Tips for Making Brushing a Pleasant Experience for Your Shih Tzu

As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to look and feel their best. But when it comes to brushing our Shih Tzus, many of us struggle with making it a pleasant experience for both ourselves and our pups. The thought of matted fur, sensitive areas, and uncooperative dogs can be overwhelming. However, with the right tools, techniques, and attitude, brushing your Shih Tzu can become an enjoyable bonding experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of brushing, the necessary preparations, and the step-by-step process for making brushing a pleasant experience for your beloved companion. Get ready to transform your brushing routine and make your Shih Tzu’s coat healthier and shinier than ever before.

Why Brushing Is Important

Why Brushing Is Important
Regular brushing is an important aspect of your Shih Tzu’s overall grooming routine. It is essential for preventing matting and tangles and maintaining skin health, among other benefits. Without proper brushing, your Shih Tzu’s fur can become matted, making it uncomfortable and potentially causing skin irritation. In this section, we will discuss the importance of brushing your Shih Tzu and the benefits it provides. If you want to learn more about specific brushing techniques, common mistakes to avoid, or steps to follow for a complete grooming, check out our other articles Shih Tzu Brushing Techniques, Shih Tzu Brushing Mistakes, and Shih Tzu Grooming Steps.

Preventing Matting and Tangles

Matting and tangling are common problems for Shih Tzu’s, which can cause discomfort, pain, and even infections. The best way to prevent matting and tangling is by regular brushing, which should be done at least once a week. When you brush your Shih Tzu, you keep the coat clean and free of tangles, which keeps your pet happy and healthy.

One of the main causes of matting and tangling is a lack of brushing. When you don’t brush your dog often enough, the fur can become matted and tangled. This can lead to hot spots and bacterial infections, which can be painful for your pet. Additionally, when brushing your Shih Tzu, make sure to be gentle and take your time. Brushing too fast and hard can cause the brush to pull on the fur and cause pain.

Regular grooming helps keep the skin and coat healthy, and brushing is one of the most important parts of the grooming process. It not only prevents matting and tangling but also helps distribute natural oils throughout the coat, which keeps the skin healthy and moisturized. Additionally, brushing can help remove loose fur, which can reduce shedding throughout your home.

To prevent matting and tangling, it’s important to choose the right brush for your Shih Tzu’s coat. Some popular options include bristle brushes, slicker brushes, and pin brushes. Make sure to choose a brush that is appropriate for your pet’s coat type. If you are unsure of which type of brush to use, consult a professional groomer for advice. You can find more information about choosing the right brush by following this link.

Another way to prevent matting and tangling is to take preventative measures, such as keeping your Shih Tzu’s coat trimmed and clean. This can help prevent mats from forming in the first place. If you do find mats in your pet’s fur, don’t try to cut them out with scissors, as this can be dangerous and lead to injury. Learn how to safely remove mats by following this guide.

Preventing matting and tangling is important for your Shih Tzu’s comfort and health. Regular brushing and grooming can help prevent these issues and keep your pet happy and healthy. Remember to choose the right brush for your pet’s coat type, and if you notice any mats or tangles, take the appropriate steps to safely remove them. For more information on the importance of brushing, please follow this link.

Maintaining Skin Health

Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s skin is just as important as keeping their fur looking shiny and healthy. Regular brushing helps maintain skin health by helping to distribute natural oils throughout their coat and preventing any buildup of dirt or debris that can irritate their skin. Here are some tips for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s skin health:

Groom regularlyGroom your Shih Tzu regularly, using a high-quality brush designed specifically for their coat. Regular grooming helps remove any loose fur, dirt or debris that can irritate and inflame their skin.
Use natural productsAvoid using harsh chemicals or products that can irritate your Shih Tzu’s skin. Use natural shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for dogs instead.
Check for fleas and ticksRegularly check your Shih Tzu for fleas and ticks, which can cause skin irritation and other health problems. Use flea and tick preventative treatments as recommended by your veterinarian.
Monitor for allergiesShih Tzus are prone to skin allergies, so be sure to monitor your dog closely for any signs of itching or redness. Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect your dog may have allergies.
MoisturizeUse a natural, dog-friendly moisturizer to keep your Shih Tzu’s skin hydrated and healthy. Pay special attention to areas that have less fur or are more prone to dryness, such as their nose and paw pads.

By taking steps to maintain your Shih Tzu’s skin health, you can help ensure they stay comfortable and happy, both in terms of their appearance and their overall well-being. So, make sure to incorporate skin care into your grooming routine and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s skin health.

Removing Loose Fur

When brushing your Shih Tzu, it is important to not only prevent matting and maintain skin health, but also to remove loose fur. Excess fur can lead to discomfort and irritation for your furry friend. Here are some tips for effectively removing loose fur:

  • Use a slicker brush: A slicker brush is designed to reach deep into your dog’s coat and remove loose fur without damaging the skin. It is especially effective for dogs with long coats like Shih Tzus.
  • Brush in the direction of hair growth: Brushing against the direction of hair growth can be painful and even cause skin irritation. Always brush in the direction of hair growth to ensure a comfortable and effective brushing experience.
  • Brush regularly: Regular brushing can help remove loose fur before it becomes a problem. It is recommended to brush your Shih Tzu at least once a week, if not more often.
  • Use a furminator: A furminator is a specialized tool designed to remove loose fur from your dog’s undercoat. This tool can be especially helpful during shedding season.

Taking the time to effectively remove loose fur not only helps keep your Shih Tzu comfortable, but also helps prevent excessive shedding and keeps your home cleaner. Plus, it can be a great bonding experience for you and your furry friend.

Before You Begin

Before You Begin
Before you dive into brushing your Shih Tzu, take a moment to prepare for the experience by gathering the necessary tools and making sure your furry friend is comfortable. Proper planning and preparation can make all the difference in making brushing a pleasant experience for both you and your pup. So, let’s discuss the right brush and comb to use, as well as creating a comfortable environment for your furry friend.

The Right Brush and Comb

One of the most important aspects of making brushing a pleasant experience for your Shih Tzu is using the right brush and comb for their specific fur type. Using the wrong tools can not only be uncomfortable for your pup but may also damage their fur and skin.

The Right Brush:
Shih Tzus have long, silky coats that require frequent brushing to prevent matting and tangles. A pin brush is an excellent choice for Shih Tzus as it has widely spaced, flexible wire bristles that can easily glide through their fur without causing pain or irritation. Pin brushes come in various sizes, but it’s recommended to use one with longer pins for Shih Tzus with thicker fur.

The Right Comb:
In addition to a pin brush, it’s essential to have a metal comb with both wide and narrow teeth. The wide teeth are used to detangle any knots, while the narrow teeth are used to smooth the fur and remove any loose hairs. Make sure the teeth of your comb are smooth and rounded to prevent scratching your pup’s skin.

Here’s a table summarizing the right brush and comb for your Shih Tzu:

Pin BrushFlexible wire bristles that glide through fur without irritation or pain. Use a brush with longer pins for thicker fur.
Metal CombComb with wide and narrow teeth. Wide teeth detangle knots, while narrow teeth smooth fur and remove loose hairs. Make sure teeth are smooth and rounded to prevent scratching.

Investing in the right tools from the start will make brushing a pleasant experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. Remember to clean your brushes and combs regularly to prevent any buildup of dirt and bacteria that may harm your pup’s skin.

Creating a Comfortable Environment

One of the most important aspects of making brushing a pleasant experience for your Shih Tzu is creating a comfortable environment. This will help reduce any anxiety or stress your furry friend may have towards the brushing process, and make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Here are some tips to create a comfortable environment:

1.Choose a quiet and calm area of your home to brush your Shih Tzu. This will help reduce any distractions or noises that could make your dog feel uncomfortable or anxious.
2.Make sure the brushing area is well-lit, so you can see any matting or tangles more easily. Dogs can sense when their owners are anxious, and being unable to see what you’re doing can make your dog feel uneasy.
3.Use a non-slip surface for your dog to stand on, like a rubber mat or towel. This will help them feel secure and prevent them from slipping or sliding during brushing.
4.Have treats on hand to reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior. Positive reinforcement can help make the brushing process a positive experience for your furry friend.
5.Keep a calming aroma in the room, like lavender. This can help relax your dog and make the experience more pleasant.

By creating a comfortable environment, you not only make brushing a more pleasurable experience for your Shih Tzu, but also improve the overall health of their skin and coat. Take the time to create an environment that’s peaceful and welcoming, and soon enough, brushing will become a positive experience for both you and your furry friend.

Step-by-Step Brushing Process

Step-By-Step Brushing Process
As a Shih Tzu owner, you want to make sure that brushing is a pleasant experience for both you and your furry friend. However, without proper technique and approach, brushing can be a daunting task for a Shih Tzu. That’s why it is essential to follow a step-by-step brushing process that ensures your dog’s comfort and ease throughout the grooming session. From starting slow and gradual to brushing in sections and using positive reinforcement, there are several tips and tricks to make brushing a successful and enjoyable experience for your Shih Tzu. Let’s dive in and explore the step-by-step brushing process in detail.

Start Slow and Gradual

When it comes to brushing your Shih Tzu, it’s important to start slow and gradual. Use a soft brush to make the initial contact with your dog’s fur. Start by brushing gently on your Shih Tzu’s back and slowly work your way down to their legs and paws. Pet your dog with your free hand and use gentle, reassuring words to make them feel more comfortable.

Here are some step-by-step tips:

  • Start by brushing in the direction of the fur growth.
  • Pay close attention to any areas that may cause discomfort or irritation for your dog. If you notice any discomfort, stop immediately.
  • If you encounter any mats or tangles, use a comb to gently untangle them.
  • Be sure to keep your dog comfortable and relaxed throughout the process.
  • If your dog becomes restless or agitated, take a break and resume brushing later.

Remember, your dog’s comfort and well-being should be your top priority. By starting slow and gradual and using a gentle touch, you can create a positive brushing experience for both you and your Shih Tzu.

Brush in Sections

When it comes to brushing your Shih Tzu, it is important to brush in sections. This makes it easier and less overwhelming for both you and your furry friend. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with the head and neck: Gently brush the fur on the head and neck with a small pin brush. Be careful not to hurt the ears, and use a comb to tackle any tangles.
  2. Move on to the body: Brush the body fur with a slicker brush or bristle brush, beginning at the shoulders and working your way down the back. Be sure to brush gently and avoid using too much pressure, as this can cause discomfort for your Shih Tzu.
  3. Pay attention to the legs and feet: These areas can be more sensitive, so be sure to use a slicker brush or pin brush to gently work through the fur. Comb through any tangles, and use a pair of scissors to trim any long hairs around the feet.
  4. Don’t forget the tail: Brush the fur on the tail with a slicker brush, starting at the base and working your way to the end. Trim any long hairs that may be causing tangles or discomfort for your Shih Tzu.

Remember to take breaks and offer plenty of positive reinforcement throughout the brushing process. With patience and a bit of practice, brushing your Shih Tzu can become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.

Offer Treats and Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an essential tool while brushing your Shih Tzu. You want your furry friend to associate brushing with a pleasant experience. To make this possible, you can offer treats and rewards for good behavior. In this section, we will discuss how treats and positive reinforcement can make brushing a more enjoyable experience for your Shih Tzu.

One way to incentivize your Shih Tzu is to use their favorite treats. Whether they prefer small pieces of cheese or bite-sized dog treats, find what they like and use them to reward them throughout the brushing process. Remember to use treats in moderation, so as not to distract your pooch from brushing.

Another way you can reinforce positive behavior is with verbal praise. During brushing, use words such as “good job” or “well done” to let your Shih Tzu know they’re doing great. You can also use a happy tone to compliment your furry friend.

To keep your furry friend from getting bored or restless, it’s important to take occasional breaks. You can use these breaks to offer more treats or even take your Shih Tzu for a quick walk to recharge their batteries.

Here’s a table summarizing the ways in which you can offer treats and positive reinforcement to promote a pleasant brushing experience for your Shih Tzu:

TreatsUse your Shih Tzu’s favorite treats to incentivize good behavior during brushing.
Verbal PraiseUse positive phrases and a happy tone of voice to let your furry friend know that they’re doing great.
BreaksTake occasional breaks from brushing to offer more treats or take your Shih Tzu for a quick walk.

By offering treats and positive reinforcement, you can make brushing a pleasant experience for your Shih Tzu. Remember to keep it positive and don’t rush the process. With patience and repetition, your furry friend will learn to enjoy brushing time with you.

Dealing with Specific Problem Areas

Dealing With Specific Problem Areas
As much as we would love for brushing to be a smooth and effortless process, there may be specific areas on your Shih Tzu that are more prone to tangles, matting, or discomfort. These tricky spots require extra attention and care to ensure that your furry friend remains happy and healthy. In this section, we will explore various problem areas and offer tips and solutions to make brushing a more pleasant experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. So let’s dive in and tackle these challenges one by one!

Matting and Tangles

Matting and tangles are common problems that can occur in a Shih Tzu’s fur, but they can be prevented with proper grooming. Matting is the tangling of the fur to the point where it becomes tightly knotted and cannot be brushed out, while tangles are knots in the fur that can be more easily removed. If left untreated, matting and tangles can lead to skin irritation, infections, and even pain for your Shih Tzu.

To prevent matting and tangles, it’s important to brush your Shih Tzu’s fur regularly, and start brushing from the root of the fur and work your way outwards. Use a slicker brush, which is specifically designed to remove tangles and mats, and a comb to break up any stubborn tangles.

If matting or tangles do occur, avoid cutting or pulling on the matted fur, as it can be painful for your Shih Tzu and can even cause injury. Instead, try using a dematting tool or a mat splitter to gently break up the tangles and mats. These tools are designed to cut through the mat from the base, without damaging your dog’s skin or fur.

It’s important to note that if your Shih Tzu’s fur is severely matted, it may be necessary to have it shaved off by a professional groomer. This is because attempting to remove severe matting on your own can be extremely painful for your dog and can also result in accidental injury.

Regular grooming and brushing can prevent matting and tangles in your Shih Tzu’s fur, but it’s important to be patient and gentle when dealing with any tangles that do occur. Using the right tools and techniques can make the brushing process easier for both you and your furry friend.

Trimming Problematic Fur

When brushing a Shih Tzu, you may encounter areas where the fur has become problematic and needs to be trimmed. This is common around the ears, paws, and belly. Trimming problematic fur can prevent matting and tangles, as well as maintain proper hygiene. Here are some steps to take when trimming your Shih Tzu’s fur:

  • Assess the Problem: Before you start trimming, assess the problem areas carefully. Using a comb, gently comb through the fur to identify mats or tangles that are difficult to remove. Make sure that you identify any sensitive areas which might need extra care.
  • Choose the Right Tools: Make sure you choose the right tools for the job. Use a pair of sharp scissors or clippers, depending on the severity of the mat or tangle. Make sure the tools are clean and well-maintained so they don’t cause any harm to your pet.
  • Trim Gradually: Do not try to trim off the entire mat or tangle at once. This can cause discomfort and even lead to injury. Instead, use small, gradual snips to remove the problematic fur. Hold the clump of fur between your fingers and snip close to the skin to avoid leaving long patches of hair.
  • Be Mindful of Sensitive Areas: The sensitive areas like genitals, paws, and ears, require extra care. Consider sectioning off the area with a clip or hair tie to prevent accidentally snipping off more fur than intended. When trimming around the ear area, be sure to position the ear out of the way so that you do not accidentally nick it with the scissors.
  • Offer Rewards: Make sure to offer lots of praise and rewards as you trim problematic fur. This will help to keep your Shih Tzu from becoming agitated or stressed. Be patient and take breaks if necessary.
  • Check Your Work: After you have finished trimming the problematic fur, check your work to make sure that there aren’t any uneven patches or clumps of fur remaining. Comb through the area again gently to make sure it looks neat and tidy. Reward your Shih Tzu for being patient during the process.

Remember, if you don’t feel confident in trimming your Shih Tzu’s fur, or if you think that the mat or tangle is too severe, it is always best to seek professional help. A trained groomer will be able to identify any underlying skin problems or infections and take care of them safely and humanely. Your Shih Tzu deserves the best care possible, so make sure that you plan ahead and treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

Sensitive Areas to Be Mindful Of

As you proceed with brushing your Shih Tzu, it is important to pay special attention to certain areas that may be more sensitive to your furry friend. Brushing these areas requires a gentle touch and a bit more delicacy. Below is a list of these sensitive areas and how to properly handle them.

Sensitive AreaProper Handling
Face and EarsUse a soft-bristled brush, starting at the top of the head and brushing down towards the chin. Be careful with the ears, as they are very delicate. Brush gently around the ears, avoiding any tugging or pulling.
PawsTake extra care when brushing the paw pads, which are sensitive areas for your Shih Tzu. Use a soft touch and be gentle. Examine the paws carefully for any foreign objects, matted fur or debris.
TailWhen brushing the tail, use a light touch and be mindful of any tangles. Never pull on the fur or the tail. Start at the base of the tail and work your way down towards the tip.
Belly and GroinBrushing the belly and groin area requires extra care, as these areas are very sensitive. Use a gentle touch and be mindful of any knots or matting. If your Shih Tzu becomes uncomfortable, take a break and try again later.

Brushing your Shih Tzu can be an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your furry friend. Just remember to be patient, gentle, and mindful of these sensitive areas. With proper handling, your Shih Tzu will love being brushed, and you’ll love seeing them looking their best!

When to Seek Professional Help

As much as we love taking care of our Shih Tzu, there may come a point where professional help is needed. It can be perplexing to know when exactly to seek assistance from a groomer or veterinarian, but there are certain signs that indicate it’s time for some outside expertise. If you notice any of the following signs of infection or skin problems or extreme matting or tangles, it’s best to seek professional help to ensure your furry friend is healthy, happy, and looking their best. Let’s delve into these indicators in more detail below.

Signs of Infection or Skin Problems

It’s important to be aware of any signs of infection or skin problems in your Shih Tzu while brushing them. Here’s a table outlining some of the most common signs to look out for:

SignsWhat They Could Mean
Unusual redness or sore spotsThis could be a sign of an infection or other skin problem
Bumps or lumps on the skinCould be an indication of skin cancer or other health problems
Excessive itching or biting at certain areasCould be a sign of allergies or irritation from brushing
Greasy or oily furCould be a sign of a skin condition or improper bathing
Unusual odorCould be a sign of infection or other health problem
Hair loss or thinning patchesCould be a sign of a skin condition or hormonal problem

If you notice any of these signs or anything else concerning during your brushing routine, it’s important to seek the advice of a professional vet as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could lead to the problem becoming worse and could be potentially dangerous for your furry friend.

Extreme Matting or Tangles

Extreme matting or tangles can be a serious issue and require immediate attention. If left untreated, they can cause discomfort, irritation, and even infections in your Shih Tzu. Here are some steps to take if you encounter extreme matting or tangles:

  • Assess the severity: Before attempting to brush out any extreme matting or tangles, it’s important to assess how severe the issue is. If the matting is too tight or close to the skin, it may require professional help.
  • Use the right tools: For extreme matting or tangles, you might need to use specialized tools such as mat splitters or dematting combs. These tools can help to gently break apart the matting and tangles and make it easier to remove.
  • Be gentle: It’s crucial to be gentle as you work on removing the matting or tangles. Pulling or tugging forcefully can cause pain and discomfort for your Shih Tzu, and may also lead to further matting.
  • Consider professional help: If the matting or tangles are too severe, it’s best to seek help from a professional groomer. They have the expertise and experience to safely and effectively remove any extreme matting or tangles from your Shih Tzu’s coat.

It’s important to keep up with regular brushing and grooming to prevent extreme matting or tangles from occurring in the first place. However, if you do encounter these issues, it’s essential to handle them carefully and seek professional help if needed to ensure the safety and well-being of your Shih Tzu.


In conclusion, brushing your Shih Tzu can be a wonderful bonding experience between you and your furry companion. By following the tips and steps outlined in this article, you can make brushing a pleasant and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.

Remember the importance of brushing for preventing matting and tangles, maintaining skin health, and removing loose fur. Before you begin, make sure to have the right brush and comb and create a comfortable environment for your dog.

During the brushing process, start slow and gradual, brush in sections, and offer treats and positive reinforcement to your dog. Be mindful of specific problem areas such as matting and tangles, trimming problematic fur, and sensitive areas.

However, if you notice signs of infection or skin problems, or extreme matting or tangles, it may be time to seek professional help. Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a veterinarian or professional groomer.

Overall, incorporating brushing into your Shih Tzu’s grooming routine can lead to a healthier and happier pup. With patience, practice, and love, you can establish a positive brushing routine that your dog will enjoy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best brush for a Shih Tzu?

The best brush for a Shih Tzu is a slicker brush. It helps to detangle the fur and remove loose hair more effectively.

How often should I brush my Shih Tzu?

You should brush your Shih Tzu every day for at least ten minutes. Doing so helps to prevent matting and tangles.

What is the most comfortable way to brush my Shih Tzu?

The most comfortable way to brush your Shih Tzu is when he is relaxed after a meal or nap. This way, he’ll be less likely to move around, making it easier and faster for you to brush him.

Can I use human shampoo to wash my Shih Tzu?

No, human shampoo should not be used to wash your Shih Tzu. Rather, you should use a shampoo that is specifically formulated for dogs to avoid any skin irritation or allergic reactions.

How do I remove mats from my Shih Tzu’s fur?

You can use a dematting tool to remove mats from your Shih Tzu’s fur. Alternatively, you can cut them out carefully with scissors while avoiding to cut the actual skin.

How do I brush my Shih Tzu’s face?

Use a small slicker brush or comb to brush your Shih Tzu’s face. Make sure to be gentle, so you don’t irritate the sensitive area around their eyes and nose.

What should I do if my Shih Tzu doesn’t like brushing?

You can try offering your Shih Tzu treats or positive reinforcement during each brushing session. Take breaks if he’s getting too fussy, and brush him later when he’s less agitated.

When should I take my Shih Tzu to the groomer?

You should take your Shih Tzu to the groomer every three to four months. If necessary, you can take him more often to keep his fur trimmed and neat.

Should I brush my Shih Tzu’s teeth?

Yes, Shih Tzus need their teeth brushed regularly. You can use dog toothpaste and a brush to eliminate the buildup of tartar and bacteria.

What is the best way to prevent shedding in my Shih Tzu?

To prevent shedding in your Shih Tzu, brush him daily and provide him with a healthy and balanced diet. Regular grooming appointments are necessary as well. Additionally, make sure your dog gets plenty of water and exercises frequently.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DoggoLab, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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