How to Groom Your Shih Tzu:  2022 Guide

Groom Your Shih Tzu     by Dur-e-Sabih     |Published 07-25-2022

If you have a Shih Tzu dog at home, you must be aware of its highly demanding nature. When it comes to grooming this dog at home, it looks tedious.

However, like other dogs, grooming a Shih Tzu at home isn’t impossible. All you need is to gain some knowledge, adopt the right tactics, and stay consistent. You can learn all these tips and much more in this guide.

Jot down the key points and get ready to groom your Shih Tzu from today, but before we begin, let us see why grooming a dog is important:

Why Should we Groom a Shih Tzu?

A Shih Tzu dog is being groomedGroom Your Shih Tzu

Here are a few key reasons that make grooming an essential responsibility of a dog owner:

  • Grooming allows you to instantly notice problems such as tartar build-up, ear infections, and skin issues.
  • A clean well-groomed Shih Tzu is a joy to be around.
  • It prevents common problems such as eye infections
  • Regular nail trims will prevent curved nails from embedding in the foot.

How to Groom?

Whether you are grooming Shih Tzu puppies or the adult ones, make sure to evaluate the dog's health condition.

Some dogs have medical conditions and need extra grooming. In this case, their vet might prescribe grooming them twice a month. Besides this, see if a dog sheds more or has a long coat. Such dogs also require often grooming sessions.

Grooming experts are easily available. If you are unsure about grooming your pet, call an expert. Now, let’s see some important steps of grooming. They include:

Supplies You Will Need to Groom Your Shih Tzu

Make a list of the things you need and shop for your dog. Some common grooming things are:

How to Groom Your Shih Tzu

Help Your Dog Feel Comfortable

Remember, the skin and hair of the dog are sensitive. One minor mistake can result in injury. Dogs remember and therefore, future grooming sessions can be much more difficult if the dog has had a bad experience. Therefore, it’s important to take extra care while grooming. You should also ensure that the dog is comfortable.

For this, you can hug and brush the hair with your hands to make it feel at ease. Once the dog is fine, you can start the grooming process. However, if it resists even in the middle of the process, stop right away. You can always try next time.


Shih Tzu Puppy Taking a Bath in the Kitchen Sink.

Now it’s time for the bath. For initiating the bathing process, you need to brush the hair with a soft brush. Now make the dog’s skin wet with some water and apply shampoo. After rinsing, you can condition the hair. Softly massage the dog’s body so that the conditioner spreads all over. Conditioning is important as it makes the dog’s hair silky and smooth.

Be sure to shampoo all areas including face, whiskers, tail, and paws. They are often where dirt lodges. Rinse thoroughly.  Squeeze out excessive water and allow to drip dry for a few seconds.  Then, wrap in a towel.

Read more about giving your Shih Tzu a bath.

Bathing a Puppy

Groom Your Shih Tzu:  Dry the Fur

Now take a soft towel and gently dry the fur. Pay special attention to the area behind the ears and below the neck. These areas have a high probability of catching mats if they stay moist. One big reason for fungal infections is also the presence of moistness in such areas. Therefore, drying them properly is important.

You can either allow them to air dry or use a blow dryer to complete the process.  If you are drying them on a table or counter, always keep one hand on your dog as some Shih Tzu dogs have a tendency to want to jump down.

Once you are done with drying, take out the dog’s brush. Give your pet a new look by brushing the hair, followed by a comb through to assure you have taken care of any mats or tangles.

If you used the blow dryer, you may prefer to brush and comb while drying.  This will eliminate one step.

Face Haircut

Trimming facial hair is one of the most difficult parts of grooming. Since the eyes of these dogs are sensitive, any minor mistake can result in eye injury. Therefore, when doing the facial part, use small scissors with blunt tips to trim the hair around the eyes first.

Also, remember to use the upward direction. It means starting from the chin and going upward towards the forehead. This direction is safe and reduces the chances of injury.

Trim around the eyes, beard and whiskers. Trim the ends of the ears.

If you feel comfortable with clippers, you may be able to use them to remove the hair that grows in front of the eyes. As previously mentioned, be extremely careful when using the clippers. Place the clippers near the eyes and move outward. If your dog resists, it’s better to stop and try another day or consider professional grooming.

Learn more about Shih Tzu Haircuts

Groom Your Shih Tzu: Paws and Paw Pads

Grooming Shih Tzu paws and paw pads

Another area that can’t be ignored is the Shih Tzu’s paws and paw pads. Not only can dirty ungroomed paws track in mud, dirt, and debris, but the hair between the paw pads can mat and cause severe pain for your Shih Tzu.

First, let your dog stand on a table or hard surface. The hair on the paws should only reach the tabletop. Use a pair of groom scissors and trim around the paw just to the table surface. Next, check the paw pads. No hair should be present on the pads or between the pads. Again, use your scissors or a clipper to remove any hair that has grown, being very careful not to accidentally cut the skin or paw pad.

Keeping the paws clean with a warm wet cloth daily will also help keep your home’s floors cleaner.

Read more about caring for the paws and paw pads

Read more about paw pad problems

Teeth Brushing

Shih Tzu Toothbrush

Like the other parts of the body, we should also take care of our dog’s teeth. Take a good quality brush that can reach every tooth and has soft bristles is ideal if your dog will allow you to brush.

Also, buy toothpaste but make sure that it doesn’t contain xylitol and fluoride. These ingredients are not suitable for dogs. This means, don't use human toothpaste.

If your dog resists, consider using a small gauze square and a tiny amount of baking soda. Rub the gauze over the teeth.

Another option is to use a dental spray, or a water additive intended to remove plaque and tartar.

Learn how to care for your Shih Tzu's teeth

Dental care for puppies

Groom Your Shih Tzu: Ear and Eye Cleaning

Shih Tzu Ear

The Shih Tzu breed is known for having problems with their ears and eyes, so it's especially important to protect both from injury and avoid infections.

The dust on the fur can get into the ears and eyes of the dog. It will then result in infection. After trimming the fur, it is important to check the eyes and ears. Sometimes wax builds up and causes trouble for the dog.

You can purchase eye ointment and ear washes for better care of these body parts but make sure to always take advice from the vet before trying anything new. Artificial tears for a Shih Tzu's eyes never hurts.

You can also clean the eyes and ears with a damp cotton ball and make sure water doesn’t go inside the eyes or ears. Furthermore, make sure that you don’t deep clean the ear. Deep cleaning is not preferable as it results in damage to the eardrum.

In addition to any debris you might observe in your Shih Tzu's ear, you will also see that hair continually grows within the ear canal, complicating the matter.  The hair needs to be removed periodically to allow good airflow into the ear.

If you notice an odor, redness, or a discharge coming from the ears, it's time to call the vet. Your dog may have an ear infection that may require a prescription medication.

Likewise, discharge from the eye that tends to be yellowish or greenish, is a sign of infection.  Any swelling or clouding of the cornea needs immediate attention from a veterinarian.

Read more about cleaning Shih Tzu Ears and also about Shih Tzu ears

Read more about Shih Tzu Eyes and Shih Tzu Eye Problems

Nail Trimming

How to Clip Puppy Nails with a Human Nail Clipper

Another important aspect of grooming is trimming the nails. This process also requires acute care as negligence can cut the flesh. You can buy nail grinders to make the process easier.

Also, notice the presence of declaws. These are present on the front feet and some Shih Tzu also have dewclaws on the back paws. Dewclaws represent the fifth nail and don’t have any contact with the ground. Trimming these nails is important because they continue to grow and may curl and grow back into the foot.

Read more about nail trimming

Supplies needed to clip nails

Groom Your Shih Tzu Fur Coat Trimming

Unless you want to keep your Shih Tzu in a full coat, you will need to give him a haircut. For a full trim, you will want to invest in a hair clipper.

In the end, brush the fur and part the hair sideways or from the center. Using your clippers, start from the center of the neck making small strokes down the back, and then the legs. You can hold their legs straight by holding the leg behind the knee.

Some dogs would prefer to have all four paws securely planted on the table. If this is the case, you will have better luck moving the clippers down the leg while the dog stands on the table. Again, make small or short strokes from the top of the leg down towards the paws.

Continue clipping by moving the clippers under the dog’s chin, down the chest, and towards the stomach area. Don’t forget to trim the groin area, often called a sanitary clip, and the backside. Tails are not normally left long, but the hair on the ends can be trimmed with a pair of scissors.

Takeaway – How to Groom Your Shih Tzu

All in all, grooming is important for your Shih Tzu pet. These furry friends will enhance their appearance and stay fit through grooming. Yes, pet owners can reduce the chances of infections and germs by following a grooming schedule. Create your schedule from today and let your dog stay healthy and fit!

Groom Your Shih Tzu  Pin for Future Reference

Groom Your Shih Tzu Pin ImageGroom Your Shih Tzu: Pin for Future Reference

Groom Your Shih Tzu Author Bio:

Dur-e-Sabih provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. Her educational background in Accountancy helps her in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development, finance, and digital marketing.

You might like these

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.