The long hair of the Shih Tzu is perhaps one of the most iconic kinds of fur out of any breed in the world. Their long flowing locks have attracted more and more people over the years and they are now an instantly recognizable and highly sought after breed.
However, Shih Tzus have very thin hair that needs to be cared for properly. A regular and informed grooming and bathing routine is essential unless you want potential skin and coat issues to cause you and your pup a whole host of issues.
With that in mind, today we are going to share with you a few Shih Tzu grooming and bathing tips that will make your life that little bit easier. We’ve also conducted a huge amount of research into the best shampoos on the market for Shih Tzus and we will provide you with our overall recommendations (and a few runners-up) below in our review section.
Let’s get started.
How Often Should I Bathe A Shih Tzu?
Grooming should be done very regularly, at least once a week – but bathing doesn’t need the same amount of regularity.
If you’re using a soap based shampoo you shouldn’t really bath your Shih Tzu more than once every 3 to 4 weeks. Even in the most advanced soap based formulas the compounds inside will irritate their skin and cause issues if you use them more than this.
Natural shampoos are the solution to this issue – and they’re great if you’ve got a particularly dirty dog. You can often use them as regularly as you like, but we’d probably recommend bathing them once a week at most.
How To Clean The Face Of A Shih Tzu
The stunning long hair of our Shih Tzus needs proper care and attention, which includes the facial hair too. Usually, we don’t recommend washing your dog’s face with shampoo as it causes issues (like water in the ear canal) and soap can get in their eyes too.
However, with the length of a Shih Tzu’s hair (especially when they’ve got a “mustache”) there’s no avoiding it – you’ve got to use some kind of shampoo.
Try and get a formula that’s gentle, and be very careful when applying it to not get any in their eyes. Wash the face with shampoo and then and rinse it off immediately (before taking care of any other part of the body). Remember to avoid wetting the ears too much to prevent water from getting inside and causing infections.
Note: You should get special eye cleaning wipes to clean around the eyes and remove any gunk that has accumulated there – do not attempt to do this with soap and water.
Dry them off afterward with a towel (by patting them) and then finish off your routine brushing their facial hair with a pin brush (that has no balls on the end).
5 Shih Tzu Bathing Tips
Here are 5 simple bathing tips that are going to make cleaning your Shih Tzu that little bit easier.
- Cotton Wool In The Ears – Because there is no avoiding using shampoo on the facial hair of a Shih Tzu you’re risking getting water in their ear canal (which can cause infection). To minimize this risk you should put cotton wool in their ears (carefully) to limit the amount of water that can get inside. It’s much easier than you think to forget you’ve put wool in their ears, so be sure you remember to take it out afterward.
- Pat Not Rub – You should avoid rubbing your little Shih Tzu when drying them after their bath. The super fine and delicate nature of the hair our little bundles of joy have makes them super prone to matting and tangling – and rubbing makes this much more likely. Instead, you should just gently pat your pooch down and let them naturally dry the rest of the way.
- Try The Sink – Because our little pooches are pint-sized they can often fit in a sink. Washing your Shih Tzu in this way is much less stressful for them (as they are not in a huge cavernous space) and it’s a much more natural working height for you too.
- Steel Wool – Get some standard steel wool and put it in the plug hole before you start to bathe your Shih Tzu. This will catch the super long hairs of your pooch before they go down the drain and start causing blockages and problems.
- Brush Before Bathing – You should always gently brush your Shih Tzu before bathing to prevent any matting or knotting from getting worse. Adding water to knots makes them extremely difficult to get out and by giving them a quick brush before they get in the bath you’re going to be making your life a whole lot easier.
Overall Best Shih Tzu Shampoo
We’ve found quite a few different products that we think are excellent shampoos for Shih Tzus and we’re going to talk about some of the runners-up later. However, this excellent shampoo from Buddy Wash really stood out to us – and we think it is one of the best shampoos for Shih Tzus on the market right now.
It’s a 2 in 1 product, which means that it conditions as well as cleans. This is super important for Shih Tzus because of the fine nature of the long hair our little munchkins are blessed with. It uses a blend of lovely botanical and natural oils to enhance and repair any damage to their coat that might have occurred – leaving it glossier and healthier than ever. All the conditioning ingredients are actually cosmetic grade compounds (like green tea and sage) which are good enough to be used on humans – this should tell you a little something about the quality of this product.
It’s a soap-free shampoo, which is great for any dogs out there that have some sensitiveness or other skin issues. You’re going to be able to wash dirty little dogs as often as you like with this product without worrying about causing more problems than you’re solving with harsh soaps. We love the natural wheat protein that has been added to the formula to provide the deodorizing aspect of this product, it’s one of the most powerful (yet gentle) natural smell busters on the planet.
We love the infusions of lavender and mint which create a lovely relaxing scent designed to relieve anxiety and put your pooch at ease. The alcohol-free nature of the product means it’s not going to dry your pooch’s skin out, and the aloe vera infusion will moisturize and soothe any soreness your Shih Tzu might be suffering from.
When you consider all of this performance and combine it with a price tag of about $7, it’s easy to see why it’s our overall recommendation. We strongly suggest that you try this shampoo before considering any other product on this page.
Pros And Cons
- Gentle formula
- Good deodorizing capabilities
- Not a soap based product
- 2 in 1 Shampoo and conditioner
- Lavender and mint infusions
- Great for glossy coats
Best Shampoo For A Shih Tzu With Allergies
If your four-legged friend has skin that’s a little on the sensitive side (or has allergies) then you’re going to be much better off if you choose a dedicated shampoo instead of something more generic. This excellent shampoo from Synergy Labs is one of the best shampoos for a Shih Tzu with allergies on the market right now.
It’s designed to treat and soothe a wide range of common skin conditions like dermatitis and pyoderma, and the active compounds inside will also protect against fungal infections that can cause quite a stink. The aloe vera that this product is infused with has been designed to help repair and moisturize any red or raw skin and it allows the shampoo to promote recovery while providing protection at the same time.
This is a semi-medical product, which means it has got reasonably specific instructions in terms of bathing schedules. To get the full effect of this shampoo you need to bathe your pup twice a week at first until the issues are under control. After that, you should continue using the product but bathe them once a week instead to stop the issues from reoccurring.
It’s a great product at an excellent price point (around $8.50), and if your little Shih Tzu has serious issues with allergies or soreness – this is the product that should be at the top of your list.
5 More Really Good Shampoos For A Shih Tzu
We love the two products above, and we think they are very deserving winners of our recommendations here today – but that doesn’t mean they are the only good products on the market. If you want a little more choice, check out the 5 products below that were runners-up and are worthy of a special mention.
This is the most expensive product on this page by a long way, but it’s also one of the best. It’s got a lovely infusion of lemongrass and aloe vera to ensure skin issues are treated (and your dog smells fresh and clean). It creates a lovely lather and the soap-free formula has some of the best antifungal and antimicrobial properties of any natural shampoo on the market. It’s a shame it’s a little bit pricier than some of the other products we’ve seen – because it would otherwise have been our overall recommendation.
This product uses the natural cleaning power of oatmeal to create one of the cleanest natural products you’re going to get without resorting to using soap. It’s one of the cheapest products on this list, and while it doesn’t do as much to soothe raw skin as some other products – it doesn’t make matters worse either (and it can be used very regularly if required).
This is a great product from a great brand, we absolutely love the way that it smells with the mango blend that has been added to the formula. One of the most interesting things about this product is that it can be used with both dogs and cats – making it a perfect choice for multi-species households. On top of that, it’s a gentle soap-free formula that uses natural compounds and infusions to condition and clean the coat of your little Shih Tzu without causing irritation or redness.
This is a brilliant coconut-based shampoo that moisturizes skin while protecting and enhancing the long hair of your Shih Tzu at the same time. It’s an almost completely natural product that can be used as frequently as you like thanks to the perfect pH balance that Burt’s Bees have formulated with this shampoo. It’s got a lovely natural fresh fragrance to it that works hand in hand with the strong deodorizing properties that reviewers seem to love.
The final product that we’re going to be recommending is the only soap based product on this page. It’s a gentle soap that has been specifically formulated to be used with dogs and it has a neutral pH level to minimize redness and irritation that could potentially be caused by the shampoo. If you’ve got a dog that doesn’t have sensitive skin, this is easily going to give you the best cleaning power out of any of the products we have mentioned here today.
We hope that by now you know a little bit more about how to bathe and care for your Shih Tzu and that we’ve given you a handy hint or two that’s going to make bath time that little bit easier.
The delicate fine nature of the hairs on our Shih Tzus means that you’ve got to choose the right shampoo and conditioner if you want them to maintain the glossy adorable long hair the breed is known for. Any of the products we’ve talked about above today are going to make your pooch happier and cleaner, and they are all more than worthy of your consideration.