When it comes to the care of your Shih Tzu, it can be quite daunting as a new dog owner. Shih Tzu have very fine coats and therefore do require a bit more grooming than other dogs.
First things first, in terms of grooming, you will need a good brush. Be sure to find a brush that isn’t too hard and is flexible to make brushing easier and more enjoyable for the dog, and be careful when buying plastic ones as some of these may cause skin irritations.
Once you have found a good and comfortable brush, regular brushing is the best way of preventing irritation for your dog as well as maintaining good overall health as dirt, parasites and such will get stuck in matted hair. Brushing is also a terrific bonding exercise and your animal will start looking forward to, and enjoying the brushing session.
During these brushing sessions, there is no real need to force the hair in any way. Shih Tzu have, like most people and other dogs, a natural path to their hair. Simply follow the flow of the hair and comb out any mats or knots.
Bathing and natural oils
Secondly, be very wary of buying expensive cleaning products. All dogs have natural oils within their coats which help them keep their coats clean and some products might tamper with these natural oils.
Always consider the most “natural approach” if your dog’s coat isn’t shining nicely, so, if with brushing and grooming, your dogs coat still isn’t looking amazing, then maybe look into the dog’s diet as this has a large effect on its coat.
Also consider that dogs do not actually need to be bathed and be careful of over-bathing your animal. Dogs groom themselves and do a great job, bathing really only becomes necessary if your animal is constantly dirty or unable to groom itself.
When it comes to dental care of your Shih Tzu’s teeth, it is also important to understand all the possibilities. A vet cleaning your pooches’ teeth can be an expensive routine, and often times this will only happen when there is a problem with the pup’s teeth. To prevent this, and simply for good care, make sure you look after you pup’s teeth very well.
Many Shih Tzu enjoy having their teeth brushed, and dog toothpaste and brushes are mostly inexpensive. But if you lack the time or your dog isn’t too happy with brushing, consider using dental treats. Dentals treats are basically doggy treats that your dog chews to help fight bacteria, bad breath and gum disease. There are a number of brands for these dental treats too so if your dog doesn’t enjoy the first batch, try out another.
Lastly, also very important in the care of your Shih Tzu, is the care of their nails. Many dogs do not like having their nails cut by anyone. It is a sensation that they simply don’t like. If this is the case with your dog, the best route is to have the nails trimmed when you take the dog to the vet, but if your dog is fine having its nails trimmed by you, then safe yourself the trip.
Most nail trimmers you can purchase will be size proportional, so you won’t get wire cutters for your pup’s little nails. But if not, just remember when trimming nails, it’s all about length. Make sure you have trimmed enough, but not too much to make it uncomfortable or hurt the dog.
Injury normally occurs when you cut the vein running down the dog’s nail – also known as a quick. The vein will recede if you cut the nails more frequently and frequent cutting will significantly reduce the risk of injury. Keep styptic powder on hand in case of an accident – it will stop the bleeding if an accident occurs.