by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
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).
RELATED: Oh My, I'm Grooming the Shih Tzu Myself!
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Being a single mama to four kids, two grand-doggies, a grand-hamster, and a grand-gerbil (the pets are all rescues), I am always trying to save as much money as possible. Being a shih tzu, Bo-Bo gets fuzzy and in need of a groom very quickly. He also has eye and skin allergies, which require him to be cut in specific ways.
Since we are trying to save (and raise) money to move and open an animal rescue (www.heartandmindpawrescue.com/1/post/2013/02/help-us-open-heart-n-mind-paw-rescue.html), I've been cutting back on many things lately.
Anyone who has a fancy dog breed, like a shih tzu knows full well that tons of maintenance comes along with that responsibility. But who says I have to shell out that money to an expensive groomer? Yesterday, I decided to experiment and try it myself. I've groomed a cockapoo in the past, so I should be able to do this, right?
Oy, Bo-Bo is probably laughing at me on the inside with this one. He absolutely loathes getting groomed. Right now, his haircut is maybe 7/8 of the way done and I started yesterday. I was able to get about half of the thick winter coat shaved off yesterday and decided to do the rest today. So far today, I did succeed in getting down the rest of the thickness, the underbelly, and part of his legs.
I now have his face, part of his legs, and the shaping before I can say I'm finished. Wish me luck because his face is the part he hates the most and so far I have not been able to successfully snip more than one teeny piece I got while catching him off-guard. He's a smart and cranky little fellow when he needs to be. He even tells the other dog to “f*** off” when annoyed with her (no, we did not teach him that -- he knew that when we adopted him from the shelter) and also vocalizes “want out” and a few other phrases.
I must say he was much more patient today than yesterday, so we are making progress. I could probably get it done faster by just getting down to it and making him sit through it. But I prefer to do it in love and in his comfort, so it may take me a bit. But I shall get it done.
Wish me luck, send me positive energies, whatever you can do. I'm gonna need it to get this finished.
*Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there)
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