Shih Tzus are renowned for their intelligence and their attractive two-layered hair. While their undercoats are soft and hairy, the topcoats are long, thin, and silky. But, do Shih Tzus shed? If so, how do you manage their shedding?
Like other dog breeds, Shih Tzus do shed. However, they don’t shed much because they have hair instead of fur. You only notice the shed hair when washing or brushing Shi Tzus’ topcoats. Some situations could contribute to your Shih Tzu shedding excessively, including age and food. Shih Tzus are known for their intelligence but they are also known for their long fur which contributes to how much they shed.
Factors Contributing to Shih Tzus Shedding Excessively
Shih Tzus have hair and only lose a small amount daily, which gets caught in their long topcoat. That said, this small breed sometimes sheds its silky hair excessively. This trend can be instigated by:
- Changes in temperature
- Health issues
- Poor diet
Shih Tzus Shed More When Transitioning to Adulthood
A Shih Tzu pup may not shed hair at all. Puppies have short, fine, thin coats that rarely shed hair.
The shedding intensity increases as Shih Tzu puppies transition to adulthood. Excessive shedding happens when these dogs are 9-12 months.
This shedding is expected during the transitional phase and shouldn’t last more than three weeks.
Shih Tzus Shed More in Warmer Seasons
Season changes can make your beautiful Shih Tzu shed its long hair excessively. Like most animals, Shih Tzus react to seasons by either shedding or growing hair.
These dogs shed less hair in moderate weather conditions than in hot conditions.
The logic behind the loss of hair is simple. When the weather gets warmer in spring, Shi Tzus need less hair to avoid heat. The shedding intensifies in summer to keep their bodies cool. The temperature in this season becomes unbearably hot since the sun shines for longer hours than it does in spring-autumn.
Shedding allows new thicker coats to grow in preparation for winter. Expect your Shih Tzu to shed less in winter and more in summer.
Pregnancy May Cause Excessive Shedding in Female Shih Tzus
Do Shih Tzus shed due to pregnancy? Not every female Shih Tzu experiences excessive hair loss during pregnancy and after birthing.
Some female Shi Tzus may shed hair due to hormonal changes brought about by pregnancies in the last stages.
The process in which the dog sheds excessively after giving birth is called coat blowing.
Coat blowing is a normal process in double-coated dogs when transitioning to summer from winter, but in Shih Tzus, it also happens after pregnancies.
A Poor Diet May Contribute To Shedding
Shih Tzu parents should be mindful of the food they feed their dogs as this may affect their normal shedding. Any slight change in diet can make Shih Tzus shed hair excessively.
Knowing how to choose the best food for your dog is essential for their health. The food should have a good amount of fat or protein to prevent your Shih Tzu’s hair coats from becoming dry and brittle. A dry and brittle haircoat is prone to breaking easily.
Before buying commercial food for your Shih Tzu, consider the ingredients used in making it. The best food for these dogs should include beef, pork, chicken, liver, or lamb, which helps develop their muscles.
To maintain their strong, thin, and silky hair, include foods rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Underlying Health Conditions May Increase Shedding in Shih Tzus
Various health conditions can make your Shih Tzu shed more than expected. Some of the health issues include:
- Kidney diseases
- Liver problems
- Bacterial infections
- Skin conditions like fleas, dry skin, and mange
Consider contacting a qualified vet for proper diagnosis and care if you suspect any of the above health conditions.
Sometimes, abnormal shedding could result from an allergy caused by the dog’s medications, bathing soaps, shampoos, or certain foods. A vet can help pinpoint if allergens cause your Shih Tzu to shed a lot.
Other lesser factors that may contribute to excessive shedding in Shih Tzus include stress and too much scratching. Excessive scratching may be caused by irritants, fleas, and skin diseases.
How To Manage Shedding In Shih Tzus
Although you can’t completely stop your Shih Tzu from shedding, there are tips you can use to keep the shedding to a minimum.
Brushing Their Coats Regularly
When Shih Tzus shed due to age or season, brushing their coats daily or at least twice a week can help control shedding.
The best brush for your Shih Tzu should leave their long hair looking soft and healthy. Consider using a slicker brush with round pins and a bristle brush.
The slicker brush is ideal for massaging their skin and stimulating blood flow. On the other hand, finishing this grooming session with a bristle brush removes any suspended hair on the topcoat, leaving your Shih Tzu’s coat shiny and healthy.
Avoid Bathing Your Shih Tzu Frequently
You may be tempted to bathe your Shih Tzu daily if you have time, but that will only encourage shedding.
The best interval should be once every four weeks. Washing your dog keeps their skin clean and brings down their body temperature, which is ideal for controlling shedding.
While at it, use the right shampoo or bathing detergent to avoid allergic reactions. If you’re not sure, ask your vet for recommendations.
Ensure you dry your dog immediately after bath as leaving them wet could cause fungus growth, leading to other health conditions.
Other tips that can help manage shedding in Shih Tzus include:
- Maintaining a balanced diet
- Keeping them hydrated
- Keeping them comfortable to avoid stress
- Take them to a vet for a check-up
Final Thoughts On Shih Tzus Shedding
So do Shih Tzus shed? Yes, they do shed, ruling out the misconception about them being non-shedders. Unlike other dog breeds with fur coats, Shih Tzus have hair, meaning they shed less.
Excessive shedding in Shih Tzus might happen in hotter months when they are pregnant, and as a result of poor health. Shedding can also be caused by allergens and transitionary phases.
Shedding is a normal process that creates space for new healthy hair to grow. But if you notice any abnormal shedding, consult your vet.