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Caring For Your Puppy – Grooming

If you start grooming your Shih Tzu puppy from day one, whether she needs it or not, you are starting a very good habit. Your puppy is learning that grooming is normal and desirable.

I am not a professional groomer but I did complete a full professional grooming course several years ago and I have always groomed my own dogs and puppies. (by Sharon Coleman)

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Due to their long coat, many benefits ensue from brushing your Shih Tzu. Dirt and debris collect in your dog’s fur and need to be eliminated. Brushing, combing and occasionally washing will help you combat this. It is not necessary to over bathe your Shih Tzu as long as the coat is looked after as above.

dog grooming tools

Knots and matting are the next problems that Shih Tzus’s are particularly susceptible to. Therefore, if you prefer to keep your dog’s hair long, frequent brushing is key. To do this, use a slicker brush (thin metal pins), you can find these at your pet store, Amazon etc. Start at the bottom and work your way up in order to remove tangles and knots. Give special attention to the areas that are more prone to matting i.e. the stomach, around the ears and the face. Also around the crevices where the legs meet the body and at the rear. This is also the time that you will want to clean up their rear area if necessary, especially if it is a puppy. Dogs have two scent glands, one either side of the anus, which store fluid. These glands can become impacted and occasionally need draining by the vet, most people don’t like doing it themselves.  Clip any excess fur around this area to keep your puppy clean and comfortable.

Caring Your Shih Tzu

Eyes

First, check your dog’s eyes and look for any soreness or swelling. You may see staining on the fur around the eyes, this is quite common and can be removed with special eye cleaners and stain removers. If your dog has runny eyes make sure there are no hairs hanging down and irritating the eyes.

Nails

Nearly every dog hates having their nails clipped and will usually wriggle and squirm. You will probably need to enlist a helper to hold them. You will need a pair of doggy nail clippers for this. You can also buy powder to stop bleeding from a pet shop or Amazon etc. just in case you cut too short. You need only cut off the very tip of the nail to stop it from curling over into the dog’s skin and causing an injury. Take particular care with the dewclaws on all four feet as dogs are particularly protective of these but they need to be clipped. If you feel you would rather not tackle this job then you will need to take your dog to a professional groomer to have it done.

Teeth

Brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth can be another wriggle & squirm task, but your dog will become accustomed to it and it will become easier as time goes by. Most dogs don’t mind this so much because the doggy toothpaste you can get from a pet shop usually tastes quite yummy to them. Let them lick the brush first then open their lips and gently get started. They don’t usually like the soft doggy toothbrush action so much but it also gets better with time. Weekly is enough for this task. This is also a good time to have a look generally in the mouth, just in case there’s any lumps or growths or bad teeth etc. evident. Once again, get a groomer or vet to carry out the above if you are not comfortable doing it.

Ears

Whilst carrying out the above tasks take a look in and around the dog’s ears. You can do surface area cleaning with a piece of cotton wool dampened with an ear cleaning solution. Never use cotton buds, if the dog jerks its’ head at the wrong time you can cause injury. If your pet is scratching either or both ears or seem to be having an issue in that area, you should take them to your vet as it could be an ear infection and sometimes internal growing hair.

Dog clipper blade 7

Shih Tzu Hairstyles

If you decide to groom your own dogs you should make sure you buy a good set of clippers and good scissors. I use both Oster and Andis clippers.

Puppy Cut

With this cut, the hair is simply kept short all over. It is clean and keeps them from overheating. I cut all my dogs this way during hot summers, for their comfort or when my girls are expecting or whelping.

Teddy Bear Cut

As the name suggests, this style gives your dog a soft, fluffy look and is very popular. The downside is that you need to trim more often to keep it up.

You can also create a topknot by gathering some hair and pulling it up to the top of the head then securing with a band, leaving the rest of the coat shorter.

 

Using clippers for a Shih Tzu

Start by cleaning, clipping and shaving your dogs’ rear end first, with your # 7 blade.  Now use your rounded scissors, (which are specially designed so as not to cause damage to eyes and delicate parts) and clip the excess fur under the pads of each foot carefully. Also very carefully clip under and around the eyes to the top of the nose with rounded grooming scissors, take care when near the eyes.

Shave from the neck down the back to the base of the tail. Don’t press too hard and Use a sweeping movement downward on each side and back of the dog. Then carefully continue shaving the belly and chest area. Use your brush and back brush in-between shaving runs in order to lift the fur for the next run. Continue in this way until your dog looks smooth all over. Carefully trim the legs in the same way, following the direction of growth until they look even.

Now trim the hair on top of the head again following the direction of growth or alternatively, you can leave the top of the head fluffy and just trim slightly with scissors. Also, trim upwards around the neck area to the face. Trim around each side of the face to give a nice neat look. Now use scissors to clip around your dog’s feet to make them look nice and neat. Comb downwards on each ear and carefully trim the fur with scissors, making the overhanging fur at the end neat, careful not to cut the ear itself. Do the same with the tail, hold the tip of the tail between your fingers and clip the overhanging fur off neatly, just as with the ears.