If you’re a first-time fur parent, perhaps one of the questions that would pop in your head is, “How often do Shih Tzu’s need baths?” “Is it okay to bathe your Shih Tzu every day?“
I got the same question as well when I got my Shih Tzu, Bunso about a year ago. I’m always worried whether he’s already due for a bath. Shih Tzu’s can be really smelly sometimes, especially the face area. Moreover, Shih Tzu hair can grow as long as it reaches the floor unless groomed regularly.
So, if your dog is due for a Shih Tzu haircut, today’s topic will hopefully give you an idea of whether your Shih Tzu is already in desperate need of a bath or not.
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How often do Shih Tzu’s need baths?
I bathe my Shih Tzu once a week with lukewarm water, soap, and a mild shampoo with conditioner. But in other parts of the world, Shih Tzu’s can go from 2 to 3 weeks without baths.
Keep in mind that Shih Tzu’s produce natural oil, which makes their coat healthy, smooth, and shiny. Bathing them every day can remove those natural oils which will make their skin irritated, which will lead to other skin problems.
Is it ok to bathe your Shih Tzu every day?
The best answer is a big NO. Like babies, Shih Tzu’s are susceptible to health problems like the common colds.
To keep your dog smelling fresh and clean, it’s alright to use a soft and clean cloth dipped in warm water to wipe away that little dirt in their body that doesn’t need to be bathed. Sometimes I put a pea-sized amount of no-tears baby shampoo. Sometimes, about 3 to 4 tbsps. of apple cider vinegar diluted in 2 cups of warm water does the job, too.
However, if your pup’s paws are covered with mud, or if they smell often, you will eventually need to properly bathe them.
How do I bathe my Shih Tzu?
For me, bathing my dogs is more than just cleaning them. I always look forward to it because it’s time well spent, especially with my busy work schedule. I’m sure my dogs don’t necessarily feel the same. In fact, they hated it. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make them enjoy bath time.
Prep your dogs for bath time. I bathe my dogs in the morning, around 8 or 9 AM. This is after our morning walk and potty time. While they’re resting, I would start getting ready with their bath essentials.
Have your bath essentials ready to go. First, I prepare lukewarm water and get my bath kit. This is just an ice cream container that I recycled. Inside are his: shampoo with conditioner, soap, face towel, cotton buds, nail clipper, comb, and dog treats.
Help your Shih Tzu be “in the zone“. Unlike others, I bathe my dogs outside. Bathing them in the bathroom causes a lot of stress to them. But when I started bathing them outside, their mood started to change. Giving them treats is very helpful, too.
Introduce water gradually. One of the reasons why dogs hate baths is they feel like they’re drowning. To make their bathing experience enjoyable and less scary, introduce water slowly and gradually.
When I bathe my Shih Tzu, I start by pouring warm water on his tail all the way to his body. Then, I get his soap and start rubbing it to him until it forms a thick lather. As soon as I’m done soaping his legs and body, that’s the time I wet his towel and rub it gently on his neck, ears, and face and start soaping as well. I try to avoid his eyes to prevent redness and irritation.
The massage. After the first rinse, I follow up with shampoo and conditioner. I love the one I bought recently because it has a peach blossom scent. Plus, the scent would last up to 5 days. I pour a small amount on my hand and massage it gently to his body, legs, tail, and face. My Shih Tzu seems to enjoy this very much.
Towel dry. My Shih Tzu hates the hair blower. So, I ditched the hairdryer and got him a huge bath towel instead. He likes to curl underneath while staring deep into my eyes as if he’s telling me how cold he was. This is why he keeps a short Shih Tzu haircut.
Ear cleaning and nail clipping. While he’s curled up underneath his bath towel, now’s the best time to clean his ears and cut his nails. This can be a bit of a challenge for me because he hates nail clippers. Regardless, I am always able to pull it off.
Tasty treats! And after all that ritual, it’s time for his reward. I used to buy treats that has milk flavor in it. But he got tired of it. Right now, I just buy regular crackers from the grocery store, and he seems to like it even more.
So, how often do Shih Tzu’s need baths?
For my Shih Tzu, once a week is good enough, especially during summertime.
If you’re keeping your Shih Tzu indoors, once every 2 to 3 weeks is okay, too.
At the end of the day, it all goes down to you and your dogs’ lifestyle. As long as you don’t bathe your Shih Tzu’s every day and strip off their natural oils, he’ll be fine. Otherwise, it’s best to consult a veterinarian if you think you’re overdoing it.
Another pro tip for you on bathing your Shih Tzu is to constantly talk to them. Tell them how fresh he/she would feel after a bath, and how it would give him a good night’s sleep. Also, it’s perfectly normal for them to be scared. Therefore, our job is to help them calm down and enjoy the moment.
Let us know in the comments.