How to Care for a Shih Tzu Puppy

Updated April 17, 2017

The Shih Tzu breed of dog originated in China, where its name literally means, "lion dog." This regal breed is known for its long, silky coat as well as its cuddly and playful personality. Considered toy dogs, Shih Tzu's grow to be about 11 inches high and weigh about 6.8kg. When you take your Shih Tzu puppy home, it will be very small, often weighing only a few pounds. It's important to be very gentle with your new puppy while it is so small, just as you would be careful with a newborn baby. If you care for your Shih Tzu puppy properly, you'll prepare it for a healthy adulthood.

Feed your Shih Tzu puppy the same food the seller was feeding it. Since puppies digestive systems are still developing, it's important that you don't vary their diets at such a young age. Whether you purchased your puppy from a breeder, rescue foundation or pet store, inquire about the brand of puppy food they've been giving it.

Have fresh water available to your puppy at all times. Hydration is key for all dogs, but particularly for puppies.

Brush your Shih Tzu puppy daily. With their long, double coats, Shih Tzu's are particularly prone to tangles. If neglected, these tangles can cause hot spots, irritation and even bruising on your Shih Tzu's skin. Begin at your puppy's head and work your way down its body with the brush. Its entire body needs to be brushed, including legs, feet, belly and tail. Take extra care when brushing the hair around its face.

Use a damp cloth to clean your puppy's face every day. Remove any food particles from the area around your puppy's mouth, as well as any sleep residue from the eye area.

Trim your puppy's toenails every month. You can either trim them at home, using a nail clipper designed for dogs, or take your puppy to a professional groomer.

Bathe your Shih Tzu puppy every four to six weeks. Use a shampoo that is designed for dogs with long hair. Make sure you completely rinse the shampoo out to avoid skin irritation issues. Apply a conditioner designed for dogs. This will help to untangle the puppy's hair and keep it soft.

Remove any tangles from the puppy's coat. Use the comb to slowly ease the hairs out of the tangle. Though this can be a very time-consuming process, you should never rush it. If you pull on the tangle, you will cause your Shih Tzu puppy significant pain and it may result in tearing the skin.

Take your puppy to a professional groomer once every two to six months, depending on the length of its hair. If you prefer a short cut on your Shih Tzu, you should have it clipped every two to three months. Even if you opt for long hair, take your Shih Tzu to the groomer every few months for maintenance care. The groomer will trim the area around its eyes, ears, mouth, anus and belly, as well as clip the nails.

Maintain annual checkup appointments with your puppy's veterinarian. The vet will ensure that your pup is in good health and administer necessary vaccinations.

Exercise your Shih Tzu puppy daily. Shih Tzu's don't need extensive exercise but a daily walk will promote good health in your pup. If you have a yard, play with your puppy in it daily.


Give your puppy plenty of love.


Never wake up a puppy to play. Just like human babies, puppies need plenty of sleep since they are growing.

Things You'll Need

  • Puppy food
  • Water
  • Dog brush
  • Nail clippers
  • Veterinarian
  • Collar
  • Leash
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author