How To Bathe a Shih Tzu: Step-by-Step Guide

Shih Tzus are adorable little dogs known for their beautiful long coats and friendly personalities. Keeping your Shih Tzu clean and well-groomed is essential for their health and happiness. Bathing your Shih Tzu regularly is an important part of their grooming routine, but it can be a bit challenging due to their unique coat and sensitive skin. In this article, we will discuss how to properly bathe a Shih Tzu to keep them clean, healthy, and looking their best.

Preparing for the Bath

Before you start bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:
– Dog shampoo specifically formulated for Shih Tzus or for sensitive skin
– Towels
– Brush or comb
– Cotton balls
– Treats
– Non-slip mat for the bathtub or sink
– Cup or spray nozzle for rinsing

Brushing Before Bathing

Start by brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat to remove any tangles or mats. This will make the bathing process easier and prevent further matting during the bath. Use a slicker brush or comb designed for long-haired dogs to gently brush through your Shih Tzu’s coat.

Preparing the Bathing Area

Choose a warm, draft-free area for bathing your Shih Tzu. You can use a bathtub, sink, or a basin specifically designed for small dogs. Place a non-slip mat at the bottom of the tub or sink to prevent your Shih Tzu from slipping.

Bathing Your Shih Tzu

Wetting Your Shih Tzu

Before wetting your Shih Tzu, place a cotton ball in each ear to prevent water from entering the ear canal. Wet your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly with lukewarm water. Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can be uncomfortable for your pet.


Apply a small amount of dog shampoo to your hands and lather it gently into your Shih Tzu’s coat. Be sure to use a shampoo that is specifically formulated for dogs, as human shampoo can be too harsh for your pet’s skin. Avoid getting shampoo in your Shih Tzu’s eyes, ears, or mouth.


Thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo from your Shih Tzu’s coat. Leftover shampoo residue can cause skin irritation and itching. Use a cup or a spray nozzle to rinse your Shih Tzu’s coat until the water runs clear.


Wrap your Shih Tzu in a towel and gently pat their coat dry. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can cause tangles and mats in the coat. You can also use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to dry your Shih Tzu’s coat, but make sure to keep the dryer at a safe distance to prevent burning their skin.

After the Bath

Brushing and Grooming

Once your Shih Tzu is dry, brush their coat to remove any tangles and mats that may have formed during the bath. Use a detangling spray or conditioner if needed to make brushing easier.


If your Shih Tzu has long hair, you may need to trim their coat regularly to keep it looking neat and tidy. Consider taking your pet to a professional groomer for a trim if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

Rewarding Your Shih Tzu

After the bath, be sure to reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise for good behavior. This will help them associate bath time with positive experiences and make future baths easier.

Tips for Bathing a Shih Tzu


Shih Tzus generally need to be bathed every 3-4 weeks, but this can vary depending on your pet’s lifestyle and coat type. Over-bathing can strip the natural oils from your Shih Tzu’s coat, so be mindful of how often you bathe them.


Make sure the water temperature is comfortable for your Shih Tzu. Lukewarm water is ideal for bathing small dogs like Shih Tzus.


Always keep an eye on your Shih Tzu during the bath to ensure they are safe and comfortable. Avoid getting water or shampoo in their eyes, ears, or mouth.

Professional Grooming

If you’re not confident in bathing or grooming your Shih Tzu at home, consider taking them to a professional groomer. Groomers have the experience and tools to keep your Shih Tzu looking their best.

Looking for more ways to care for your Shih Tzu? Check out our articles on bathing a Shih Tzu without shampoo, choosing the best harness for a Shih Tzu, and cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes for helpful tips and advice!


Bathing a Shih Tzu can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pet. By following the tips and guidelines in this article, you can keep your Shih Tzu clean, healthy, and looking fabulous. Remember to be patient and gentle during the bathing process, and always reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior. With proper care and regular grooming, your Shih Tzu will be the envy of all the neighborhood dogs!

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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