If you have a Shih Tzu then you know they need bathed pretty often. Most experts suggest about every three weeks. If you don’t want to take them to the groomers, then you need to learn how to give a Shih Tzu a bath the right way.
How to Give a Shih Tzu a Bath
First off, you need to decide where to give them a bath.
Considering most Shih Tzus are small dogs, around 10 pounds, your kitchen sink works best.
You could use the bathtub, but that’s going to be a bit more awkward for you.
Don’t use the outside hose.
The outside hose might be okay for a larger dog on a hot day, but this cold water is too cold for your little Shih Tzu and could lower their body temperature.
Once you have decided where you are going to bathe your dog, you need to get some things ready before you actually start bath time.
1. Gather up all your supplies –
This can include shampoo, conditioner, a towel, a wash cloth or two, and a comb.
A bath mat of some kind in the bottom of the sink is always a good idea as well.
This will keep your pup from sliding around and make them feel a bit more secure.
Let’s face it, dogs hate baths, so making it as easy as possible will keep them less stressed out.
Be sure to use a shampoo made for dogs.
You don’t want to use human shampoo as it can dry their skin.
2. Run a Comb Through Their Coat
Before you start to run the water, be sure to comb your Shih Tzu completely removing any tangles or mats.
If you don’t, the water will just make them worse and harder to remove later.
Shih Tzus are prone to ear infections, so if yours likes to wiggle a lot when you are giving them a bath, just put a small cotton ball in each of their ears to keep the water out.
3. Start The Water Running
Be sure to use lukewarm water.
It should be warm enough that they don’t get cold, but not so hot that they get burned.
Warm water should also help relax them.
Be sure to get them completely wet.
You want them wet all the way down to their skin.
4.Latter Them Up
You will want to use plenty of shampoo.
Don’t skimp as you won’t get your Shih Tzu as clean as you’d like.
Rub the shampoo in well over their entire body all the way down to the skin.
Don’t put shampoo on their face.
5. Now It’s Time to Clean Their Face
Take one of the wash cloths and dip it into the water.
Use this to clean their face.
You will want to wipe it across their face being sure to get any food particles or other dirt off their face and around their mouth.
Shih Tzus tend to have a lot of eye gunk, so wipe around their eyes as much as it takes to remove all of this.
Just be gentle or consider using a face wipe made to remove tear stains.
6. Rinse Out the Shampoo
The easiest way to do this is to use the spray hose on your sink, but a cup of water will work as well.
You want to be sure to get all of the shampoo off them or it could lead to itchy skin or skin irritations if you don’t.
7. Condition Their Coat
Just like with the shampoo use a generous amount of conditioner.
Again, be sure to use a wash-out conditioner made for dogs.
Don’t use human conditioner.
Massage the conditioner into their hair well.
Let the conditioner sit on your Shih Tzu for five full minutes.
After that, rinse it out.
Unlike the shampoo it is okay if there is a very small amount of conditioner left.
This will just help protect their hair during the drying process.
8. Transfer Your Dog From the Sink into a Towel
This should be a good sized fluffy towel that will absorb a lot of the water on your Shih Tzu.
They are going to want to shake and it is okay to allow them to do so.
Don’t rub their hair.
Instead, pat it dry to get any excess water out of it.
9. Drying Your Shih Tzu
If it is a warm day, you can always just air dry your Shih Tzu.
Just be sure they are completely dry before you let them outside.
Also, a leave in conditioner is a good option to spray on them after you have patted them down to remove excess water.
If it is a colder day or you just want to get them dry faster, you can use a hair dryer.
You will want to work in sections and apply a leave-in conditioner near the roots.
This will also help separate the hairs.
At this point, be sure to set your hair dryer to warm.
Don’t put it on hot.
Hold the hair dryer about 6 inches away from your dog and move it side to side.
You can always brush your Shih Tzu while you are drying them as well to make sure there are no tangles or mats.
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Why Should You Give Your Shih Tzu a Bath?
There are a number of reasons to bathe your Shih Tzu.
- It keeps them smelling nice and fresh
- To remove any dirt or sweat
- To keep their body oil balanced – while regular baths are a good thing, too many baths can cause dry skin, not enough and it can become oily
- To keep their skin and hair moisturized.
Shih Tuzs tend to have sensitive skin and skin issues from a build up of yeast to hot spots and allergies, so keeping their oils balanced and their skin moisturized is important.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t skimp on shampoo
- Don’t use the outside hose to give them a bath
- Do use a wash cloth to clean their face
- Don’t put shampoo on their face
- Don’t bathe them too often
- Don’t use human conditioner or shampoo
- Don’t rub their hair when drying
- Don’t use high heat to dry
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To Sum It All Up
Bath time doesn’t have to be a horrible experience for your Shih Tzu. Over time they will get used to the ritual and while they may never enjoy it, they won’t get stressed out. Start bathing your Shih Tzu as a puppy and they will learn that frequent baths are just part of normal life.