Winter Paw Care Tips

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Winter Paw Care Tips

Winter Paw Care Tips

Winter can be a tough time for your dog’s paw pads. Prevent winter weather-related paw pad injuries by following some basic dog paw care tips and the use of products designed for paw protection.

How To Prevent Paw Pad Injuries

One of the biggest threats to healthy paw pads is the salt used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. Prolonged contact with deicers can lead to chemical burns on dog paws. If your dog is limping toward the end of a walk, deicing products may be hurting his feet. Whenever possible, get your dog off the salty sidewalk and into the grass or snow for walking.

Another threat from deicers is ingestion. Dogs may lick their paws or your boots and ingest deicing salts. To prevent your dog from ingesting deicing salts, keep a shallow bowl of warm water and a cloth near the entryway to your home so that you can wipe your boots and your dog’s paws when coming in from the cold.

Another common cause of sore paws during the cold winter months are the ice balls which form between the pads and toes of hairy-footed dog. To reduce the risk of ice balls, keep inter-pad hair trimmed neatly and short during the winter months. Not only can hairy feet contribute to the development of ice balls on the feet, paw hair can retain a lot of those nasty deicing salts. If your dog has hairy feet, trim them throughout the winter.

Dogs left in the cold for long periods of times are also at risk for frostbite on paws (and other extremities – ears, tail, etc.) and hypothermia. It is not advised that dogs spend hours in the cold. In winter, more frequent short walks are better for your dog than a single long walk. If you suspect your dog has hypothermia or frostbite, get him to a vet right away!

Additionally, just like the dry winter air can dry out human skin, it can contribute to the drying and cracking of dog paws. Bag Balm, a product available at nearly every pharmacy, applied in a thin layer daily or every other day should help keep your dog’s paws from cracking and bleeding. Keeping a humidifier in the house should also prevent dry, itchy skin for both you and your pet.

Products For Protecting Dog Paws

There are many products on the market designed to protect dog paw pads during the winter month, from “pet safe” deicing products to protective waxes and dog booties.

Safe Paw is a common pet-friendly deicer, but sand, small stones, and kitty litter (non-clumping) are also options for deicing while protecting your dog’s pads from injury and chemical burns.

Musher’s Secret is one of the most popular paw waxes. Paw wax is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk; forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty sidewalk or pavement. Paw wax will wear away after extended exercise, and should be reapplied before each walk.

The best protection for your dog’s paws and pads are dog booties. Just as wearing boots in the winter protects your pads, dog booties will prevent injury to your dog’s feet. Dog boots can protect your dog’s paws from salt, ice balls, and cutting his pads on sharp items that may be hidden under the snow or sharp ice. Proper sizing of dog booties is especially important in ensuring that the booties are comfortable for your dog to wear and maximize paw protection.

Muttluks and Ruffwear are two popular providers of dog booties. If you are crafty, check out this great DIY page for a guideline on how to make your own home made dog booties.

Dog booties may look silly, but really are the ultimate protection for your dog. Human snowsuits look silly also, but are they not the best for keeping sledding kids warm? Just as your kid may not want to wear a snowsuit, your dog may not initially like wearing booties. With a little time and patience, you can train your dog to love wearing his dog boots!

Teach your dog to be comfortable having his paws handled by people before even trying to apply the boots. When your dog is comfortable having his paws handled, begin introducing the boots one at a time, and for very short periods of time. Use lots of yummy treats when the dog has the boots on, to teach him that it is nothing to worry about – in fact, boots on his paws make really good stuff happen (initially treats, eventually walks)! Once he’s ok with a bootie on each paw individually, put two boots on in random combinations. Then introduce all four boots, and let him practice walking around the house. Once he’s comfortable in the house, walk him around the back yard and front yard. At this point, your dog will realize that “these boots are made for walking!” So bundle up, both of you, and get out there in the snow for some safe, wintery exercise.


Colors of Shih-Tzus

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

What Qualifies a Shih Tzu to be Blue or Liver

A dog may be registered as blue or liver (chocolate) because of the pigmentation of the dog’s skinnot the coat color. Blue and liver Shih Tzu dogs lack black pigmentation.

The pigmentation will be where the color is most obvious: the eye rims, nose, paw pads, etc.

  • Blue dogs will have a charcoal color
  • Liver dogs will have brown that will vary from very pale to a deep dark chocolate.

A dog will be registered with the AKC as a “liver”  or “blue” because of the pigmentation of the skin, but the coat can be solid white, a cream color, red, dark chocolate brown, etc.

Blue is a very rare color.  Quite often this hue is misunderstood and for good reason.  A Shih Tzu of just about any color may have a shade of blue on the skin of their body.  This often leads one to assume that this is proof that the dog is indeed blue.  However, according to official guidelines, only if blue is present on the nose, will the dog actually be blue.


Photos courtesy of Shih Tzu by Sharon

AKC Recognized Colors of the Shih Tzu

There are 8 solid colors:

  • Black – A black Shih Tzu will not have any other color fur.  Even a touch of a different shade will move this dog over to a mixed color.  Because liver colored dogs lack all black pigmentation, you will not see a true black dog with a liver colored nose.
  • White – As with the black, no other color will exist in this dog
  • Liver – when the dog has brown pigmentation on the nose, paws and eye rims.
  • Blue – Only if the Shih Tzu’s nose is blue, will this be the official color of fur
  • Brindle – This is a combination actually, of a base coat of fur with streaking
  • Gold – A tan – yellow, found commonly among Labrador Retrievers
  • Red – A very deep and dark orange
  • Silver – White but with a deep shine

There are also recognized mixtures of 2 colors:

  • White and Black
  • White and Blue
  • White and Brindle
  • White and Gold
  • White and Liver
  • White and Red
  • White and Silver

There are recognized mixtures of 3 colors:

  • Silver, Gold and White
  • Black, Silver and White
  • Black, Gold and White
  • Black, Silver and Gold

Until a future time when more colors may become officially recognized and an owner is able to register their Shih Tzu with the color that they believe their dog is, one must choose from the above list.  Do keep in mind that with all colors, there will be shading and deepness levels; thus any dog can be placed into one of these categories. It is very common for puppies to be one color, registered as that color and then have a color change as the puppy matures into adult dog. This is completely normal.


How to Properly Bathe Your Shih Tzu

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

How to Properly Bathe Your Shih Tzu

Bathing a Shih Tzu is a bit more involved than putting your dog in the tub and scrubbing away.  However, the process is not overly complicated or time consuming.  This can actually be a great time for your and your dog to bond together.

All dogs appear to be so vulnerable, tiny and cute when they are full of suds or soaking wet; it is usually a fun time for the owner!  If the owner shows a nice, happy attitude and talks in a gentle and loving voice, a Shih Tzu will learn to enjoy bath time also.

Before you put your Shih Tzu in the tub, you should brush over their coat first.  Even if you have just brushed them the day before, this is a good way to make sure there are no mats; as wet mats are harder to remove than dry ones.

To give your dog a proper bath an owner should:

  • Use lukewarm water
  • Use a high quality dog shampoo
  • Use your hands to lather up your Shih Tzu and scrub every area of the body
  • Use a toothbrush to clean the area under the eyes
  • Thoroughly rinse out the suds
  • Apply a quality conditioner

The Drying Process

The Shih Tzu should have their coat blow dried for proper grooming.  Once your dog is out of the tub, you should wrap many towels around your dog and use a patting motion to soak up excess water.  Spray a light leave in conditioner before you begin.  As you use the blow dryer, use your hand to work through the fur.  Once you see that the fur is separated, you can then finish off by using a brush while you dry.
See Grooming-How To
For more  detailed  info
on grooming  your dog

The Details of Grooming

This, of course, is an overview of grooming.  Grooming is one of the most important elements of taking care of your Tzu.
An owner must have the full & complete details of:

  • Brushing and combing
  • How to deal with disasters
  • Nails & dewclaw details
  • The exact step-by-step instructions for each part of the Tzu’s body
  • The difference in grooming a short cut VS a long coat
  • What ruins a Shih Tzu’s coatand Much More!  To learn how you can have all of these details, just click here.

Nail Care

It is easiest to trim the nails of your Shih Tzu right after a bath and before the blow drying process.  While your dog is wrapped in the soft towels and their nails are wet; this is an optimal opportunity to be able to clip the nails. Using the proper  nail clipping tool, very careful clip above the red streak.  If you cut too low,  the nail will bleed.  If this accidentally occurs, use styptic powder to slow down the bleeding.  Your goal is to carefully clip the nails exactly where they begin to hook over.  Many owner do opt to have a professional dog groomer take care of this tricky grooming task.


*******Celbrities who are Shi-Tzu owners!!!******

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy
Famous Shih Tzu Dogs – Celebrities Who Own a Shih Tzu

Nicole Richie has a famous Shih Tzu named Honeychild. With this coloring, you can see that she chose a perfect name.  This actress is often photographed with her famous Shih Tzu, taking the dog shopping all over Malibu.

Actress Rebecca Mader (famous from the Devil Wears Prada movie) brought her adorable Shih-Tzu, named Bella, with her to the Silver Spoons event.

Comedian Susie Essman has an adorable Shih Tzu named Sumo.  Her advice to single women is to find a man who owns a Shih Tzu, stating, “It proves they are secure if they can carry around a little fru fru dog”

Geri Halliwell, singer in the Spice Girls band and now actress owns a famous Shih Tzu named Harry.  She is seen here with her personal trainer who takes a try at walking her dog.

More Famous Shih Tzu Dogs

Who else owns or did own a Shih Tzu?  You may be surprised. The following is a list of famous people with Shih Tzu dogs:

  • Betty Buckley has 3 Shih Tzu dogs named Bridget, Gemma and Jessie
  • Fashion designer Oleg Cassini owns a Shih Tzu named Mr. Flinton
  • Queen Elizabeth owns a Shih Tzu named Choo Choo
  • Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor owns a Shih Tzu named Moulin Rouge
  • Comedian Phyllis Diller’s favorite dog was a Shih Tzu named Fang
  • Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest men in the world, owns a Shih Tzu named Ballmer
  • Singer Mariah Carey has 2 Shih Tzu dogs named Bing and Bong
  • The Hanson brothers has a Shih Tzu named Wicket
  • The Dalai Lama owns a Shih Tzu (name unknown)

~~~~~About the Shih-Tzu~~~~

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

My dogs are first and foremost a companion. They love nothing more than being with their family. Better yet, sitting in your lap while you read the paper or watch TV. This breed gets along very well with children and other pets. They are outgoing and self-assured, keen and alert. They are docile and quiet, but they also love to play. They are not “yappy” as some small dogs have been reputed. The Shih Tzu is spunky and can be obstinate at times. They expect to be treated as royalty and are easy to spoil.


Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

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