Shih Tzu Care – The ABC of Bathing Your Shih Tzu

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Shih Tzu, like all dogs, will need regular grooming. For many pet owners, that means a trip to the grooming salon, especially if the dog is being readied for showing. But for those who like a little adventure, I recommend bathing and grooming your Shih Tzu yourself. It's economic, can be a lot of fun, and provides a bonding opportunity for you and your Shih Tzu.

What you'll need

o Bathtub (your own, or a special doggy tub)
o Shampoo and Conditioner
o Non-Slip Bath Mat
o Hairdresser
o Towels
o Very sharp, Round Tipped Scissors
o Steel Comb
o Pin brush for adult dogs, or a bristle brush for puppies
o Metal clips for clipping up hair sections
o Soft sponges

How to wash your Shih Tzu

1. Place the non-slip mat and your dog's bathtub inside your normal bath or on a surface that can easily be mopped. There will be plenty of splashing and mess at first, but the more you groom your dog, the less mess will occur each time.

2. You may wish to get a friend to help you, since your dog may not be sold on the whole idea at first, especially if you're dealing with a puppy.

3. Gently wet the dog with lukewarm water.

4. Use a diluted solution of shampoo, work up a lather, and be sure to avoid the eyes and nose. Never put undiluted shampoo directly onto the dog's skin as this may cause irritation.

5. Rinse thoroughly

6. Apply a diluted conditioner (or use a spray conditioner) to make combing easier.

7. Rinse again. If you prefer, you can use non-rinse conditioners instead.

8. Gently rub or squeeze off any excess water and lift your dog onto a towel.

How to dry your Shih Tzu

1. Towel dry, then wrap him up in a dry towel. Shih Tzu can get spooked by hairdryers, so some owners will towel dry them as much as possible to cut down on blow-drying time.

2. Lift your partially washed Shih Tzu onto a table to make grooming easier.

3. Brush out any tangles. If you use a dryer, be sure the temperature is not too high. You can untangle and dry the coat, section by section.

4. Completely comb out the coat when the dog is dry.

5. If your Shih Tzu's coat needs any trimming, use the round tipped scissors to make any cuts.

6. Trim any hair around the eyes. Many owners pull the hair from the eyes up into the topknot; just make sure that it lasts there, since hair in the eyes can cause irritation and infections.

7. Check inside the ears and trim or remove any hair. If you want to skip this step, I recommend getting a professional to finish any areas that need attention.

Some owners will even take this opportunity to clean away tear stains using a sponge and tear stain removal, and may even brush the dog's teeth using a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste. However much grooming you decide to give your dog, I'll guarantee you'll have a squeaky clean and generous Shih Tzu when it's all done!