Grooming Your Shih Tzu








It is down to personal choice what you use but at the bottom of the page you will find products tried and trusted by myself and many others.


Bath at least every other week for short coats and up to twice a week for full coated. The short muzzle of a Shih Tzu causes them to place their face very close to thing's to smell causing their face to get frequently dirty. The short muzzle can also cause more tearing than in the long muzzle breeds. Their face will need cleaning at least twice a week. Use cotton wool or a flannel to wash under the eye area and rinse well. If your Shih Tzu gets their feet dirty outside everyday, just wash the feet. Bathing too often will remove the natural oils necessary for a shiny, healthy coat.


Brush them before AND after you bath them. Brushing before makes the brushing afterward part much easier. Place some cotton balls in their ears before the bath. Water in the ear is one of the most common causes of ear infections. Please remember to remove these once you are done with the bath!


Keep the shampoo out of their eyes. If you do get soap in the eyes, simply wash with warm water or saline such as you would use if you wear contact lenses.


Rinse thoroughly as it is easy to leave some shampoo residue, especially between their toes. This will cause them to lick and irritate their skin.


Be sure to blow dry thoroughly. Dogs love to run and roll after a bath. If they are still wet they will pick up all kinds of things from the ground and ruin all the work you have just completed. Invest in a table doggy drier to free both your hands. Hold a brush in one hand and the other on your dog where the hot air is blowing on them. This way you will always know the temperature of the air, it can sometimes get too hot very quickly. Dry a puppy's chest first to prevent them catching a chill. Be careful blowing hot air into their face. They have a very short muzzle so the air they breathe doesn't have much time to cool before it reaches their lungs. Do not directly blow hot air in the face of a puppy under four months of age.


Always dry the inside of the ears with cotton wool pads to prevent infection from damp ears.


If you choose not to groom them yourself, try to find a groomer that will groom by individual appointment so that your puppy does not have to spend the entire day in a cage, which can be very stressful on a dog at any age. Make sure you find a reputable groomer. Holding down a wriggling puppy can be very stressful for them. Too much pressure and this could injure your puppy and could cause behaviour problems. You should bath them yourself for the first four months or so, that will help them get used to the bath and blow drier, then they will not be as frightened during their first trip to the groomer





The Shih Tzu coat needs to be brushed often to prevent matted hair from forming. Soft coat textures tangle and mat quicker than hard coats. If you intend to make yours a show dog, you need to keep its coat at floor length and groom every other day. Invest in the best brush possible to enable you to brush your Shih Tzu coat in layers. Start brushing at the extreme ends like the feet, legs, belly and then upwards on the back. Brush gently all the way down to the skin to get rid of tangles and mats.




Change to a comb when grooming your Shih Tzu face, feet and under its ears. Pay special attention to the hairs in between the feet pads. You should remove excess hair from its ear canal. Apply an ear powder to the hair in the ear canal and gently pull.

 ( I find Thornitt best )





Your Shih Tzu teeth are prone to plaque, calculus, gingivitis and other periodontal disease. Brush its teeth twice weekly with pet toothbrush and doggie toothpaste. Its jaw is small and teeth are often overcrowded leading to higher probability of tooth disease. To help prevent plaque I give my dogs Pedigree Dentastix.


Not all dogs will allow you to brush like mine so keeping their dental check-ups up to date is essential, Shih Tzu don't have the best teeth and sometimes need a full scale and polish under a general anesthetic which I have done with a few of mine.





The long floppy ears of a Shih Tzu make them more susceptible to ear infections. Before you begin, ask your vet for advice on ear care, cleansing solutions and frequency of use. 

Step 1: With your dog lying on his side or stood on a grooming table apply an ear cleaning solution to the inside of his ear.

Step 2: Gently massage the outer ear for a minute or two so the solution takes effect.

Step 3: Use a clean cotton ball never a cotton bud to remove remaining dirt and wax near the opening of the ear canal. Clean the inside and outer folds of each ear. 

Check ears at least once a week. If you notice redness, swelling, discharge, crustiness or a foul odour or if your dog often shakes his head tilts it to one side, or scratches his ears then make an appointment with your vet.





The large eyes of a Shih Tzu make them more susceptible to eye infections. Their short muzzle makes it necessary for them to get their whole face very close to something to check it out, making them more susceptible to eye debris and injury.

Tend to eyes at least twice each week. Eyes should be bright, clear and free of sleep and discharge. If they appear inflamed or the surrounding skin is overly red, contact your vet. An excessive amount of eye discharge could be due to infected or dirty ears or ear mites. Even the cleanest home can have mites, your puppy goes out to play and can bring them back inside on his feet or perhaps you bring them in on your shoes. They can jump on your puppy and make their way to his ears. Any eye problems always check the ears as well.

Some shih tzu have an extra short muzzle with deep skin folds around their eyes that require extra care. Use a moist cotton ball to wipe inside the folds and remove dirt. Your vet may recommend an antiseptic wash for this purpose.





Cut your pet's toenails after its bath. The nails are softened when wet and this makes the cutting easier. Avoid cutting into the red streak (called quick) as this causes bleeding. If this happens, use styptic powder to stop the bleeding.


With Black nails do a little at a time as these can be very tricky.


Products I use...



Plush Puppy Range ( Fab !! )


Groomers EPO & Royal Jelly


Baby Shampoo for the face


Coat handler Conditioner and Grooming spray ( Fab !! )


Pets @ Homes white coat Shampoo


Allsystems Grooming Spray


Allsystems whitening Gel


Thornitt Ear Powder


Pantene conditioner ( works wonders )




The best brush to buy is a Nylon/Bristle brush as this get's through both the top and the undercoat.