How to Trim Hair Around a Shih Tzu's Eyes

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Depending on how you groom your pup, he can look completely different, but no matter what style you choose, you’ll need to trim the hair around your Shih Tzu’s eyes. 

Close up of a light-colored Shih Tzu dogTrim hair around Shih Tzu eyes

There are several different styles of haircuts that are popular for Shih Tzu, some more difficult to achieve than others.

However, no matter how often you groom your pup, it's a given that you will have to regularly trim the hair on your pup's face to prevent it from irritating his eyes.

When it comes to trimming the hair around your Shih Tzu's face, make sure you and your pup are both calm and comfortable.

Comb out any tangles in the hair over your pup's eyes and on his nose, then use round-tip scissors to trim the hair a little at a time, being careful to not cut the eyelashes.

Shih-Tzu are extremely playful and affectionate companions, which makes the intensive grooming needs of the breed worth it.

Trimming the hair on a Shih Tzu's face is super important because this breed is prone to several eye issues.

Keeping the eyes clean and free from irritation is essential, which means regular hair trims around the eyes.

You don't need to stress about trimming your dog's face; you just need to read this. 

Steps to Trim the Hair Around a Shih Tzu's Eyes

Before you start toward your pooch with a pair of scissors, ask yourself these questions:

Is your Shih Tzu used to being groomed?

Does your Shih Tzu know what scissors are?

If you answered yes to these questions, then proceed to the next steps.

If you answered no to one or both, then there are some things you'll want to do before you start snipping and clipping.

  • First things first, acclimate your pup to the whole experience of having the hair around his eyes trimmed.
  • Introduce him to the scissors by letting him sniff them, lick them, and do all the other fun things that doggies do to get familiar with something.

    Gently touch him with the scissors, let him hear the sound they make when they open and close without actually cutting anything, you get the idea.
  • As you let your dog get used to the idea of being trimmed, give him plenty of treats and praise so that he associates the idea of a trim with pleasant thoughts.

It is also always helpful if your dog has some basic training under his belt (collar?), so hopefully, you’ve already taken the time to teach your Shih Tzu some basic commands like sit, stay and settle.

Once you have this foundation established, you will be better prepared to trim the hair around your Shih Tzu’s eyes.

We highly recommend you consult with a professional groomer, or your veterinarian for some training before cutting the hair around your dog's face. Cutting near your Shih Tzu's eyes, ears, nose and mouth yourself without proper training may result in injury to your dog.

When you’re ready to get started, follow these steps:

  • Location

Choose a location that is free from distractions so your pup doesn’t get excited or agitated by other animals, noises, or people.

Have your pooch sit or lie down so that he’s comfortable, and make sure you are in a comfortable position as well.

For example, if your pup is sitting on a table, make sure you aren’t sitting on a stool or chair that is too high or too low.

A helpful tip is to try and have all of your grooming sessions in the same area. This will add to your dog’s level of ease and help keep anxiety to a minimum.

  • Begin combing through his hair

Using a fine-toothed grooming comb, gently comb through the hair on your Shih Tzu’s face to remove all tangles.

Hold the hair firmly with your fingertips and comb from your fingertips downward so that you do not pull too hard on your pup’s face.

Once all the knots have been removed, brush the hair back so that it is out of your dog’s eyes.

Shih Tzu hair sectioned and trimmed with blunt tip scissors
  •  Divide into sections

Divide the hair on your pup’s face into three sections; one section over the left eye, one over the right eye, and the middle section above the nose.

Hold the left section of hair with your fingertips and pull the hair forward so that it is straight.

Carefully trim the hair with the round-tip scissors, cutting the hair to roughly a half-inch above the eye.

Make sure that you don’t accidentally snip any of your dog’s eyelashes.

Repeat this step with the right section of hair.

  • Check the length

Once you’ve trimmed the sections of hair that are above your pup’s eyes, brush the hair out and take a peek.

If it is still too long, carefully repeat the previous step, trimming just a little bit of hair at a time until it is short enough for you and your pup.

  • Clip the middle section

For the middle section, hold it with your fingertips and gently trim from the top of the nose toward the corner of the eye.

Avoid clipping the hair on your Shih Tzu’s forehead.

Concentrate on the hair that is on the top of the nose and stop at the eyes; this hair is usually kept rather short.

  • Finishing up

After you have completed trimming the hair around your Shih Tzu’s eyes, brush out the face once more with a fine-toothed comb.

Trim any uneven places and then shower your pup with praise and treats!

Close up of a Shih Tzu's trimmed eye areaClose up of Max's trimmed eye area

Why Do You Have to Keep the Hair Around a Shih Tzu’s Eyes Trimmed?

Shih Tzu are rather healthy animals, but they are prone to a few health issues (as are most dog breeds).

Several of these issues involve problems with the eyes like redness, increased tears, infections, and even more drastic conditions that can decrease vision.

Therefore, it is very important to take extra special care of your pup’s peepers, and that means keeping them clean and free from irritants - like hair.

What If a Shih Tzu Won’t Let You Trim Around Its Eyes?

No matter how much you prep your dog for the experience of being groomed and clipped, she may just not be a fan.

If you are worried that you will accidentally snip your pup, or you just can’t muster up the confidence to DIY your pooch’s haircut, then it’s best to call in the pros.

Professional groomers have their own set of tricks and techniques up their sleeves to help dogs that are highly stressed out about being groomed.

You can drop off your furry friend, grab a coffee, and return to a nicely trimmed pup.

Depending on how it goes, after your groomer works with your dog, she might be able to offer you some tips that can help you trim your Shih Tzu in the future.

Whether you decide to trim your Shih Tzu’s hair around her eyes on your own, or with the help of a pro, the most important thing is that the job gets done.

This way your pup gets the healthy, happy eyes that she deserves!

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