To the average eye, Shih Tzu’s hair looks like any dog fur, but is it the same?
Do Shih Tzu Dogs Have Hair or Fur? There are not many dog breeds where their coats are made of hair like a human being, but the Shih Tzu is one that does. The Shih Tzu and humans shed their hair daily but the difference between them is what happens to the hair when it is shed.
The difference is the Shih Tzu has what is called a double coat. When the Shih Tzu shed its hair it doesn’t fall onto the furniture or the floor like yours would, instead it stays within the coat only being removed when you groom your dog.
Because the hair doesn’t fall to the ground the Shih Tzu is commonly thought to be a non-shedding dog breed, when in fact it isn’t but not as messy as other breeds who do not have the same type of double coat.
Are Shih Tzus Hypoallergenic Dogs
A lot of people are under the mistaken apprehension that Shih Tzu’s are hypoallergenic, when in fact they are not and this is why. The simple reason is that humans are in fact allergic to pet dander and not the actual hair or fur from their dog.
With that being said, because Shih Tzu has hair and not fur they are a much better breed of dog to have as a pet than other breeds.
Some people suffer from allergies who owns a Shih Tzu and some don’t, so it really depends on the person but because they have hair rather than fur they are said by many to be hypoallergenic dogs, even though they are not 100%.
How To Make Shih Tzu Hair Silky
There are a number of ways you can keep your dog’s hair silky and make it easy for you to note them down we have listed them here.
Only Give Your Shih Tzu Good Quality Dog Food
To ensure your dog’s hair is kept healthy and silky you need to give them the best food you can afford with the right nutrients included.
Giving them a low-quality meal will exclude the nutrients needed to keep their hair soft and silky, you have probably heard the saying “You get what you pay for” and the same goes for dog food.
Cheap dog food is cheap for a reason and that is because they don’t add the expensive nutrients needed to keep the price down.
Add Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Again purchasing a good quality dog food is essential because they will contain Omega-6 fatty acids that will keep your Shih Tzu’s hair shiny.
It’s easy to check the contents by reading the label but as I said the good quality dog foods will normally contain Omega-6.
One tip for you though is not to leave the dog food open exposing it to the air, exposure oxidizes fatty acids rendering them useless.
If your dog has any sort of skin problems then adding Omega-3 to their food will help. Most good pet stores will hold stock of Omega acids supplements, for example, fish oil or Flax seed oil are great for the skin.
One thing you must ensure is the oil you give them is fresh and you don’t give them too much as it might upset their stomach. If in doubt consult your vet or if they are included in the dog food then they will have the right amount added anyway.
Some of the oil supplements can be expensive, so if you want to give them the best on a budget then look out for doggy treats that have natural and healthy ingredients, this will also help your dog keep their hair nice and shiny. Most good pet stores will be able to advise you on what snacks are best.
If you are more into natural remedies then herbal supplements can help to keep their hair shiny. A product that is high in Vitamin B and protein is good for keeping their hair silky but as always if you are going to give them something out of the ordinary check with your vet first.
You brush your hair every morning before you go out to work, then your dog should get the same treatment. Brushing your dog regularly helps the body to produce natural oils and remove dead hair and skin, this, in turn, stimulates the growth of new hair.
Bath Your Dog
Dogs love water when you take them out for a walk and will love a bath to help keep them clean. Once a month should be OK but be careful not to overdo it, especially in the colder months of the year. You don’t want to wash out the natural oils too often as they protect the skin.
What Kind of Brush Should I Use For a Shih Tzu?
IIf you let them Shih Tzu’s will run and play all day, but with all this running and rolling around comes tangled hair, just like you when you roll around on the ground. Tangled hair is a magnet for dust and dirt so a good brush will be needed to clean it out.
Having had a Shih Tzu for some years now I have learned a trick or two to keep my dog from getting too matted up and the secret is to have the right tools for the job. If you use the right brushes regularly you will avoid a trip to an expensive dog groomer.
There are two dogs brushed I would recommend any Shih Tzu dog owner to use and they are a slicker dog grooming brush and a and a greyhound comb. You can get them from Amazon for only a few dollars but they are worth there weight in gold with the saved trips to the dog groomers.
What About Matting?
Using these dog brushes are great if used on a regular basis and will brush through a few tangles or mats with ease, and will save you many trips and expense from your dog groomer.
However, any dense matting than has gone right down to the skin makes removing them very difficult and can be very painful for your dog. If you leave the matting for too long it can get tighter and pull on the skin and sometimes cause it to break which again can be painful for your dog.
How To Keep Shih Tzu Hair From Matting
It doesn’t matter what type of dog you have at some point they will need to be brushed, even short hair breeds. Smaller breeds like the Shih Tzu whose hair continues to grow all year round have the biggest problems when it comes to grooming, especially those owners who prefer to have their dog’s hair long.
You can’t get away from the fact that dogs like Shih Tzu’s need their hair brushed on a daily basis and if it is left for long periods the hair will get matted so much you would be unable to brush it out.
Your dog can get different types of mats in their hair. Because your dog is continually growing hair and it is continually shedding even though it won’t fall onto your furniture it can mat into smaller clumps that can be brushed out daily.
As more hair grows your dog can get mats close to the skin which may be removed using scissors but you need to be careful you don’t cut too close and break the skin.
As I have mentioned previously, Shih Tzu has two coats of hair a soft inner coat close to the skin and a denser outer coat.
Brushing daily will remove most of the hair from the outer dense part of the hair but the inner section is not always as easy to access, so using the fine greyhound comb for the inner part will remove mats you would not normally have to remove with your daily brush.
Having matted hair makes your dog like disheveled but can also cause skin problems. You will see your dog biting itself or scratching all the time, this is a sign that you need to get your dog to a dog groomer to get rid of that irritating mats.
A badly matted dog will not be a happy dog and if they continue to bite and scratch their skin it can cause further problems so its best for the health and well being of your dog to keep up to a daily five-minute schedule of brushing your dog.
If it gets to a point where you are unable to brush the matting out then you may have no choice but to shave them out completely.
Should a Shih Tzu be shaved?
As we have already discussed matting may force you to shave your dog but it can be avoided by grooming your dog on a regular basis. On average your Shih Tzu should be brushed daily but with a more thoroughly every four to six weeks, preferably from a professional dog groomer.
Your dog groomer has all the professional tools that you may not have and will be able to trim in areas that you may not feel comfortable with, for example, the eyes.
Some people prefer to shave their dogs on a regular basis to keep mats at bay, others prefer to let it grow longer and groom on a more regular basis. Some people think that shaving their dog keeps them cooler in the Summer but that is not the case.
In fact, longer hair can protect them from the sun preventing sunburn. If you do take your dog out in the hot sun and they are shaved be careful you don’t expose them for too long.
Will Shih Tzu Hair Grow Back
I personally keep my Shih Tzu shaved all year round. I take her to the dog groomer every couple of months because I know they have the right tools for a better cut but also for her eyes.
They have the experience and have groomed hundreds of dogs. I do brush her daily even though she has short hair just to make sure she doesn’t get and mats.
How To Keep Shih Tzu Hair Out Of Eyes
As I have already said you need to brush your dog daily with special attention to the hair around the eyes and the face. I would suggest that as a Shih Tzu owner and to look after your dog correctly you should take special attention to the fine hair around the eyes.
I prefer to take my dog to the grooming service but occasionally I have to trim the hair between her eyes so I thought it would be a good idea to provide you with instructions if you prefer this video will give you some great tips.
- Make your dog comfortable by making them lie down. If your dog has been groomed before they will be comfortable with this, if not you might need a second person to hold your dog still.
- Use your greyhound comb to remove all tangles and knots around the eyes and face area. Brush the hair away from the eyes and nose.
- Part the hair into three sections. The first parting to the left, the next to the right. Take each section and pull over the eye holding the hair between your first and middle fingers. Pull the hair gently away from the eye and cut keeping it about one half of an inch above the eye. You must make sure your dog stays still while doing this.
- Repeat with the hair over the other eye and cut to the same length ensuring you don’t cut your dog’s eyelashes.
- Finally, place the center section between your fingers and cut away from the eyes. This section should be fairly short, shorter than the hair you have just cut over the eyes.
- Once you have trimmed both sections around the eyes and down the center of the nose comb again touching up and areas that are not even.
Check out our other articles on how to look after your Shih Tzu.