Grooming a dog with allergies can be different from grooming other dogs. Our Shih Tzu has asthma and allergies. So we’ve had to treat his grooming process different from some other dogs we’ve groomed in the past. Shih Tzu dogs are double-coated. Although they are on the least allergenic list for humans, they’re also more likely to have allergies themselves than some other breeds. When it comes to Shih Tzu dogs with allergies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While these grooming practices may not prevent all allergy outbreaks, it has helped our Shih Tzu’s allergies considerably.
Keep Your Shih Tzu’s Fur Short
Because Shih Tzu dogs have a good amount of fur, they may need to be groomed often. Keeping the hair around their eyes and nose very short can help prevent drainage from both areas. Runny eyes and runny noses may be further irritated when the fur is brushing up against them or building up dander near them. Speaking of dander, keep other areas that touch the body as short as possible, as well. While this does not always take away dander problems and itchy skin, it can help to reduce build-up and make it easier to apply any skin treatments your vet might prescribe.
Use Scissors Instead of Electric Clippers
Because dogs with allergies can be sensitive to fur, dust, and dander, scissors are generally a better idea than electric clippers. The clippers can sometimes cause allergens to fly around in the air more than the scissors will. The electric clippers also might contain residue from being oiled. This can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. The clippers themselves also might be too harsh on sensitive skin. Scissors are generally easier to keep disinfected as well. Some dogs also might break out when they are nervous. The loud noise emitting from the electric clippers may cause such a reaction.
Use Allergen Free Shampoo
When bathing your dog, be cautious of the ingredients in the cleansing products. Stay away from fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals that may irritate your Shih Tzu dog’s allergies. Look for brands specifically made for dogs with allergies. However, avoid those that are still scented, as these can still irritate your dog’s skin, nose, and eyes. Medicated shampoos made for skin allergies can be good, as long as there are no dyes, perfumes, or other strong chemicals. Simple solutions with ingredients you can understand are often the best.
Bathe or Clean Sensitive Areas After Outings
Whenever your Shih Tzu dog is outdoors or in areas away from home, be sure to clean sensitive areas. Bathe your dog when outdoors time is prolonged or your dog is exposed to irritants, such as excessive dirt, trees, plants, grass, pollen, fungus, anything that makes your dog dirty, and other known allergens. Pay special attention to the face, especially the eyes and nose. But keep your dog’s fur as irritant free as possible. Fragrance free dog wipes or a wet cloth with hypoallergenic dog shampoo can be handy for this task.
Avoid Finishing, Whitening, and Other Fur Sprays
Many Shih Tzu dogs have areas of the fur that are white. Because of this, some pet parents will reach for whiteners and other spray fresheners to keep those areas extra shiny and clean looking. But when your Shih Tzu has allergies, this can be a very bad idea. These sprays often contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can cause an allergic reaction. The same is true for detanglers, dog deodorant sprays, pheromone sprays, calming sprays, and any other product that is sprayed onto the dog’s fur.
*Please keep in mind that the author is not a licensed veterinarian. Please speak with your veterinarian about these and other safe grooming tips to ensure that your dog has the best plan to fit his or her personalized needs.
**I originally published this elsewhere (since removed).
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