5 Steps to Grooming a Shichon

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Shih Tzu genes give the shichon its long hair.

The Shichon is not a certified dog breed. It is a mix between a bichon frise and a Shih Tzu. Hybrid dogs, meaning dogs that are bred from recognized breeds to create a new breed, are bred to create a dog with the desirable characteristics of both breeds.

Shichons, sometimes known as Zuchons (pronounced zoo-shawn), are long-haired, small dogs with low amounts of shedding. Although they are not completely hypoallergenic, they are better for people with dog hair allergies due to their lower amounts of shedding — this does not mean that their fur does not need maintenance. On the contrary, regular grooming is critical for these small dogs to maintain maintained their health and appearance.

Brushing your Shichon

Brush your Shichon once a day to keep its coat tangle free and glossy. One of the reasons that Shichons are perceived to not not shed is because the loose hair from the undercoat gets trapped beneath the thick outer coat. This means that their thick coats can mat easily; brush out your Shichon's under coat every day to prevent this. Brush their tails and bottoms to prevent knotting and messy accidents.

When brushing, use a comb with wide teeth or a slicker brush. A slicker brush is made with fine, stiff, short wires that are close together. This shape easily grabs and holds on to loose hair. A slicker brush like this one by Hertzko has a unique feature that retracts the wires into the brush frame with the touch of a button, so you can easily remove the collected hair. Follow the slicker brush with a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles. If mats become too much to easily brush out, your dog may need to be shaved, which is usually more expensive for the groomer to do and unpleasant for your dog.

Feeding for healthy coats

One of the keys to keeping any dog healthy, but especially a dog with particular hair needs, is the food they eat every day. A high-quality food provides optimum nutrients for growth and weight maintenance at each stage of development, but it also can provide a nutritional boost that keeps hair shiny, smooth, and healthy. This makes grooming easier and keeps your dog looking their best.

Fatty acid supplements or high quality foods designed to provide higher amounts of fatty acids for a healthy coat are recommended. All basic foods include a certain amount of fats, which all dogs need for general nutrition, but some contain an extra boost of fatty acids, which can keep your dog's coat shiny and healthy.

Healthy treats or food with fatty acids is key to keeping your dog's coat healthy.
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Purina Pro Plan Essentials Shredded Blend Adult Dry Dog Food in Chicken & Rice flavor has vitamin A and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, to promote a healthy skin and coat. This one also has guaranteed live probiotics help to support digestive health.

Royal Canin makes a Small Adult Dog Food formulated specifically for dogs that are in the mini or toy range, like a Shichon. They need more calories, because their metabolism is higher than other dogs. Royal Canin's food adds an amino acid called L-carnitine to help metabolize fat, along with fatty acids EPA and DHA for a healthy coat and skin.

No dog will be able to resist a soft, flavored treat like the Zesty Paws Omega Bites Supplement Soft Chew. Made from fish oil, the chews provide a rich source of EPA and DHA, which provide high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. They also include vitamin C, vitamin E, and biotin for additional skin and coat support. These chews are available in a variety of flavors, including peanut butter, chicken, seafood, and bacon.

Bathing your Shichon

Bathe your Shichon once a month to maintain cleanliness. More frequent bathing than this may dry out its skin. Massage sensitive-skin shampoo into your Shichon's coat without tangling its fur, then rinse it clean using a shower hose extension. Condition with a sensitive-skin conditioner and rinse again. Brush your Shichon's fur before blow drying to prevent tangles. When washing your dog, scrub between the toes and pads of the feet, and spend a little extra time on their rear end and around the nose.

LillyBits, a breeder of Shichon's suggests that showering may be a better option than bathing. They suggest putting your dog in the tub with a shower hose attachment that can stretch down to where the dog is. this makes it easier to wet down your Shichon without getting water into their ear canal, which can cause an ear infection. After washing the shower attachment makes it easy to rinse them clear. Swab them down with a towel before they get out of the tub, to minimize the spray of water that will come off them when they shake themselves, as dogs will always do!

Bathing maintains cleanliness, but too much bathing can dry out their skin.
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Trimming a Shichon

Trim the fur around your Shichon's eyes and nose short, to prevent the fur from irritating its nose and blocking its vision. Begin with trimming the hair directly in front of the eyes. Trim around the ear end for hygiene, and trim any long hair that may brush against the ground. This keeps dirt and debris from getting stuck in their hair.

A Shichon's ear hair may need to be gently removed to keep the ear canal dry and clean.
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Grooming ears and nails

Adult Shichons grow hair in their ear canal. This should be gently removed. You can do this by sprinkling an ear powder into their ear, which also cleans their ears.

Ear powder is useful because it keeps their ears dry and also makes their ear hairs easier to grip. Preventive Vet says an abundance of ear hair makes it more difficult for your dog's ears to stay dry, which can lead to an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, ear wax, and debris. Some experts say that routine ear hair plucking might lead to more infections. Others say it's important to keep the ear canal clean. Consider what is best for your dog, but if you want to pluck to increase air circulation, just sprinkle some ear powder in their ear and gently pull the hair that you can reach out with your fingers.

Try Gold Medal Groomers Ear Powder, which can reduce ear itching, keeps ears dry, reduces odors, and helps you grip those fine ear hairs.

Clean the inside of your Shichon's ears with a Q-tip dipped in alcohol to prevent wax buildup. Do not insert the Q-tip into the dog's ear — only clean what you can see. Clip your Shichon's nails once a week to maintain their short length. Do not clip past the clear white point of the nail, which is called the quick, because this area has nerves and blood vessels that feed the nails and it will cause pain and bleed if clipped.

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