Keiko Shih Tzu

The Basics of Shih Tzu Grooming
March 13, 2013, 3:52 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: ,

Is it the Shih Tzu’s flowing locks of gold and white that made you fall in love with him? The Chinese emperors probably had an entire army of servants who did nothing but comb their dogs, because even one day without grooming and that coat can become a tangled mess.

Fortunately, the long coat is mostly seen in the show ring; retired champions and house pets mostly sport a short puppy clip. Some pet owners can do it themselves with a pair of scissors (difficult) or electric clippers, but keeping your Shih Tzu beautiful and free of mats and skin problems often requires regular professional grooming as well as daily combing at home. Tools you’ll need include a wire pin brush and a stainless steel comb with fine and coarse teeth.

Many Shih Tzu puppies who are approaching a year old tend to change coat; during this period they shed so profusely that you wouldn’t think it possible if you didn’t see it. Keep brushing daily, if not more often, through the change. Thankfully this is a short-term condition that lasts only about three weeks.

The coat is easier to care for after it changes. How much you need to brush or comb a Shih Tzu depends greatly on the texture of his particular coat. Some require daily care, and some need it only once a week. A softer coat gets matted more quickly — even more so if it is thick. A dirty coat will also mat quickly.

Bathe your Shih Tzu as often as you like, but be sure to comb out any tangles before you bathe him. They will tighten up when they get wet. Blow-dry the coat thoroughly to keep your Shih Tzu from getting chilled.

Comb the moustache and topknot daily. A puppy will have enough hair for a topknot when he is about 5 months old. Use a latex band sold at dog shows or good pet supply stores to tie the topknot. Rubber bands will break the hair.

The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Clean the inner corners of the eyes daily with a damp washcloth to minimize staining. To keep the hind end clean, trim the fur around the anus. Brush the teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

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