Monday, October 15, 2007


It's a fact of life when you have Shih-Tzus - they get mats. It doesn't matter how often you wash them or brush them, they're going to have mats. So what do you do?

I used to try brushing them out but this is very time consuming and sometimes doesn't really work no matter how hard you try. I did go to the pet store and pay $18 for a little rounded contraption called a "mat remover" that you place in the mat and slowly work up through the fur...the little razor-like insides are supposed to cut through the mat. It works better than a brush, but it's still time consuming and we all know what it's like to get our Shih-Tzus to sit still while we're doing to impossible.

This evening I gave the boys a bath. Little Rocki has some mats...his hair is longer since I didn't have him cut after he got out of the hospital (when he had Parvo) because they had to shave some areas where he had blood tests and the intravenous and I wanted to wait until his scabs were gone and he was completely healed. But when he was partially dry I noticed that the matted parts stuck out from the damp areas. So I called him over and got out his little brush and started brushing the damp mats. They started coming apart much easier than when he is dry. Not only can you spot them, but the fur is more pliable when it's damp. He had one behind the ear (a common area) and one on his back and I got them out quite easily.

So there's the secret...wash your dog...let them dry a bit...and then gently brush out the mats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How often should you bathe your dog?

For some reason, people seem to think that frequent baths are not good for dogs. Perhaps some poor animal who got washed with laundry detergent and cold water from a hose started the rumor...who knows?

In any event, bathing is a good thing. And yes, you can do it once a week. I certainly do...even though my boys are not too happy with me at bath time, it is a different story when they're nice and clean. Their whole attitude changes...they are happier, livelier and far more rambuncious.

Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs, however, pay attention after the bath to their reaction. Our oldest dog has always had sensitive skin. After experimenting with a few shampoos, I ended up going back to puppy shampoo which helped a lot. However, my best find, and the shampoo I'm using now, is an Oatmeal shampoo (with some Awapuhi moistuizer thrown in for good measure!). Sometimes it's a bit of hit and miss, but you will find a shampoo that works with your dog.

Use lukewarm water, being careful not to get shampoo in the eyes or excess moisture in their ears (as this can cause ear infections). If you do get water in their ears, dry them with the towel or some cotton swabs.

Frequent bathing can also help you diagnose any potential health problems. If you bathe your dog regularly and he or she still has dry, flaky skin or continues to smell bad, then you know to take your dog to the vet for treatment.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Man Tries to Drown His Shih-Tzu

"Police say Casey Purser became angry yesterday after one of his two dogs, a Shih Tzu named Toby, defecated on the carpet of his Van Nuys home. Police say he then threw the dog in a bathtub and attempted to drown it."

I just read this news story and it really made me wonder why people get dogs if they are afraid that the dog may do something on their carpet. Well, here's the reality check. Even if you bother training them (which some people don't...the dogs are simply expected to know that the carpet is valuable), your pets are still going to slip up from time to time. In the case of a Shih-Tzu, they will inadvertantly pee and poo on your floor or carpet if they are scared or highly stressed, and they will intentionally do their business in the house if you piss them off. In the latter case, when you catch them they will look at you as if to say " what are you going to do about it?".

The bottom line is that your Shih-Tzu, or any pet, is an animal. They do not understand our language, and the value of objects such as carpets, tables, couches and ornaments is completely foreign to them. If it has a nice texture, they will chew it. If it rolls, they will chase it. If it smashes into pieces, they'll play with it. If it tastes good, they will eat it. They are animals, pure and simple. So for those people who cannot handle the fact that your things may be less than perfect during the learning process and perhaps beyond, the answer is simple: don't get a dog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dog days of summer...

The boys love being on the grass, and this is one of the last times they'll be able to romp around as we hear rumors that snow is coming within two weeks.

Their favorite spot? Grandma's house, of course, where the grass is lush and the yard was just built for rambuncious dogs to run to their heart's content.

Of course, stopping to smell the flowers and dig around the plants is a wonderful passtime, nothing beats running around a wide open yard!