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Shaving Shih Tzus: Is It Okay? (Pros & Cons)

Last Updated on May 14, 2023 by The Puppy Mag

Can you shave your Shih Tzu? It’s a very popular question when it comes to this dog, especially considering all the different kinds of haircuts these little pups sport.

Still, you might be wanting to shave your Shih Tzu for more practical reasons… But is it safe and does it really help them?

In this article, I will walk you through the pros and cons of shaving your Shih Tzu, how to do it properly if you decide to go ahead, and some expert tips on maintaining your pet’s coat.

can shih tzus be shaved

To Shave or Not to Shave: The Great Debate

Shih Tzus are known for their luxurious double coat, which gives them their distinctive appearance.

Some owners might consider shaving their Shih Tzu to keep them cool during hot weather or for easier maintenance.

However, experts are divided on whether it’s a good idea to shave these lovely dogs.

  • Pros of Shaving Your Shih Tzu:
    • Easier maintenance: Shaving your Shih Tzu can reduce the time spent on grooming, making it more manageable for busy owners.
    • Cooling effect: A shaved coat may help your Shih Tzu stay cool during hot summer months.
  • Cons of Shaving Your Shih Tzu:
    • Loss of insulation: According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Shih Tzu’s double coat serves as insulation against both heat and cold. Shaving it may leave your dog more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations.
    • Risk of sunburn: Shaving your Shih Tzu exposes their skin to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
    • Altered coat texture: As explained by Vetstreet, shaving your Shih Tzu may cause their coat to grow back with a different texture, sometimes becoming coarse or curly.

When you take a step back, there does seem to be more cons about shaving Shih Tzus than pros.

In fact, one of the pros listed above: the cooling effect, is often argued to be false. As many experts say the undercoat and topcoat together actually help to keep double coated dogs cool in hot months, as well as warm in cool months…

Ultimately, most experts advise against shaving Shih Tzus for many important reasons. Other coat maintenance techniques including trimming and brushing are favored over shaving.

Related: All About a Shih Tzus Double Coat

Expert Opinions on Shaving Shih Tzus

While some pet owners and groomers might advocate for shaving your Shih Tzu, many experts disagree.

Dr. Karen Becker, a renowned veterinarian, advises against shaving double-coated breeds like the Shih Tzu, as it can disrupt their natural temperature regulation and cause skin issues.

Similarly, the Shih Tzu Club recommends that owners keep their Shih Tzu’s coat trimmed but not shaved, to protect their skin and maintain their natural appearance.

Trimming would be a light haircut with scissors, compared to shaving back both coats short.

Alternatives to Shaving Your Shih Tzu

If you’re hesitant about shaving your Shih Tzu, consider some alternative grooming options to keep your dog comfortable and well-maintained:

➡️ Regular brushing: Regularly brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat will help prevent matting and tangles, making it more manageable. Aim to brush your dog’s coat at least every other day.

➡️ Trimming: You can trim your Shih Tzu’s coat to a manageable length without shaving it completely. This will maintain some of the coat’s natural insulation while reducing grooming time. You can learn how to trim your Shih Tzu’s coat at home or visit a professional groomer.

➡️ Summer cuts: Opt for a “summer cut” or a “puppy cut” which leaves the coat longer than a shave, but still shorter than their natural full length. These cuts can help keep your Shih Tzu cooler during hot weather while preserving some of the coat’s protective qualities.

Related: My Shih Tzu Isn’t Fluffy (what you need to know)

How to Shave Your Shih Tzu Properly

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided to shave your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to do it properly.

Follow these steps to ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience for your furry friend:

  1. Prepare your Shih Tzu: Begin by brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly to remove any tangles or mats. This will make shaving easier and more comfortable for your dog. Make sure to clean their ears and trim their nails as well.
  2. Choose the right tools: Invest in a high-quality set of clippers designed for pet grooming. Look for clippers with detachable blades, as this will allow you to adjust the length of the shave. A #10 blade is a popular choice for Shih Tzus, as it leaves the coat about 1/16th of an inch long, providing some protection for their skin.
  3. Shave in the right direction: Always shave in the direction of hair growth, starting from the neck and moving down the body. This will help prevent irritation and ensure an even trim. Be extra careful around sensitive areas, such as the face, ears, and genitals.
  4. Keep your dog comfortable: Take breaks as needed to ensure your Shih Tzu remains calm and comfortable throughout the process. Offer treats and positive reinforcement to make the experience more enjoyable for your pet.
  5. Aftercare: After shaving your Shih Tzu, gently clean their skin with a damp cloth to remove any loose hair. Apply a pet-friendly moisturizer or skin balm to soothe and protect their skin. Keep an eye out for any signs of irritation or infection in the days following the shave.

Popular: Can Shih Tzus Have Curly Hair?

Tips for Maintaining Your Shih Tzu’s Coat

Whether you decide to shave your Shih Tzu or opt for a different grooming approach, maintaining your dog’s coat is crucial for their health and comfort.

Here are some expert tips to keep your Shih Tzu looking and feeling their best:

  • Brush regularly: As mentioned earlier, brush your Shih Tzu’s coat at least every other day to prevent matting and tangles. Use a slicker brush or a pin brush designed for long-haired breeds.
  • Bathing: Bathe your Shih Tzu every 4-6 weeks using a gentle, pet-safe shampoo. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue, which can cause skin irritation.
  • Natural ingredient shampoo: When you do bathe your Shih Tzu, it’s crucial to use a natural ingredient pet shampoo. This will clean them gently without stripping their coat’s natural oils.
  • Omega 3 fish oil: Consider adding in a boost of Omega 3 to your Shih Tzu’s diet to promote a healthy immune system, as well as their skin and coat. Consult a vet first.
  • Regular vet check-ups: Visit your veterinarian regularly for routine check-ups and vaccinations. Your vet can also provide guidance on maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat and overall health.

Closing Thoughts

Shaving your Shih Tzu is a personal decision that should be carefully considered.

While it may provide some benefits, such as easier maintenance and a cooling effect during hot weather, it also comes with potential risks, including loss of insulation, sunburn, and altered coat texture.

Many experts, including Dr. Karen Becker and the Shih Tzu Club, advise against shaving Shih Tzus, recommending alternative grooming options like regular brushing, trimming, and summer cuts instead.

If you choose to shave your Shih Tzu, make sure to do it properly and follow the steps outlined above to ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience.

Regardless of your grooming choices, maintaining your Shih Tzu’s coat is essential for their health and well-being. Happy grooming!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

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