How Do I Stop My Shih Tzu From Scratching?

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Shih Tzus are known for their luxurious coats, but they also require a lot of grooming, and the long hair can hide skin problems that may be causing your pup to scratch. Diagnosing the cause of the scratching is key to choosing the best Shih Tzu itchy skin remedy, such as allergy treatments or pest-elimination treatments.

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Keep your Shih Tzu neat, happy and itch-free.

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Grooming tips and considerations

Proper grooming is the first step to stopping and preventing your Shih Tzu from scratching. You can clip your Shih Tzu's hair to keep it short, but if you opt to let it grow, make sure to brush it daily. This prevents knots and matting that can pull on the skin and causing itching and discomfort. As you are brushing your pup, keep an eye out for pests, like fleas, and other signs of skin irritation and redness.

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Clean the ears about once per week, watching for redness or a bad smell that may indicate an itchy infection. Bathe your Shit Tzu about every three to four weeks using a shampoo designed for dogs followed by conditioner. Make sure all of the suds and the conditioner are rinsed out before you dry your pup.

Bathing too often or using a harsh shampoo can dry out your dog's skin, causing itching. Using a conditioning spray can help to moisturize your dog's coat and make brushing easier between baths. Anti-itch shampoos, sprays, and creams can also help to reduce scratching, but it is important to identify and treat the underlying cause to fully resolve the itching.

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Shih Tzu scratching ears

If your Shih Tzu is scratching her ears all the time, some potential causes include an ear infection or ear mites. Swimming, hair in the ears, and allergies can contribute to more frequent ear infections.

Brush your Shih Tzu's hair daily.
Image Credit: Teresa Kopec/Moment/GettyImages

In addition to itching, you may see redness inside the ear, brown discharge, or a bad odor. You likely won't be able to see ear mites with the naked eye, so take your dog to the vet for an exam. Your vet can examine the ear with an otoscope to determine if mites, an infection, or both are the problem.

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Your vet will prescribe medication to treat the ear mites or infection. You will likely need to clean your dog's ears and apply the medication daily but be sure to follow your veterinarian's instructions.

Check for pests and infections

Pests, such as fleas and mites, may be to blame if your Shih Tzu is scratching all the time. Fleas are tiny brown insects, and you may need to look closely to find them in your pup's fur. Some dogs have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, making the itching even worse. Apply a topical flea treatment and comb your dog with a flea comb to remove the pests from her coat. In addition, you will need to treat your house with a flea bomb or spray as well to avoid reinfection.

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Scabies and demodex mites cause itching and hair loss. See your vet for a diagnosis and prescription treatment. Some Shih Tzus develop a yeast infection on the skin. An anti-fungal shampoo will often resolve the infection, but if it comes back, consult your vet to identify any underlying causes.

Evaluate for allergies

Fleas and mites may be to blame.
Image Credit: Teresa Kopec/Moment/GettyImages

Allergies are fairly common in Shih Tzus. If your Shih Tzu is scratching a lot, this may be the cause. Your vet can help you determine what is triggering the allergies. Some potential causes include environmental factors, like pollen and dust; contact allergies from a cleaning product or certain plants; or a food allergy.

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Change your pup's food to eliminate allergens and minimize exposure to other allergens as much as possible. Use hypoallergenic detergents to clean any bedding your dog uses. If you can't fully eliminate exposure to the allergen, your veterinarian may prescribe an antihistamine or steroid medication to help manage your dog's symptoms.

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