BY MOLLY | EVERYTHINGSHIHTZU.COM
Many people consider Shih Tzu dogs to be a non-shedding dog breed, and that they are "hypoallergenic dogs"...but is this true?
And what exactly does being hypoallergenic mean for people who suffer from dog allergies?
Well…although the Shih Tzu is indeed a great pet choice for allergy sufferers, to say they are a non-shedding dog breed isn't entirely accurate.
The Shih Tzu is among the few breeds whose coat is made up of hair (like people) instead of fur, but they will shed their hair daily, just as people do.
The difference is what happens to the hair they have shed.
The thing about the Shih Tzu breed is they have what is called a double coat.
When the hair is kept long the shedding hairs don't fall to the ground or furniture. Instead, these hairs will shed off into the coat itself and is then brushed out during regular grooming.
This means you won't have to pull out the lint roller to clean up a bunch of hairs after these pampered, longed haired pooches have been lounging on the couch all day.
Nor worry about changing your clothes after you've cuddled with them before heading out to work.
And since clumps of loose hair are not visibly seen, this is likely the reason many consider them to be a non-shedding dog breed.
Now, for a Shih Tzu puppy this is a different story.
You've likely noticed that a Shih Tzu puppy's hair is different from that of an adult Shih Tzu.
A Shih Tzu puppy has finer, thinner, and shorter hair. And it isn't until the puppy is about 9 to 12 months old that the puppy's coat will change into its adult coat.
It's during the development phase from puppy to adulthood that you may see the most shedding due to an increase in the volume of hair.
I hope this answers your question on Shih Tzu being a non-shedding breed, but you may have heard they are hypoallergenic as well...
Being hypoallergenic simply means that you are unlikely to be allergic to the Shih Tzu.
Because a Shih Tzu does not shed or sheds very little, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their hair is not released into the air, on the floor, the furniture, or your clothes as it would with a dog that sheds quite a bit.
So are Shih Tzu good for people with allergies? Yes!
As mentioned above the Shih Tzu is not a big shedder, but their skin can become dry and flaky.
When your dog shakes, these flakes tend to fly into the area around him.
It's these dry skin flakes also known as dander that could trigger an allergic reaction in some people.
Unfortunately, dry skin can happen with any dog breed and Shih Tzu are not immune to skin issues.
It's easy to tell when their skin is dry because they will be scratching quite a bit, their hair will be dull, and you'll see the tiny flakes on them, your furniture and your clothes after you've been cuddling with them.
The best way to keep his skin from becoming dry and his coat dull is to feed him the best dog food you can and brush him more often to stimulate oil glands.
Another beneficial option is to add some omega oils in his diet.
We've had pretty good luck using supplements, however, my dogs prefer the liver flavor omega oils compared to salmon.
I am particularly fond of the omega oil supplement in liver flavor that we use with our Shih Tzu dogs because they don't stink as many omega oil supplements do. If you're less than enthusiastic about the fishy smell of typical omega oil supplements, look for the liver ones instead at your local pet supply store.
If they don't have them, you can usually find them on Amazon.
If after trying all of the above and the problem persists, have your Veterinarian check him out for any underlying issues like food allergies or thyroid disease.
Regular grooming will help decrease the number of allergens on your dog, especially if your dog has dry skin.
Brushing your dog will help remove skin flakes while stimulating the skin's natural oils which act as a protective barrier against dander.
It's worth mentioning that since the Shih Tzu hair does tend to shed off into itself, and especially when the hair is kept long, brushing must be done daily.
Not only will daily brushing will help keep allergens from getting trapped in their long hair, but it will also help keep your Shih Tzus hair from getting tangled.
Tangles lead to knots. Pretty quickly thereafter, these knots become a tangled, matted mess, which is not easy to remove.
Matted hair pulls on the Shih Tzu's skin and causes pain and discomfort to them.
Even the easy-going Shih Tzu can become aggressive and nip at you, due to the mats causing them even more pain when someone touches them.
With matted hair, it becomes a haven for an insect invasion and skin infections do arise. You could try to get the mats out with a good slicker brush (like this self-cleaning brush from Amazon).
But usually, mats are so bad that brushing doesn't seem to help or could even make it worse. The only thing you can do when this happens is to have all their hair shaved off and start over.
So that's the truth about non-shedding and hypoallergenic dogs.
Keep in mind...no dog will be completely allergy-free to all people, but as far as a hypoallergenic dog or non-shedding dog breed go, the Shih Tzu comes pretty darn close.