28 Aug 2018 Guest Post—Grooming Advice for Shih Tzu’s and Other Toy Dogs
Grooming is one of the most important rituals that you can build into your dog’s life. Grooming is especially important for small dogs -specifically Shih Tzu’s and other toy dog breeds. Because they’re so small, grooming needs to be done a little bit more often to keep them looking and feeling their best.
Grooming affects every part of your animal’s life, from their appearance to their overall health. If their nails get too long, walking becomes painful. If their teeth deteriorate, it makes eating incredibly difficult. If their fur gets too long, they’ll get caught on everything.
However, a lot of dogs do not enjoy the grooming process for any of a variety of reasons. Here are some tips and tricks to help make it easier for you.
If you’re taking them to a salon, then it’s going to smell like a lot of unfamiliar dogs and other animals that have come through. There’s also going to be a lot of noise at the salon – other dogs barking, the buzz of the clippers, the whooshing of the hair dryers, and other sounds that wouldn’t bother a human. Not to mention the feeling of having their nails and fur trimmed, and their teeth brushed.
All of that mixed together makes for a traumatizing experience, especially for small dogs who tend to be more high strung than their larger counterparts.
The best way to make sure that your pet doesn’t hate going to the grooming salon is to start taking them from a young age and show them that it’s okay.
If you can’t be there for your pet’s first few trips, you should take it slowly with them. Be liberal with the treats and kind words, and eventually, they will eventually realize that they won’t get hurt when they go to be groomed.
How to Make it Easier
If being groomed is a traumatic experience for your dog, it may be worthwhile to learn to do it yourself, or do as much as you can on your own. By doing this, they are getting used to the process in an environment that they are more comfortable in.
You can also do it a little bit at a time to make them more comfortable. Maybe you clean their ears once a week, and trim one paw’s nails a day until they’re in good shape. Not only will this make it less stressful for you and your Shih Tzu, it also helps to get them used to having it done because it’s a regular activity for them. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll both be in the long run.
If you decide to do some for all of your small dog’s grooming from home, you’ll need the proper tools.
As mentioned above, you will want to have dog treats readily at hand. Toy dogs are very food motivated, so this can help make the process easier for everyone.
When it comes to bathing, you want to pick the perfect shampoo for your dog. You cannot just pull your human shampoo off of the shower shelf and make it work. Dogs have a different pH to their skin that is not compatible with human shampoo. Ask your groomer what they use for your dog if you’re having trouble finding the right thing.
Small dogs have small nails, so you should look for guillotine-style nail clippers or scissor-style clippers. These are designed so that you place the dogs nail within a hole and squeeze, bringing the blade down and clipping the nail. These kinds of clippers are the ones that vets recommend for small dogs like yours.
The other kind of tools you’ll need will vary depending on your dogs type of fur.
When you’re brushing your dog, you’ll want to make sure to use the right kind of brush for their fur to make it as easy as possible. With each type, you should brush along the direction that that fur grows. This will make it as painless as possible.
For dogs with long fur or an undercoat, get a pin brush to remove loose fur from their undercoat. Short-coated dogs are best suited to a rubber brush, or a combination of a stiff bristled brush and a soft bristled brush. For the more wiry-furred dogs, use a combination of a slicker brush with a metal comb.
If you decide to trim your dogs fur at home, you will need to buy a set of clippers. Just like with shampoo, you need to buy one that is designed specifically for dogs, no matter how similar they look to the ones for humans. Dog clippers’ blades have specifically-designed teeth that are further apart that allows you to get the fur without jamming the blade like you would on human clippers.
Dog clippers also go much faster, making it easier for you to deal with mats and hard to reach areas easily. Talk to your groomer or your vet to make sure that you are getting the right kind of clippers and blade for your dog. You’ll also need to buy blade cooling oil, to make sure that the blades don’t heat up to the point that you burn your dog.
These can be pretty expensive, but if you use them, they will pay for themselves off in short order.
How Often to Groom
The experts recommend brushing your dog’s fur two to three times a week for short and medium-length-furred dogs. For longer-furred dogs or has an undercoat, it’s recommended to change that to every day.
If your dog does not get particularly dirty, you can bathe them every six weeks or so. If you notice your dog getting grungy, you might need to move that time line up a little bit, but it’s a good rule of thumb. if your dog rolls in something gross, make sure to wash it off as quickly as possible.
You should clip your dog’s nails whenever you can hear them clicking on the ground, in general. If they’re clicking, that means they are getting too long and could cause problems for your pooch.