:: Shih Tzu Grooming Tips ::
By Lynne McGuire
At some point,
almost every person who owns a beautiful Shih
Tzu as a pet, will have to decide whether or not
to trim the hair on the bridge of their Shih
Tzu's little nose and muzzle.
There is a way you can trim the hair over the
bridge of the nose, so that the hair
does not grow up, into, and onto the face, but
it does require a steady hand and
very regular trimming. Once you have decided to
clip this hair, you are pretty much making a
commitment to keep this area trimmed all the
time, because it does grow quite quickly and
those little hairs can irritate a Shih Tzu's
sensitive eye area.
The hair that you want to trim -- so that you
still have hair for a topknot -- is just the
hair that falls over the stop of the nose. If
you put your finger on it and pull the hair down
into a moustache on either side, and take the
rest up into a topknot, it is the hair on the
'stop' that can be trimmed. Some groomers
will use a special clipper to do this. I
recommend having a professional groomer clip it first
and then just maintain it yourself after that. The best
kind of scissor to use for this are the little
ones with the rounded tips on them. I have
purchased mine at Petsmart, but they are also
available online from places such as Pet Edge
and Cherry Brook.
If you would like to keep bows in a topknot, you
can still have this even with the nose hair
It is perfectly fine to have a topknot in your
dog's hair every day. It does NOT hurt the dog
and, while it looks pretty, its main function is
to keep the hair out of the dog's sensitive eye
area. A topknot should be re done daily.
The hair is brushed using a light
conditioning spray to keep the hair from
breaking, and the topknot itself is not too tight
where it pulls the dog's hair or creates
discomfort. You will know when your dog's hair
is too tight if his/her eyes are more 'open'
than usual, if your dog attempts to rub it on
the floor or pull it out, and is unable to blink
Here is an image of a
Shih Tzu puppy which has
had its nose hair trimmed but still has a
topknot! Instead of cutting the nose hair
straight across the bridge of the
nose, the nose hair has been cut in
an upside down "V" so that the nose
hair clears the eye area. The hair
is parted between the eyes, and that
section is taken up into the little
If you decide to go ahead and trim your dog's
nose and not have a daily topknot, you will
still have hair flopping into its face with some
degree of regularity. The best bet for you is to
have your dog given a 'teddy bear' clip so that
its face is clear of all hair, but leaving
enough to create a tiny topknot on the top of
its head, for fun and pleasure.
I am often asked
questions about growing out the nose hair after it has
been clipped on a Shih Tzu. I have personally
done this myself with my Shih Tzu. The process
is long, and you have to be able to stand a
somewhat messy look to your dog while it is
growing out. It took about nine months to a
year to completely grow this nose hair back so
that it once again fell into the moustache fall
nicely. There are products that you can use
while growing out the nose hair to smooth the
hair down from the eyes, and they must be
applied daily. The products that I have used are WELLA CHOLESTEROL creme, and water based gels.
Personally, I prefer to just use a little water
and comb and fingers to press the hair down.
During the growing out period, the hairs may
irritate your dogs eyes, and you must check the
eyes daily for problems. Your dog's eyes may
also water much more while this hair is growing
out creating facial staining. I like to use
those pre moistened wipes for cleaning puppies
on the face, EYE WIPES from
Pet Edge, to smooth the hair down and to
clean the facial area daily.
decide to clip the hair on the bridge of the
nose or not, no decision is final. You
can always grow the hair back out if you change
your mind. Most professional groomers readily
cut the hair on the nose bridge, so if you take
your dog to be professionally groomed, and do
not want this area clipped, you must communicate
this explicitly to the groomer. I personally
prefer to leave the nose hair in place as it
makes the moustache fall thicker and prettier.
Your decision should be based on your
preferences and the temperament of the dog.
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