It's crucial to brush your Shih Tzu daily or every other day at the latest. If you don't, their fur may become matted, causing not only a cosmetic issue but also a potential health problem.
Take advantage of downtime to bond with your pup while brushing him - you can do this while watching TV or relaxing on the couch. This not only helps keep your dog healthy and happy, but it can also become a calming and enjoyable routine for both of you, especially if you start when your dog is still a puppy.
One of the key issues with matting in a dog's coat is that it creates a dense layer that doesn't allow the skin to breathe properly, leading to the growth of fungi and bacteria. Unknowingly, there may even be fleas or ticks lurking in the matted fur, which must be addressed promptly. Bathing a dog with tangled hair won't solve the problem, but will instead make it worse by making the skin wet and causing the hair to adhere even more tightly to the skin, which can be harmful.
The Shih Tzu breed has a double-coated, long hair that tangles easily, making daily brushing and combing a must. Their coat is dense, consisting of a soft undercoat mixed with the long hair, which can easily form knots. Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Terriers are breeds that share this type of coat. Regular brushing using specialized combs and brushes is essential to prevent matting and tangling.
What is the best brush or comb for Shih Tzu?
Incorrect brushes and combs can lead to breakage of a dog's coat and even harm its skin. To maintain a healthy coat for your Shih Tzu, it's important to have the following brushes at home:
Buttercomb: its nickname is due to the softness of its bristles and the rubber base it has, since it does not break the hair or damage the skin. One of the characteristics of this brush is that it does not have a pin on the tip of its bristles, these bristles are metallic and do not rust. By not having a rubber pin on the tip of the bristle, this guarantees that it does not pull out the hair or damage it. We can find different models and vary the size and stiffness of the bristles.
Metal comb: we can find it in different sizes. It helps us to give a smooth effect to the hair after brushing. It is a round handle comb, it does not rust and is easy to use. It has a thinner section which will help us in the area of the mustache and legs. It helps us to locate knots that may be in the coat.
Rat tail comb: It will help us to separate the hair when we make hairstyles, ponytails or buns. There are rubber ones with metal tips or all metal.
Related: Small Dogs That Don't Shed Hair
Steps to remove the Shih Tzu's coat knots
If knots have already formed and can't be avoided, here are the steps to follow that may help. However, it's recommended to seek the assistance of a professional:
- If the knot is not too tight and can be moved without sticking to the skin, it can usually be untangled using just your fingers. Avoid using a comb as it may make the knot tighter. With patience, the knot can be successfully untangled.
- If the knot cannot be untangled by hand, it may be necessary to use scissors. Always use them with caution to avoid injuring your pet. It can be difficult to differentiate the skin from the knot that is stuck. Start by cutting a small portion of the end of the knot and continue with a comb, being patient.
- After removing all the knots, prepare a warm bath for your pet. ONLY proceed if all knots have been removed. Use a high-quality shampoo and apply a deeply moisturizing conditioner. Let it sit for 5 minutes. To keep the animal calm and occupied, you can provide a toy for entertainment.
- Rinse with plenty of warm water until there is no residue. Dry using a hair dryer or towel. Comb it with a wide-toothed metal comb that is used to remove knots.
- As a last resort, you should use a shaver or razor. The skin of our Shih Tzu is irritated by having endured the knots, it may even have some bruising. By passing this tool, it worsens its condition. This will result in a lot of itching and redness, but sometimes it is the only solution.