Regular Brushing Your Shih Tzu is Essential for Healthy Hair and Skin

Published: 04th March 2006
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Brushing your Shih Tzu is the foundation to keeping your Shih Tzu's hair healthy and beautiful. Without proper and regular brushing, clipping and bathing won't give your Shih Tzu a good looking body of hair.

Shih Tzu can have different types of hair. The way you brush your Shih Tzu's hair will depend a lot on the type it was born with.

Types of Shih Tzu Hair:

1. Double coats.

2. Curly Coats.

3. Silky Coats.

Most likely your Shih Tzu will fall into one of the above categories of hair type.

Assemble your tools: Prepare your workspace by assembling your tools before you take your Shih Tzu to the brushing workspace. Your Shih Tzu's hair type will determine the type of tools you will need.

If your Shih Tzu has a double coat, you will need a slicker brush or pin brush and a wide-toothed comb. Brush the entire body with the slicker brush or pin brush first. Then go over the entire body with the wide-toothed comb.

Take sections of the Shih Tzu's hair and part the hair so you can see the skin underneath. Comb out the undercoat, pulling the brush outward from the skin. Hold the brush vertically. Insert the bristles or pins into the coat as close to the skin as you can get. A short-pinned brush is best or a soft slicker brush can be used. After your brush the undercoat, go over the topcoat. Brush with the lay of the hair. For a long double coat, twice weekly brushings are necessary. You may even want to brush every day.

If your Shih Tzu has a curly coat, use a slicker brush to brush through. Generally, a Shih Tzu will have only a slight wave and not actually a "curly coat" as a poodle or Bichon. Put the brush deep into the hair and brush from the skin out. Separate out one small portion of the coat at a time. Turn the brush vertically to the skin and insert the pins as close to the skin as you can. Long, wavy coats might require daily brushing. Short-trimmed wavy coats do well with weekly brushing.

Shih Tzu with long silky coats needs special care because of the fineness of the hair. Many Shih Tzu show dogs will have the long silky coat texture. Mats can be a particular problem in areas such as the abdomen, armpits, behind the back legs, under the muzzle.

Spray one side of the silky coat lightly with a conditioner before you start brushing a dry coat to prevent breakage of the hairs. Brushing daily is best to prevent mats. Some professional groomers suggest brushing your Shih Tzu's face and head first. Other professionals will suggest beginning at the tail. Whichever way you begin, work in layers and brush against the grain, removing knots or tangles one at a time. When you've completed brushing the Shih Tzu's entire body, go over all areas with a wide-toothed comb.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Sign up at:

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