
If he is full coated, usually for dog shows, his long silky hair touches the ground when the Shih Tzu is standing.The hair is long, non-shedding and silky.
This coat type is great for people with allergies because the lack of hair loss accompanies a general lack of dander released into the dog’s environment. Dander is dead skin cells and it is generally these tiny culprits that cause allergic reaction in people.
Because the dog cannot maintain his own coat and the hair will not shed Shih Tzu grooming in a pet home is non-negotiable. An unkempt dog of this breed will not be able to see, his hair will become a mass of tangles and eventually the little dog would become one big knot. This would impair his walking and cause a lot of skin infection underneath the hair.
So unless you show your Shih Tzu or intend spending a couple, or three, twenty minute sessions a day grooming him then a Shih Tzu is better off wearing his coat clipped short.
Professional Shih Tzu Grooming
Most dog breeds Shih Tzu wear their coats clipped. It is short and easy to manage that way. They need clipping from a few months old as their adult coat has taken over and all the puppy fluff has gone. Then, depending on how often you brush him at home, your Shih Tzu will need clipping every two to three months after that.
As long as the dog is introduced to a groomer early on he will quite enjoy the attention of a bath and clip. Like everything else there are good and bad dog groomers. If your young dog has a bad experience early on then he will never forget it.
When you are looking for someone to groom him ask people for recommendations. You need someone kind and gentle with the dog. Your veterinary surgery, or other dog owners, may recommend someone good in your area.
A professional groomer will offer you a choice of clip types. A common one is to keep the dog clipped in the style his puppy hair grew naturally. You can decide which is the most suitable for you on your dog’s first appointment.
The groomer will also cut your dog’s nails, clean his teeth, pluck any stray hair from inside his ears and let you know if there are any health concerns.
Shih Tzu Grooming at Home
Whether your dog is groomed by a professional, or not, then it is still beneficial to carry out grooming sessions at home.
If you have a new puppy, or are getting one soon, it is vital that you start grooming him from day one. This will make life so much easier as he grows.
By grooming your Shih Tzu puppy from the day you bring him home, even though he does not need it, you are conditioning his mind. The puppy is learning that being brushed and checked all over is normal. A puppy who is handled well from day one will rarely, if ever, protest at being handled later in his life.
If you have ever met a dog that growls and displays threats when being handled, has to wear a muzzle at the vets. One is difficult to check over, and brush, you can be almost certain that the dog was not handled regularly as a puppy.
So every day, or as often as possible, it is important to spend handling and grooming time with your dog. Shih Tzu grooming is so much more than just a nice coat.
How to Groom a Shih Tzu at Home
An easy routine each day will not take more than five or ten minutes. It will be great for your relationship and your dog’s well-being.
• First of all check your dog’s eyes. Look for swelling and soreness. The Shih Tzu eyes are sensitive and often run down onto the hair on his face causing staining. This is usually not a health problem; it can just look a bit mucky. You can get shampoo for staining, it depends if it bothers you.
• At some point you may need to trim your dog’s fringe or feet. So even if you don’t need to at the moment get the scissors out and snip the air around your dog. Then when you need to actually trim it won’t be a big deal.
• Check his ears for excess discharge and have a sniff of them. Bad smelling ears can indicate infection or ear mites which need to be treated by the vet.
• Check his teeth and gums for swelling. Brushing his teeth is a good idea too; most veterinary surgeries sell dog toothpaste and brushes. Canine dental care is becoming common as it prevents tartar build up later on in the dog’s life.
• Comb his body throughout.
• Lift each of his paws up and pretend to snip his nails with clippers. It is all good practice for nail clipping time.
• Check the anus area for swelling. The Shih Tzu dog has two glands, one either side of his anus, which hold fluid. These glands can become impacted and even infected. If this happens the vet will be able to empty them for you.
And that’s it. Make it fun, give him treats if you need to, and keep the entire process relaxed. Grooming and handling will soon be a usual part of your dog’s routine.
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