One of the most popular dogs to have as companions in the Philippines is shih tzus, to no surprise. Shih Tzus are adorable and make great lap dogs. They make great family pets who get along with other animals or even children. Simply put, Shih tzus are lovely to keep around.
Grooming them is another case altogether. They require extensive grooming, due to their long coat. A shih tzu’s coat is prone to tangling and matting due to their woolly undercoat under a silky outer coat—while it looks elegant, it effectively doubles the amount of hair to groom. Not to mention having to also mind their nails, face, and teeth and make sure they’re equally groomed as well.
Taking them to professional groomers may save you the effort but it can be tough on your wallet.
You could, however, groom your shih tzu at home. Here are some tips if you do decide to.
Grab the proper tools
Grooming your shih tzu would be so much easier if you have the correct products. Getting the right tools would help you not struggle to brush a coat or remove a mat—or even accidentally hurt your shih tzu (ouch!). Go for good-quality well-designed tools from known-and-trusted brands—even if you do have to cash out a bit more.
A shih tzu should be brushed daily to remove the dead hair and debris trapped between the two coats. A good quality pin brush could remove the tangles and matting easily from your dog. 27mm is the recommended size of the pin brushes for long haired shih tzu (20mm if short).Slicker brushes have thinner dense pins and are used to glide through mats and tangles.It could do a better job than pin brushes for unruly coats.
For a long haired shih tzu, brushing alone may not be enough and combing after may be needed. A thorough combing will remove any remaining mats and tangles and make the coat shine.If you can only have one comb in your kit, at least get a Greyhound comb. It has two sizes of teeth: extra fine teeth for under the eyes and face finishing work; the coarse teeth for removing tangles or mats from the body.Other combs to consider are rat tail combs—used for parting the hair; and flea comb—well, extra fine teeth are great to check the coats for fleas;There are many combs to choose from but, if circumstances permit, choose good-quality ones as opposed to buying their cheap plastic counterparts (we like steel).
- Electric Clippers / Shears
Rounded-end scissors meant especially for dog grooming are essential to add to your kit. Curved scissors will allow you to cut around your dog’s face and get in the awkward spots without having to accidentally poke their eyes.Clippers are useful for trimming hairs that otherwise a pair of scissors will find out of reach. Quieter, powerful clippers are generally more pricier, but will help you glide through mats and tangles without scaring your dog.
- Nail Clippers
Nails usually grow out every two to three weeks and need to be cut by then. Clipper that you use should be tiny enough to work around your dog’s paw pads and fur. Guillotine style clippers have been a favorite among shih tzu owners as it doesn’t splinter the nails that easily.
- Nail Grinders and Files
Nail grinders or files smooths the rough edges left after clipping the nails to avoid scratching from freshly clipped nails. A few swipes from a file would usually do the trick.This is also the go-to solution for nervous owners who aren’t that confident with their nail clipping skills and are afraid that they might cut a bit too deep
Brush Bottom to Top
Matting usually occurs in the undercoat so the proper way to brush is from bottom to top. Hold the top coat back and first brush the undercoat then go through layer by layer, brushing the top coat last. Doing it this way, you’ll make sure that you’ve brushed through all the hair layers and removed most if not all tangles that have formed.
Use Shampoo Formulated for Dogs
Dogs have skins built differently from humans—the pH of their skin is more neutral compared to ours. As with all dogs, never use a human shampoo on your shih tzu. Doing so might leave your furry friend with luscious hair but irritated skin.
Dog shampoos contain ingredients that won’t irritate their skin. If you’re interested, Simbae sells a range of all-natural dog shampoo including a long-hair shampoo to strengthen, shine and reduce hair fall
Some Advice on Using Muzzles
If your dog is afraid of electric clippers and won’t let you come near without them growling and snapping at you, then if at all possible, bring them to a groomer. Professional groomers are trained on how to handle dogs that don’t enjoy being groomed.
But if this is not an option, then muzzling your shih tzu might be a viable one. This is by no means comfortable for your pet so try to keep him muzzled as short as possible.