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How To Groom A Shih Tzu - Complete Guide

This post is for anyone who owns a owns a dog and would like to groom them at home, either for the comfort and bonding experience this creates for you and your dog or to save money by not having to visit a professional pet groomer. Although this article is more specifically about grooming a Shih Tzu the techniques described will be useful for all dog owners.


This post could also be useful for anyone training to become a professional dog groomer.


After reading this post you will have a thorough idea of the steps required to groom your Shih Tzu at home. As well as knowing what equipment will be necessary you will also have a good idea of the pros and cons of personal grooming rather than visiting or hiring a professional pet groomer.


Since a Shih Tzu’s hair grows quite quickly, an accomplished groomer is usually the best individual to groom your Shih Tzu providing not just a basic cut but some fashionable styling as well. However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to groom your dog yourself. It’s natural to feel anxious about grooming your dog yourself but with the right equipment, instructions and a little confidence you’ll be feeling like a professional yourself in no time.

Equipment You'll Need To Groom Your Shih Tzu

To groom your Shih Tzu at home you will need various pieces of equipment. Some are more expensive than others but it will only take one or two grooms before you will have saved the money you would have spent on a professional groomer. Some of the equipment needed you’ll probably have at home already and most of these things you can find at online, at your local pet store or supermarket.


What you’ll need:

For a more detailed review of what equipment you will need to groom your Shih Tzu please read my article – Grooming Tools For Your Shih Tzu. You’ll find an overview of what tools you’ll need and why and also some recommendation for some quality products.

Preparing Your Dog For Grooming

Step 1 - Prepare The Space

Firstly, you’ll have to find a suitable place to groom your Shih Tzu.  A lot of dogs are not especially comfortable during bath time and may try to make a dash for it. Therefore, you’ll have to use a place where they can’t escape from mid-groom.


It’s perfectly fine to groom your Shih Tzu outside in the garden but you’ll want to find an enclosed space that they can’t escape from. Trust me, I know this from experience.


The bathroom is obviously the best choice though as you have easy access to flowing water, a bath or shower to contain your dog, and (hopefully) a door so they can’t make a sneaky dash for it.


It’s unlikely that you have a perfectly placid Shih Tzu who will stay calm and relaxed during bathing and grooming. It can be a little messy so you’ll want to cover the floors with some towels. This will help with the amount of time spent tidying up afterward but it is also very important to stop you from slipping and hurting yourself or your dog.


Although not essential it might be a good idea to purchase some kind of non-slip surface to put in the bath. My bath doubles up as a shower so we have one of these and it does make a big difference when I’m bathing my Shih Tzu.

Step 2 - Relax Your Dog

Bathing and grooming can be a stressful experience for a dog, especially at first.


I’ve groomed my Shih Tzu several times now and he is far more relaxed than he was at first. So don’t worry too much if it’s a bit of a struggle the first few times, this is natural and they’ll eventually become accustomed to the process and you’ll find it much easier.


When I first started grooming my dog a strategy I would use was to sit on the sofa with him and brush him with his favorite brush while talking to him in a soothing tone. This always puts him in a relaxed state of mind before we begin.

Step 3 - Remove Any Matted Hair Or Tangles

This is an important step to take before you bathe your Shih Tzu. Any knots or matted hair will become thicker and denser during bathing, making them much harder to remove.


Before you bathe your dog you should be able to run a comb through their coat with no resistance. If this is not the case then you’ll need to use a brush to remove the knots and tangles.


If it takes a long time to brush through your Shih Tzu’s coat before bathing then you’re probably not brushing your dog enough.


I know life can be hectic at times and free time can be at a minimum but regular brushing of your Shih Tzu’s hair is very important. Neglecting this can lead to some horrible skin conditions.


For a more detailed review of how to brush out matted hair please read our article – How To Brush Out Matted Dog Hair.

Due to it’s double-coat, it’s very important to regularly groom your Shih Tzu as neglect can lead to unwanted matting which can then lead to more serious health conditions for your dog.


So what brush will you need? The most important brush you’ll need to properly groom your dog is a slicker brush. The main purpose of a slicker brush is to get rid of any debris that finds its way into your dog’s coat and to remove loose hairs. A slicker brush will have hundreds of metal pins that also help to remove mats and tangles.


Below I will recommend and review some good quality slicker brushes. I have provided a range of products with different prices and features so have a look and read the reviews to see what one would best suit your needs. If you would like to learn more about brushes for your Shih Tzu then please read our article – The Best Brush For A Shih Tzu.

Best Grooming Slicker Brushes

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

best choice

My first recommendation would be the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For the price, this is an excellent brush if you are on a budget.


One of the best features of this brush is that it’s self-cleaning. You simply click a button that retracts the bristles making it easy to wipe away the hair.


This brush has a good density of bristles that are angled so as not to cause discomfort for your dog when brushing.


It has a strong, comfortable anti-slip handle that helps towards avoiding wrist strain when brushing for longer periods.


This brush has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon with over 84,000 reviews.


Although the reviews are overwhelming positive a small percentage of customers complained that the bristle are too sharp and their dogs found it hard to tolerate.



Chris Christensen Slicker Brush

For a more high-end brush, the Chris Christensen Slicker brush is a great choice.


The pins of this brush are designed to be less harsh on your dog’s skin and are the main reason dog owners choose this brush over others.


It has 30% more pins than most other similar brushes doing more work with less effort.


It also has an ergonomically designed handle providing a comfortable, sturdy grip.


The unique GroomGrip rubber coating allows you to use this brush while bathing without the risk of it slipping out of your hand. Also, it comes in 3 sizes meaning you’ll be able to find the correct size for your Shih Tzu.


Although this brush is more expensive than other slicker brushes, it’s a very popular choice with pet owners. After all, you get what you pay for.


It has a 4.7 out of 5 star review on Amazon with over 5,700 reviews.



JW Gripsoft Slicker Slicker Brush

jw slicker brush

Another great choice for a slicker brush is the JW Gripsoft Brush.


The brush has been designed with a rubber-sheathed handle for maximum comfort while you’re grooming your Shih Tzu.


The handle is also non-slip giving you more control over those harder-to-reach places on your dog.


The teeth come in two different lengths making them great for removing mats and tangles.


The teeth are also angled at 90 degrees to prevent any raking on your dog’s skin.



Matt Splitters For Grooming

If you regularly groom your Shih Tzu then you might not need to use this tool too often. But in my experience no matter how vigilant you are, your dog will always get some matted hair at some point, even if it’s just little patches on the belly or hidden under the legs.


Below I will review a few mat splitters covering a range of prices. You can have a look at the different features, read through the reviews, and see which one suits your needs best.


If you have several dogs or have a dog that has heavy matting, I would look for a mat splitter that has a comfortable handle as sometimes this can require a lot of movement and strain on your wrist.

Max Power Dematting Comb

best choiceThe Max Power Dematting Comb gets our best choice award for a dematting comb.


It has a dual-sided design, that is great for first removing stubborn matting and then for more refined thinning and de-shedding. This design makes it perfect for a Shih Tzu with their double coat as it’s very effective at removing loose hair, tangles, knots, dander, and trapped dirt.


It has sharp but rounded teeth providing safety for your dog while also being effective at removing mats and tangles.


This comb is lightweight with a non-slip rubber handle for comfort and stability.


This mat-splitter is a favorite amongst dog owners and has a 4.6 out of 5 star review on Amazon with almost 40,000 reviews.



GoPets Dematting Comb

gopets dematting brush shih tzu

The GoPets dematting comb is another popular choice amongst pet owners. As with the Max Power comb it’s double-sided with a different number of teeth on each side. This allows you to tackle stubborn mats on the one hand and deshedding and thinning on the other.


It also has sharp but rounded teeth that allow you to use this comb without harming your Shih Tzu. 


This comb has a unique non-slip grip that contains silicone gel providing comfort and ease of use.


Although this comb is more expensive than the others it has a huge amount of positive reviews on Amazon giving you a good indication that you will get value for your money. Check out the 18,000+ reviews to see what you think.


Finally, although the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, a few customers did complain that if the grip is broken the silicone gel can leak out. However, this seems like a rare experience.



Steel Combs

Dog grooming combs come in pretty much every size, shape, and color you can think of.


You can buy combs with metal, wood or plastic handles. You can buy fine combs with tightly spaced teeth or coarse combs with the teeth spaced further apart. You can even buy combs with rotating pins.


So what comb do I need for my Shih Tzu?


From the experience of grooming my Shih Tzu, I have found that after giving him a brush with either the slicker brush or the undercoat rake a simple steel comb is more than adequate to finish the job.


These steel combs are referred to as “Greyhound Combs” and they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some have uniform teeth while others have two different-spaced sets of teeth.


The teeth spaces will vary from comb to comb and will be described as being somewhere between a fine comb and a coarse comb. For example – medium-coarse, fine, coarse, extra-coarse, etc.


These combs are good for fluffy coats and good for removing dead hair and small mats.


Some dog owners don’t worry about this type of comb but I think I get a different kind of finish to my dog’s coat using a steel comb after I’ve used the slicker brush.

Paws Pamper Professional Greyhound Comb

best choiceMy best choice for a greyhound comb goes to the Paws Pamper Professional Greyhound Comb


This is a great comb and a favorite amongst pet owners. It has both larger and smaller pins that allow you to tackle both tangles, knots, and thicker fur as well as thinning lighter coats.


The pins are always rounded making them safer to use than some other combs as you can avoid scratching your Shih Tzun while grooming.


The comb is made out of high-quality eco-friendly aluminum making it ultra-strong and sturdy. It’s also enhanced by an anodizing process that causes the brush to be durable and corrosion-resistant.


The only negative that very few people pointed out was that it was a bit heavy.


All in all, this is a great comb and you can see this reflected in the reviews. It has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.



Cafhelp Metal Dog Comb

If you would prefer a cheaper option then look no further than the CafHelp metal comb. This comb comes with an anti-slip rubber grip that is comfortable to hold when grooming your Shih Tzu.


It’s made with stainless steel, a durable material, and also has rounded pins protecting your dog from any unwanted scratches.


It also has both large and small pin gaps meaning you tackle different needs of combing a dog.


It also comes with a lifetime guarantee.


As with the Paws Pampers comb, it has an excellent 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. Although the reviews are mostly positive a few dissatisfied customers have complained that the comb is a bit flimsy and feels like a budget comb.




Step 4 - Start By Wetting Your Shih Tzu

Make sure the water is tepid rather than hot as you don’t want to burn your dog or for them to be uncomfortable, especially if they are already stressed. Likewise, ensure the water is not too cold as a Shih Tzu is very sensitive to changes in body temperature.


As mentioned above try to make sure your dog is on a non-slip surface as this will benefit all involved, trust me!


When you are washing your dog be careful not to get water in their face or up their nose. This can be a bit tricky due to the flattened face of a Shih Tzu. They don’t like their faces being washed, but around the eyes and mouth are very important places to clean so just try your best to make it as less unpleasant for them as possible. After a few baths, you’ll develop a certain strategy for this.


The best way to bathe your Shih Tzu is by using a shower nozzle in the bath or shower. This way you don’t have to fill the bath with water and will create a lot less spillage and reduce the amount of time you spend tidying up afterwards.


Make sure the spray is not too strong and you may even want to run the water into your hand first and let it flow from there onto your dog’s body. This is a good technique if your dog is especially anxious during bathing.

Step 5 - Wash Your Shih Tzu With Shampoo & Conditioner

Make sure you have bought a good quality shampoo and conditioner that’s suitable to use on a Shih Tzu. Follow the instructions on the back on the shampoo to judge how much you apply. Start from just behind the head and working your way back, gently massage the shampoo into your dog’s coat and skin making sure all the hair gets covered.


You want to double-check the belly area and the back legs are these are the parts of your Shih Tzu that get the dirtiest.  Try to be careful not to get shampoo in your dog’s eyes. It’s not an easy thing to do as they will probably be fidgeting about a lot but try to hold their head upwards as you massage in the shampoo.


After you have massaged the shampoo into the entire coat you can start to rinse it out.  It’s important to do this thoroughly as any shampoo left on the skin can cause your Shih Tzu to experience some irritation with itching and scratching. As a dog’s coat is much thicker than human hair it might be necessary to rinse your dog several times before all the shampoo is completely washed away. Once the water is running clear off your dog you know you’ve rinsed them enough.


For more information about shampoos and conditioners for dogs and reviews and recommendation of the best products please read my article – Shih Tzu Shampoo & Conditioner: Because She’s Worth It!.


After you’ve rinsed the shampoo it’s time to apply the conditioner. As mentioned above it’s important to get a suitable conditioner for your dog. Follow the same steps as you would when applying and rinsing shampoo.

Step 6 - Drying Your Shih Tzu

To avoid creating splits ends developing on their coat it’s important to pat them dry rather than rubbing them back and forth with a towel. Once you have given them a good pat down you can then use a hairdryer. As you moving the hairdryer over your dog pass you hand and fingers through your dog’s coat. This will ensure the there will be no damp patches left when you are finished.


Please make sure the hairdryer in on the lowest possible heat as you don’t want to damage your dogs skin. Even if a higher setting feels on your skin it’s better to cautious rather than hurting your Shih Tzu.

Best Shampoo and Conditioner For Grooming Your Shih Tzu

So now that you understand what kind of shampoo and conditioner is best for your Shih Tzu we can move on and talk about the actual products.


All the shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in products I have recommended are made completely with organic ingredients.


I only recommend products that have at least a 4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon and I include a link for you to read through the reviews before making a commitment.


As different dogs will have different needs I’ve grouped the products into 4 categories:

If your Shih Tzu doesn’t suffer from any skin or allergy issues you can use a good quality but simple shampoo and conditioner.

Earthbath All Natural Shampoo & Conditioner

best choice

Earthbath shampoo and Earthbath conditioner are made from all-natural and biodegradable products. It doesn’t contain DEA, perfumes, synthetic dyes or any harsh chemicals that could affect either your Shih Tzu or the environment. This is a good product for hair that is rather oily and also helps to promote healthy skin.


The shampoo can also help to heal areas of dry or damaged skin. It will also add moisture to your dog’s skin that helps to create a nice shiny coat.


Earthbath offers shampoos and conditioners in a variety of different scents and ingredients  including:


Oatmeal & aloe shampoo.

Ultra-mild puppy shampoo.

Hypo-allergenic shampoo.

Dirty dog shampoo.

Soothing stress relief shampoo.

Hotspot relief shampoo.

Shed control shampoo.

Coat brightening shampoo.


Tropiclean 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

The Tropiclean 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is another great choice containing only natural products. The coconut and mango extract help to separate tangled fur allowing you to easily brush out any knots.


While the kiwi and papaya nourish and moisturize the fur and skin leaving your Shih Tzu looking and smelling great.


This shampoo is soap-free so you can use it alongside any flea or tick treatments. Being soap-free also means it’s a suitable shampoo for puppies and cats.


Shampoo & Conditioner For A Shih Tzu With Sensitive Skin

If you know your Shih Tzu has an issue with sensitive skin then you should get a shampoo and conditioner that is specially formulated for this condition. All the products I recommend use 100% natural ingredients so you should be fine using any of these products. But of course, your dog can still have a reaction to a natural ingredient and if this is the case then trying out the product below might be a good option. Shampoos for sensitive skin will often be made with oatmeal or similar ingredients that can help soothe and heal the skin and they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can cause irritation.

Four Legger Lemongrass Shampoo & Conditioner

The shampoo and conditioner from Four Legger contain all natural ingredients and is certified organic. This product has no detergents, sulfates, synthetics and it naturally deodorizes and moisturizes. The lemongrass and aloe vera ingredients can cleanse the skin of all types so is perfect if your Shih Tzu suffers from sensitive skin. The organic and essentials oils also help to soothe your dog’s skin. Another advantage of this product is that is has a concentrated formula meaning you don’t have to use as much and it’ll last longer. The gentle formula also means that this shampoo and conditioner is hypoallergenic meaning you can also use this product on dogs that suffer from allergies.


This is a great biodegradable, sustainable, cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly product.


Shampoo & Conditioner For A shih Tzu With Allergies

If your Shih Tzu has allergies then you’ll need a shampoo that helps to soothe itchy, irritated skin. Some of these products will contain medical ingredients that can also help to heal damaged areas of skin. If your dog has a severe skin condition then you should always consult your Vet about the right kind of shampoo to use.

TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo

The Hyponic Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo is a great choice if your Shih Tzu suffers from allergies. It’s made from natural ingredients and is completely free of any harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, silicone, and more. As this shampoo is hypoallergenic it’s especially suitable if your Shih Tzu has sensitive skin. As well as being hypoallergenic it’s been specially designed to add volume to your dogs coat.


Shampoo For A Shih Tzu With Fleas & Ticks

If your Shih Tzu has fleas or ticks then purchasing a shampoo that is specially formulated to deal with the problem is a good idea. A lot of these products have harsh chemicals to get the job done but in my opinion, there are perfectly good shampoos with natural ingredients that work just as well and why take the risk of harming your dog’s skin or coat if you don’t have to? If the fleas or ticks are severe and can’t be removed or keep returning you should discuss this with your Vet.

Tropiclean Flea & Tick Relief

richards organic shih tzu shampoo

Richard’s Organic Shampoo uses 100% natural ingredients and includes active ingredients for the treatment of fleas and ticks. Please note this shampoo is only for dogs and puppies over 12 weeks of age. It’s soap free, dye free and has a good PH balance suitable for your Shih Tzu. It includes many natural oils including clove oil, cedarwood oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil.


Grooming Your Shih Tzu

Step 7 - Comb The Hair

Once you’ve finished bathing and drying you can begin to groom your Shih Tzu.  When your dog is nice and dry you can take a brush and begin to comb out any tangles or knots that may have occurred during bathing and drying. The best way to remove knots and tangles is to start at the base of the hair and work your out to the tips.

Step 8 - Trim The Nails

When you need to cut your Shih Tzu’s nails it’s important to have the right kind of nail cutters. I would recommend a nail cutter that has a hole where you insert the nail. These nail cutters make it a lot more difficult to make a mistake and hurt your dog. 

Try to make a swift clean, cut and only cut the white part of the nail. The pink part contains tissue and will bleed and hurt your dog if you accidentally cut this part. If this happens then a good tip is to put some cornstarch on the nail to stop the bleeding.


If you feel unsure about whether to cut your Shih Tzu’s nails or not then you can always take them to a professional groomer for this. And you can always ask the groomer while you are there you give you some tips to make you feel more confident about doing this yourself at home.


Another way to trim your dog’s nails is to use a nail grinder. This piece of equipment is more expensive than a pair of cutters but has the advantage of making it more difficult to make a mistake and hurt your dog.


If you would like to know more about what type of clippers you should get for your Shih Tzu please read my article – The Best Nail Clippers For Small Dogs.


Below I will review each type of nail clipper that I think are good quality products, value for money and suitable for a Shih Tzu. I’ve included all the types mentioned above and provide links so you can read reviews from other customers. All the products I recommend have at least a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon so you can be confident that you’ll be getting a decent product.

Nail Clippers

Resco Deluxe Dog Nail Clippers (Guillotine Style)

best choiceThe Resco Deluxe Clippers are a good choice for a less expensive guillotine-style nail clipper. The Resco company invented the guillotine style clipper in 1937 and have been manufacturing them in the USA ever since. These clippers have replaceable blades. This clipper also comes with a deluxe grip for nice comfort and ease of use. These nail clippers have a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on and you can read the reviews here

resco grooming dog nail clippers


Safari Professional Nail Clippers (Plier Style)

The Safari Professional Nail Clippers is a good choice if you prefer the plier-style nail clipper. The best feature of these clippers is the safety stop to help prevent injury to your dog. It has a durable stainless steel blade, a sturdy design and a comfortable grip. They also come in a smaller version for small dogs. These clippers have an excellent 4.7 out of 5 star rating on and you can read for yourself here


Dremel 7300-PGK Nail Grinder

best choiceThe Dremel 7300-PGK is a very popular nail grinder for dogs and gets my best choice award. This is a new model and comes with a few great improvements. It has a powerful 4.8V battery, has 2 speed settings and now includes an adjustable guard for extra protection. The guard will also capture nail dust and fur. This is a cordless grinder and comes with a NiCad rechargeable battery. If you want a well designed and well-constructed grinder that will effectively trim your dog’s nails and last a long time then this is the choice for you.

dremel electric nail filer


Step 9 - Cut The Hair

This is the part of grooming your Shih Tzu at home that most people get nervous about but it’s actually not as difficult as you might imagine. Before you start to cut your dog with the clippers it’s very important to make sure they are completely dry as wet hair can get stuck and be very painful for your dog.


When I groom my Shih Tzu I do it in two steps. First, I use the clippers to remove the hair on the body and legs and then I’ll use a pair of good quality scissors to cut the hair around the face and any other parts that are harder to reach with the clippers.


A good length to start with would be the #8 setting on your clippers as this will be a short length but not so short you that could risk hurting your dog. If you want to be extra careful you could even begin with the #10 setting. With practice, you can lower the setting a few numbers to get a closer cut if desired.


Take up a position behind your dog and shave from the neck down to the base of the tail. Press down gently and move in the direction of the hair growth. You will probably be a bit tentative at first but it won’t take long before you get a sense of the speed and pressure to apply for a smooth clean cut.


After you have shaved the back and sides you can move onto the legs applying the same technique. Move from the top of the legs down to the feet.


Next, you can shave the belly and groin areas. This part of your Shih Tzu’s body is a bit more sensitive and there might be dangly bits you need to be extra careful of so please pay more attention to this part.


Every now and then you stop shaving and give your dog a quick brush over to remove any loose hair.


After I have shaved all the parts of my Dog with the clippers I’ll move onto the head. It’s possible to shave the top part of the head with the clippers but in my experience, you have more control over holding the head and using a pair of scissors.


You should use a pair of suitable scissors when cutting around the face. I would recommend using a pair of rounded end scissors for this job. After you have groomed your dog a few times you will find what method best suits you and your Shih Tzu.

Also, make sure you remove any hair from inside the ears. This is important to prevent ear infections.


If you don’t already own a pair of clippers then you might want to read my article – Best Clippers For A Shih Tzu – What You Need To Know.


I’ve included a range of clippers with different features so you should be able to find a pair that fulfils your needs.

Wahl Professional Bravura - Cordless Dog Clippers

Wahl bravura clippers

best choiceThe Wahl Bravura Clippers are a good choice for a cordless clipper. It’s lightweight and you’ll have no problem moving around your dog and reaching those awkward spots. Wahl is a renowned manufacturer of hair clippers so you’ll know you are buying a quality product.


It has a good lithium-ion battery which should give you around 90 minutes of cutting time which is pretty good for a cordless clipper. Another reason I like this product is that it isn’t too noisy. It has very low vibrations that are great for your Shih Tzu.


Andis ProClip AGC2

andis best shih tzu clippers

Andis is another renowned manufacturer of dog clippers and they are very popular amongst pet owners. This set of clippers has 2 speeds (fast and slow) and a detachable blade. The detachable blade allows you the versatility to change the blade to any size and type you like and also allows you to give the blade a thorough clean. This model is compatible with all UltraEdge, CeramicEdge, and ShowEdge blades that can be bought separately.


The blade you will get out of the box is a skip tooth #10 blade but can be changed to a fine tooth blade if that is what you prefer and can be bought separately. These clippers are well-designed sturdy pieces of gear and will last you a long time.



Oster A5 Turbo

oster best shih tzu clippers

As with Wahl and Andis, Oster has been a leading brand for dog clippers for many years so you know you are getting the quality you pay for. Like the Andis ProClip, the Oster A5 Turbo is a quality heavy-duty clipper.


It comes with an #10 blade that can be changed to a variety of other blade types and lengths from the Oster range.


It has a two-speed setting allowing you to move from a slow speed for the delicate areas of the face to a higher speed for the body.


One of the outstanding features of the Oster clippers is the engineering that goes into their blades. They are cryogenically treated to produce a harder blade improving its durability and lifespan.


Step 10 - Clean The Ears & Teeth.

After the bathing, drying, and shaving is complete you can move on to cleaning your dog’s ears and teeth. Cleaning the ears is very simple. You should purchase a cleaning solution specifically designed for dog ears. Simply, pour a few drops from the bottle onto a cotton wool ball and gently rub the solution into your dog’s ears. Then use a clean cotton wool ball the wipe up any moisture that’s left behind.


As with using any product on your Shih Tzu make sure you always read the manufacturer’s instructions.


If you don’t already have a toothbrush for your Shih Tzu then I would recommend getting a finger which is a perfect choice for a small dog. Never use human toothpaste. You should find a toothpaste that is specially formulated for a dog. There are many to choose from and come in a variety of flavors.


Using the finger brush, gently rub over your dog’s teeth for a while to remove any build-up of plaque or other debris that might be caught in between your dog’s teeth.


Brushing your Shih Tzu teeth properly will help to avoid bad breath and yellowing. But more importantly, it will keep the oral health of your dog in good condition preventing any serious dental health problems.

Step 11 - Remove Or Lighten Tear Stains.

If you are fortunate to have a dark-colored Shih Tzu then you’ll have no worries about tears stains around your dog’s eyes. But if like most Shih Tzu owners your dog is white or a lighter color then you more than likely have this issue.


To remove or lighten these stains I have recommended too natural products below. They have only natural ingredients and they don’t cause your dog any irritation to their eyes or surrounding skin.


They are simple to use and apply but remember your dog’s eyes are a sensitive part of the body so be soft and gentle. You might need to take a gradual approach to this task, just do a little bit every now and then if your dog is uncomfortable with the process.

Petpost Tear Stain Remover

petpost tear stain remover for shih tzu


best choice

Our best choice award goes to the Petpost Tear Stain Remover. We like this product as it contains natural plant-based ingredients but still has a powerful solution that gets the job done.


You can use this product to remove or lighten existing stains as well as mucus and crust without fear of irritating your Shih Tzu’s eyes or causing them any pain.


It also contains coconut oil that helps to soothe the skin and area surrounding the eyes. It has a convenient nozzle which makes the solution easy to apply.


Arava Pet Eye Wipes

eye wipes shih tzu tear stain removal

Arava Pet Wipes are another excellent choice to help with the removal of your Shih Tzu tears stains. They are specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin so will help to remove those unsightly stains without causing your Shih Tzu any discomfort. 


The main reason why we recommend these wipes is that they are free of any chemicals and bleach and only contain natural ingredients including vitamins and Dead Sea minerals. These added vitamins and minerals not only help to remove the stains but are also good for your dog’s fur and skin.


As well as being made with only natural ingredients they are also allergy-free making them perfect for dogs that have any issues with allergies and also making them suitable for puppies. 


Can I Groom My Shih Tzu Myself?

As you would have discovered by reading this blog, it’s perfectly ok for you to groom your own Shih Tzu.


You have all the information you need about the right equipment and methods to use in order to keep your Shih Tzu fresh and healthy.


Depending on you and your dog it might take a few attempts to become skilled at grooming your dog but stick with it – practice makes perfect!

Are Shih Tzus Easy To Groom?

It’s difficult to give a definitive answer to this question as all dogs and their owners are different, with different personalities and temperaments.


Some dogs enjoy the attention and warm water while others find it a very challenging experience. If your dog struggles to stay calm or becomes overly anxious, try easing them into it, maybe just doing a little bit at a time and see how it goes.


If things don’t improve try speaking to a professional groomer that can other you hands-on advice.

How Often Do You Need To Groom A Shih Tzu?

Due to their specific type of coat, a Shih Tzu needs to be groomed more regularly than some other breeds.


If you leave the grooming to a professional then every few weeks would be fine.


If you decide to groom your own Shih Tzu then you can groom as you go, taking care of brushing and any matting on a daily bases and a thorough bath every few weeks.

How Long Does It Take To Groom A Shih Tzu?

Again this is a hard question to answer. It depends on a few things – how badly your dog needs to be groomed, how skilled are you at grooming, and how compliant your Shih Tzu is to being groomed.


If you are just starting out I would set aside around 2 hours but as you and your dog become more comfortable, it should take less time.

What Is The Best Grooming Brush For A Shih Tzu?

You can see above what brushes we recommend but if you would like a more in-depth look at brushes then please check out our article: The Best Brush For A Shih Tzu.

What Is The Best Grooming Muzzle For A Shih Tzu?

You can find an in-depth article about the best muzzle for a Shih Tzu here: The Best Muzzle For A Shih Tzu – Complete Guide + Reviews

How Old Should A Shih Tzu Be For Their First Grooming?

You can start grooming your Shih Tzu as soon as they can be safely picked up and moved around – usually between 10-12 weeks. But remember to be gentle, take it easy, and step by step.

How To Calm A Shih Tzu For Grooming?

What Is The Best Blade Size For Grooming A Shih Tzu?

A general Shih Tzu length would require a blade guard between 3 and 5 but it all depends on your personal preference of how you like your dog to look.


If your dog has matted hair you might need to use a guard from 5 up to 7. To find out more about clippers, clipper blades, and guards you might like to read our article: Best Clippers For A Shih Tzu.

Further Reading

If you would like to dig deeper into all areas of caring for your Shih Tzu we recommend you check out the book bellow.

shih tzu complete guide book cover

Using interviews with 17 top Shih Tzu breeders, author and experienced Shih Tzu owner Molly Weinfurter has created an in-depth look at what it takes to successfully live with, raise, and train a Shih Tzu.


This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 220 reviews.


I’m sure that grooming your Shih Tzu is a different experience for all of us as they can have very different personalities. My experience of grooming Charlie at home has got better over time. The first few times he really wasn’t happy with the experience and would constantly struggle to get away but he is much more comfortable with being bathed now.


Another piece of advice I would give, especially for the first few grooming sessions, is to try and stay as calm as possible. Dogs are very sensitive to human emotions and if they feel your stress on top of theirs it could make the experience more challenging for both of you.


If you need to purchase any of the equipment listed above then please read the post below. I recommend what products I think are best and provide links to places where you buy them.


And I must say even when he was obviously hating the experience he always seems very pleased with himself a short while afterward. Once he relaxes and drys off he seems to very much enjoy looking and feeling fresh.

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As well as being a blog and resource website on all things Shih Tzu, this site also contains links from the Amazon Associate Program – offering you the best Shih Tzu related products from Amazon.