Your Shih Tzu is your best friend right? But, nobody wants a stinky, furry friend!
Unfortunately for Shih Tzus, and you as the proud dog owner, they can start to smell if they are not cared for regularly.
Are Shih Tzus high maintenance pets? Maybe a little.
Shih Tzus do require regular grooming, plus a fairly frequent shampoo to keep their skin and coat clean and healthy. The reward for you, however, is plenty of cuddles and a beautiful smelling (and looking) pooch!
In this guide, we will take you through all you need to know about bathing your Shih Tzu and what products to use. But First Check out our top 5 product reviews
5 Product reviews for the best shampoo for Shih Tzu dog
Now that we know all about Shih Tzus and bathtime, it is time for the mini-review of 5 different dog shampoo options and decides which one is the BEST for your Shih Tzu.
1. Buddy Wash Relaxing Green Tea & Bergamot Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
- Two-in-one conditioning shampoo so it cleans and moisturizes
- Soap-free formula so the product is gentle on dog s skin.
- Coconut oil -based and using mostly natural ingredients
- Contains Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil to soothe and cleanse itchy, irritated skin
- Pure botanical extracts including sage, rosemary, green tea, and chamomile.
- Cleans well and makes the coat look shiny
- The scent isn’t as strong – the fresh bath fragrance doesn’t stay with your pup much past a day after bathing.
- Relaxing scents may not remedy dogs feeling anxious at bath time
The main complaint about the product was that the scent didn’t last. So, although their Shih Tzu s coat looked great, they wanted a lasting scent on their pet. It comes down to a matter of preference if you consider the best dog shampoo is one that leaves the coat smelling good, long after the whitening shampoo is rinsed out.
This might be due to mostly natural ingredients the small amounts of essential oils used. The brand suggests that too large a dose of these oils might actually irritate your Shih Tzu so it is for the best interest of your dog.
There was also a brief mention that although it is called Buddy Wash relaxing, it did not solve the dogs’ nerves around bath time. Although, how much can we ask for from a dog shampoo? Shampoos and conditioners can only do so much for pet fears of bath time.
The ingredients of Aloe Vera and a small amount of Tea Tree oil are great for sensitive skin and skin issues with lead to scratching. Additionally, being soap-free is an extra tick that it should be gentle on your Shih Tzu and their sensitive skin.
The coconut oil base is one of the natural ingredients perfect for making conditioners for Shih Tzus fur. As a gentle, natural ingredient, it is fine for skin issues and makes your Shih Tzu dog s or puppy coat, soft and beautiful.
These shampoo ingredients are a two-in-one conditioner and shampoo which is convenient for Shih Tzu dogs at bath time, and any dog really.
2. 4-Legger Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo
- It is natural and organic
- Natural blend cleans without stopping the dog’s skin of its natural oils
- Hypo-allergenic, which is important for sensitive Shih Tzu skin
- Essential oil blend including antibacterial and antifungal lemongrass
- Contains organic oils: olive, coconut, and jojoba -which acts as a conditioner to nourish the Shih Tzu hair.
- Concentrated formula that only requires a small amount to get a good lather in the Shih Tzu’s coat
- Some reviewers on chewy.com said they didn’t like the watery consistency
- Natural lemongrass smell isn’t for everyone
- Although it contains oils, a few users found they had to use conditioner otherwise the dogs’ coat was dry and the pet had flaky skin afterward.
- It may leave some residue in the fur for some breeds of dogs
So when it comes to our cute Shih Tzus, this natural, organic, and hypoallergenic blend is all the right things. The natural formula does the cleaning of the skin and moisture with organic oils.
This is perfect for being gentle on the fur while also adding to the manageability of the pups long fur.
A bonus is also that it is advised as hypo-allergenic, which we can probably assume all Shih Tzus would benefit from given their known sensitivities and regular grooming needs.
A factor that seems to divide a few dog owners is the fact that it is a concentrated formula. Some reported that it seemed runny and hard to wash out. Perhaps being a concentrate, using too much creates this problem.
Yet, others loved that a small amount could be used and lathered up well. Given Shih Tzus is a toy breed, they probably only need a small amount of organic shampoo to have them covered.
Another diving factor, although most were in favor, was the scent. A natural scent of lemongrass may be refreshing to some, but too much for others. This one is probably personal choice.
3. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo
- A medicated shampoo for dogs and cats
- Contains Benzethonium Chloride to fight bacteria
- Contains Ketoconazole to treat fungal infections
- Used to treat, infections, pyoderma, dermatitis, and allergy reactions on the skin
- Contains Aloe Vera to soothe the dogs skin
- Can help with itching and redness of the dogs skin
- It is mostly reported to have helped, but some dog owners said it made no improvement to the dogs condition
- The product needs to be left on for 10 – 15 minutes, which is hard if your dog hates bath time
- For the treatment to be effective it should be used 2 x a week, which could be inconvenient
It is a medicated shampoo so is not necessarily the best choice of shampoo for your Shih Tzu if they do not need those activated, medicinal ingredients.
As mentioned previously, the best shampoos for your Shih Tzu should be gentle so that their sensitive skin is not affected. It is reassuring to note though that this product has very little accounts of dogs having a bad reaction.
Nonetheless, unless your pet needs a medicated shampoo for itching or after advice from your vet, stick to standard shampoos for Shih Tzus.
However, if your pet does require treatment, the product is best recommended to be used twice a week until the skin improves. The shampoo can then be used once a week to prevent skin flare-ups.
The reviews of this product are largely positive and that the main features of helping the dog with skin issues were in many cases successful.
However, like any product review, there were some dog owners who said the shampoo didn’t do much for their dogs’ skin issues.
4. Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner
- A shampoo conditioner made for puppies
- The formula is gentle, tearless, and suitable for sensitive puppies
- Soap-free and can be used with spot-on flea and tick products
- Extra gentle so can be used on puppies with allergies
- Contains Aloe Vera and Jojoba oil
- Shampoo and Conditioner in one
- Odor control through fragrance and cleaning the dog s coat and skin
- The product features a natural cocoa surfactant which can help with static fur as well as clean the Shih Tzu’s hair and enhances softness.
- Some reviewers report that the fresh shampoo smell doesn’t last past a few days.
- Not all users found the odor control feature worked for their dog
Overall this product is a good, gentle shampoo for a Shih Tzu puppy dog. It doesn’t have heaps of ingredients and it is mostly natural, meaning the little dog should not have any negative reactions.
This is important for sensitive Shih Tzus and especially when they are puppies.
However, not all who used the products have been happy with it however, many used it to shampoo their adult dog, and larger dog breeds too like retrievers and Labradors.
Although, the product has advised that this shampoo can be used for an adult dog too. It could be that its features of odor control and a good clean are better suited for the puppies it was originally intended for.
Again, the smell of shampoo only lasting a few days may not be a problem for some. It would depend if you choose your shampoos for Shih Tzu based on their fur smelling fragrant for a while, or for more practical factors.
On a practical level, this shampoo is a simple, gentle clean for puppies which also helps keep the fur soft. It might be useful for adult Shih Tzu dogs as a gentle shampoo that is what Shih Tzus needs at all stages of life.
5. Paws & Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo
- Soap-free for less chance of irritation
- Contains fur, and skin-soothing, nourishing ingredients: oatmeal, shea butter, and aloe vera
- Cleans and conditions in one
- The oatmeal in the shampoo can also help soothe itching skin
- Tearless and non-toxic, making it safe for your puppy dog too and good for sensitive Shih Tzus in general
- Mixed reviews on the smell of the shampoo and how well it helps with dog odor
- Some found it is better suited to short hair than long hair pooches, which might mean it is less suitable for long fur like on a Shih Tzu.
- A few reviewers felt the formula must have changed because it was good and now it is not.
This shampoo definitely ticks some boxes when it comes to shampoos for sensitive Shih Tzus. It has low irritants and nice, soothing ingredients of shea butter, oatmeal, and aloe vera.
Many positive reviews seemed to rave about the nice smell and how nice the dog’s hair was after use. Additionally, many reported it didn’t dry out the skin, which is important when bathing a Shih Tzu, especially if you do it regularly.
Conversely, some reviews said the opposite. A handful of users said the smell of the shampoos either wasn’t nice or didn’t last on the hair long enough to help with odor.
To be fair, there are a lot more positive reviews than negative ones, with most people recommending it.
So overall, this dog shampoo is a solid choice for a gentle clean that is important to easily irritated Shih Tzus. It has helped some dogs with itchy skin, flaky skin too.
Like all products, a few have found it didn’t work for them but they didn’t necessarily have a little Shih Tzu as you do.
Here are some most common questions about ShihTzu Shampoo usage:
Why bathe and shampoo my Shih Tzu?
Perhaps more than other dogs, your Shih Tzu has grooming needs specific for their glorious coat and sensitive dog skin. Your dog s hair and skin need special attention to keep them looking and feeling good.
Shih Tzus beautiful coats can get matted and dirty so it’s essential that you find the best Shih Tzu shampoos for bathe time. Otherwise, not only will they smell, the matted hair can be painful for your pooch.
Brushing regularly and well will help with matting. However, a bath, with a chosen Shih Tzu shampoo will also help remove loose fur and even irritants from the skin if your dog has been out exploring.
Since your Shih Tzu is likely to have sensitive skin, choosing a mild, best Shih Tzu version of shampoo and conditioner is important. If you just choose any type of pet shampoo and conditioner or the worse choice of using human shampoo – it might irritate your Shih Tzu s skin!
So regular bathing and grooming are important for your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat, but you need to choose a dog shampoo that works for them.
Can I use human shampoo on my Shih Tzu?
No, it is not the best shampoo for Shih Tzus. The ingredients were never intended for your dog s hair.
Some shampoos may have natural ingredients and be for sensitive skin in humans – yet it seems like the safer option to stick with pet shampoos. At least with pet shampoos, the products have been made with your dog s coat and skin in mind.
Human products could be too harsh for your Shih Tzus sensitive skin or even contain ingredients that are bad for your Shih Tzu puppy or dog.
The natural pH level is different for your dog s skin compared to us humans. Your Shih Tzus pH balance is therefore different and the best dog shampoos would account for this.
So, the best shampoos for Shih Tzu puppy or dog is one where the ingredients nurture the skin after a wash until your dog’s natural body oils replace the natural pH balance.
Our products can leave their skin too dry as it was made for a different pH level. This could mean your Shih Tzu has dry, flaky skin and the dog s skin will itch.
Our human shampoos and conditioners can leave build-up overtime on your dog s skin and coat which could be irritating and itchy, even after Shih Tzu bath time is over.
What shampoo is good for a Shih Tzu?
As mentioned above, the best shampoos for Shih Tzus are shampoos that are made for dog s. It might not be labeled as a shampoo for a Shih Tzu, however, it really needs to be pet shampoo.
The best shampoo products for your dog normally feature ingredients with cleansing properties but also ingredients that moisturize so your dog’s coat stays soft and unmatted.
With their very long hair coat, these dogs need the conditioner factor to be one of the features.
In this way, it may be considered both a shampoo and conditioner in the one dog shampoo, as it does both.
It may also have soothing, gentle ingredients like Aloe Vera to account for the Shih Tzus sensitive skin.
How often should a Shih Tzu be bathed?
Most recommend giving your Shih Tzu s coat a bath with dog shampoo every 3 or 4 weeks. If your Shih Tzu has gotten extra messy, bathing your Shih Tzu might become more frequent.
Some people bathe their dog more often because they can’t handle a smelly Shih Tzu. This could be because the dog s skin, eye, or ear canal is housing an infection. In that case, it is less about the Shih Tzu s hair and more about reducing the overall smell with dog shampoo.
If your Shih Tzu is smelly and needs bathing all the time to cover it with a dog shampoo smell, it is probably time to get your Shih Tzu puppy or dog to a vet who can check out their skin.
Sometimes, your dog will just be adventurous into messy places and get all sorts of filth through its beautiful Shih Tzu coat. That may leave you no choice but to wash the Shih Tzu s hair before it gets worse!
If you use the best Shih Tzu shampoo, which is kind to your pet and their sensitive skin, occasional more frequent bathing would be fine too.
Remember though, the importance of using dog shampoos only as they will hopefully have the right pH balance. Washing Shih Tzu s coats too often, and with the wrong shampoos might upset your dog s coat and dry out the skin.
How to groom a Shih Tzu coat
Some suggest that your Shih Tzu should be brushed daily. It might depend on your pet and their coat type though.
Overall, for Shih Tzus with their very long hair, they do need regular brushing to prevent hair from matting.
A pin brush can be a good choice for your dogs coat, as it goes deep to the skin, removing loose hair without hurting their sensitive skin.
A tip before bath time is to slicker brush the dog’s fur so the coat is untangled before using Shih Tzu shampoo and conditioner. As the shampoo cleanses the dogs coat, it can make it a little tangly in the process. Starting your pet off with a smooth coat helps the shampoo process be a little easier.
How do you keep a Shih Tzu smelling good?
Well, a simple way is regular baths, especially if they have gotten dirty or rolled in something stinky.
This includes gentle cleaning of the around the eyes and ears. It can also be helpful to keep your Shih Tzus nails trimmed and clean.
Sharp, dirty puppy nails can cause abrasions to their sensitive skin when they scratch themselves. If this creates a wound, it could create an infection which leads to a foul smell. You also don’t want an irritated, red, and sore dog.
Most dog shampoo products contain natural or artificial fragrance which should have their fur smelling good a while after bath time.
Some owners or Shih Tzu owner bathe their Shih Tzus more frequently to keep up that fresh-dog smell. Just be careful, as mentioned in this guide, to not damage the pets skin with too much bathing- especially if not using a gentle Shih Tzu shampoo.
However, the reasons your pup smells bad could be a little more involved than simply dirty fur.
A Reason your Shih Tzu might smell bad:
Infections – these could be from a wound on the skin, the eye or in the dogs ears. The bacteria give off a gross smell which certainly notice.
If your Shih Tzu is stinky, even though you have been following all the dog grooming and washing advice, it might be time to see the vet to investigate.
Common Skin Conditions for Shih Tzus
Allergies – Shih Tzus can be sensitive and a dog skin is actually more sensitive than humans. So you pup might be reacting to allergens in the environment, or even a product being used on his fur.
Itching – A dog that is always itching is normally responding to something like itchy dermatitis, an allergic response, or a bunch of fleas crawling over him. The main point is – it should be looked into for your Shih Tzus health – and comfort!
Fleas and Tick – If you monitor you Shih Tzus skin and fur regularly (a good time is when grooming) you should notice if they get a tic or a flea infestation.
However, you can also find a shampoo for your Shih Tzu, or other product more concentrated product, that will prevent flea and tick issues. Speak with your vet about the best option for your Shih Tzu depending on its size, age and the treatment required.
Shih Tzu Eye Issues, Bathing & Smells
This list features some of the common eye problems for Shih Tzus:
Epiphora (wet eye) – this is when it looks like your dog is crying. Tears are the body’s natural cleaning agent and lubricant, however, in this case, it is more excessive and an overflow.
This discharge might even make your Shih Tzu smell because of an underlying infection.
It may also actually be that your Shih Tzu has an issue with their tear ducts not draining properly, or an infection or irritation of some kind is causing the eyes to water.
Infection – Due to the shallow eye sockets, foreign particles are more likely to get under their eyes and cause infection as well as irritation.
Again this can cause your puppy to have stinky smells from the infected area.
Corneal Ulcers – Their somewhat bulging eyes can make your Shih Tzu more susceptible to corneal ulcers. This happens when something, or even the pooch itself, scratches or rubs the surface of the eye causing damage. It can also occur from exposure to the wind.
Take extra care during bathtime to clean carefully around your Shih Tzus face so you don’t hurt your pup’s protruding eyes. You also definitely do not want to get shampoo in their eyes.
If you think your Shih Tzu may have infected or sore eyes, go to the vet straight away. With a Shih Tzu, eye issues can become more serious pretty quickly, so seek help immediately.
So, the best shampoo for Shih Tzu dogs?
All of the dog shampoos had some good features and ingredients. However, the winner of the best shampoo for Shih Tzu dogs is 4-Legger Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass ; Aloe Dog Shampoo.
It was a hard choice because really, they are all good in their own way.
However, 4-legger is the winner when we are talking about regular baths and an adult Shih Tzu who does not need any kind of extra medicated treatment.
The fact that it is using natural ingredients to achieve a good clean and coat moisture, make it great for these little dogs. It is hypo-allergenic, which the others weren’t, is why it is even more appropriate for your Shih Tzu.
However, IF your dog did have a skin condition like dermatitis, skin allergies, or an infection, Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic; Antifungal Shampoo is the clear choice. It is effective but also reportedly gentle on the skin, which is so important.
Lastly, if you have a young Shih tzu pup, Nature’s Miracle’s puppy shampoo option is probably the most gentle option for them. We didn’t choose it as the overall winner because 4-Legger is just a bit more versatile for regular use for adult Shih Tzus, not just puppies.