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Home » Shih Tzu Care Guide 2024: Tips and Advice

Shih Tzu Care Guide 2024: Tips and Advice

by Dr.Mohd Saeed

Welcome to our comprehensive Shih Tzu care guide! Whether you are a proud Shih Tzu owner or considering adding this adorable breed to your family, we have all the tips and advice you need to ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

The Shih Tzu, known for their affectionate nature and luxurious coat, is a beloved breed that brings joy and companionship to many households. In this guide, we will cover everything from understanding the unique characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed to caring for Shih Tzu puppies.

With our expert guidance, you will learn how to groom your Shih Tzu, train them effectively, maintain their optimal health, and understand their temperament and behavior. We will also delve into nutrition, exercise, socialization, dental care, and safety precautions specific to Shih Tzus.

Let’s embark on this journey together, ensuring that your Shih Tzu receives the love, attention, and care they deserve. By following the tips and advice in this guide, you will create a happy and harmonious environment for your beloved Shih Tzu.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the unique characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed is essential for their care.
  • Grooming is crucial to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy and luxurious.
  • Proper training is necessary for a well-behaved and obedient Shih Tzu.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive measures are important to maintain your Shih Tzu’s health.
  • Knowing the temperament and behavior of your Shih Tzu will help you build a strong bond with them.

Shih Tzu Grooming Tips

Grooming is an essential aspect of Shih Tzu care. Proper grooming not only keeps your Shih Tzu looking their best but also promotes their overall health and well-being. In this section, we will share valuable grooming tips and techniques to help you maintain your Shih Tzu’s luxurious coat and ensure their hygiene. Let’s dive in!

Grooming Supplies

Before you start grooming your Shih Tzu, make sure you have the necessary grooming supplies at hand. These include:

  • Gentle shampoo formulated for dogs
  • Conditioner to keep their coat soft and tangle-free
  • Slicker brush for removing tangles and mats
  • Comb with narrow teeth for detangling and maintaining their coat
  • Grooming scissors with rounded tips for trimming hair around delicate areas
  • Nail clippers to keep their nails short and prevent discomfort
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for dogs for maintaining their dental health

Brushing the Coat

The Shih Tzu’s coat is known for its long, flowing, and silky texture. Regular brushing is crucial to prevent tangles, mats, and excessive shedding. Here’s how to brush your Shih Tzu effectively:

  1. Start by gently brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat with a slicker brush to remove any loose hair and tangles.
  2. Next, use a comb with narrow teeth to carefully detangle their coat, paying extra attention to areas prone to matting, such as behind the ears and under the armpits.
  3. If you encounter any mats, gently work through them using your fingers or a mat splitter, being careful not to cause any discomfort to your Shih Tzu.
  4. Regularly check their paws for dirt, debris, or long hair between the paw pads. Trim any excessive hair to maintain cleanliness and prevent discomfort.
  5. Brush the hair on top of their head upward to create a topknot or secure it with a small clip or elastic band to keep it out of their eyes.

Bathing and Hygiene

Bathing your Shih Tzu on a regular basis is essential to keep their coat clean and free from dirt, excess oil, and odors. Here are some tips for bathing and maintaining their hygiene:

“Regular grooming not only keeps your Shih Tzu looking their best but also promotes their overall health and well-being.”

  • Use a gentle shampoo formulated for dogs and lather it into your Shih Tzu’s coat, paying attention to their underbelly and sensitive areas.
  • Rinse thoroughly to ensure all the shampoo is removed from their coat.
  • Apply a dog conditioner to keep their coat soft and manageable. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Gently toweldry your Shih Tzu, and if they tolerate it well, use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry their coat completely.
  • Clean their ears regularly with a dog-specific ear cleaner and cotton ball to prevent ear infections.
  • Trim their nails regularly, being careful not to cut the quick (the pink area inside their nail that contains blood vessels). If you’re uncertain, seek guidance from a professional groomer or veterinarian.
  • Brush their teeth daily using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs to maintain their dental hygiene.

Professional Grooming

While regular grooming at home is essential, professional grooming is also recommended for Shih Tzus. A professional groomer can provide expert trimming and shaping of your Shih Tzu’s coat, ensuring it is kept at an appropriate length and style. Additionally, professional groomers can also check for any skin or coat issues that may require attention.

Remember, regular grooming not only keeps your Shih Tzu looking their best but also contributes to their overall happiness and well-being. By following these grooming tips and techniques, you can ensure that your furry companion stays clean, comfortable, and always looking their finest.

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Training Your Shih Tzu

A well-trained Shih Tzu is a happy and obedient companion. Understanding the unique characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed is essential to train them effectively and establish a strong bond. Here are expert training tips and techniques to help you shape your Shih Tzu’s behavior and ensure their overall well-being.

Understanding Shih Tzu Characteristics

Shih Tzus are known for their friendly nature, intelligence, and independence. However, they can also be stubborn at times. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when training this breed.

Remember, each Shih Tzu may have their own distinct personality traits, so it’s crucial to adapt your training approach to meet their individual needs.

Basic Training Commands

Start with basic obedience commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘come.’ These commands provide a foundation for further training and enable you to have better control over your Shih Tzu in various situations.

SitTeach your Shih Tzu to sit on command, which is useful for controlling their behavior in different scenarios.
StayTrain your Shih Tzu to stay in one place until released, ensuring their safety and your peace of mind.
ComeTeach your Shih Tzu to come to you when called, which is crucial for their safety and allowing off-leash exploration in secure areas.


Socialization is vital for Shih Tzus to become well-adjusted and friendly companions. Expose your dog to various experiences, people, and animals from a young age to prevent fear or aggression issues.

Remember, positive reinforcement and rewards play a crucial role in shaping your Shih Tzu’s behavior. Use treats, praise, and affection to motivate and reinforce good behavior during the training process.

Specialized Training

Beyond basic commands, it can be beneficial to enroll your dog in specialized training programs, such as agility training or therapy dog training. These activities cater to their individual needs and provide mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Keep in mind that consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are the key ingredients to successful Shih Tzu training. Celebrate their progress and remember to make training sessions enjoyable for both you and your furry companion.

Shih Tzu Health Care

Ensuring the health and well-being of your pet is essential for their overall happiness and longevity. Like any breed, Shih Tzus can be prone to certain health issues. In this section, we will explore common health conditions that Shih Tzus may face and provide you with preventive measures and tips to maintain their optimal health.

Detecting Shih Tzu Health Issues

Regularly monitoring your Shih Tzu’s health is crucial. Pay close attention to any changes in their behavior, appetite, or physical appearance. Here are some of the common health issues that Shih Tzus may experience:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Eye and ear infections
  • Oral health issues
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Skin allergies
  • Obesity

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to catch and treat any health issues early on. Your veterinarian will be able to provide specific guidance based on your Shih Tzu’s health and individual needs.

Preventive Measures and Tips

Preventive care plays a significant role in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. Here are some preventive measures and tips you can follow:

  1. Maintain a balanced diet: Provide your Shih Tzu with high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Avoid feeding them table scraps or foods that are toxic to dogs.
  2. Keep up with vaccinations: Ensure that your Shih Tzu receives all necessary vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian.
  3. Practice good dental hygiene: Regularly brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth to prevent dental issues. Use dog-friendly toothpaste and dental treats.
  4. Provide regular exercise: Engage your Shih Tzu in daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight and stimulate their physical and mental well-being.
  5. Keep the environment clean: Regularly clean your Shih Tzu’s living area to prevent the accumulation of allergens and bacteria.

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Shih Tzu Health Care Tips Summary

By staying proactive and taking the necessary precautions, you can help ensure the best possible health for your Shih Tzu. Remember that each Shih Tzu is unique, and consulting with your veterinarian is crucial for personalized health care recommendations based on your dog’s individual needs and medical history.

Shih Tzu Temperament and Behavior

Understanding the temperament and behavior of your dog is crucial for creating a harmonious relationship. Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them wonderful companions for individuals and families alike. These dogs are generally affectionate and thrive on human companionship. They have a reputation for being sociable and often make friends with ease. However, each dog has their own unique personality and may exhibit different levels of shyness or boldness, so it’s important to consider their individual needs and preferences.

Shih Tzus are renowned for their loving and gentle demeanor, which makes them excellent pets for households with children and other animals. Their patient and tolerant nature allows them to interact well with youngsters, making them a popular choice for families. Due to their small size, Shih Tzus are generally not aggressive and do well in various living environments, including apartments and houses with limited outdoor space. However, like any dog, they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

This breed is also known for their independent streak, which can sometimes lead to stubbornness during training sessions. It’s crucial to approach training with patience and positive reinforcement techniques to encourage obedience and desired behavior. Early socialization is especially important to ensure that your Shih Tzu is comfortable around other people, animals, and different environments. This will help prevent any potential behavioral issues such as fear or aggression.

Quote: “Shih Tzus are loyal and devoted companions, forming strong bonds with their owners.” – Shih Tzu Breeder

To better understand the temperament and behavior of Shih Tzus, let’s take a look at some common characteristics:

PlayfulShih Tzus have a playful nature and enjoy interactive games and toys. Engaging in playtime activities helps them stay mentally and physically stimulated.
AdaptableShih Tzus can adapt well to different living environments and are generally content whether living in a small apartment or a larger house.
AffectionateThese dogs are known for their affectionate nature, often seeking out cuddles and snuggles with their owners. They enjoy being close and bond deeply with their human companions.
AlertShih Tzus have a keen sense of awareness and will often alert their owners to any potential strangers or noises in their surroundings.
CuriousShih Tzus have a curious nature and enjoy exploring their environment. Providing them with opportunities for mental stimulation and new experiences is important.

Meeting Your Shih Tzu’s Needs

To ensure a happy and well-adjusted Shih Tzu, it’s essential to meet their needs for socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation. Here are some tips to help you fulfill these needs:

  • Socialize your dog from a young age, exposing them to various people, animals, and environments. This will help them feel comfortable and confident in different situations.
  • Provide regular exercise through daily walks, play sessions, or interactive toys. Physical activity helps keep them fit and also burns off excess energy.
  • Engage your dog in mental stimulation activities such as puzzle toys, obedience training, or scent games. This helps prevent boredom and keeps their minds sharp.
  • Give your Shih Tzu plenty of affection and companionship. They thrive on human interaction and will form a strong bond with their owners.
  • Establish consistent and positive training techniques to ensure obedience and good behavior. The use of rewards and praises can be highly effective.

By understanding their temperament and behavior, as well as meeting their needs, you can create a loving and fulfilling relationship with your Shih Tzu.


Shih Tzu Nutrition Guide

A well-balanced diet is essential for the overall health of your Shih Tzu. Providing your furry companion with the right nutrients and feeding them properly will not only support their vitality but also contribute to their lifelong well-being.

When it comes to shih tzu care, it’s vital to understand the nutritional requirements specific to this breed. By following a comprehensive nutrition guide, you can ensure that your dog receives the optimal balance of nutrients they need to thrive.

The Importance of Balanced Nutrition

Proper nutrition plays a significant role in every aspect of your shih tzu’s life, including their growth, development, energy levels, and overall health. A well-nourished shih tzu is more likely to have a shiny coat, maintain a healthy weight, and have a stronger immune system.

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to feeding your shih tzu:

  • High-quality Dog Food: Choose a premium dog food brand that is specifically formulated for small breed dogs. Look for options that contain real meat as the primary ingredient and have a proper balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • Age-Appropriate Diet: Shih tzu puppies have different nutritional needs than adult shih tzus. Ensure you feed them a puppy formula until they reach adulthood, and then switch to an adult dog food formula that suits their specific needs.
  • Avoid Harmful Foods: Some human foods are toxic to shih tzus, including chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic. Make sure to keep these foods out of your shih tzu’s reach to prevent any accidental ingestion.
  • Feeding Schedule: Establish a consistent feeding schedule for your pet to maintain their digestive health. Split their daily food intake into two or three meals, depending on their age and activity level.
  • Portion Control: Obesity can lead to various health issues in shih tzus. Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the dog food manufacturer, but also monitor your shih tzu’s weight and adjust the portion size accordingly.

Remember: Every shih tzu is unique, and their nutritional needs may vary based on factors such as age, size, activity level, and overall health. It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to develop a custom feeding plan tailored to your shih tzu’s specific requirements.

Foods to Avoid

Foods to AvoidReason
ChocolateContains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and can cause various health issues.
Grapes and RaisinsCan lead to kidney failure in shih tzus.
Onions and GarlicContain compounds that can damage your shih tzu’s red blood cells.
NutsSome nuts, such as macadamia nuts, can be toxic to shih tzus.
AvocadoContains a substance called persin, which is harmful to dogs.

Important Note: This table provides a general overview of foods that are harmful to shih tzus. Always consult with your veterinarian for a comprehensive list and updated information.

By understanding the nutritional needs of your pet and providing them with a well-rounded diet, you can ensure their long-term health and happiness. Remember, a healthy shih tzu is a happy dog!

Shih Tzu Exercise Tips

Regular exercise is crucial for the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu. Engaging your furry friend in physical activities not only helps them stay fit but also promotes mental stimulation and emotional balance. In this section, we will share exercise tips tailored to the specific needs of Shih Tzus, ensuring that they receive the right amount of physical activity to keep them active and healthy.

1. Walks: Taking your Shih Tzu for daily walks is an excellent way to provide them with essential exercise. A leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or a brisk walk in the park can help keep their muscles toned and joints flexible. Remember to use a comfortable harness and leash to ensure their safety and consider varying the walking routes to keep things interesting for your furry companion.

2. Playtime: Incorporating play sessions into your Shih Tzu’s routine is a fun and interactive way to keep them energized. Engage in activities such as fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek, tailored to the size and age of your Shih Tzu. Interactive toys that challenge their problem-solving skills can also provide mental stimulation during playtime.

3. Indoor exercises: When outdoor activities are not possible, there are plenty of exercises you can do with your Shih Tzu indoors. Set up obstacle courses using household items like cushions or tunnels, or teach your Shih Tzu new tricks and commands. These activities not only provide physical exercise but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.

4. Dog-friendly parks: Taking your Shih Tzu to dog-friendly parks can provide them with a chance to socialize with other dogs while getting their exercise. Ensure that the park is safe and secure and follow any rules or regulations set by the park authorities. Remember to keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu to ensure their safety and well-being.

Benefits of Regular Exercise for Shih Tzus

Regular exercise offers numerous benefits for Shih Tzus, including: – Weight management and prevention of obesity – Improved cardiovascular health – Mental stimulation and reduced boredom – Strengthened muscles and joints – Enhanced socialization opportunities with other dogs – Release of pent-up energy, leading to calmer behavior at home

Exercise TipsBenefits
WalksImproved overall fitness and joint flexibility
PlaytimeMental stimulation and strengthened bond with owners
Indoor exercisesEngagement and exercise during unfavorable weather conditions
Dog-friendly parksSocialization opportunities and exposure to new experiences

Remember to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that the exercise routine you choose is suitable for your Shih Tzu’s age, health, and individual needs. By incorporating regular exercise into your Shih Tzu’s routine, you can promote their overall well-being and provide a happy and healthy lifestyle for your furry friend.

Shih Tzu Socialization

Socialization is a crucial aspect of shih tzu care that plays a significant role in shaping your furry friend’s behavior and personality. It involves exposing your shih tzu to various experiences, people, and animals to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and confident companions.

Introducing your shih tzu to new situations and stimuli from a young age can help minimize anxiety and fearfulness, making them more adaptable and friendly in different environments.

Here are some tips to help you socialize your shih tzu:

  • Start early: Begin socializing your shih tzu as soon as possible, ideally during the puppy stage. This allows them to develop positive associations with different stimuli and experiences, making future socialization efforts easier.
  • Expose to diverse environments: Take your dog to various places like parks, strolling on sidewalks, or visiting friends’ homes. This exposure helps familiarize them with different sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Introduce to different people: Encourage your dog to interact with different individuals, including children, adults, and elderly people. This helps them become comfortable with people of all ages and builds their confidence in diverse social settings.
  • Arrange playdates with other dogs: Organize playdates with well-behaved dogs to allow your shih tzu to interact and socialize with their fellow canines. It helps them develop important social skills and learn acceptable behaviors during play.
  • Enroll in training classes: Consider enrolling your dog in obedience or socialization classes. These classes provide a supervised environment for your shih tzu to interact with other dogs and learn proper social behavior under the guidance of a professional trainer.
  • Positive reinforcement: Reward your shih tzu with treats, praise, and affection when they display calm and friendly behavior during socialization experiences. This positive reinforcement reinforces their good behavior and encourages them to continue behaving well in different situations.

Remember, every shih tzu is unique, so be patient and observe their comfort levels during socialization efforts. Gradually expose them to new experiences, allowing them to adjust and build confidence at their own pace.

By prioritizing socialization as part of your shih tzu care routine, you can raise a well-adjusted and sociable companion who will be a joy to have by your side.

Shih Tzu Socialization Checklist

AgeSocialization Checklist
Puppy (8-12 weeks)Introduce to different people, environments, and sounds
Puppy (12-16 weeks)Exposure to various surfaces, objects, and animals
Young adult (6-12 months)Organize playdates with other dogs
Adult (1 year and above)Continued socialization with people and dogs

Shih Tzu Dental Care

Proper dental care is essential for the overall health and well-being of your Shih Tzu. Just like humans, dogs can develop dental problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. In this section, we will discuss the importance of dental hygiene for your Shih Tzu and provide you with valuable tips on how to care for their teeth.

Your Shih Tzu’s dental hygiene should be a part of their regular grooming routine. By incorporating simple dental care practices, you can prevent oral health issues and keep your furry friend’s smile bright and healthy.

Importance of Dental Hygiene

Poor dental hygiene can lead to various health problems for your Shih Tzu. Bacteria and plaque build-up on their teeth can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis) and, if left untreated, progress to periodontal disease. This can result in tooth loss and even affect your dog’s overall well-being.

Moreover, untreated dental issues can lead to secondary health problems, such as infections, heart disease, and kidney problems. Maintaining proper dental hygiene is crucial to prevent these complications and ensure your Shih Tzu’s overall health and happiness.

Tips for Shih Tzu Dental Care

  • Brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth regularly: Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to brush their teeth at least two to three times a week. Start slowly and gradually introduce your dog to the process. Make it a positive experience by rewarding them with treats or praise.
  • Provide dental-friendly chew toys: Chew toys specifically designed for dental health can help remove plaque and tartar buildup. They also provide mental stimulation and help alleviate teething discomfort.
  • Consider dental treats and water additives: There are dental treats and water additives available that can help reduce plaque formation and freshen your Shih Tzu’s breath. Consult your veterinarian to find the right products for your dog.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups: Professional dental cleanings are essential to remove tartar and plaque that cannot be addressed through regular brushing. Consult your veterinarian about how often your Shih Tzu should have dental check-ups.


Shih Tzu Safety Precautions

Creating a safe environment is crucial for the well-being of your Shih Tzu. Follow these safety precautions to protect your furry friend from potential hazards:

1. Secure Your Home

Make sure your home is safe and secure for your Shih Tzu by taking the following measures:

  • Install childproof locks on cabinets and drawers to prevent access to harmful substances.
  • Keep electrical cords hidden or secured to prevent chewing.
  • Block off areas with potential dangers such as stairs, balconies, or swimming pools.
  • Remove toxic plants and ensure all household cleaners and chemicals are securely stored.

2. Travel Safely

When traveling with your Shih Tzu, prioritize their safety with these tips:

  • Use a secure and well-ventilated carrier or harness for car travel.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car, as temperatures can rise quickly.
  • Ensure your Shih Tzu is wearing proper identification tags with up-to-date contact information.
  • Bring necessary supplies like food, water, and medications for long trips.

3. Identify Common Household Dangers

Be aware of common household hazards that could harm your Shih Tzu:

  • Store human medications and household chemicals out of reach.
  • Keep small objects, including children’s toys, away from your Shih Tzu’s reach to avoid choking hazards.
  • Be cautious of open windows or balcony doors to prevent accidents or falls.
  • Ensure all electrical cords are properly secured to prevent chewing.

Remember, your Shih Tzu’s safety is in your hands. By following these safety precautions, you can create a secure environment and provide the protection your beloved companion needs.


We hope this Shih Tzu care guide has provided you with valuable insights and advice to enhance the well-being of your furry companion. By understanding their unique needs and following the tips provided, you can create a loving and healthy environment for your dog. Remember, proper care and attention are key to having a happy Shih Tzu by your side.


What are the characteristics of the Shih Tzu breed?

Shih Tzus are known for their small size, distinctive facial features, and luxurious coat. They are friendly, playful, and loyal companions.

How should I groom my Shih Tzu?

Regular grooming is essential for Shih Tzus. Brush their coat daily, trim their nails regularly, clean their ears, and bathe them as needed. It’s also essential to schedule professional grooming sessions to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.

How do I train my Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Be patient, consistent, and use rewards to motivate them. Focus on socialization, obedience training, and housebreaking to ensure a well-behaved Shih Tzu.

What are common health issues in Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus are prone to certain health issues, including eye problems, dental issues, respiratory problems, and allergies. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper grooming are crucial for preventing and managing these health concerns.

What is the temperament of a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are generally friendly, affectionate, and outgoing. They thrive on human companionship and enjoy being the center of attention. However, proper socialization is essential to ensure they get along well with other pets and people.

How should I feed my Shih Tzu?

Feed your dog high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Provide them with a balanced diet, divided into multiple small meals throughout the day to prevent overeating and maintain their energy levels.

How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?

While Shih Tzus are small in size, they still require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Aim for daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation activities to meet their exercise needs.

How do I socialize my Shih Tzu?

Start socializing your Shih Tzu from a young age by exposing them to various people, pets, and environments. Gradually introduce them to new experiences and provide positive reinforcement to ensure positive associations with new situations.

How do I care for my Shih Tzu’s dental health?

Maintain your Shih Tzu’s dental health by brushing their teeth regularly using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Offer dental chews and consider professional dental cleanings if necessary.

What safety precautions should I take for my Shih Tzu?

Keep your dog safe by securing your home, using pet-friendly cleaning products, ensuring their collar and identification tags are always worn, and using a proper dog harness or crate when traveling. Familiarize yourself with common household hazards that could pose a threat to your Shih Tzu’s safety.

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