The Top 10 Essential Tools for Grooming Your Shih Tzu

As a shih tzu owner, you are probably aware of the importance of regular grooming for your furry friend. But with so many grooming tools available in the market, it can be perplexing to choose the right ones for your shih tzu. A good set of grooming tools not only keeps your pet looking great, but also helps maintain their health and happiness. In this article, we will explore the ten essential grooming tools for your shih tzu and provide step-by-step instructions on how to use them effectively. By the end, you will be a grooming pro and your shih tzu will be the envy of all their furry friends!

Grooming Tools for Your Shih Tzu

Grooming Tools For Your Shih Tzu
As a responsible Shih Tzu owner, it is essential to keep your furry companion well-groomed to maintain their overall health and appearance. Grooming your Shih Tzu not only keeps them clean but also promotes healthy skin and coat, prevents mats and tangles, and improves circulation. To help you achieve this goal, we have compiled a list of 10 essential grooming tools that will make your task easier and more efficient. Each tool plays a vital role in the grooming process, allowing you to keep your Shih Tzu looking and feeling their best. Whether you are a seasoned dog owner or a first-time Shih Tzu parent, these tools will help you provide the best care for your furry friend.

1. Brush

Regular brushing is essential to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy and shiny. Brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat helps to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris, and it also helps to distribute natural oils throughout the coat, which will keep it moisturized and prevent it from becoming dry or brittle. Use a slicker brush or a pin brush to brush your Shih Tzu’s coat. These brushes are gentle on your dog’s coat and can effectively remove tangles, mats, and loose hair.

When brushing your Shih Tzu, make sure to start at the head and work your way down to the tail. Brush in the direction of hair growth, and be sure to pay extra attention to the areas where tangles and mats are most likely to occur, like behind the ears, under the arms, and on the legs. And if you come across any mats or tangles during the brushing process, gently work them out with a mat splitter or a dematting comb to prevent discomfort for your dog.

Regular brushings can also make bath time easier for both you and your dog. By regularly brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat, you will help to prevent mats and tangles from forming, which can be difficult to remove during bath time. To learn more about how to bathe your Shih Tzu and the best shampoos and conditioners to use for their coat health, check out our bathing guide and our list of the best shampoos and conditioners for Shih Tzu coat health.

In addition to brushing, regular trimming and grooming is also necessary to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat in great condition. To learn more about common grooming mistakes to avoid and get some helpful tips for successful Shih Tzu grooming, check our grooming tips page.

2. Comb

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, a comb is just as important as a brush. While the brush is great for removing loose fur and preventing mats, the comb is necessary for detecting and removing any tangles or stubborn mats that the brush may have missed.

Types of Combs

There are several types of combs available for grooming your Shih Tzu, each with its own unique purpose. One of the most commonly used combs is the flea comb, which is designed to remove fleas, flea eggs, and debris from your dog’s coat. The teeth on this comb are very close together, making it easy to catch anything that’s hiding in your dog’s fur.

Another type of comb that’s great for grooming your Shih Tzu is the slicker comb. This comb has fine, short wires close together and is ideal for removing mats and tangles. It’s important to use this comb gently when dealing with tangles, as it can be uncomfortable or even painful for your dog if you’re not careful.

How to Use a Comb

Using a comb on your Shih Tzu is a fairly straightforward process, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your dog. Make sure you begin combing at the head and work your way down to the tail. This will help you avoid any tangles or mats that may be hiding under your dog’s legs or belly.

Be gentle when combing, particularly if you encounter a tangle or mat. Use your fingers to gently separate the hairs before attempting to comb through the tangle. This will help prevent any discomfort for your furry friend. If you run into a stubborn mat, try using a mat splitter or clipping it out with scissors.

By incorporating a comb into your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine, you’ll help prevent mats and tangles, and keep their coat looking shiny and healthy.

For more tips on Shih Tzu grooming, check out our Shih Tzu grooming tips page.

3. Mat Splitter

Matting in Shih Tzus is a common problem that can cause skin irritations and infections if left unaddressed. Matting occurs when the dog’s hair becomes tangled and knots together, forming a tight mat. A mat splitter is an essential tool for grooming your Shih Tzu and preventing matting.

A mat splitter is designed to gently cut through the mat, separating it without pulling or tugging on the dog’s skin. This tool has a small, curved blade that fits between the skin and tangled hair, making it easier to cut the mat without harming your dog.

Using a mat splitter requires some skill and patience, so it is best to watch a tutorial to avoid injuring your dog. Always use your other hand to hold the hair above the mat to prevent accidentally cutting your dog’s skin. It is also important to know that mat splitting is not a substitute for grooming the dog regularly.

To prevent matting, you should groom your Shih Tzu regularly, ideally once a day. Regular brushing, combing, and use of detangling sprays and conditioners can help prevent mats from forming. However, mats can still form despite your best efforts. If you encounter a stubborn mat, use the mat splitter to gently cut through it before it becomes too tight and uncomfortable for your dog.

If your Shih Tzu has severe matting or you are unsure how to use a mat splitter safely, it is best to seek the help of a professional groomer. They have the experience, tools, and techniques necessary to safely and effectively remove mats without causing injury.

For more information on Shih Tzu grooming tips, check out our articles on Shih Tzu mats and tangles and Shih Tzu summer and winter grooming tips. Additionally, you may also want to read our article on ear cleaning for Shih Tzu health and the recommended frequency for Shih Tzu teeth brushing.

4. Scissors

Scissors are one of the essential tools for grooming your Shih Tzu. Regular trimming of your dog’s hair is necessary to maintain hygiene and prevent matting. It is crucial to invest in a good quality pair of scissors to ensure safety and precision while grooming.

When purchasing scissors, choose the one that is specifically designed for cutting dog’s hair. Never use regular scissors as they can cause injuries and uneven cuts. There are two main types of scissors required for Shih Tzu grooming: straight scissors and curved scissors.

Straight scissors are used to cut long hair while curved scissors are used to shape the hair around the body, legs, and feet. It is essential to keep the scissors sharp to prevent hair pulling or tugging, which could be painful for your dog.

When using the scissors, make sure your Shih Tzu is calm and relaxed. Hold the hair between your fingers and slowly trim the hair at the tips. Avoid cutting too much hair at once, as it could lead to uneven cuts. Take your time to achieve the desired style, and don’t rush the process.

If you are unsure about grooming your Shih Tzu’s hair yourself, it is advisable to seek professional help. A professional groomer will give your dog a perfect haircut while ensuring safety and avoiding discomfort.

To learn about different Shih Tzu haircut styles, check out our article: Shih Tzu Haircut Styles.

5. Nail Clippers

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s nails trimmed and neat is an essential aspect of their grooming routine. Properly trimmed nails prevent discomfort and pain to your furry friend, and also protect your floors and furniture from accidental scratches.

When looking for the perfect nail clipper, you have two main options: guillotine and scissor clippers. Guillotine clippers are the more traditional option, while scissor clippers have a more ergonomic design for easier handling.

Here are some of the best nail clippers for your Shih Tzu:

  • Safari Professional Nail Trimmer: This guillotine clipper has a sharp precision blade and non-slip grip for easy handling. It also comes in a range of sizes to fit your Shih Tzu’s specific nail thickness.
  • Millers Forge Stainless Steel Dog Nail Clipper: This scissor clipper is made from high-quality stainless steel and features a safety stop to prevent over-cutting your dog’s nails.
  • Epica Professional Pet Nail Clipper: With its unique angled blade, this scissor clipper allows for a more natural cutting angle and provides added comfort for both you and your Shih Tzu.
  • Boshel Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer: These guillotine clippers come with a safety stop and a built-in filer to smooth out any rough edges after clipping. They also feature easy-grip handles for added control and precision.

When it comes to trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have plenty of lighting to clearly see the quick (the pink-colored area in the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels).
  • Use caution when cutting near the quick, and trim small portions of the nail at a time to avoid accidentally causing pain or injury.
  • If you accidentally cut into the quick and your dog starts bleeding, use styptic powder (which you should also have on hand) to help stop the bleeding.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to reward your furry friend for their cooperation during the nail trimming process.

By choosing the right nail clippers for your Shih Tzu and following these helpful tips, you can make the nail trimming process much easier and less stressful for both you and your furry friend.

6. Styptic Powder

Styptic powder is an essential tool to have on hand when grooming your Shih Tzu. It is a special type of powder that helps stop bleeding in case you accidentally nick your dog’s quick while trimming their nails. The quick is a vein that runs through the nail, and if cut, it can cause bleeding and pain for your furry friend.

Here are some reasons why styptic powder is a must-have grooming tool for your Shih Tzu:

  • Quick and Effective: Styptic powder works quickly to stop bleeding by coagulating the blood. It is easy to use and takes only a few seconds to apply.
  • Safe and Natural: Most styptic powders are made from natural ingredients like clay and water, making them safe for your pet. They also do not contain any harmful chemicals that could irritate your Shih Tzu’s skin.
  • Multi-Purpose: Styptic powder can also be used to stop bleeding from small cuts and wounds on your Shih Tzu’s skin. It is a versatile tool that can come in handy in many different situations.
  • Economical: Styptic powder is an affordable grooming tool that can save you money on vet bills. Instead of taking your Shih Tzu to the vet to stop bleeding, you can easily do it yourself at home.

Styptic powder is a crucial tool to have in your grooming kit. Accidents can happen while grooming, and styptic powder can provide quick and effective relief for your furry friend. Always use caution when trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, but rest easy knowing you have styptic powder on hand just in case.

7. Dog-Specific Shampoo

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, using the right shampoo is of utmost importance. Regular human shampoo or soap can strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils, making it dry and brittle. That’s why it’s essential to use a dog-specific shampoo.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • pH Balance: Dogs have a different pH level than humans, and using human shampoo can disrupt the natural pH balance of their skin. Dog-specific shampoos are formulated to match the pH level of a dog’s skin, ensuring their coat remains healthy and shiny.
  • Ingredients: Most dog shampoos are made with natural ingredients that are gentle on your pet’s skin. They are usually free from harsh chemicals, parabens, sulfates, and artificial colors or fragrances, which can irritate your dog’s skin.
  • Specific Needs: Dogs have different grooming needs, and some may require a specialized shampoo to address certain issues like dry skin, allergies, or fleas and ticks. Dog-specific shampoos are tailored to address these specific needs, making it easier for you to maintain your dog’s coat health.

So, how do you choose the right dog shampoo for your Shih Tzu?

There are numerous dog shampoos available in the market, and choosing the right one for your pet can be perplexing. Here are a few things you should consider when buying dog-specific shampoo:

  • Coat Type: Shih Tzus have long, flowing hair that requires regular grooming. Choose a shampoo that is specifically formulated for long-haired dogs to prevent tangling, matting, and to maintain the hair’s shine and texture.
  • Sensitivity: If your pet has sensitive skin or allergies, it’s important to choose a hypoallergenic dog shampoo that is free of irritants and allergens. Look for shampoos that contain oatmeal or aloe vera, which are gentle on the skin.
  • Fleas and Ticks: If your Shih Tzu spends a lot of time outdoors, choose a shampoo that is formulated to repel fleas and ticks. These shampoos usually contain natural insecticides like neem oil or pyrethrin, which are safe for your pet but effective in repelling pests.

Using the right dog shampoo is crucial to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat health and overall well-being. Be sure to choose a high-quality dog-specific shampoo that meets your pet’s grooming needs, and you’ll have a happy, healthy, and clean Shih Tzu.

8. Conditioner

Conditioner is an essential grooming tool for your Shih Tzu. It helps to keep their coat soft, shiny, and silky smooth. Below are some important points to keep in mind when choosing and using conditioner for your furry friend.

  • Choose a conditioner meant for dogs: It is important to use a conditioner that is specifically formulated for dogs. Human products can be too harsh and cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in dogs.
  • Consider your Shih Tzu’s coat type: There are different types of dog conditioners available for different coat types. If your Shih Tzu has a long or curly coat, look for a conditioner that is designed for such coats. Similarly, if your Shih Tzu has sensitive skin, choose a hypoallergenic conditioner.
  • Dilute the conditioner: Before applying the conditioner, dilute it with water as directed on the bottle. This will ensure that the conditioner spreads evenly throughout your Shih Tzu’s coat and is easier to rinse out.
  • Apply the conditioner: Once you have diluted the conditioner, apply it on your Shih Tzu’s coat. Be sure to cover the entire coat from the neck to the tail. Gently massage the conditioner into their fur with your fingers, making sure to avoid their eyes and ears.
  • Leave in for the recommended time: Most dog conditioners require a specific amount of time to be left in the coat to work their magic. Check the instructions on the bottle and leave the conditioner in for the recommended time.
  • Rinse thoroughly: Once the recommended time is up, rinse your Shih Tzu’s coat with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Be sure to rinse all the conditioner out to prevent any product buildup on their coat.
  • Dry your Shih Tzu’s coat: Use a towel to gently pat your Shih Tzu dry after the bath. Avoid rubbing vigorously as this can lead to tangles or mats in their coat. You can also use a hair dryer on a low setting to dry their coat, but be sure to keep it at a good distance from their skin to prevent burns.

Keeping these points in mind will help you choose and use the right conditioner for your Shih Tzu, keeping their coat healthy and silky smooth.

9. Ear Cleaner

Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their grooming routine. While they may not enjoy having their ears cleaned, regular ear cleaning can prevent ear infections and catch any issues early on. To make the process easier, having a good ear cleaner on hand is important. Here are some options to consider:

Ear CleanerKey Features
Zymox Ear SolutionContains enzymes to destroy bacteria, fungi, and yeast
Vet’s Best Ear Relief WashNatural ingredients such as chamomile and yucca to soothe irritation
NaturVet Ear Wash with Tea Tree OilTea tree oil helps to soothe and relieve itching
Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear CleanerGentle enough for regular use, with a drying agent to help prevent infections

When selecting an ear cleaner for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to check the ingredients and look for any potential allergens. Your veterinarian can also provide recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs. Remember to use a gentle touch when cleaning the ears and never insert anything too far into the ear canal. With the right ear cleaner and technique, you can keep your Shih Tzu’s ears clean and healthy.

10. Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Maintaining your Shih Tzu’s dental hygiene is critical for their overall health and well-being. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems. Using a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs is an essential part of your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine.

Here are some tips on selecting the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your Shih Tzu:

  • Choose the right toothbrush: You should select a toothbrush that is specifically designed for small-breed dogs like Shih Tzus. A toothbrush with soft bristles will be gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums.
  • Choose the right toothpaste: Never use human toothpaste on your Shih Tzu, as it can be harmful to them. Look for dog-specific toothpaste that is formulated to clean and freshen your dog’s breath, and is safe for them to swallow.
  • Start slowly: If your Shih Tzu is not used to having their teeth brushed, start slowly by introducing them to the toothbrush and toothpaste gradually. Start by letting them lick the toothpaste off your finger, so they can get used to the taste and texture.
  • Be gentle: Always be gentle when brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth to avoid hurting their gums. Use a circular motion to clean their teeth, and be sure to reach all areas of their mouth.
  • Brush regularly: Regular brushing is key to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s dental hygiene. Aim to brush their teeth at least twice a week to prevent tartar and plaque buildup.

Incorporating toothbrushing into your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine may take some patience and practice, but it is well worth the effort. By taking care of your dog’s dental hygiene, you’ll help them maintain healthy teeth and gums, which can contribute to their overall health and happiness.

How to Groom Your Shih Tzu

How To Groom Your Shih Tzu
Grooming your Shih Tzu may sound like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry companion. In this section, we will take a closer look at the step-by-step process of grooming your Shih Tzu, from brushing their fur to cleaning their ears and teeth. Follow these simple yet effective tips to keep your pup looking and feeling their very best. So grab your tools and let’s get grooming!

1. Start with Brushing

Before delving into the actual grooming process, it’s important to note the significance of starting with a good brushing session. Brushing not only removes any tangles or mats in your Shih Tzu’s fur, but it also helps distribute their natural oils and promotes a healthy and shiny coat. Here are some tips to get started with brushing your furry friend:

Step 1Choose the right brush for your Shih Tzu’s coat. There are different types of brushes available depending on the length and thickness of their fur. A slicker brush is commonly used for Shih Tzus with longer coats, whereas a pin brush works best for those with shorter coats.
Step 2Start brushing at the head and work your way down. Be gentle and use long strokes to avoid pulling on their fur or hurting the skin. Don’t forget to brush their tail, belly, and legs too.
Step 3Focus on any tangles or mats you come across. Use a mat splitter, if necessary, to gently remove any mats without cutting or pulling your Shih Tzu’s hair.
Step 4Check their ears for any tangles or mats as well. Use a comb to carefully untangle any hair around their ears but be extra gentle as their skin is sensitive in this area.
Step 5End the brushing session with a pat on the head and maybe a treat, so your Shih Tzu will associate grooming time as a positive experience.

Remember, the brushing process is essential for keeping your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy, shiny, and mat-free. Set aside some time each day to groom your furry friend and eliminate any tangles and mats that can cause discomfort or even lead to skin irritation.

2. Tackle Those Mats

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, tackling mats can be a challenging task. Mats occur when the fur becomes tangled and matted up, causing discomfort to your furry friend. However, it’s essential to deal with these mats as they can lead to skin irritation and other health issues.

Here are some steps to help you tackle those mats:

  • Step 1: Start by combing through the fur with a slicker brush. This will help loosen any tangles and make it easier to detect mats. Be gentle and use a detangling spray if needed.
  • Step 2: Use a mat splitter to cut through the mat carefully. Be careful not to cut through the skin or pull the fur, as this can be painful for your Shih Tzu. You can also use scissors if the mat splitter isn’t cutting it, but be cautious.
  • Step 3: Continue combing and brushing through the fur, focusing on the area where the mat was to prevent it from happening again. Use a dematting tool or slicker brush to loosen any remaining tangles.
  • Step 4: If your Shih Tzu has large mats or several mats throughout the body, it’s best to seek a professional groomer’s help. They have the right tools and experience to groom your pup safely and efficiently.

Remember to be patient and gentle while dealing with mats. Don’t rush the process as it can be unpleasant and cause stress to your dog. Using positive reinforcement techniques can also help, such as rewarding your pup with treats or a favorite toy.

3. Trim Those Locks

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s locks trimmed is an important step in their grooming routine. Not only will it keep them looking neat and tidy, but it also helps in maintaining their hygiene. Here are the steps on how to trim those locks:

Step 1: Get the Right Tools
Before you can start trimming, you’ll need the right tools. A pair of sharp scissors and preferably a clipper are essential. Make sure they are specific to dog grooming and not human hair.

Step 2: Brush and Comb it Out
Brush and comb your Shih Tzu’s hair thoroughly. This will ensure that there are no tangles or mats that could cause issues while trimming. Make sure you’re using the tools mentioned in the previous section.

Step 3: Start with the Face
Trimming the face is probably the most challenging part. You want to trim the hair around the eyes so that it’s not poking them, but still leave enough to give them that adorable Shih Tzu look. Gently trim the hair around the eyes and the beard.

Step 4: Trim Around the Ears
Trim around your Shih Tzu’s ears to keep them looking neat. Use scissors to give them a rounded shape so they don’t look too jagged.

Step 5: Trim the Body Hair
Trim the body hair to make it a bit more manageable. Use scissors to cut the hair to your desired length. You can also use a clipper if you prefer a shorter cut.

Step 6: Trim the Legs and Paws
Trim the hair on your Shih Tzu’s legs and paws to give them a clean look. Use scissors to trim the hair to the desired length while being careful not to cut the skin.

Step 7: Finish with Thinning Shears
Use thinning shears to blend the newly trimmed hair with the longer hair. This will give your Shih Tzu an even more polished look.

By following these steps, you’ll have a perfectly trimmed and groomed Shih Tzu. Don’t forget to reward your pup with lots of love and treats for their good behavior during grooming.

4. Clip the Nails

Trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails is an essential part of their grooming routine. Overgrown nails can be painful for your furry friend and can also cause problems when walking. It’s important to ensure your Shih Tzu’s nails are maintained at a healthy length. Here are some tips on how to properly clip your Shih Tzu’s nails:

Tip 1:Choose the right nail clippers. There are different types of nail clippers available – guillotine, scissors, and pliers. Choose the one that you are most comfortable using.
Tip 2:Position your Shih Tzu correctly. It’s important to make sure your Shih Tzu is comfortable and secure while clipping their nails. You can have them sit or lie down, whatever is more comfortable for them.
Tip 3:Identify the quick. The quick is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Make sure you don’t cut the quick as it can cause bleeding and pain.
Tip 4:Make small cuts. Instead of trying to cut the nail in one go, it’s advisable to make small cuts. This not only makes it easier to avoid cutting the quick but also ensures a smooth edge on the nail.
Tip 5:File the nails. After clipping the nails, use a nail file to smoothen out the edges. This helps prevent the nails from becoming sharp and causing harm to your Shih Tzu.
Tip 6:Reward your Shih Tzu. Once you’ve finished clipping your Shih Tzu’s nails, reward them with plenty of love and treats. This helps to create a positive association with nail clipping and makes the experience less stressful for them.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu’s nails are clipped safely and correctly. If you’re unsure about clipping your Shih Tzu’s nails yourself, you can always take them to a professional groomer or a veterinarian to get it done. Remember, proper nail care is an important part of your Shih Tzu’s overall health and wellbeing.

5. Clean the Ears

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, keeping their ears clean is an essential part of the process. Without proper attention, your furry friend may develop ear infections and other related health issues. In this section, we will discuss the necessary tools and steps to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears and keep them healthy.

The Tools You Need

Before you clean your Shih Tzu’s ears, you must gather the necessary tools. These include:

Cotton ballsTo clean and dry the ear canal
Dog-specific ear cleanerTo remove dirt and wax from the ear canal
TweezersTo remove any hair that may be blocking the ear canal

It’s crucial to use dog-specific ear cleaner as human ear cleaning solutions contain ingredients that may irritate your Shih Tzu’s ears and cause more harm than good.

How to Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears may seem daunting, but with these step-by-step instructions, you will find it an easy task.

1. Begin by holding your Shih Tzu securely to avoid making them feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
2. Soak a cotton ball in the ear cleaner, and gently squeeze a few drops into your Shih Tzu’s ear canal.
3. Gently massage the base of the ear for about twenty seconds to help the solution loosen any dirt or wax.
4. Allow your Shih Tzu to shake their head; this helps the solution reach deeper parts of the ear canal.
5. Using a cotton ball, gently wipe the inside of the ear to remove any dirt and wax. Be careful not to push debris and wax toward the eardrum, which may cause damage.
6. Use tweezers to remove any hair that may be blocking the ear canal. Be gentle not to pull too hard, as this may cause discomfort to your furry friend.
7. Repeat these steps on your Shih Tzu’s other ear.

When to Clean Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

As a general rule, it’s best to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears once every two to four weeks to keep them healthy and prevent wax buildup. However, if you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge, seek veterinary care immediately.


Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their grooming routine. With proper care and attention, you can prevent infections and ensure they have healthy and happy ears. Remember to use dog-specific ear cleaner, be gentle, and seek veterinary care if needed.

6. Brush Those Teeth

As important as it is to take care of the exterior of your Shih Tzu, it’s also important to take care of their teeth. Dental hygiene is important for dogs of all breeds, and Shih Tzus are no exception. The following tips will help you brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth effectively:

  • Start Slowly: If your Shih Tzu isn’t used to having their teeth brushed, start slowly. Let them sniff the toothbrush and toothpaste, and get familiar with the process. Try rubbing their gums with your finger first to get them comfortable with the sensation.
  • Use Dog-Specific Toothpaste: Never use human toothpaste on your dog, as it can be harmful to them. Dog-specific toothpaste has flavors that your dog will enjoy, such as chicken or beef, and is safe for them to swallow. Apply a pea-sized amount to the toothbrush.
  • Gently Scrub: With the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, gently scrub the teeth in a circular motion. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth, as that is where the most tartar buildup occurs. Be sure to avoid the gums, as this can cause discomfort for your dog.
  • Offer Rewards: After you’re done brushing, offer your Shih Tzu a reward, such as a treat or a gentle pat. This positive reinforcement will help them associate teeth brushing with good things.

Regular teeth brushing can help prevent dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. Aim to brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth at least a few times a week, if not daily. If you’re having trouble getting your Shih Tzu comfortable with teeth brushing, consult with a veterinarian for further guidance.

7. Rinse and Dry

After you have finished grooming your Shih Tzu, it’s important to rinse and dry them properly. Here are the steps you should follow for a successful rinse and dry:

  • Rinse: Use lukewarm water to rinse off all the shampoo and conditioner from your Shih Tzu’s fur. Be sure to get all the soap out, as leaving any behind can cause irritation or skin problems down the road.
  • Dry: Gently pat your Shih Tzu dry with a towel, being careful not to rub their fur too roughly. You can also use a blow dryer on a low, cool setting to speed up the drying process.
  • Avoid heat: Do not use a high heat setting on your blow dryer, as it can burn your Shih Tzu’s skin. Also, be sure to never leave your dog wet, as this can lead to skin issues and infections.
  • Brush: Once your Shih Tzu is completely dry, use a soft brush to comb through their fur. This will help remove any tangles or knots that may have formed during the bathing process.

Remember, proper rinse and dry procedures are essential for a healthy and happy Shih Tzu. By following these steps, you can help ensure your furry friend stays clean, comfortable, and looking their best.

Tips for Successful Shih Tzu Grooming

Grooming your Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend, but it can also be quite challenging. To help you achieve successful grooming results, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to keep in mind. With these tried-and-true strategies, you can ensure your Shih Tzu looks and feels their best after every grooming session. From starting young to incorporating positive reinforcement, these tips are essential for any Shih Tzu owner looking to master the art of grooming. So, grab your tools and let’s get started!

1. Start Young

It’s important to start grooming your Shih Tzu when they are young to help them become comfortable with the process. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Introduce grooming gradually: Start with short grooming sessions and gradually increase their length as your puppy becomes more comfortable.
  • Touch their paws frequently: This will help your Shih Tzu become accustomed to having their paws handled, making nail clipping easier in the future.
  • Handle their ears: Make sure to touch and handle their ears gently to help them become comfortable with the sensation. This will make cleaning their ears easier as they get older.
  • Brush their teeth: Get your puppy used to having their teeth brushed by providing them with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs.
  • Provide positive reinforcement: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise during grooming sessions to help them associate the experience with positive things.

By starting grooming when your Shih Tzu is young and following these tips, you can help them become comfortable with the grooming process and make it a positive experience for both you and your furry friend.

2. Be Gentle

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to be gentle, patient, and understanding. Your furry friend may not enjoy the process, and it’s important to avoid any unnecessary stress or discomfort. To help you be gentle during grooming, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use the Right Tools: Ensure you have the appropriate grooming tools, such as a slicker brush or mat splitter, to avoid pulling or tugging on your Shih Tzu’s fur.
  • Start Slow: If your Shih Tzu is new to grooming or sensitive to touch, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the length to build trust and comfortability.
  • Take Your Time: Rushing through grooming can lead to mistakes and increase the likelihood of causing discomfort or injury. Take your time and work slowly and deliberately.
  • Pay Attention to Body Language: Watch for signs of distress or discomfort, such as growling, snapping, or pulling away. If you notice this behavior, stop the grooming session and try again later or seek the assistance of a professional groomer.
  • Make it a Positive Experience: Reward your Shih Tzu with treats, praise, and cuddles during and after grooming. This will associate the experience with positive feelings and make it easier for future sessions.
  • Be Patient: Grooming your Shih Tzu can take time, especially if they have long, thick fur. Avoid frustration and stay calm throughout the process.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu’s grooming experience is as gentle, stress-free, and enjoyable as possible. Remember that grooming is an important aspect of keeping your pup healthy and happy, so don’t hesitate to seek help and advice from a professional groomer or your veterinarian to ensure you’re taking the best care of your furry friend.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a key aspect of successful grooming for your Shih Tzu. This means rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. This will make your dog more willing to cooperate during the grooming process. You can use a variety of rewards to reinforce good behavior, such as treats or toys.

Here are some examples of positive reinforcement techniques you can use during grooming:

Clicker TrainingA method of training that uses a device that makes a clicking sound to mark desired behavior, followed by a treat.When your Shih Tzu allows you to trim their nails, click the device and give them a treat.
Treat RewardsOffering a reward, such as a treat or toy, for good behavior during the grooming processWhen your Shih Tzu allows you to brush their fur, give them a treat.
Verbal PraiseUsing words of encouragement and praise to reinforce good behavior.When your Shih Tzu sits still during grooming, praise them with affectionate words and gentle petting.
Relaxation TechniquesUsing calming techniques, such as massage or aromatherapy, to keep your dog relaxed and calm during grooming.Use aromatherapy techniques such as diffusing lavender essential oils to calm your Shih Tzu during grooming sessions.

By using positive reinforcement techniques during grooming, your Shih Tzu will be more likely to cooperate during future grooming sessions. This will create a positive bonding experience between you and your beloved pet. Remember to be patient with your Shih Tzu and always reward good behavior.

4. Take Breaks If Needed

It is important to remember that grooming your Shih Tzu can be a long and tedious process. This can be a lot for both you and your pup to handle, so it’s essential to take breaks if needed. Do not rush the grooming process—a stressed-out pup will make the experience miserable for both of you. Here are some signs that it may be time to take a break:

  • Panting: Shih Tzus are prone to heat exhaustion, so if your pup is panting excessively, it’s time for a break. Give them some water and let them cool down before continuing.
  • Restlessness: If your pup can’t seem to sit still or is getting agitated, it’s time to take a break and let them calm down.
  • Squirming or Whimpering: If your Shih Tzu is squirming or whimpering, it could be a sign of discomfort or pain. If you notice this, stop immediately and assess the situation before continuing.
  • Fatigue: Grooming can be tiring for both you and your pup. If you notice your Shih Tzu getting tired, take a break to let them rest and recharge.

Remember, taking a break doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you’re being mindful of your pup’s needs and well-being. By taking breaks when needed, you’ll create a more positive and enjoyable grooming experience for both you and your furry friend.

5. Don’t Forget the Treats

It’s important to make grooming time a positive experience for your Shih Tzu, and one way to do that is by offering treats. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in creating a bond of trust with your pup and encouraging good behavior during grooming sessions. Here are some tips on integrating treats into your grooming routine:

  • Choose high-value treats: Pick treats that your Shih Tzu loves and doesn’t get often, such as small pieces of cheese or cooked chicken. This will make the experience even more rewarding for them.
  • Use treats as a distraction: If your Shih Tzu gets antsy during grooming, offer them a treat to distract and refocus them on the task at hand.
  • Offer treats as a reward: After completing a particularly challenging aspect of grooming, such as nail clipping, give your Shih Tzu a treat as a reward for their patience and good behavior.
  • Make it a game: Incorporate treat-giving into your grooming routine by asking your Shih Tzu to perform a trick, such as sitting still for a certain period of time, in exchange for a treat.
  • Don’t overdo it: Make sure to limit the number of treats you give your Shih Tzu during a grooming session to avoid overfeeding or causing an upset stomach.

Remember, grooming is an important part of maintaining your Shih Tzu’s health and happiness, and treats can make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend. Just be sure to choose the right treats and use them in moderation to avoid any negative effects.


After going through the above guide on the essential tools for grooming your Shih Tzu, it is clear that this process requires patience, care, and attention to detail. However, with the right tools and techniques, anyone can groom their furry friend at home.

Using a brush, comb, mat splitter, scissors, nail clippers, styptic powder, dog-specific shampoo, conditioner, ear cleaner, toothbrush, and toothpaste are all important to make sure that your Shih Tzu is groomed to perfection.

It is important to follow the step-by-step guide to grooming your Shih Tzu in order to ensure that you are doing it properly. Starting with brushing and tackling the mats before trimming the locks, clipping the nails, cleaning the ears, brushing the teeth, rinsing, and drying, will help you accomplish the job effectively.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind some tips for successful Shih Tzu grooming. Starting young, being gentle, using positive reinforcement, taking breaks if needed, and not forgetting the treats will help make the grooming process a breeze.

In conclusion, grooming your Shih Tzu can be a fun and rewarding experience for both owner and pet. With the right tools, techniques, and tips, you can keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best. Remember to always take the process slowly, be patient, and show your Shih Tzu some love throughout the grooming process.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I groom my Shih Tzu?

It is recommended to groom your Shih Tzu at least once every four to six weeks. However, some owners choose to groom their dogs more frequently depending on their lifestyle or health needs.

2. Can I use human shampoo on my Shih Tzu?

No, it is not recommended to use human shampoo on your Shih Tzu. Their skin is more sensitive than humans and requires a specially formulated dog-specific shampoo that won’t dry out their skin or damage their coat.

3. How do I prevent matting in my Shih Tzu’s hair?

Brush your Shih Tzu daily with a slicker brush, making sure to focus on the areas where mats are most likely to form, such as behind their ears, under their legs, and around their tail. Additionally, you can use a mat splitter to gently remove any tangles or mats that have already formed.

4. How often should I clean my Shih Tzu’s ears?

You should clean your Shih Tzu’s ears once a week to prevent infections from developing. Use a gentle ear cleaning solution and cotton balls, making sure not to insert any objects into their ear canal.

5. Can I cut my Shih Tzu’s hair myself?

If you have experience grooming dogs and are confident in your abilities, then you can cut your Shih Tzu’s hair yourself. However, it is recommended to take them to a professional groomer to avoid any mistakes or accidents.

6. How do I desensitize my Shih Tzu to grooming tools?

Introduce grooming tools slowly and gradually, allowing your Shih Tzu to sniff and investigate them before using them on their fur. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to build a positive association with the tools.

7. Can I use a human hairbrush on my Shih Tzu?

No, it is not recommended to use a human hairbrush on your Shih Tzu. Their fur is different than human hair, and a dog-specific brush will be more effective at removing loose fur and preventing mats.

8. How do I trim my Shih Tzu’s nails?

Use a sharp pair of dog nail clippers to carefully trim the tips of your Shih Tzu’s nails. Be careful not to cut too far down or you may hit the quick, causing bleeding and pain.

9. How do I choose the right grooming tools for my Shih Tzu?

Choose grooming tools that are specifically designed for your Shih Tzu’s needs. Look for tools that are gentle on their skin and coat, as well as tools that are appropriate for their hair length and thickness.

10. Can grooming help with my Shih Tzu’s health?

Yes, grooming can help improve your Shih Tzu’s health by preventing infections, reducing shedding, and promoting healthy skin and coat. Additionally, regular grooming sessions can provide an opportunity to check for any lumps, bumps, or other health concerns.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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