How to Wash a Shih Tzu's Face


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When it comes to pups, Shih Tzu might just have some of the cutest faces around.

But if you don't wash your Shih Tzu's face regularly, it can quickly become anything but adorable.

How to wash a Shih Tzu's face. Closeup photo of Max our Shih Tzu's face

For starters, one of the standout iconic features of this breed -- the long, silky coat -- needs daily attention, or it turns into a tangled mess that traps all sorts of gunk.

This is especially true when it comes to your pup's face.

To wash your Shih Tzu's face, first, comb out her hair to help get rid of tangles. Use a soft, moist cloth with some mild, tearless shampoo on it to gently clean your dog's face, concentrating around the eyes to battle unsightly tear stains. Then rinse your dog's face with a cloth with only water on it, and dry as you brush out the hair.

One of the battles that many Shih Tzu owners face is tear stains around their dogs' eyes.

Tear stains can be caused by a number of different factors, such as eating certain foods, allergies, infections, and even hair irritating your pup's eyes.

When your dog's face is dirty and stained, this not only makes your pup feel miserable, but she also doesn't look her best.

To find out the no-nonsense way to keep your Shih Tzu's face clean and in top-notch shape, check out these tips!

What Is the Best Way to Wash a Shih Tzu's Face?

If you have a Shih Tzu, then you need to be prepared to regularly clean their face.

It's important to keep the proper tools on hand so that you have what you need when the time comes to wash your dog's face.

Here are a few things that you should add to your pup's grooming kit:

  • Two soft washcloths, paper towels
  • Tear-less shampoo
  • Warm water
  • Blow-dryer

Soft washcloths and paper towels are perfect for ensuring a gentle touch when it comes to cleaning your Shih Tzu's face.

Paper towels are lint-free and won't scratch your pup's eyes.

You'll want two washcloths because one will be used for cleaning with shampoo and the other cloth will be used to rinse the face using only water.

Since you will be working so close to your pup's eyes, make sure to get a tear-less dog shampoo (or even a tear-free baby shampoo).

Even if you are very careful while cleaning your dog's face, you don't want to risk getting shampoo into your pup's eyes, so play it safe and go with the tear-less version.

The warm water helps to dissolve the sticky bits attached to the hair, while the blow dryer is used as a short cut to drying your Shih Tzu's face quickly. 

Now that you know what you need, what's the best way to actually wash your Shih Tzu's face?

Assuming you have already gone through the basics of assimilating your dog to the grooming experience, when it comes to washing her face, follow these steps:

Remove the debris

Start with a paper towel to remove any large pieces of gunk and discharge from the eye area. Wet the paper towel with warm water and squeeze out the excess water.

Gently wipe from the inside corner of the eye, down and away from the eye. Be very careful not to touch your dog's eye, and make sure you don't rub the towel across the actual eye.

Create a cleaning mixture

Make a mixture of warm water combined with just a few drops of tear-less shampoo. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and then use it to clean your Shih Tzu's face, starting from the eye area and gently wiping in a an outward motion until the dirt is off your dog's face.

Get rid of the tear stains

Use the sudsy cloth to massage the stained areas of your dog's face, re-wetting the cloth as necessary. Depending on how badly stained your pup's face is, you may need to repeat this step a few times.

It may also be helpful to use a product specifically for the delicate area around the eyes, but also removes the tear stains.

Rinse and repeat

Using a clean washcloth, rinse your Shih Tzu's face by wiping it with the clean, wet washcloth.

Repeat this step until all traces of shampoo are gone.

Dry your Shih Tzu's face

Use a dry paper towel to pat your dog's face and get rid of any excess moisture.

Comb out the hair on your Shih Tzu's face, and then dry it with a blow dryer on a low, warm setting or let it air dry before going outdoors. Once the hair is dry, comb it for a finished look.

Why Does a Shih Tzu's Face Get So Dirty?

Your canine companion's discolored face might be due to a few different culprits.

If you find that your pup has a tendency to get a little messy in the face area, then it's best to clean her face at least every couple of days.

The other things to pay attention to are the factors that can cause dirt and discoloration on your furry friend's mug in the first place.

  • Using different plastic dishes could discolor your pup's face. Use a stainless steel bowl, instead. Also, if possible, let your pooch drink from a pet water bottle instead of a dish. This way, the hair on her face won't get wet, making it harder for food and junk to stick to it.
  • Try to avoid foods and treats that have a lot of colors that could stain your pup's face. Strive to offer your high-quality dog foods that avoid a lot of added coloring.
  • Keep your dog's face regularly trimmed, so that food and debris aren't as likely to get caught up in her hair. Also, trim the hair around the eyes to prevent from irritations.
  • Be vigilant with tear stains, especially if you notice that they occur often.

Why Does a Shih Tzu Get Tear Stains?

There's no one definite reason why a Shih Tzu gets tear stains. The dark marks that make your precious pup look like she's perpetually crying can be caused by many different factors.

Once you know what causes tear stains, you will be better positioned to prevent them from occurring or at least reduce the frequency at which they appear.

When your pup's tear ducts become blocked, this can cause tears to stream down her face, but what causes the blockage?

Your dog's tear ducts can become blocked due to eye inflammation, allergies, or even a foreign object or substance in the eye. If you believe your dog to have a blocked tear duct, you should bring her to your vet so that he can perform a tear duct flush.

For regular maintenance of your pup's eyes, you could get a canine eyewash that you could use daily to clean her eyes.

Also, here's a DIY tip that works well in keeping the area around the eyes clean? Moisten a cotton ball with a saline solution of mixing one tablespoon of boric acid and one cup distilled water, and gently rub it under and around your pup's eye areas as part of a daily regimen to ward against tear stains! Be sure to avoid getting the solution in your dogs eye as it can cause irritation

If this sounds like a lot of work, you can always use pet grooming wipes to get the job done.

Remember, never use anyting in your Shih Tzu's eyes that your vet hasn't prescribed, and be sure to check with your vet to rule out any medical issues that may be causing your Shih Tzu's tear stains.

With these tips and know-how, your pup is sure to have the precious face that she deserves!

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Posted 10/21/2020