Dealing with tangled fur? Navigate the woes of shih tzu matted hair and how to restore their glossy locks.
The Shih Tzu: A Breed with Long, Silky Hair
The Shih Tzu is a popular dog breed known for its long, silky hair. As one of the oldest dog breeds, this small and affectionate companion has a regal history dating back to ancient China where it was bred for the royal court.
Shih Tzus have been beloved pets by nobles and commoners alike for centuries because of their charming personalities, versatility, and adorable appearance. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Shih Tzus have a double coat that consists of a woolly undercoat and long silky hair on top.
This luscious fur requires regular grooming to maintain its beautiful appearance. Owners who are not diligent in taking care of their pet’s coat may find themselves dealing with mats.
The Trouble with Matting
Mats are clumps of tangled hair that can form when loose hair becomes knotted. For dogs like Shih Tzus, who have long fur or thick coats, matting is a common problem that can lead to health issues if not promptly addressed. Matting can be especially problematic when it occurs near sensitive areas like the ears or paw pads because it causes pain as the skin is pulled taught.
Matting occurs when loose hairs get twisted around each other creating tangles and knots. As the tangles grow larger and tighter, they create mats which become more difficult to remove the longer they’re left unaddressed.
Not only do mats make your furry friend look unkempt but they also trap dirt and moisture which makes them attractive breeding grounds for bacteria and parasites like fleas or ticks. Matting is an issue that pet owners need to watch out for if they own a Shih Tzu or any other breed with long fur or thick coats.
Mats can cause discomfort, skin irritation or even lead to serious health complications if left untreated. In the next section, we’ll look at some of the common causes of matting in Shih Tzus.
Causes of Matted Hair in Shih Tzus
Lack of Grooming or Infrequent Brushing
One of the main causes of matted hair in Shih Tzus is a lack of grooming or infrequent brushing. The long, silky hair of the Shih Tzu breed is prone to tangles and knots, especially if it’s not brushed regularly. When you neglect to brush your dog’s coat for too long, a tangled mess can quickly form.
Mats will start to appear as the loose hairs tangle together and knot up. If left unchecked, these mats can become painful for your pup and even lead to serious skin infections.
Moisture and Humidity in the Environment
Another common cause of matted hair in Shih Tzus is moisture and humidity in the environment. High levels of humidity can cause a dog’s coat to become damp, which makes it more susceptible to tangling and matting.
Moisture can also accumulate on areas like paws or underbelly when they come into contact with damp surfaces such as grass or wet pavement. If your dog spends a lot of time outside during rainy weather or lives in a humid climate, you may need to take extra precautions against matting.
Shedding and Tangling of Loose Hair
Shedding is another major contributor to matted hair in Shih Tzus since loose hair can easily get caught up with existing hairs resulting in mats forming over time. This issue becomes even more pronounced during seasonal shedding where there is an excessive amount of loose fur that needs daily cleaning.
Shedding also causes tangling; as fresh hair grows through existing fur it gets caught up within it leading to dreadful tangles all over the body unless taken care off properly. Several factors contribute to matted hair in Shih Tzus.
By understanding the causes, you can take steps to prevent it from happening or address the issue before it becomes severe. Regular grooming, keeping your dog’s environment dry and ventilated, and proper brushing techniques are all crucial in maintaining a healthy coat.
Prevention of Matted Hair in Shih Tzus
Avoiding Tangles and Knots with Regular Grooming
All Shih Tzu owners should establish a regular grooming routine to prevent hair matting. It’s recommended to brush your dog for at least 15 minutes every day, especially in areas prone to tangles like the ears, armpits, and hind legs.
A slicker brush or a comb specifically designed for detangling mats can help remove loose hair before it forms knots. Additionally, make sure that you are using the right grooming tools for your dog’s coat type.
Shih Tzus have long and silky hair, so using the wrong type of comb or brush can damage their delicate fur instead of untangling it. A pin brush with flexible bristles is ideal for this breed.
Using Detangling Sprays or Conditioners to Prevent Mats
Another useful tool for preventing matted hair is detangling spray or conditioner. These products work by softening the hair and reducing friction between strands, making it easier to brush through. Before brushing your dog’s coat, you can apply a small amount of detangler on particularly knotted areas like the tail or behind the ears.
However, be cautious when choosing a product that works best for your pup as some sprays may contain harsh chemicals that can irritate their skin. Look for organic ingredients with no harmful additives when possible.
Keeping Your Dog’s Environment Dry and Well-Ventilated
Moisture is one of the main culprits when it comes to matted hair in dogs. In humid environments or after baths, towel-dry your dog thoroughly before letting them roam free around the house. A damp coat can easily develop tangles and mats when they move around on furniture or carpets.
In addition to drying, try to keep your dog’s environment dry and well-ventilated. Make sure they have access to a cool and dry spot during hot and humid weather conditions.
When traveling or in a new place, consider bringing a portable dehumidifier or fan to ensure optimal air circulation. By taking these simple measures, you can help prevent matting in your Shih Tzu’s beautiful coat.
Treatment for Matted Hair in Shih Tzus
Professional Grooming Services, including De-matting Tools
One of the most effective ways to treat matted hair in Shih Tzus is to seek the help of a professional groomer who has experience in dealing with this issue. A skilled groomer will have specialized tools and techniques to remove mats without causing discomfort or injury to your furry friend. De-matting tools like mat breakers can also be used by groomers, which are specifically designed to break apart and remove stubborn mats.
It is important that you find a reputable groomer who understands the specific needs of your Shih Tzu, as improper handling of de-matting tools can cause pain and even skin injuries. The grooming process may take several hours depending on the extent of matting, but it’s worth it for your dog’s comfort and overall health.
Home Remedies such as Coconut Oil or Cornstarch to Loosen Mats
If you prefer a more natural approach, there are some home remedies that can help loosen mats before trying to brush them out. One such remedy is coconut oil which has anti-inflammatory properties that make it easier to work through tangles.
Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil onto the mat and let it sit for about 30 minutes before gently brushing with a slicker brush. Cornstarch is another effective home remedy for loosening mats.
Sprinkle some cornstarch onto the matted area and work it into the fur gently with your fingers or a comb. This will help separate strands so they’re easier to detangle later with a brush.
Importance of Not Cutting Out Mats with Scissors
While it may be tempting to cut out mats with scissors, this can actually do more harm than good. Cutting too close to the skin can cause painful nicks or lacerations, and it can also create an uneven coat that looks patchy and unappealing. Additionally, cutting out mats doesn’t address the underlying issue of why they formed in the first place.
Regular grooming and maintenance are key to preventing mats from forming. It’s also important to note that shaving a Shih Tzu’s hair down to the skin should only be done if it is absolutely necessary, such as in cases of severe matting or if a medical condition requires it.
Rarely Known Small Details about Shih Tzu Grooming
The Importance of Trimming Around the Eyes to Prevent Irritation
When it comes to grooming your Shih Tzu, one of the most important things you can do is trim the hair around their eyes. This is because if hair is allowed to grow too long around the eyes, it can cause irritation and even lead to eye infections. To avoid this, use a pair of scissors or clippers specifically designed for pet grooming and trim the hair around your dog’s eyes every few weeks.
Use of Specialized Combs for Different Parts of the Body (e.g., Face, Ears, Tail)
To keep your Shih Tzu looking their best, it’s important to use specialized combs for different parts of their body. For example, a comb with wider teeth might work better on their body fur while a finer toothed comb can be used for specific areas such as their face or ears. By using these specialized combs you’ll be able to groom your dog more effectively and avoid causing them any discomfort.
How to Properly Clean a Shih Tzu’s Ears to Avoid Infections
Another often-overlooked aspect of Shih Tzu grooming is cleaning their ears. This breed is prone to ear infections due in part to their floppy ears which limit airflow inside them.
To clean their ears properly all you need is some cotton balls or pads and a gentle cleaning solution that won’t irritate them. Gently wipe out any dirt or debris from inside each ear but do not go deep into the ear canal as this could cause damage.
Grooming your Shih Tzu may seem overwhelming at first but by following these tips you will help keep your dog healthy and looking great. Remember to groom your dog regularly, use specialized tools and products, and always be gentle when handling them. And don’t forget the most important part: enjoy the bonding time with your furry friend!