Shih Tzus may be small, but don’t let that trick you into thinking they won’t require much grooming.
Unfortunately, the price you pay for having such a beautiful dog with a gorgeous, silky double coat, is they require daily attention to keep it that way.
Many owners turn to a professional dog groomer to provide a regular trim that will match their gorgeous personality. Others choose to cut their coat short, which means they lose some of their beauty but their grooming needs are less demanding.
In between cuts, you may need to regularly trim their facial hair which, if left unchecked, can irritate their sensitive eyes.
Your grooming schedule should include a brush and a comb, to remove dead hair and reduce matting, a bath once a week, dental hygiene, ear inspections/cleansing and nail clipping.
Their ears provide the perfect environment for bacteria, so you must also regularly check their ears for signs of infection which could be redness, sores, or bad odour. Gently wash their ear with a cotton wall bud and cleaning solution, but to avoid damaging the ear canal, only clean areas you can see.
Their faces require more attention than other breeds as they can quickly get dirty and cause irritation and infection. Keep them clean by regularly wiping them with a clean cloth and warm water.
Like many small breeds, they’re particularly prone to dental issues, so you should brush their teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and bacteria. If you can, daily brushing is even better to prevent gum disease. When grooming them, you should also check for any signs of infection which can include redness of the gums and bleeding.
Plan to trim their nails once or twice a month, but always bear in mind that if you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long and should be cut immediately. Not only does trimming the nails keep their paws in good condition, it also protects you, your family, and your furniture when they jump up.
As you will be grooming regularly through their whole life, it’s a good idea to get them used to it from a very young age and make it a pleasurable experience for both of you. Shower them in praise, don’t be rough with them, and reward them for good behaviour.