Like most dogs, Shih Tzus groom themselves to stay clean. Unfortunately, their natural grooming process is usually not enough to keep them fully clean and dirt-free. This is especially true for puppies, who usually are very active and therefore run into situations that make them dirty. This is also the case for adult dogs that get muddy and/or come across smelly things.
Because of this, it’s important to regularly bathe your Shih Tzu. Specifically, you need to give him a bathe every three weeks. This might seem too long a time, but the fact is that frequent bathing can dry out your dog’s skin. On the other hand, going beyond three weeks before giving your pet a bath isn’t advisable since it allows too much oil to accumulate on his skin and makes his coat matted. Of course, if he gets muddy or dirty because of any activity, there’s no need to wait for three weeks; in this case, you’ll have to give him a bath ASAP.
Ready to give your Shih Tzu a bath? Here are some of the steps you must take:
- Buy the right dog shampoo and conditioner. Go for the best possible products you can afford; cheap ones will only damage your dog’s coat and/or irritate his skin.
- Gather the supplies you’ll need. These include a dog brush, a dog comb, shampoo, conditioner, sponge or a small toothbrush, a small plastic cup, a couple of towels, and a blow dryer. You can also get your dog’s tub if he has one as well as a portable shower head.
- Brush your pet before giving him a bath to remove any mats from his hair. Remember: wet mats are harder to remove than dry ones, so it’s important to get them out before bathing your dog. Use a dog comb for his head and face.
- Trim your dog’s hair if necessary. Focus on the hair on his paws (make sure it’s level with the pads of his feet) and in his ears (they should be free from stray hairs to avoid infection).
- Once you’ve brushed your dog and ensure his hair is mat-free, put him in the sink or his own tub. Fill the sink or tub with warm water (just enough to cover your dog’s paws).
- Wet your dog’s hair by using the plastic cup to scoop water from the sink or tub and pour it on his body. Once his hair is relatively wet, you can use the portable shower head to finish the job. Be careful not to get any water in his eyes and ears!
- When your Shih Tzu is fully wet, start applying shampoo on his hair and body. Some dog owners dilute the shampoo with water beforehand so it’s easier to apply.
- Massage the shampoo on his body, legs, hair, and tail. Pour warm water on him as needed to keep him from being cold.
- Use the sponge or small toothbrush to apply gently apply shampoo on your dog’s face. Make sure to gently remove any tear stains.
- Rinse your dog using the cup. Drain the sink or tub, then give him a final rinse using the portable shower head.
- Apply conditioner to repair any split ends and protect your dog’s hair shafts.
- Gently pat him dry using one of the towels. Use another towel to wrap him and give him a cuddle for a minute or two. (Most Shih Tzus love cuddles!)
- Apply leave-in conditioner on your dog if desired.
- Place your dog on the grooming table and dry him using a blow dryer. Work through his hair using your hands; once he’s semi-dry, you can go through his hair using a brush.
Remember these tips to properly bathe your Shih Tzu and keep him clean and healthy!