How to Groom a Shih Tzu: A Comprehensive Guide for Shih Tzu Owners

how to groom a shih tzu

Introduction:How to Groom a Shih Tzuhow to groom a shih tzu

Owning a Shih Tzu is responsible for ensuring their well-being, including proper grooming. Grooming your Shih Tzu is essential not only for their appearance but also for their overall health and happiness. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of grooming a Shih Tzu, from brushing its luxurious coat to trimming its nails and maintaining its hygiene.

Understanding the Shih Tzu Breed

Before diving into the grooming process, it is essential to understand the unique characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed. Shih Tzus has long, flowing hair that requires regular care to prevent matting and tangling. Their coats can come in various colors and patterns, making them a visually stunning breed. Additionally, Shih Tzus have a friendly and playful disposition, making grooming sessions a bonding experience for both the owner and the dog.

Preparing for the Grooming Session

To ensure a successful grooming session, gathering all the necessary grooming tools beforehand is crucial. These tools include a slicker brush, a comb with wide and narrow teeth, dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner, cotton balls, ear cleaning solution, nail clippers, and styptic powder. Having these tools ready will make the grooming process smoother and more efficient.

Brushing the Shih Tzu Coat

Regular brushing is vital for maintaining the Shih Tzu’s coat and preventing matting. Start by using a slicker brush to remove any tangles or loose hair. Follow up with a comb to work through the coat and detangle any remaining knots. Be gentle and patient during the process to avoid causing any discomfort to your Shih Tzu.

Bathing Your Shih Tzu

Bathing is an essential part of Shih Tzu grooming. Use a dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner suitable for their specific coat type. Wet your Shih Tzu thoroughly, apply the shampoo, and massage it gently into the coat. Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly, ensuring no residue is left behind. Apply the conditioner and leave it on for the recommended time before rinsing it off thoroughly.

Drying and Blow-Drying Techniques

After the bath, it’s essential to dry your Shih Tzu thoroughly to prevent skin issues. Use a towel to remove excess moisture, then use a hairdryer on a low or relaxed setting to dry the coat thoroughly. Ensure the hairdryer is not too close to your Shih Tzu skin to avoid overheating or causing discomfort.

Trimming the Shih Tzu’s Nails

Regular nail trimming is necessary to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Use dog-specific nail clippers and trim the nails carefully, avoiding cutting into the quick. If you accidentally cut the quick, apply styptic powder to stop bleeding. Take breaks during the process if your Shih Tzu becomes anxious or restless.

Cleaning the Shih Tzu’s Ears

Shih Tzus are prone to ear infections, so regular ear cleaning is crucial. Use a dog-friendly ear-cleaning solution and moistened cotton balls to clean the outer ear gently. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal to prevent injury. If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, consult your veterinarian.

Brushing the Shih Tzu’s Teeth

Dental hygiene is essential for your Shih Tzu’s overall health. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to brush their teeth regularly. Start slowly, introducing the toothbrush gradually to make your Shih Tzu comfortable with the process. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth and use gentle, circular motions.

Maintaining Facial Hair

Shih Tzus have long facial hair that requires special attention. Use a small comb or fingers to brush the hair away from their eyes, ensuring clear vision. Consider using a dog-safe hair tie or trimming the hair around the eyes to prevent irritation. Regularly check for any eye discharge and gently clean it using a damp cloth.

Dealing with Tear Stains

Tear stains are common in Shih Tzus due to their prominent eyes. To minimize tear stains, gently clean the area around the eyes using a damp cloth or a specialized tear stain remover. Avoid using bleach or hydrogen peroxide products, as they can irritate your Shih Tzu’s eyes.

Also Read:

Shih Tzu Black And White: Characteristics, Care, and Health Considerations

Handling Eye Care

Shih Tzus are prone to eye issues, such as dryness or corneal ulcers. Regularly check their eyes for signs of redness, discharge, or cloudiness. If you notice abnormalities, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Anal Gland Expression

Anal gland expression is a necessary process to prevent discomfort and potential infections. If you are unfamiliar with this procedure, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian to learn the correct technique. Regularly checking and expressing the anal glands can help maintain your Shih Tzu’s comfort.

Styling and Trimming the Shih Tzu’s Coat

Consider professional styling or trimming every few months to keep your Shih Tzu coat looking its best. Consult a professional groomer specializing in Shih Tzu grooming to achieve the desired style while maintaining the coat’s health. Regular trimming helps prevent matting and tangling.

how to groom a shih tzu

Tips for Handling Matting and Tangles

Matting and tangles can occur in a Shih Tzu coat, especially in areas with longer hair. Regular brushing and combing will help prevent these issues. If you encounter matting, be patient and gently work through it using your fingers or a mat splitter. Avoid pulling or tugging, as it can cause discomfort or pain to your Shih Tzu.


Grooming a Shih Tzu is a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. Regular grooming sessions keep your Shih Tzu looking their best and promote their overall health and well-being. Following the step-by-step guide in this article, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu receives the care they deserve.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How often should I groom my Shih Tzu?

Grooming your Shih Tzu at least once every 4-6 weeks is recommended.

Can I use human shampoo on my Shih Tzu?

Human shampoo is unsuitable for dogs as it can cause skin irritation. Use a dog-specific shampoo.

How can I prevent tear stains on my Shih Tzu?

Regularly clean the area around the eyes and avoid using products with harsh chemicals.

Should I trim my Shih Tzu’s hair around the paws?

Trimming hair around the paws helps maintain cleanliness and prevents matting.

Can I groom my Shih Tzu at home or seek professional help?

While you can groom your Shih Tzu at home, seeking professional help for styling and trimming is recommended for the best results.