Grooming Shih Tzu Puppies

Chimera Shih Tzu – SW Florida Shih Tzu Puppies

Your Shih Tzu will need regular grooming for the rest of their life. This routine will be much, much easier if you start now getting them used to it. It’s important to not force or overwhelm your puppy through this initial training stage. Make every step comfortable, calm, and relaxing. This should be a time of bonding, not struggling. If you find yourself frustrated, take a step back, find another approach, or try again when your pup is more apt to be relaxed and compliant.

Many Shih Tzu owners save most grooming to the professionals. That’s perfectly fine, but you should still teach your pup good grooming manners from the beginning. Chimera Shih Tzu puppies are exposed to grooming routines before they leave us. They get some practice with brushing, bathing, nail trimming, sanitary trims, feet shaving, eye cleaning, and ear checks. Please continue these at home until the pup is going to the groomer regularly. At this age it’s not as important for general appearance, but it is very important for your Shih Tzu’s lifelong comfort during grooming.

Routine Grooming:

  • Cleaning eyes
  • Daily brushing all over
  • Bathing every 1-3 weeks
  • Trimming nails every 1-2 weeks
  • Shaving or trimming feet (paw pads), as needed
  • Sanitary trim around booty, ect, as needed
  • Trimming hair around eyes and face, as needed
  • Trimming body length, as needed
  • Check ears – may need to clean ears or remove hair

Shih Tzu puppies need their fuzzy toes trimmed

Tools for grooming shih tzu puppies

Keep the hair around eyes trimmed


Some pups need their eyes cleaned more than others. To prevent tear stains, we keep hair trimmed around the eyes. Hair poking into the eye or collecting moisture will create more problems. A healthy diet with as few potential allergens, irritants, or processed ingredients as possible. We feed our dogs a Prey Model Raw, raw food diet. Some people swear by using bottled water instead of tap water. Some recommend water bottles instead of bowls. From personal experience the water bottles help greatly with wet bears and faces! We like them a lot. We have also heard a couple frozen blueberries each day helps prevent tear stains. For us, it only created purple beards! If eyes are a problem, use a soft cloth or paper towel moistened with water to wipe away any debris. Then check to see if there’s some hair around the eyes that needs trimming. If this does not solve the eyes, try a change of diet. Some pups do better on one brand or another. You can always try raw!


Daily brushing should be an especially rewarding time for both your and your pup. At Chimera Shih Tzu we hold the pups in our lap, pet and stroke them to relax them, then start stroking them with the brush, gently, in between being petted. We integrate the brush with snuggle time, so they see it as a good thing to happen. At a young age, they don’t need a lot of brushing as their hair is relatively short. If the hair becomes difficult to brush, it may be too dirty. Give a bath with gentle shampoo and rich conditioner. Clean hair is much easier to brush through. If your puppy is restless, offer a special chew treat that is allowed ONLY during brushing time. A chicken foot or bully stick work great for this! Brushing can also be a very therapeutic evening routine for your pup before bedtime. Try brushing when they are relaxed and sleepy. Don’t brush too hard, use gentle, calm strokes. Be careful not to cause pain. Don’t tug, yank, or try to force a tangle apart. In some cases, especially if you aren’t planning to keep a show coat, if there is a really bad tangle or matting, you can get a pair of scissors and just snip it out. Their coats are so full the other fluff will fill it right in. This is a better option than causing an aversive reaction from your pup. Once you lose their trust and teach them brushing hurts, they will be much less patient with your daily routine! Chimera Shih Tzu puppies are started out with baths in the sink. Be sure you are using comfortably warm water. You don’t want the puppy to chill!  Make sure you have everything you need before you get puppy. You only need a dab of a gentle shampoo and quality conditioner. A towel to dry. We always enjoy the after-bath towel snuggles. Be sure to rinse out ALL the shampoo, as any residue left behind can be an irritant to puppy’s skin. When you are ready to upgrade your Shih Tzu to a larger tub for bathing, understand that it could be scary for them. Try to think from their perspective. Is the water roaring loud? Are they being dunked in a big vat of water? Are they being suspended in the air, freezing and wet? Think this through before starting to make the process as quick and stress free as possible. Don’t forget lots of praise for your good girl or good boy!


Chimera Shih Tzu puppies have their nails trimmed every week or two started at 2 weeks. Trimming nails is fast and easy! We even send home a pair of Miller’s Forge nail trimmers with every puppy. You only need to snip off a little bit at the tip. Don’t worry about trying to find the quick or cut close to it. Just snip the tip off all toes, including the dewclaws. Then next week, do it again. Again, and again. Eventually you will have the nails shorted to the correct length and you will be able to read the nails to know exactly how much and when to cut. The rear feet don’t need trimmed as often as the front, so you can skip the back feet sometimes. Read our NAIL TRIMMING PAGE.


Chimera Shih Tzu puppies go home with clean toes and butts! As their hair grows under their feet, it can become dirty, matted, and cover the bottom foot pads making their feet slippery to walk on hard floors indoors. When they are older, your groomer will use a standard trimmer to shave the feet. On puppies, we love this tiny pet clipper for between toes and around the face. This is perfect for puppy sanitary trims as well. If they get poopy butts, you may need to trim a little bit of the fluff off their booty. This trimmer makes it easy, and safe.


Most Shih Tzu owners will leave the face grooming to the professionals. If you find your pup is getting excessive wetness under the eyes or needs other minor trimming, this tiny pet clipper works great! It’s very small to get into and under the spots you need.


Ears are different on every Shih Tzu. Some are more prone to ear infections than others. If they are prone to ear infections, an ear cleaning after every bath is essential. There are great drying products on the market too, to keep the ear canal from becoming a warm moist breeding ground for bacteria and fungus/yeast. In some Shih Tzus, they may have excessive ear hair clogging up the ear canal. If this hair is creating problems with infections, it may need plucked. You can do this yourself at home or ask your groomer to. Of all our Shih Tzus there’s only a couple that need their ear hair removed, and it is very infrequent. I don’t bother their ear hair unless it causes a problem. Irritated, inflamed ears with thick discharge can also be a sign of food allergies. If your pup is getting recurrent infections or irritations in the ears despite your best cleaning efforts, it may be time to try a change in food.


Remember, early grooming sessions do keep your puppy looking their best, but the most important part is the life long skills you are teaching your pup to understand and accept the grooming routines. You are setting them up for success by offering the patience and gentleness they need now, in order to behave well for their regular grooming for years to come! Enjoy your babies. They grow so fast, but what you teach them now sticks with them forever! Make sure you’re teaching what you want. Meaning, don’t teach them to fear grooming, brushes, or baths! Don’t force, don’t scare them. Nurture them. They deserve it.