Let your Shih Tzu be a showstopper!

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Since Shih Tzus are dense coated, long-haired breeds, they need to be regularly and thoroughly groomed. If they are not brushed daily, their hair gets matted and fused, and tugging and combing only gives more pain than relief. Here’s how to home groom your Shih Tzu.

Grooming essentials…

  • A grooming table with an arm or just a good non-skid table
  • A pair of scissors
  • Pin brush, slicker brush and a comb
  • Nail clipper
  • Cotton buds and ear cleaning lotion
  • Tooth brush and doggy tooth paste
  • Eye cleaning pads
  • Forceps or tweezers
  • Ear powder
  • Hair dryer and clean towels
  • Styptic powder

Grooming routine…

Clean the eyes and nose: First place your Shih Tzu on the table so it is easy to work on him. Examine him closely, especially the eye area. Check to see if any hair is growing inwards into his eyes or coming in the way of his vision. Hold him by the scruff firmly and trim the extra hairs that could be irritating his eyes and nose area. Cut it in the shape of an inverted ‘V’. Make sure you do not cause the dog any harm.
Clean the ears: Check his ears. If there are any hairs growing in its ear canal, sprinkle some ear powder on the hair inside the ear, saturate it with your thumb, and with a forceps or tweezers, pull out all those extra hairs. Then use an ear cleaning lotion on a cotton swab and clean his ears. Make sure you do not hurt the dog or probe too deep into the ear canal.
Brush the teeth : Apply a little doggy toothpaste on your forefinger or a soft toothbrush and holding his flews up, brush his teeth gently and carefully. Always make sure you keep talking to the dog and assuring that he is in excellent care.
Brush the coat: Now, start brushing the dog, section by section. Use a pin brush to do this. Where there are matts, gently use a slicker brush to remove these. After the brushing is complete, use a comb to run through its entire coat. Trim around the dog’s paws and under his pads, so that he does not slip.
Clip the nails: Use a nail clipper and clip his nails. Make sure you do not cut into the pink portion of the nail, also known as the “quick”. If this happens, then use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
Other areas to be checked: Now, check the anal area too. Trim all the hair around the anal area, about a square inch, to enable the dog to ease himself without any obstruction.

The bathing beauty…

Plug your dog’s ears with a little cotton wool so that water does not get into his ears. Make sure you use tepid water and make the bath a quick one. Bathe the entire body other than the face with a good conditioning shampoo and massage it well by using your fingers or a rubber bath brush. Rinse out thoroughly. Now, use a mild, non-irritant, tearless shampoo to wash his face. Make sure that the shampoo does not get into his nose or run into his eyes as they have an upturned nose and big eyes. After washing the dog thoroughly, pat him dry with a soft absorbent towel. Then, dry the dog thoroughly using a hair dryer. Start from the back, so that the noise does not startle or frighten him.
Then slowly move towards the front. Keep brushing the dog as you are drying him. Once the dog is completely dry, comb his hair out thoroughly. Then, take all the hair from the top of its head, along the level of his eyes and put a topknot on his occipital bone.
Make sure the topknot is not too tight as it could hurt the dog and damage his hair. Put a nice clip or ribbon and finish the grooming by spraying some wonderful dog friendly perfume.

Seek professional help if…

Remember, it is never too late to start the grooming process. If you have not done it until now, and if your dog is all matted up with the hair fused to the skin etc, seek the help of a professional groomer immediately.

(Fuzzy Wuzzy in Bangalore is India’s premier pet styling studio and spa with professional and trained groomers with hundreds of hours of practice on show grooming.)