How Often Should You Bathe a Shih Tzu?

How often should you bathe a Shih Tzu
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Shih Tzus are loved and praised all across the world for their loving and sweet nature, as well as their distinct, beautiful coats. Their coats add a unique charm to these dogs and therefore it’s important for Shih Tzu owners to take good care of their coats by washing them properly. A question that will be on most Shih Tzus owners minds is how often they should be bathing them and whether over-bathing them can cause complications later down the road.

As with all dogs, it’s important to wash them regularly but you shouldn’t over wash them, as it could cause more harm than good to their skin and eat away at their precious coat. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bathing a Shih Tzu and the things you should be aware of as an owner.

How many times a week can a Shih Tzu take a bath?

As a rule of thumb, we recommend no more than one bath every 3 weeks for a Shih Tzu, this will help keep your dog’s skin clean and remove any excess oils from their skin that make them smell bad. Because who likes a smelly Shih Tzu? Not only will they make your house smell but they will also spread their germs and smelly skin onto furniture..

A Shih Tzu should be bathed once every three weeks to keep them clean and keep their skin and coat healthy.

Bathing your Shih Tzu will keep your dog from smelling like a zombie, and at the same time,  will also make sure to protect the natural oils produced by your dog’s body from being washed away and keep them as healthy as possible. Frequent washing could remove the healthy oils from your dog’s skin that is critical to keeping the coat growing and healthy. If you have any concerns that you are over bathing your dog, you should contact a professional veterinarian and they will be able to provide some expert advice.

Picture of Shih Tzu
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Can I increase the length of time between each bath that I give my Shih Tzu?

Every dog is different and therefore, different breeds will require more baths compared to others, however, a Shih Tzu, should not be bathed more frequently than once every 3 weeks. The one-month rule shouldn’t be set in stone and you can increase the length of time between each bath if you’d like, this very much depends on your dog’s lifestyle. You may decide to increase the gap between baths to 6 weeks or even 4 weeks.

Should I bathe my Shih Tzu after every walk?

Owners of this breed are often worried about their dog’s coat catching all sorts of dirt during walks, and therefore they try to give their pooch a thorough bath after every single walk. You shouldn’t aim to give your Shih Tzu a bath after every walk, as this will easily strip away natural oils produced by your dogs. These oils help to make their coats smooth and soft well as they help in giving the coat a natural shiny look. Without these oils, your dog’s coat can easily become dull, rough, and lose its charm.

Shih Tzu walking
Photo by Nikolay Tchaouchev on Unsplash

That’s why we always advise Shih Tzu owners against bathing them every day. Instead, you should use a towel soaked in warm water and soap solution to clean any dirt off your dog’s paws and coats after every walk.

What happens if I don’t bathe my Shih Tzu?

You should never give too many baths to your Shih Tzu and aim for at least one every 3 weeks, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s okay to be lazy when it comes to bathing your pooch. Dogs need thorough baths to keep themselves clean. Otherwise, they can start looking really dirty and can also start smelling.

This is why we advise dog owners to find the sweet middle ground between the two extremes of never bathing their dogs and giving them regular baths, as only that middle ground will help you in ensuring your dog’s well-being and will be enough to keep your dog nice and clean.

Can I use human shampoo on my Shih Tzu?

No, you shouldn’t use human shampoo when bathing your Shih Tzu, however, once or twice wouldn’t hurt over a long time period but you shouldn’t consistently use human shampoo on dogs.

Using human shampoo on dogs will not only leave their skin feeling irritated, dry and flaky, which can result in itchiness and scratching, however, it can also disrupt the acid mantle and this will leave your dog vulnerable to bacteria, viruses and parasites. You shouldn’t ever use human shampoo regularly on your Shih Tzu, or in fact, any dog breed.

How often can I bathe a Shih Tzu puppy?

We continue to recommend bathing your Shih Tzu every three weeks, even if they are a puppy.

If your puppy suffers from dry and irritable skin, you could wait a little longer in between every bath. However, it’s important that you pick a good quality shampoo that is gentle to your puppies skin, such as hypoallergenic shampoos. These types of shampoos are known to be free of fragrances, additives and detergents, these substances can be quite harsh on your puppies skin, especially if they are used regularly.

Picture of a bath
Photo by Arina Krasnikova from Pexels

Some Shi Tzu owners give their puppies more frequent baths, especially if they roll around in the mud on a walk, or get dirty very quickly. Puppies are also known to soil their bottoms when they poop, so this could be another reason for wanting to bathe them more frequently. This is generally ok but you shouldn’t bathe your Shih Tzu more frequently than every three weeks all the time, the odd occasion more frequently is completely fine!

Can I wash my Shih Tzu in the shower?

Yes, you can, some dogs prefer this to standing in a bathtub that’s full of water and it could even help if you feed them treats while they receive their shower! The sensation of water falling on top of them versus scraping water from below and on top could be preferred by your Shih Tzu. 

Showering your Shih Tzu is a great way to create a positive atmosphere and association with getting washed, so it’s certainly worthwhile trying both a bath and a shower to see what they prefer.

What do I do if my Shih Tzu doesn’t like a bath or shower?

Some dogs don’t like the feeling of water splashing over their body and it will seem like an uncommon sensory experience to them, this is because water makes the ground slippery and they feel that they could fall over or lose control. Being scared is a common reaction when a dog has a bath or shower, especially if it’s their first, but over time, they will get used to it and realise it’s a positive and fun experience.

To ease their fear of losing control, a great technique is to put a towel underneath the Shih Tzu while they have a bath or shower and this will provide them with some security. It can be a pain to clean the towel afterwards but will make the experience much more positive for your dog, so it’s worth thinking about.

When can you give a Shih Tzu its first bath?

Puppies are like children and therefore, they have a hard time regulating their body temperature and can quite easily become very cold if they aren’t exposed to the correct temperatures. This won’t be a very positive experience for these little guys and because of this, we recommend waiting until your puppy is at least four weeks old before giving them their first bath or shower.

Shih Tzu Puppy
Photo by Iga Palacz on Unsplash

Also, be careful when drying your puppy, we recommend using a towel than a hairdryer, to begin with. A hairdryer will scare your little one and because they have sensitive skin and aren’t able to regulate their body temperatures correctly, the excessive blowing of air from the hair dyer could make them very chilled. So, it’s something you should avoid until they are older, or not use it all together and use a towel instead.

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