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How To Cut Shih Tzu Nails

Shih Tzu laying on a table having its nails trimmed by a person in a lab coat and wearing a stethoscope

You may not realize it but letting those nails grow can impede your Shih Tzu’s health. Those long nails can become ingrown, infected, or alter the way your dog walks.

In turn, that altered walking stage affects their joints and other body parts. Keep your Shih Tzu’s health in top condition by regularly cutting those nails. You to cut them to length but not too short as that is hazardous to your pet’s health as well.

Need to know how to trim a bulldog’s nails? Click here to learn more.

How Short Should Shih Tzu Nails Be

No matter what breed of dog you own, they all have what is called ‘the quick’. This is a very tender area of your dog’s nails ad it can be very vulnerable to damage if you are not careful.

The quick is found near the back of the nail and it may be hard to see. That is why so many dog owners do not like to cut their own dog’s nails. They are afraid to cut the quick. When they do this, your dog’s nails will bleed, and they will be in pain and at risk for infection.

To cut your Shih Tzu’s nails properly, you do not cut to the quick. Stay just in front of it so you can avoid having your dog bleed or feel pain. If you have trouble finding the quick, turn your dog’s paw over and you should see it very easily.

Then place the nail clipper at a 45-degree angle ahead of that spot and make your cut. One cut is all you need but you are free to make several tiny cuts in case you are worried about cutting too far.

Or you can just avoid the stress and have your local groomer handle this important task for you. It takes confidence to clip your Shih Tzu’s nails to length.

Practice Makes Perfect

Hands trimming nails on a hairy dog

You are going to find a lot of free advice on the internet telling you the proper technique and tools to use. Most people do not tell you the most important piece of advice that you can use.

The best way to gain confidence in cutting your dog’s nails is to practice. But you do not practice on real dogs as you may still cut their quick. What you need to do is pick out some long spaghetti.

Break it in half and use those pieces to practice on. This is uncooked spaghetti not cooked as the pasta is about as hard as your dog’s nails. Then mark a spot a short way up from the end and that will be the quick.

Once that is done, make your cut. Keep doing this until you feel confident enough to handle your dog’s nails. You won’t be wasting that much spaghetti when you practice and your dog will be grateful that you took the time to practice.

Want to know how to trim a french bulldog’s nails? Click here to find out.

How To Clip Your Dog’s Nails

2 white, hairy dog paws with long nails

There are several techniques and each one will depend on how nervous or relaxed your pet is when they face this situation. Some dogs are very good and are not bothered by the procedure. Yours may be one of them.

Or yours may be one of the ones that resist because they are scared. In this case, you either have someone hold your Shih Tzu or you put your dog in restraint.

If you don’t you risk cutting the quick and making it worse for you and your pet the next time you have to do this task. It is a good thing to have some treats handy.

That way you can reward your pet for good behavior. Those treats will have your dog looking forward to having their nails trimmed the next time you pull out those clippers.

If By Accident

illustration of cutting a dog nail in the quick with an x to say this is the wrong way

It does happen and you should be prepared for it both mentally and physically. There will be times you will miss the boundary between the nail and the quick and you cut the latter.

The key is not to panic and get bent out of shape. Instead, you just reach for the styptic powder or similar dog medicine and apply it. Then add a little pressure until the bleeding stops.

You can stop for a bit when that happens, or you can continue on finishing all four paws. The choice is up to you.

Your Chihuahua’s nails need trimming but you don’t know how? Check out our post “How To Cut Chihuahua Nails” to learn more.

Some Final Words

Shih Tzu  standing on a grooming table being trimmed

Cutting your Shih Tzu’s nails to length is not as tough as it may seem. You have some great tools that you can use to make the task as painless for both as much as possible.

Do some practicing first that way you can get the job done without stressing your pet out.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.