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How Often Should You Bathe a Shih Tzu? Don’t Overdo It!

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Shih tzu dog wearing blue towel on head after a bath

Shih Tzus are cute little dogs that tend to keep themselves clean, especially if they are spending their time indoors. However, they aren’t immune to dirtiness, so they will eventually need help when it comes to grooming. After all, they can’t bathe themselves! As a new Shih Tzu owner or someone thinking about adopting this dog, you should know that this breed should be bathed at least once a month. Read on to learn more!

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It’s a Good Idea to Bathe Your Shih Tzu Every Few Weeks

Shih Tzus have thick, curly hair that is hard to maintain without regular bathing. Therefore, it’s recommended that your Shih Tzu gets bathed once every 3 weeks or so to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny.1 Since this dog breed tends to have sensitive skin, bathing too frequently can irritate it and cause dryness, itchiness, and even rashes. But bathing less often can lead to dandruff, matted hair, and the development of unpleasant odors.

Shih tzu dog in a white towel
Image Credit: Magicovice516, Shutterstock

The Benefits of Bathing Your Shih Tzu Regularly

There are several benefits of bathing your Shih Tzu every 3 weeks or so. First, it will help keep their coat soft, supple, and healthy. Second, it will help get rid of excess oils that can irritate your dog’s skin. Third, regular bathing keeps the coat healthy so it does not develop split ends and frizzy curls. Fourth, bathing loosens and releases dirt, dust, allergens, and tiny pieces of debris that have gotten caught in the coat.

Keeping your pet's skin and coat clean and healthy is very important, but finding a great shampoo can be harder than the actual grooming! We love our Hepper Pet Shampoos because they makes grooming so much easier. These pH-balanced formulas are made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, cucumber, and aloe. They are free of phthalates, sulfates, and soaps and very gentle on your pet's skin. Now you just need to decide which formula is best for your fur baby! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Oatmeal pet shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural cucumber & aloe scent
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Rinsing required
Rinsing required:
Rinsing required:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Lathers easily
Lathers easily:
Lathers easily:


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How to Bathe and Dry Your Shih Tzu

Most Shih Tzus don’t like taking baths, so do all that you can to make the process comfortable and relaxing. Get out all the bath supplies before beginning the bathing process. Fill the bathtub halfway up with room-temperature water, checking that it doesn’t feel too hot or too cold. Then:

  • Gently place your dog in the bathtub, and use a cup or your hand to saturate their coat with water.
  • Lightly lather your hands with pet-safe shampoo, and then carefully rub the shampoo into your dog’s hair and skin. This is also a good time to give them a gentle massage.
  • Rinse the shampoo away with water while rubbing their coat and skin to ensure that no residue is left behind.
  • Remove your dog from the bathtub, place them in a soft, dry towel, and give them a vigorous drying.

It is important to use shampoos designed specifically for dogs or babies. These are typically gentler than adult human shampoos and contain fewer ingredients that are capable of drying out or irritating their skin.

shih tzu taking a bath
Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Manage Your Shih Tzu’s Coat Between Baths

Other grooming tasks should be done between baths to keep your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat in good health. For example, brushing should take place at least every 3 days to get rid of dust and debris and to minimize the risk of knots and mats developing. If your dog’s hair gets too long for them to see and move around safely, trim it as necessary. Wiping their ears, eyes, and nose with a damp cloth each day will help ensure that the hair around these areas doesn’t get crusty between baths.

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In Conclusion

Shih Tzus are generally clean dogs, but even they can use a bath occasionally to stay healthy and spiffy looking as time goes on. Fortunately, they only need bathing every few weeks, so the task is not likely to feel overwhelming. It can take a while for your dog to get used to taking baths, though, if they ever do. Some become accustomed to the experience and relax throughout it, while others always seem uneasy. Still, it’s an important task, so try to make it as relaxing as possible for your dog.

Featured Image Credit: Orawan Pattarawimonchai, Shutterstock

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