Shih Tzus have sensitive skin, making them susceptible to allergies and dryness usually worsened by too much bathing. How often should I bathe my Shih Tzu?
Shih Tzus love playing in the mud, and the puppies often soil themselves when evacuating their bowels. Therefore, you may feel the need to bathe your dog frequently, but there is the concern of stripping natural oils from their skin, causing dryness, irritation, and allergies. Their skin is sensitive and frequent bathing and products like scented shampoos affect them.
You should bathe your Shi Tzu once every three weeks unless health issues and the degree of soling call for more frequent baths. Such frequency will get rid of body oil build-up and dirt, which gives a bad smell. Coat issues like hotspots call for frequent bathing.
Bathing your Shih Tzu as required has aesthetic and health benefits. The frequency of bathing depends on the circumstances, the age of your dog, and existing health issues. Using the right bathing supplies and procedures will remove odor, maintain healthy skin, and keep your dog smelling fresh.
The right bathing techniques will keep you Shih Tzu healthy and happy. Inspired by professional dog groomers and vets, this guide will give you information on the most effective Shih Tzu bathing frequency and techniques.
How Frequently Should You Bathe Your Shih Tzu?
Shih Tzus are among double-coated dog breeds, and their thick coats are high maintenance. You should bathe your pup every three weeks to remove the accumulated body oil and prevent the development of a bad odor. The frequency is also adequate to keep the skin and hair of your dog healthy.
Puppies may require more frequent bathing as they usually soil themselves during bowel movements. For instance, when a puppy plays in mud then you should wash them immediately.
In case of medical issues such as severe hot spots, hair loss, and itching, frequent baths with gentle antiseptic solutions are necessary; this also allows the application of prescribed topical antibiotics or specialty shampoos.
Shih Tzus can stay clean, but their long hair traps debris, and they love to roll around in the mud.
They are prone to tangling and matting, and they shed a lot. The general rule of thumb is to bathe your fluffy friend every three weeks and more frequently if they are puppies and when they get dirty.
The breed is high maintenance and requires the proper grooming to keep them clean, comfortable, healthy, and happy. Balancing the frequency of bathing and hygiene is vital as over bathing your dog can result in irritation.
Shih Tzu Bathing Supplies
To bathe and groom your dog at home, you need several supplies and tools.
Specialized Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
Using high-quality shampoo and conditioner prevents irritation and ensures your Shih Tzu’s hair and skin remain clean and healthy.
While there are many products to choose from, go for a gentle tearless puppy shampoo. Avoid human shampoos as they contain harmful ingredients like carcinogenic diethanolamine. Hypoallergenic shampoos free of fragrances, detergents, and additives with natural ingredients like coconut oil are gentle on your dog’s skin.
After shampooing, you will need a specialist dog conditioner to seal your dog’s hair shafts and prevent breakage. Conditioners specially formulated for Shih Tzus can prevent allergic reactions, itchiness, and dry skin.
If your dog has skin issues, it is best to consult a veterinarian for recommendations on the best conditioners and shampoos for your dog. Avoid using human shampoo and conditioner when bathing your dog; they could irritate their skin.
Additional Bathing Supplies and Tools
In addition to shampoos and conditioners, you need several tools such as a dog hair dryer, towels, cotton balls, brush, comb, and washcloths.
Pin brushes are good for combing long Shih Tzus hair. A pet-specific bath bristle brush is ideal for bathing your dog. The cotton balls prevent water from entering your dog’s ears, and the washcloths are for cleaning your Shih Tzu’s face and the area around the eyes.
You will need a blow dryer and towels to dry your dog after bathing. If you plan to groom your dog after bathing, you will need additional tools like nail trimmers.
How to Bathe Your Shih Tzu
Bathe your puppy every three weeks to maintain a clean and healthy coat and prevent irritation. Using the right shampoos, conditioners, and other bathing tools ensures the activity is not counterproductive.
After you have finished bathing your dog, you can trim the nails and clean the ears.
A good Shih Tzu bathing schedule keeps bad odor away and makes your dog’s coat clean, smooth and healthy.
Here is how you prepare, bathe, and dry your Shih Tzu.
Prepare The Bath
Clean the washbasin, tub, or sink thoroughly with clean water. Avoid using soap as its residue can irritate your dog.
Collect your cleaning supplies and tools and keep them within reach. To prevent your dog from slipping during bathing, place a non-slip mat in the bath if it is slippery.
Comb Your Dog’s Hair
Brush your Shih Tzus’ hair before bathing them to remove debris and loose fur. Combining also removes tangles which are difficult to remove when wet.
Combing prepares the hair for effective shampoo application.
Fill The Bath with Warm Water
Fill the bath with warm water, preferably at the same temperature as your dog’s body. Cold or hot water will cause negative stimuli such as chills and burns.
Before placing your dog in the bath, place cotton balls in their ears to prevent water from entering. Dogs can develop yeast and bacterial infections from trapped moisture in their ears. Bacteria need moisture to thrive.
Place The Dog In the Bath
Place your Shih Tzu in the bath, and wet the whole body. Ensure the water soaks the dog down to the skin and apply shampoo.
Ensure you use an ample amount of shampoo for effective bathing. Massage the shampoo into the coat and the skin. Shampoo the entire body, from the back, chest, and belly to the legs, apart from the face.
Start Cleaning Your Dog
Wash your Shih Tzu’s face gently using a washcloth. Wet the washcloth with water and wring it out to remove excess.
Using the wet cloth, wash the face very clean, focusing on the areas around the eyes. Dip the washcloth in water to clear it of debris and repeat the process until you wash out all foreign particles.
Once the face is clean, use a washcloth for bathing all the other parts of the body gently.
Rinse Out the Shampoo
Even with specialized shampoo, it's important to rinse it out completely. Use a nozzle for effective rinsing. Shampoo residue inhibits the conditioner’s performance.
Rinse the coat repeatedly until you wash it all away.
Condition Your Shih Tzu’s Hair
Apply a generous amount of shampoo to your hands and massage it into the dog’s coat. Ensure you reach all body parts and work it from the skin to the hair tips.
Leave the conditioner to soak your dog’s coat for about 5 minutes.
Rinse the Conditioner
Drain the water in the bath, and using a nozzle, rinse out the conditioner.
Remove Your Shih Tzu from The Bath and Dry the Hair
Spread down a towel, place your dog on it, and wrap it around them. Pat dry your dog with a towel to absorb excess water and partially dry the coat.
If your Shih Tzu has long hair, consider blow-drying them. Set the dryer to warm and hold it about 6 inches away from your Shih Tzu’s hair.
Use the dryer while working for your hands through the coat until it dries. Give the hair a final comb using a pin brush.
As you debate how often to bathe your Shih Tzu, keep in mind the potential skin issues that come with overbathing your dog and their hygiene needs.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright