10 Shih Tzu Bath Mistakes You Make Without Knowing & How To Correct Them.

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While it’s essential to keep your Shih Tzu clean, there are certain common mistakes that you make that can compromise the comfort and health of your pet.

In this article, I’ll highlight ten typical bath time errors that you make as a Shih Tzu owner and should avoid them all to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for your beloved companion.

Key Takeaways

  • Select a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs to avoid skin irritation.
  • Avoid bathing your Shih Tzu too frequently to prevent drying out their skin.
  • Make sure to thoroughly rinse off all shampoo to prevent residue buildup.
  • Protect your Shih Tzu’s ears from water to prevent infections.
  • Ensure the bath water is comfortably warm, not hot, to avoid scalding your pet.

1. Using the Wrong Shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo for your Shih Tzu is crucial for maintaining their healthy coat and skin. Using the wrong shampoo can lead to skin irritation, dryness, and damage to their delicate fur. 

It’s important to select a shampoo that is specifically formulated for dogs, ideally one that matches the specific needs of the Shih Tzu breed.

Products like FURBLISS INVIGORATING SHAMPOO FOR DOGS are designed to cater to their unique coat requirements, ensuring that your Shih Tzu remains clean and comfortable without the harsh effects of unsuitable products.

Always check the label for ingredients that are safe and beneficial for Shih Tzu, avoiding those with harsh chemicals.

2. Bathing Too Frequently

Bathing your Shih Tzu too often can strip their coat of natural oils, leading to dry skin and irritation. It’s crucial to understand the balance between keeping your pet clean and maintaining their skin’s health. 

Generally, bathing once every three weeks is sufficient unless they get particularly dirty. Over-bathing can lead to more harm than good, disrupting the natural pH balance of their skin.

Each Shih Tzu’s needs can vary based on their activity level and environment. Adjust the frequency of baths accordingly, but always err on the side of caution to avoid over-bathing.

Here are a few signs that you might be bathing your Shih Tzu too frequently:

  • Increased itching or scratching post-bath
  • Dull, brittle coat
  • Visible flakes or dry patches on the skin

By monitoring these indicators and adjusting the bath schedule, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu remains healthy and happy without the adverse effects of too many baths.

3. Insufficient Rinsing

When bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to ensure that all shampoo is thoroughly rinsed out of their coat. Insufficient rinsing can lead to skin irritation and discomfort for your pet.

Make sure to use a gentle stream of lukewarm water and rinse until the water runs clear. Pay special attention to areas where shampoo can easily get trapped, such as under the legs and around the neck.

Tips for Effective Rinsing:

  • Start from the head and work your way down to the tail, ensuring that all areas are covered.
  • Use your fingers to gently massage the coat during the rinsing process to help remove all traces of shampoo.
  • Consider using a detachable shower head or a pitcher to control the flow of water and make the rinsing process easier.

Remember, the goal is to leave your Shih Tzu’s coat clean and free from any residue.

4. Neglecting Ear Protection

When bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to protect their ears from water and shampoo. Water entering the ear canal can lead to infections and discomfort.

Always use cotton balls or a gentle wrap to shield the ears during the bath. Make sure the cotton is not inserted too deeply, as this can cause harm.

After the bath, remove the cotton and gently wipe the outer ear with a soft cloth to ensure no moisture remains.

It’s essential to check your Shih Tzu’s ears regularly for signs of irritation or infection, especially after baths.

Additionally, consider using a mild ear cleaner designed for dogs to maintain ear health. Apply the cleaner according to the instructions, and never use cotton swabs inside the ear canal, as they can push debris further in and damage the delicate structures inside.

5. Overlooking Eye Care

When bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to prioritize their eye care to prevent irritation and infections. Always use a mild, pet-friendly shampoo around the eyes, and ensure that no soap gets into their eyes.

Gently wiping the area with a soft, damp cloth can help remove any debris or tear stains. Additionally, consider using a tear stain remover specifically designed for dogs if your Shih Tzu frequently develops noticeable tear stains.

Regularly checking and cleaning your dog’s eyes not only keeps them healthy but also enhances their comfort and appearance.

6. Inadequate Drying

Proper drying after a bath is crucial for your Shih Tzu’s comfort and health. Inadequate drying can lead to skin irritations and increase the risk of fungal infections.

Always use a towel that is soft and highly absorbent to gently blot the coat. Avoid vigorous rubbing, which can cause the hair to tangle and mat.

  • Start by gently squeezing out excess water from the coat.
  • Use a blow dryer on a low heat setting to slowly dry the fur. Keep the dryer at a safe distance to prevent burns.
  • Continue drying until the coat is completely dry, especially the undercoat.

A damp coat can be a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, which can lead to unpleasant odors and discomfort for your pet.

7. Ignoring Brushing Pre-Bath

Brushing your Shih Tzu before a bath is crucial for several reasons. It helps to remove tangles and mats, which can become tighter and more painful when wet.

This pre-bath brushing ensures that the shampoo can reach the skin more effectively, promoting better hygiene and easier rinsing. Always use a soft-bristled brush or a suitable dematting tool to gently comb through the fur.

  • Start by gently brushing the coat to remove loose hair and detangle any knots.
  • Pay special attention to areas prone to matting such as behind the ears and under the legs.
  • If you encounter mats, use a detangling spray or conditioner to help loosen them before attempting to brush out.

Regular brushing not only keeps your Shih Tzu’s coat in good condition but also reduces the amount of hair that ends up in the bathtub, making your job easier.

8. Bathing in Too Hot Water

When bathing your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to ensure the water temperature is not too hot. Excessive heat can cause discomfort and even lead to heat-related health issues.

Always test the water with your hand before letting your Shih Tzu enter the bath. The ideal temperature should feel warm but not hot, generally around 86°F (30°C) or slightly cooler.

Bathing in water that is too hot can increase the risk of raising your dog’s body temperature to dangerous levels, potentially leading to heatstroke.

Remember, the sensitivity of a Shih Tzu’s skin is higher than that of humans. Therefore, what feels comfortable to you might still be too hot for your pet.

To ensure the safety and comfort of your Shih Tzu during bath time, follow these simple steps:

  1. Check the water temperature with your wrist or elbow, as these areas are more sensitive to heat.
  2. Adjust the water temperature until it feels lukewarm.
  3. Gently introduce your Shih Tzu to the water, watching for any signs of discomfort.

By maintaining a safe water temperature, you not only make the bath enjoyable for your Shih Tzu but also prevent the risk of heat-related discomfort or health issues.

9. Not Checking Water Temperature

Ensuring the water temperature is just right before bathing your Shih Tzu is crucial. Too hot or too cold water can cause discomfort or even harm to your pet.

Always use your hand to test the water temperature, aiming for a lukewarm feel, which is most comfortable and safe for your dog’s sensitive skin.

It’s important to remember that what feels warm to you might still be too hot for your Shih Tzu. Adjust accordingly to find the perfect balance.

To maintain consistency in water temperature throughout the bath, keep checking periodically. This practice helps in preventing any sudden changes in temperature that could startle or upset your pet.

10. Skipping Conditioner

Skipping the use of conditioner after shampooing your Shih Tzu can lead to several issues. Conditioner plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and appearance of your dog’s coat by moisturizing and detangling the fur.

Without it, your Shih Tzu’s coat may become dry, brittle, and more prone to tangling. This can cause discomfort and make grooming more challenging.

  • Moisturizes the coat: Conditioner helps to replenish the natural oils lost during the bathing process.
  • Detangles fur: It makes brushing easier by smoothing out knots and preventing matting.
  • Enhances shine: Regular conditioning helps to enhance the natural sheen of your Shih Tzu’s coat.

Always choose a conditioner that is specifically formulated for dogs to avoid any potential skin irritations.


Bathing your Shih Tzu can be a delightful experience, fostering a stronger bond between you and your pet. However, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes to ensure the health and happiness of your furry friend.

By following the guidelines discussed in this article, you can make bath time a safe and enjoyable activity for your Shih Tzu. Remember to always prioritize your pet’s comfort and safety, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about their skin or coat health. Happy bathing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of shampoo should I use for a Shih Tzu?

Use a mild, dog-specific shampoo that is suited for sensitive skin and free from harsh chemicals to avoid irritation.

How often should I bathe my Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus should be bathed every three to four weeks to maintain their skin and coat health without causing dryness.

Why is it important to rinse a Shih Tzu thoroughly after a bath?

Insufficient rinsing can leave soap residue, which can irritate the skin and cause itching and discomfort.

How can I protect my Shih Tzu’s ears during a bath?

Use cotton balls to gently plug the ears and prevent water from entering, which can lead to infections.

What should I do to care for my Shih Tzu’s eyes during a bath?

Avoid getting shampoo in the eyes and gently wipe around the eyes with a damp cloth to prevent irritation.

Why is it important to use conditioner on a Shih Tzu after shampooing?

Conditioner helps to moisturize the skin, detangle the fur, and enhance the coat’s sheen, making grooming easier and keeping the fur healthy.

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