All You Need To Know About Shih Tzu's - Shedding, Barking & Smell!
So you are looking at getting a Shih Tzu and welcoming it into your home, but you might be wondering how much mess these little pups leave behind and if they make your furniture smell.
If it's your first time getting know a Shih Tzu you probably have some behavioural questions too such as if they bark a lot or make a lot of noise.
Shih Tzu's do in fact shed but are known as non-shedders, this is due to the way their coat falls off and sticks to a top layer of coat, meaning that no hair is left behind on your clothes or sofas unlike other breeds (yes you can put that lint roller away).
In terms of barking, the Shih Tzu breed is known to be a little chatty, but nothing you can't handle when trained well, and for the smell, well, Shih Tzu's don't smell any more than a typical dog unless they have an underlying issue.
We've gone into further detail below about how to brush the shedding hair out of your Shih Tzu's coat and train their chatty behaviour.
Why don't Shih Tzu's Shed?
So, as we mentioned above Shih Tzu's do shed, but they're shedding is just not visible and is normally removed by regular grooming.
This could make them a great choice if your allergic to dog hair.
It is worth noting however, Shih Tzu's do shed when there a puppy from 9 to 12 months as this is where the coat of your dog is starting to develop, so you will likely see more visible hair at this stage.
Why You Should Brush Your Shih Tzu
Now, if all your dog's coat is shedding into his own, then you need to be brushing him daily to remove this excess hair, especially if you have decided to keep your dog's hair long.
This can also make your Shih Tzu more hypo-allergenic as you will be removing dead skin flakes or any hair that can trigger allergies.
We have listed out a few brushing tips below to help you maintain your Shih Tzu's coat.
- Brush your Shih Tzu every day - One of the best brushing routines for your Shih Tzu is to do a little bit every day rather than a large brush once a week. This stops fur from getting too matted and becoming out of control to maintain, it also gets your Shih Tzu more familiar with grooming as part of their daily routine.
- Use different brushes - The double-layer coat of your Shih Tzu will require a comb for the tangles, a slicker for the underneath layer and a bristle brush to finish the top of the coat off at the end.
- Try a conditioner spray - Spraying your brushes with some conditioning spray can help your slide through your dog's coats with fewer tangles and avoid pulling on any hairs which they might find painful.
- Be cautious - Underneath Shih Tzu's long hair can be very sensitive skin and you want to avoid irritating this with harsh brushes or scratching the skin with a slicker brush for example.
Can I Have a Shih Tzu If I Have Allergies?
Yes, Shih Tzu's in comparison to other dog breeds are considered hypo-allergenic, meaning they shouldn't give you any allergies.
The only way you can develop allergies from a Shih Tzu is potentially from the dry skin flakes underneath on the dog, but this can be removed by grooming often.
Does a Shih Tzu Bark A Lot?
If you've been looking into the Shih Tzu breed then it's likely you might have heard this toy breed can be a little chatty.
This is within Shih Tzus nature as they are very territorial and like to make a statement to the mailman in the morning.
Lucky for you though, there are some ways you can help stop your Shih Tzu from barking and getting out of control, we have listed a few tips out below.
One of the first methods to get to the bottom as to why your Shih Tzu is barking and how to stop it is by ignoring them.
Every time your Shih Tzu barks you can try walking away and turning your back, give them zero attention, and when they stop barking that's when you can reward them.
This will teach your Shih Tzu that barking does not mean it will get your attention and hopefully stop them from excessively doing it.
Try The Talk & Stop Method
The talk and stop method are a little controversial as your essentially rewarding your dog for barking.
To do this method you can start by making your dog bark then saying 'speak' when you dog barks after saying this command you can then reward them with a treat.
Repeat this a couple of times then introduce the word 'quiet' to stop them from barking. This can be done by making your dog bark, saying 'quiet' and rewarding them with a treat if they stop barking.
Takeaway Any Triggers
If your Shih Tzu is not barking for your attention and is instead triggered by views out the window or doorbells then block these things from there day to day life.
This method only works temporarily however and will not fix the main problem of your dog barking - it's more of a quick-fix solution.
Don't Baby Your Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu's can tend to become a little overconfident and seem themselves as the leader of the pack, this, in turn, can create barking or aggressive behaviour to sounds or other dogs on walks.
Make sure you train your Shih Tzu consistently and keep them in order so as they will see you as the pack leader.
Give Them Enough Exercise
Not enough exercise will mean your Shih Tzu has plenty of excess energy which can be shown through bad behavioural problems such as barking.
See if increasing your dogs walk time or taking him on two walks rather than one will reduce this disruptive behaviour and make them more tired.
Throw a Can
The can throw method works great if you want to stop your dog barking when you leave the house.
Simply leave your dog as you normally would and shut the door, then shake a can outside the door when you hear them start to bark, keep shaking the can until your dog stops barking then reward them for being quiet.
Why Does My Shih Tzu Smell?
Shih Tzu's are not commonly known to smell more than any other dog out there.
If your Shih Tzu is starting to smell then it likely means they are suffering from an underlying health problem or infection.
We have listed out a few health issues below that would smell and indicate a vet's trip if found with symptoms.
Skin infections are not the easiest thing to spot on a Shih Tzu due to there long hair.
Some common symptoms of skin infection in a dog are; greasy and oily hair, scabs and skin flakes. These infections can often be treated with better nutrition or antibiotics from the vets.
The culprit of your bad smelling Shih Tzu could potentially be its breath.
Double-check your Shih Tzu's gums and teeth, if you see a build of plaque or anything unusual this could be the reason for the bad smell and would require a vets visit.
Ear infections can be common in Shih Tzu's and are easy to spot if your dog's ears smell bad. Dirty, red or smelly ears could indicate a yeast or bacterial infection.
You can treat this by cleaning your dog's ears carefully and taking them to the vets to determine which kind of infection it is.
Excessive tearing on a Shih Tzu's small face can cause a hair infection which would result in a bad smell.
This infection can often be spotted due to its rusty brown colour, and to treat it, it's best to keep your Shih Tzu's face clipped short and apply Vaseline underneath the eyes so as the tears will roll off there face.
Hiccups, farting and burping can all be indications your Shih Tzu has an upset stomach, this could be due to something they ate or a change in food.
Treatment for these issues would be waiting it out if you've just switched foods or switching to something more agreeable if the gas persists.
Anal Gland Problem
Anal glands on dogs can sometimes get blocked and have a metallic strong fishy smell, this will often be seen if the dog is licking his rear a lot and sliding it across the floor.
You may have to empty your dog's anal glands to fix this issue.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shih Tzu's Coat, Health & Behaviour
Can I have a Shih Tzu if I have allergies?
Shih Tzu's are not hypoallergenic as there skin flakes can still irritate some peoples allergies, however, their hair is much less triggering than actual dog fur and does not shed on to furniture.
How often do I need to bath a Shih Tzu?
You do not need to bath your Shih Tzu often as this can dry out there skin even more. Aim for as little as every 4 weeks to much as every 6 weeks otherwise, you will strip the natural oils from your dog's skin.
What can I do to prevent skin infections on my Shih Tzu?
Some severe skin infections will need a vet trip and antibiotics, however, you can try some remedies such as more frequent brushing and supplements to your pup's diet like omega 3 and vitamins.
Why is my Shih Tzu barking at other dogs?
If your Shih Tzu is barking at other dogs while being walked this could be down to them being territorial, getting too excited or not being socialised properly.
Overall, a Shih Tzu does shed, but not in the same way other dogs do, making them more suitable for people with allergies.
They also don't smell unless they have an underlying health condition and tend to be barking dogs by nature; both are manageable.