Common Mistakes to Avoid While Brushing Your Shih Tzu


Keeping a Shih Tzu well-groomed is not only essential for their appearance but also for their overall health. Regular brushing can help prevent knotting and matting of their long hair and can also prevent skin irritations and infections. However, there are common mistakes often made while brushing a Shih Tzu that can lead to discomfort and even pain for the dog. To ensure that your furry friend’s grooming routine is pleasant and effective, it’s vital to avoid these common mistakes. In this article, we’ll discuss the top five mistakes to steer clear of while brushing your Shih Tzu and provide helpful tips on how to brush your pup correctly.

Why Brushing is Important

Brushing is an essential part of taking care of your Shih Tzu’s coat. It helps maintain healthy skin and coat, prevent tangles and mats, and reduce shedding. When you brush your Shih Tzu regularly, you also get the chance to bond with your furry friend and monitor any changes in their skin or coat.

However, if you neglect your Shih Tzu’s coat, it can lead to many issues, including tangles, mats, and even painful skin infections. Brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat regularly can also help prevent the formation of hairballs and other digestive problems.

Regular brushing also helps to distribute natural oils, which are essential for keeping the coat healthy and shiny. When you brush your Shih Tzu, you help increase circulation and stimulate the skin, which can promote a healthy coat and reduce the risk of hot spots and other skin problems.

In this article, we will discuss some common mistakes to avoid while brushing your Shih Tzu so that your furry friend can enjoy the full benefits of regular brushing. To ensure your Shih Tzu’s coat is healthy and shiny, it is crucial to know the right brushes to use, brushing techniques, and the necessary frequency. Keep reading to learn more.

Mistake #1: Using the Wrong Brush

Mistake #1: Using The Wrong Brush
It’s common to assume that any brush will do when it comes to grooming your furry friend. However, using the wrong brush can actually cause more harm than good. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to choose the right type of brush for your Shih Tzu to avoid any discomfort or pain. If you’re unsure which brush is suitable for your pup, keep reading to learn more about the types of brushes to use and why it makes a difference in your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine. And if your Shih Tzu already has a matted coat, check out our article on how to fix it here.

Types of Brushes to Use

When it comes to brushing your Shih Tzu, the right brush can make all the difference. It’s important to choose a brush that is appropriate for your dog’s coat type and length to effectively remove tangles, mats and loose hair. Here are the types of brushes that you can use:

  • Slicker brush: This brush has fine, short wires close together and is perfect for removing tangles, mats, and loose hair.
  • Bristle brush: This brush has soft or firm bristles and is used for removing dirt and debris from the dog’s coat.
  • Pin brush: This brush has wire pins with rounded tips and is used for dogs with longer hair.
  • Undercoat rake: This brush has long teeth and is used to remove the undercoat of dogs with thick fur.
  • Mat comb: This brush has long and sharp teeth and is used to remove the matted hair.

It’s important to keep in mind that different dogs may require different brushes, even within the same breed. So, choose the right brush that suits your Shih Tzu’s unique coat. Using the right brush can make brushing less stressful and more effective.

Mistake #2: Brushing Too Roughly

Mistake #2: Brushing Too Roughly
When it comes to grooming a Shih Tzu, brushing is an essential task to keep their coat healthy and shiny. However, there is a common mistake that dog owners make while brushing their furry companion, and that is brushing too roughly. It might seem like a logical way to remove all the tangles, but brushing too hard can be harmful and uncomfortable for your dog. It is important to understand how to brush gently and avoid brushing mistakes that can cause pain, distress, and potential damage to your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat. Let’s dive into some helpful tips on how to brush your Shih Tzu gently and avoid the mistake of brushing too roughly.

How to Brush Gently

When brushing your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to be gentle to avoid hurting them. Here are five steps to brushing your Shih Tzu gently:

  • Step 1: Start by petting your Shih Tzu with the brush to help them get used to the sensation. This will also help remove any loose hairs on the surface of their coat.
  • Step 2: Gently brush your Shih Tzu’s coat in the direction of hair growth using slow and gentle strokes. Start on their back and work your way towards their belly, chest, and legs.
  • Step 3: Brush each section of their coat multiple times, but avoid brushing the same spot too many times, as this can irritate their skin.
  • Step 4: If you come across any tangles or mats, use your fingers to try and loosen them before gently brushing them out. Don’t pull on the mat or tangle, as this can be painful for your Shih Tzu.
  • Step 5: Finish by using a soft-bristled brush to gently brush your Shih Tzu’s face and ears. Be careful around their eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid hurting them.

Remember, being gentle while brushing your Shih Tzu is crucial for their comfort and well-being. By following these steps, you can ensure that your furry friend is happy and healthy.

Mistake #3: Neglecting Certain Areas

Mistake #3: Neglecting Certain Areas
When it comes to brushing your Shih Tzu, it’s important to not only give their coat a thorough brushing but to also pay attention to specific areas that may be easily neglected. Despite your best efforts, it’s easy to accidentally overlook certain spots during your grooming routine, but neglecting these areas can lead to discomfort or even health issues for your furry friend. To ensure that your Shih Tzu receives the best possible care, let’s take a closer look at the areas that commonly get overlooked, and how to address them.

Areas to Focus On

To make sure your Shih Tzu’s coat is healthy and free from mats and tangles, it’s important to focus on specific areas when brushing. Here are some areas you should pay close attention to:

  • Under the ears: Shih Tzus have long hair on their ears, which can easily become matted if not brushed regularly. Use a slicker brush to gently untangle any knots.
  • Back of the legs: The hair on the back of your Shih Tzu’s legs can become tangled or matted, especially if your dog spends a lot of time running around outside. Use a dematting tool to carefully remove any knots.
  • Feet: The hair between your Shih Tzu’s toes can easily become tangled and cause discomfort when walking. Use a pair of scissors to carefully trim any mats or knots.
  • Belly: The hair on your Shih Tzu’s belly can easily tangle and form mats, particularly if your dog likes to roll around on the ground. Use a slicker brush to gently brush out any knots.

By paying close attention to these areas when brushing your Shih Tzu, you’ll be able to prevent mats and tangles from forming and keep your furry friend’s coat healthy and shiny.

Mistake #4: Not Brushing Often Enough

Mistake #4: Not Brushing Often Enough
We all have busy schedules, and sometimes it can be tempting to let certain tasks slide. However, when it comes to your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine, neglecting to brush them frequently enough can lead to a host of issues that are both uncomfortable for your pup and frustrating for you. Brushing is a crucial part of maintaining your Shih Tzu’s health and hygiene, and it’s important to be consistent in your efforts. In this segment, we’ll explore one of the most common mistakes Shih Tzu owners make: not brushing often enough. We’ll explain why this is such a problem, and provide tips for how to keep up with your Shih Tzu’s brushing needs.

Recommended Brushing Frequency

It’s important to establish a regular brushing routine to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat looking healthy and beautiful. The recommended brushing frequency for a Shih Tzu is at least three times a week, but it’s best to brush them every day. Brushing daily helps to prevent mats and tangles and keeps your dog’s coat shiny and soft.

Here are some factors that can affect the recommended brushing frequency:

  • Coat Type: Depending on whether your Shih Tzu has a short or long coat, the recommended brushing frequency may vary. Long-haired Shih Tzus require more frequent brushing to prevent mats and tangles.
  • Activity Level: If your Shih Tzu enjoys playing outside and rolling around in the grass, they may require more frequent brushing to remove any dirt, debris, or burrs from their coat.
  • Matted or Tangled Coat: If your Shih Tzu’s coat is already matted or tangled, you may need to brush them more frequently to get their coat back to a healthy condition.

It’s essential to stick to a consistent brushing routine. Consistency will help prevent any potential tangles or mats from forming and will also help with distributing natural oils throughout the coat. When brushing, use gentle, circular strokes to massage your dog’s skin, which promotes healthy blood flow and can even help with muscle tension. Make brushing a bonding experience with your Shih Tzu, and it will become a cherished activity for both you and your dog.

Mistake #5: Not Rewarding Your Shih Tzu

Taking care of a Shih Tzu requires effort, patience, and love. Brushing is an essential part of maintaining their long, luxurious coat and preventing any potential skin problems. However, your furry friend may not always enjoy the grooming process. As such, it is crucial to make brushing a positive experience for your Shih Tzu. One common mistake that many pet owners make is not rewarding their dogs after brushing sessions. This can lead to a lack of motivation for your pup, making grooming more challenging than it needs to be. In this section, we will discuss how to make brushing enjoyable for your Shih Tzu by rewarding them properly for good behavior.

How to Make Brushing Enjoyable

Making brushing enjoyable for your Shih Tzu is crucial to ensure they look forward to it and don’t develop a negative association with the grooming process. Here are some tips to make brushing enjoyable for your furry friend:

Tip #1:Use treats: Give your Shih Tzu a small treat before and after brushing to create a positive association with the process.
Tip #2:Use a soothing voice: Speak in a soft and soothing voice to calm your Shih Tzu while brushing.
Tip #3:Make it a bonding experience: Use brushing as an opportunity to bond with your furry friend by talking to them or praising them for good behavior.
Tip #4:Choose the right location: Try brushing your Shih Tzu in a quiet and calm location that’s free from distractions to help them relax.
Tip #5:Use a comfortable brush: Choose a brush that’s comfortable for your Shih Tzu to use and avoid using a brush that causes discomfort or pain.

Remember, making brushing enjoyable for your Shih Tzu will not only keep them looking great but will also help strengthen your bond with them. Consistency and patience are key when it comes to making brushing enjoyable for your furry friend.


In conclusion, brushing your Shih Tzu is an essential part of their grooming routine, but it’s important to do it properly to avoid causing them any discomfort or harm. Choosing the right brush for your Shih Tzu is the first step to ensuring a positive experience. Using a slicker brush or pin brush with the right bristle length and spacing for your dog’s coat can make a significant difference in the final outcome.

Avoid brushing too roughly as it can hurt your Shih Tzu’s skin and damage their hair. Using a gentle touch and taking the time to brush them thoroughly can help prevent matting and tangling, which can be painful and problematic for your furry friend.

Make sure to focus on areas that are often neglected, such as their underarms and hindquarters, to ensure thorough grooming all over. Neglecting these areas can lead to matting and tangling, which can be painful and lead to more serious health problems.

Regular brushing is crucial to your Shih Tzu’s overall hygiene and health. Depending on their coat type, you may need to brush them once a day or a few times a week. It’s essential to establish and maintain a proper brushing routine to avoid any complications and ensure the best results possible.

Lastly, don’t forget to reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior during their brushing sessions. Using positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, can turn grooming into a positive experience for both you and your furry friend. Overall, taking the time to properly brush your Shih Tzu can help keep them comfortable, healthy, and looking their best.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do I need to brush my Shih Tzu?

It is recommended to brush your Shih Tzu at least once a day to prevent mats and tangles from forming.

Can I use any type of brush on my Shih Tzu?

No, it is important to use the right type of brush for your Shih Tzu’s specific coat type. A slicker brush works well for most Shih Tzus.

Why is it important to brush my Shih Tzu regularly?

Regular brushing helps to prevent matting, tangles, and skin irritation. It also distributes natural oils through the coat, keeping it healthy and shiny.

What are some signs that my Shih Tzu’s coat needs brushing?

If you notice tangles, mats, or debris in your Shih Tzu’s coat, or if their coat looks dull and lifeless, it’s a good sign that they need to be brushed.

Can I use human shampoo on my Shih Tzu?

No, it is important to use a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs as human shampoo can dry out your Shih Tzu’s skin and damage their coat.

How do I get my Shih Tzu to enjoy brushing?

You can make brushing a positive experience by offering treats, praise, and starting with short sessions and gradually working up to longer ones.

What should I do if I accidentally cut my Shih Tzu’s hair while brushing?

If you accidentally cut your Shih Tzu’s hair, remain calm and gently clean and care for the area. If the cut is deep, contact your veterinarian.

What is the best way to remove mats from my Shih Tzu’s coat?

The best way to remove mats is to use a slicker brush and work gently to untangle the mat starting from the outside and working your way in.

Can I brush my Shih Tzu’s teeth?

Yes, it is important to regularly brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth to prevent dental issues. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs.

Should I trim my Shih Tzu’s hair myself or take them to a groomer?

It is recommended to take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer for haircuts, as they have the proper tools and experience to safely and appropriately groom your Shih Tzu’s coat.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

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

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