Shih Tzu Grooming: Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Session at Home

Introduction: Why Grooming Matters for Shih Tzus

Introduction: Why Grooming Matters For Shih Tzus
Regular grooming is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy and happy Shih Tzu. A good grooming session not only ensures that your dog looks presentable but also promotes good health. Shih Tzus have thick and luxurious coats that require a considerable amount of maintenance. Failing to groom your Shih Tzu can lead to many problems like matting, skin infections, and bad odor. Grooming should be a top priority for all Shih Tzu owners.

One of the essential parts of grooming is brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat. Brushing helps distribute natural oils evenly throughout the coat, preventing tangling and matting. It also helps to remove any loose hair and dirt, promoting healthy hair growth. However, choosing the right brush for your Shih Tzu is equally important. Using the wrong brush can damage the coat, leading to skin irritation and other problems. To ensure that your dog’s coat stays healthy, always pick the right brush for your Shih Tzu’s unique coat type.

Apart from brushing, another grooming activity that should not be overlooked is bathing your Shih Tzu. Bathing your dog helps to remove dirt and debris while keeping their coat shiny and clean. However, like brushing, you need to follow specific techniques and use appropriate grooming products for optimal results. For example, you should use shampoo designed specifically for dogs to avoid any allergic reactions or irritations. You should rinse your Shih Tzu thoroughly after the bathing session to prevent any residual shampoo.

Grooming also involves other essential activities like trimming your dog’s nails, cleaning their ears, and eyes. Nails that are too long can cause your dog discomfort and pain while walking, making it important to keep them in check. Similarly, cleaning their eyes and ears can remove any unwanted buildup of wax and discharge, promoting good health and preventing infection.

Grooming is an integral part of owning a Shih Tzu. It helps maintain not only the appearance of your dog’s coat but also their overall health. Regular grooming sessions will prevent unwanted illnesses and infections while keeping your Shih Tzu happy and healthy. Check out some of the links below for more information on brushing tips, mistakes to avoid, and the importance of grooming for your Shih Tzu.

Prepare Your Dog for Grooming

Prepare Your Dog For Grooming
As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to properly prepare your furry friend for grooming to ensure a stress-free and seamless experience. The way you prepare your Shih Tzu for a grooming session can have a significant impact on the quality of results you achieve. Plus, regular grooming can help keep your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy, shiny, and mat-free. It’s imperative to get the right grooming supplies and techniques. Before we jump into the details, let’s take a moment to discuss why grooming is so important for Shih Tzus. To learn more about the importance of brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat, check out our guide through 5 Reasons Why Brushing Your Shih Tzu Is Important.

Gather Your Grooming Supplies

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu at home, it’s important to have all the necessary supplies on hand to ensure a successful grooming session. So, let’s gather your grooming supplies so that you have everything needed and won’t have to run to the store mid-groom.

A list of essential grooming supplies includes:

  • Shampoo formulated for dogs: Do not use human shampoo as the pH balance can upset the natural oils in their coat.
  • Conditioner: Optional, but it can help to prevent matting and tangles.
  • Brush: Regular brushing can prevent matting, promote healthy circulation and is an excellent bonding activity for you and your dog. There are many different types of brushes available, but for a Shih Tzu, a pin brush, slicker brush, and comb are necessary. Learn more about Shih Tzu brushes here.
  • Clipper: Shih Tzus often require trimming, especially around the face and paws. Clippers can be an excellent tool for this, but ensure you are using a blade suitable for your dog’s coat length. Learn how to fix a matted coat using clippers here.
  • Nail clippers: Long nails can be uncomfortable for dogs and impact their ability to walk correctly. Trim your dog’s nails carefully and regularly to avoid hurting them. Remember not to cut the quick, which can be painful and cause bleeding.
  • Ear cleaner: Ear cleaning is essential to prevent infections, especially in dogs with floppy ears, like Shih Tzus. Learn more about cleaning your dog’s ears here.
  • Cotton balls: To clean your dog’s ears, you’ll need cotton balls.
  • Cotton swabs: You may use these to clean around the eyes and nose.
  • Towels: Have a few towels on hand that you don’t mind getting dirty or hairy. You’ll need them for drying your dog.

Optional grooming supplies include:

  • Treats: Treats can be excellent rewards for your dog’s cooperation during the grooming experience.
  • A grooming table or raised surface: This can make the grooming process easier ergonomically for you while providing a secure surface for the dog.
  • A grooming dryer: If you don’t have a grooming dryer, a human hairdryer can suffice, but don’t use the highest heat setting. Always opt for cool air instead of hot air for safety reasons.
  • Styptic powder: Accidents happen, and styptic powder can stop bleeding if you accidentally cut your dog’s nails too short.

By having these supplies on hand, you should be able to give your Shih Tzu a perfect grooming session without any hiccups. However, be sure to avoid some common brushing mistakes and follow some essential brushing tips to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both you and your pup.

Prepare Your Dog’s Coat

A crucial step in getting your Shih Tzu’s coat looking its best is to properly prepare it for grooming. This involves a few simple steps that can make a big difference in the final outcome of your grooming session.

Grooming Supplies
First, gather all of the grooming supplies you’ll need for the job. This includes a brush, comb, scissors, clippers, and any other tools you’ll use to groom your Shih Tzu’s coat.

Grooming SuppliesDescription
BrushA soft-bristled brush specially made for Shih Tzus.
CombA comb with both wide and narrow teeth for working through mats and tangles.
ScissorsRound tip scissors for trimming around the face and paws.
ClippersA set of clippers with various blade lengths for trimming the body.

Coat Condition
Next, assess the condition of your Shih Tzu’s coat. Is it dry or oily? Does it have mats or tangles? These factors can affect how you approach the grooming session.

Dry Coat
If your Shih Tzu’s coat is dry, you can use a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray to help with brushing and prevent the coat from becoming damaged during grooming. Additionally, consider using a slicker brush to gently work through any mats or tangles.

Oily Coat
If your Shih Tzu’s coat is oily, consider using a dry shampoo or talc-free powder to absorb excess oils before brushing. Be sure to brush thoroughly to remove any excess powder.

Matted Coat
If your Shih Tzu’s coat has mats or tangles, it’s crucial to address these before the grooming session. Use a mat rake or dematting tool to work through any stubborn tangles and mats. Be sure to be gentle to avoid hurting your dog.

Prepping the Area
Lastly, prepare the area where you’ll be grooming your Shih Tzu. Choose a well-lit area with enough space for you and your dog to move around comfortably. Lay out a nonslip mat on the floor to prevent your dog from slipping and to catch any falling hair.

By properly preparing your Shih Tzu’s coat and grooming supplies, you can set yourself up for success in achieving a perfect grooming session at home.

Brushing Your Shih Tzu’s Coat

Brushing Your Shih Tzu'S Coat
One of the most essential parts of Shih Tzu grooming is maintaining their beautiful long coat. Regular brushing not only keeps their coat looking stunning but also helps to prevent tangles and mats, which can be painful for your furry friend. However, it can be challenging to maintain their coat without proper knowledge and techniques. In this section, we will guide you through the process of brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat step-by-step with tips and tricks on choosing the right brush, brushing techniques, and trimming to keep your furry friend’s coat in perfect shape.

Choosing the Right Brush

When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, choosing the right brush is essential. Not all brushes are created equal, and each serves a particular purpose. Here are some options:

Slicker Brush:A slicker brush is excellent for removing tangles, mats, and shedding hair. Using this type of brush regularly can also prevent future mats from forming.
Bristle Brush:A bristle brush is best suited for Shih Tzus with short coats. It helps distribute natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it healthy and shiny.
Pin Brush:A pin brush is ideal for use after brushing your dog’s coat with a slicker brush. It helps to smooth the hair and give it a polished appearance.
Comb:A comb is an excellent tool for removing tangles or mats that are close to the skin, as well as for fluffing the coat after it has been brushed.

When selecting a brush for your Shih Tzu, consider the length and thickness of their coat. Also, keep in mind that Shih Tzus have sensitive skin that can easily become irritated if brushed too hard. Be gentle and patient, and your furry friend will thank you for a stress-free grooming experience.

Brushing Your Shih Tzu’s Coat

Brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat is an essential part of their grooming routine. This will keep their coat shiny, healthy, and free from matting. In this section, we will discuss the right tools and techniques to make brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat easy and stress-free.

First, let’s talk about the different types of brushes you can use. Using the right brush will ensure that you remove dead hair without damaging the healthy coat. Here are some of the most common types of brushes for Shih Tzus:

Type of BrushBest for
Bristle BrushRemoving loose hair, dirt, and debris
Slicker BrushRemoving tangles and mats
Pin BrushGiving a finishing touch and fluffing the coat

Once you have chosen the right brush, it’s time to start brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat. Here’s how to do it:

1. Start at the head: Begin brushing at the top of their head and work your way down, section by section.

2. Work in the direction of hair growth: Brush in the direction of hair growth, using short, gentle strokes. Be careful not to scratch their skin.

3. Pay attention to matting: If you come across tangles or mats, use a slicker brush to gently work them out.

4. Brush the legs and tail last: Finally, brush their legs and tail. These areas are most sensitive, so you’ll want to save them for last.

Remember, brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat is not only for aesthetic purposes but also for their overall health and well-being. It is recommended to brush your Shih Tzu’s coat at least three times per week, especially during their shedding season. By following these steps and using the right tools, brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat can be an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your furry friend.

Trimming Your Shih Tzu’s Coat

Trimming Your Shih Tzu’s Coat: Trimming your Shih Tzu’s coat is an essential part of grooming. It helps to keep your dog’s coat looking neat and tidy while also ensuring that your furry friend stays healthy and comfortable.

Before you start trimming, you’ll need a few supplies. Here are the essential tools that you’ll need:

ScissorsSharp grooming scissors with rounded tips.
ClippersSelect a clipper with attachments that suit your dog’s coat length.
CombA steel comb can help to get the right length for trimming.
BrushA soft brush for removing tangled hair before trimming.
TreatsSome treats to keep your Shih Tzu calm during trimming.

Once you have gathered all the supplies, here are the steps to follow for a perfect trimming session:

1. Begin by brushing your dog’s coat to remove any tangles or mats. This will help the clippers to glide smoothly.

2. Use your comb to part your dog’s hair to the desired length that you want your dog’s coat to be trimmed.

3. Hold the hair between your fingers or comb and trim carefully using sharp scissors. Make sure that you trim only a small length at a time and avoid cutting any delicate areas like ears, paws, or tail.

4. For any bulk trimming, use clippers with the correct clipper attachments. Start at the neck and move towards the tail, taking care around the ears, paws, and tail.

5. Remember to give your dog lots of treats and praises during the trimming process to keep your Shih Tzu calm and relaxed.

Note: If you are new to trimming, consider taking your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer. A professional groomer will ensure your Shih Tzu’s coat is trimmed correctly and safely.

Cleaning Your Shih Tzu’s Coat

A Shih Tzu’s coat requires regular cleaning to remove dirt, tangles, and matting. Follow these steps for a clean and healthy coat:

  1. Begin by brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat: Use a slicker brush or comb to remove any tangles or knots in the coat. This helps to prevent matting and makes the coat easier to clean.
  2. Wet the coat: Use a spray bottle or damp cloth to wet your Shih Tzu’s coat. Be sure to avoid getting water in their ears and eyes.
  3. Apply dog shampoo: Apply a small amount of dog shampoo to your Shih Tzu’s coat, and work it in with your fingers, taking care to avoid the face and eyes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse off all the shampoo from the coat, making sure to remove all soap residue.
  5. Towel dry: Gently pat your Shih Tzu’s coat with a towel to remove excess water. Avoid rubbing, which can cause matting.
  6. Blow dry the coat: Use a hair dryer on a low heat setting to dry your Shih Tzu’s coat, taking care not to get too close to their skin, which can cause burns. Use a slicker brush or comb to detangle the coat as you go.

Regular cleaning of your Shih Tzu’s coat not only keeps them looking their best, but also helps maintain their overall health and wellbeing. Remember to always use dog-specific products and to be gentle when grooming, as their skin and coat can be sensitive.

Bathing Your Shih Tzu

Bathing Your Shih Tzu
Now that your Shih Tzu’s coat is free of tangles and matting, it’s time to move on to the next step in the grooming process – bathing! Bathing your furry friend is an essential part of their grooming routine to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. But, it’s not just about getting them clean, it’s also a great bonding experience for you and your pet. In this section, we’ll guide you through how to properly bathe your Shih Tzu, from preparing for the bath to drying them off. So, get ready to give your Shih Tzu the spa treatment they deserve!

Preparing for the Bath

Before giving your Shih Tzu a bath, it’s important to prepare both yourself and your furry friend for the process. This will ensure a successful grooming session and reduce the chances of any accidents or injuries.

Here are the steps to follow when preparing for a Shih Tzu’s bath:

  • Choose the right shampoo: Shih Tzus have sensitive skin, so it’s important to choose a shampoo that is specifically formulated for their breed. Avoid using human shampoo, as this can be too harsh and strip the natural oils from their coat.
  • Prepare the bathing area: Choose a warm and quiet room to bathe your Shih Tzu. Place a non-slip mat or towel on the bottom of the bathtub to prevent any slips or falls. Fill the tub with warm water before bringing your Shih Tzu into the room.
  • Remove any tangles: Before bathing your Shih Tzu, make sure to remove any tangles or mats from their coat. This will make the bathing process easier and more comfortable for your pet.
  • Secure your Shih Tzu: Once in the bathing area, it’s important to secure your Shih Tzu so they don’t jump out of the tub or run away. Use a leash or have someone hold onto your pet while you bathe them.
  • Protect their ears: Shih Tzu’s ears are prone to infections, so it’s important to protect them during bath time. Place a small amount of cotton balls in each ear to prevent water and soap from entering.
  • Test the water temperature: Make sure the water temperature is warm, but not too hot. Test the water with your elbow to ensure it’s comfortable for your Shih Tzu.
  • Keep towels and a blow dryer close by: Have towels and a blow dryer within reach before starting the bath. This will make the drying process easier and more efficient.

By following these simple steps, you can help make bath time a positive experience for both you and your Shih Tzu.

Bathing Your Shih Tzu

Before you start bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies such as shampoo, towels, and a non-slip mat to prevent accidents. Once you have everything ready, it’s time to start following these steps for a perfect Shih Tzu grooming session at home:

Step 1: Brush Your Shih Tzu’s Coat
Before giving your Shih Tzu a bath, it’s important to brush their coat thoroughly to remove any tangles or mats. This will make the bathing process easier and more effective.

Step 2: Wet Your Shih Tzu’s Coat
Using lukewarm water, wet your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly, making sure to avoid their eyes, nose, and ears.

Step 3: Apply Shampoo
Squeeze a small amount of shampoo onto your hand and apply it to your Shih Tzu’s coat. Gently massage the shampoo into their fur, making sure to cover all areas.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly
Rinse your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly with lukewarm water, making sure to remove all shampoo residues.

Step 5: Dry Your Shih Tzu
Using a towel, gently pat your Shih Tzu’s coat to remove excess water. If your Shih Tzu is amenable to using a hair dryer, use the lowest power and heat settings to dry off their coat completely.

Remember to always supervise your Shih Tzu during the bathing process and never leave them unattended in the water. With these tips, you can give your Shih Tzu a comfortable and enjoyable grooming session at home.

Drying Your Shih Tzu

Once you have finished bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s time to dry them off to ensure they stay warm and don’t catch a cold. Here are the steps to follow for perfect drying:

  • Wrap your Shih Tzu in a towel: Use a big, absorbent towel to wrap your Shih Tzu in. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water gently. Avoid rubbing the coat as this can cause tangles and damage the hair.
  • Use a hairdryer: You can use a hairdryer to dry your Shih Tzu. Make sure to set it to low heat and low speed. Hold the hairdryer at least 6 inches away from your dog’s coat and move it constantly to avoid burning their skin. You can also use a pet dryer which is less noisy and less likely to scare your dog.
  • Brush the coat: Once your Shih Tzu is mostly dry, you can use a slicker brush or a comb to remove any loose hairs or tangles. Start from the head and work your way down to the tail with gentle strokes.
  • Be patient: Drying your Shih Tzu can take some time, especially if they have a thick coat. Be patient and avoid rushing the process. Make sure to check the hair under their legs and stomach to ensure they are fully dry.

Remember, maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat is important to prevent matting and skin infections. Drying them properly is one of the crucial steps in the grooming process.

Other Grooming Needs

Taking care of your beloved Shih Tzu involves much more than just brushing and bathing. As a pet owner, you want to ensure that you tend to all their grooming needs. Other essential grooming needs like cleaning their eyes, ears, and trimming their nails, are equally important to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. While it may seem intimidating at first, with a bit of practice and patience, you can effortlessly take care of these grooming routines at home.

Cleaning Your Shih Tzu’s Ears

Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their grooming routine. Ignoring this area can lead to ear infections and other health issues. Here are the steps to follow for properly cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears:

1Gather your supplies: cotton balls or pads, ear cleaning solution
2Check for signs of infection: Look for redness, swelling, or discharge in the ears. If you detect any abnormalities, consult a veterinarian.
3Apply the ear cleaning solution: Hold the ear flap up and pour the solution into the ear. Gently massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds to work the solution into the ear canal.
4Clean the ear: Use a cotton ball or pad to wipe away any excess cleaning solution, wax, or debris from the ear flap and inside the ear canal. Be gentle so you don’t damage the ear canal.
5Repeat on the other ear: Clean the other ear using the same steps.

It is important to note that you should never insert cotton swabs or any other objects into your Shih Tzu’s ear canal as this can push debris further into the ear, cause injury, or lead to infections. Also, avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean their ears as these can be irritating and cause discomfort. Follow these steps regularly to ensure your Shih Tzu’s ears stay clean and healthy.

Cleaning Your Shih Tzu’s Eyes

Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s eyes is an important part of their grooming routine. It helps prevent tear stains and keeps their eyes healthy. Here are some steps to follow for cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes:

  • Begin by washing your hands thoroughly and preparing the area where you will be cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes.
  • Use a clean and damp cloth to gently wipe away any discharge or debris from the corners of your Shih Tzu’s eyes.
  • Next, use a fresh cloth or cotton ball dampened with saline solution to clean the eye area. Be sure to wipe away from the eye to avoid pushing any dirt and debris into the eye.
  • If your Shih Tzu has tear stains, use a tear stain remover solution specifically made for dogs. Apply it to a clean cotton ball and gently wipe the area under the eye. Be careful not to get the solution in their eye.
  • If your Shih Tzu’s eyes seem irritated or red after cleaning, consider consulting with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Remember: Properly cleaning your Shih Tzu’s eyes is an essential part of their grooming routine. By keeping their eyes clean and healthy, you prevent the build-up of bacteria and the onset of eye infections. As with any grooming procedure, be sure to make it a positive experience for your dog by using praise and plenty of treats.

Trimming Your Shih Tzu’s Nails

Trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails may seem daunting, but with practice and patience, it can become a routine part of your grooming session. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is important to prevent them from becoming too long and painful for your furry friend. Here are some steps to follow for a safe and effective nail trim:

  • Gather the right tools: Before starting, make sure you have the necessary tools, including nail clippers designed for dogs and styptic powder to stop any bleeding. It’s also a good idea to have treats on hand to reward your dog for good behavior.
  • Get your dog comfortable: Help your Shih Tzu get comfortable with the nail trimming process by touching their paws and feet regularly during playtime. This will help reduce any fear or anxiety during grooming time.
  • Find the quick: The quick is the pink part of your dog’s nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Avoid cutting into the quick as it can be very painful and cause bleeding. If your dog has light-colored nails, the quick will be easy to spot. For dark-colored nails, it’s best to start with small cuts and work your way up to avoid injuring the quick.
  • Make the cut: Hold your dog’s paw firmly but gently, then make a clean cut at a slight angle just below the quick. If your dog pulls away, stop and try again later. It’s better to make small cuts than to risk cutting the quick.
  • Apply styptic powder: If you accidentally cut the quick and your dog’s nail bleeds, apply styptic powder to the nail to stop the bleeding. Be sure to praise and reward your dog for their cooperation and patience throughout the process.

Regular nail trimming is essential to keep your Shih Tzu’s paws healthy and comfortable. By following these steps and taking your time, you can ensure a safe and effective nail trimming session with your furry friend.


After following the above-mentioned steps for a perfect Shih Tzu grooming session at home, it’s time to relax and appreciate your hard work. Your furry friend will surely appreciate the time and care you put into their grooming routine.

Regular grooming sessions are not only essential for your Shih Tzu’s physical appearance but also for their overall health and happiness. Grooming helps to prevent matted hair, skin irritations, and other potential health concerns. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to bond with your pet!

Remember to be patient with your dog and take frequent breaks if needed. Grooming sessions can be tiring for both you and your Shih Tzu, so it’s essential to keep things positive and enjoyable.

Lastly, if you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional groomer. A professional can provide expert advice, assistance and guide you through the grooming process. By following these steps, you can keep your furry companion looking and feeling their best, and enjoy a happy, healthy life together!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I groom my Shih Tzu at home or should I take them to a professional groomer?

You can definitely groom your Shih Tzu at home, with the right tools and techniques. However, if you’re not confident or don’t have experience with grooming, it’s always best to take them to a professional groomer.

How often should I groom my Shih Tzu?

Your Shih Tzu’s grooming needs will depend on their coat type and length. In general, however, they should be groomed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangles.

What supplies do I need for a Shih Tzu grooming session?

You’ll need a slicker brush, a comb, scissors, a clipper, shampoo, conditioner, ear cleaner, and nail clippers or a grinder.

How do I prepare my Shih Tzu’s coat for brushing?

Spray your Shih Tzu’s coat with coat detangler or water mixed with conditioner. This will make it easier to remove tangles and prevent breakage.

What’s the best way to bathe my Shih Tzu?

Use lukewarm water and a shampoo formulated for dogs. Wet your Shih Tzu thoroughly, apply the shampoo, and work it into a lather. Rinse well and repeat if necessary.

How do I dry my Shih Tzu’s coat after bathing?

Use a towel or blow dryer set to a low, warm setting to dry your Shih Tzu’s coat. Make sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent matting and skin irritation.

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

Shih Tzus are prone to ear infections, so it’s important to clean their ears once a week with a gentle, veterinarian-approved ear cleaner.

What’s the best way to clean my Shih Tzu’s eyes?

Use a damp cloth or cotton ball to wipe away any discharge or debris from your Shih Tzu’s eyes. If they have tear stains, you can use a commercial tear stain remover or a hydrogen peroxide solution.

How often should I trim my Shih Tzu’s nails?

You should trim your Shih Tzu’s nails once a month, or as needed. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, they’re too long.

What’s the best way to introduce my Shih Tzu to grooming?

Start by introducing your Shih Tzu to the grooming tools gradually. Let them sniff and investigate each tool before using it on them. Offer treats and praise to create a positive association with grooming.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DoggoLab, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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