Shih Tzu Dental Care—You need to maintain the good hygiene of your Shih Tzu’s teeth not only to protect them but also to improve your dog’s overall health.

Good Shih Tzu dental care does not only improve your dog’s mouth and teeth, but it can also improve their vital organs. Yes really….read on to find out how and why that can happen.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs start showing sign of oral diseases by 3 years old. If not treated, some of your Shih Tzu’s teeth will be damaged.

It will can affect their whole body by producing bacterias that can enter the bloodstream and affect your Shih Tzu’s major organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs.


shih tzu dental

Like human beings, Shih Tzus and other dogs get two sets of teeth during their life 28 baby teeth and 42 adult teeth. By the time your Shih Tzu reaches 4 months old, his/her baby teeth begins to be replaced by the permanent or adult teeth.

If you don’t see any of the baby teeth being dropped, it’s because most of the time, the puppy swallows them or hides them somewhere you can’t see.

The 5th and 6th week of a puppy’s life is their teething stage where they chew lots of things especially your fingers and sometimes furniture. This isn’t bad behavior, it just relieves the discomfort that they’re going through. There are even times that your Shih Tzu might lose their appetite or drool a lot. These are all signs of teething.


Dental problems happen to some breeds and more to others. Some adult dogs have really bad dental health because of the dental care they’ve received while they were still puppies. For the Shih Tzu breed, they’re more prone to plaque and tartar buildup.

Plaque is the gum-like film that forms on the teeth every after meal. This mixes with the bacteria, saliva, and blood cells in the mouth and begins to harden after 24 hours. It then continues to build up until it mixes with the salts and forms tartar.

This then sticks to your Shih Tzu’s teeth which then produces a rough surface where bacteria can grow. The bacteria can cause gums inflammation that results in bleeding and other dental diseases.

The good news is with good Shih Tzu dental care that this can be minimised or prevented entirely.

As tartar builds up near your Shih Tzu’s gum, it pushes them away from the roots of the teeth that can cause extreme pain to your Shih Tzu and of course lead, in later years to the loss of adult teeth. Just like humans, they don’t grow back!


To determine if your Shih Tzu has any teeth or mouth issues, they may display the following signs:

  • Too much drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Gum Tumors
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Inflamed gums
  • Cysts under the tongue

There is no specific age when any of these symptoms will appear but most of the time, it’s bad breath that gets noticed first because it’s always a sign that something is wrong with your Shih Tzu’s mouth or teeth.


If your Shih Tzu does not receive the proper dental care they meed, a lot of issues can appear which can include the following:

  • The teeth will start to build up plaque and tartar
  • Gum disease can start and get worse over time
  • Noticeable bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • The roots of the teeth will be exposed which causes pain


shih tzu dental

As soon as your puppy lives in your home, you can start caring for their teeth. This way, they can be trained to allow you or the vet to examine their mouth and brush their teeth.

Like any training, when you start from a young age, the routine becomes normal for them. Go slow as you and your dog both learn this healthy and loving part of their grooming care.

When brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth, don’t use human toothpaste because it can make your dog sick. Also it’s natural for your Shih Tzu to swallow a lot of toothpaste when you brush their teeth. So it’s important to make it a point to use toothpaste specifically made for dogs.

Toothpaste made for dogs comes in different flavours like chicken, beef, and liver which tastes really good to them. This way, you can brush your Tzu’s teeth safely and stress-free.

What You Need to Brush Your Shih Tzu’s Teeth

When brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth, you can use a regular dog toothbrush or a rubber brush that fits over your finger. Also, make sure that it has soft knobs that will break built-up tartar as you brush your dog’s teeth.

If you want, you can also use a small piece of gauze that you can wrap around your finger to use as your Shih Tzu’s toothbrush. There are also dental rinses available in the market. However, they don’t remove too much plaque so always include brushing in your Shih Tzu dental routine.

You might also be interested in using a dental spray which prevents gum disease and helps make the mouth healthy.

Toothbrush Alternative

If you have a Shih Tzu that’s not a big fan of a toothbrush, there are still other ways that you can take care of their mouth and teeth.

Some people scrape their Shih Tzu’s teeth themselves. You can use a plaque scraper used by humans that’s available in department stores. There are also scrapers sold especially for dogs.

If you’ve decided to use this method, make sure that you have a gauze or paper towels ready so that when you scrape your Shih Tzu’s teeth, you can catch the flakes of tartar falling.

Make sure that your dog doesn’t swallow any of this. If you’re uncomfortable or not too familiar with this method, then you can have your vet or some groomers do it. This way, you won’t cut your Shih Tzu’s gums and cause them pain and resistance to having their teeth cleaned.

What you need to buy

It is important to have the right supplies when taking care of your Shih Tzu’s dental health. You may want to invest some time and money in choosing the best toothpaste and toothbrush for them and don’t forget your doggy toothpaste.


shih tzu dental

The first thing to bear in mind is that you need to train your Shih Tzu to sit while you touch their teeth. After which, you can add some toothpaste to your finger and rub it to their teeth. This will make your Shih Tzu comfortable and allow them to get use to the taste of the toothpaste.

The next thing you’d want to do is use a finger brush. Just add in some dog toothpaste to it and start running it over your Shih Tzu’s teeth.

Finally, use a dog toothbrush to clean your Shih Tzu’s teeth thoroughly. Brushing should be done once a day.

You can use different methods of dental cleaning for your Shih Tzu. Making them used to this should be easy because they are very intelligent breed. In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth, you can also do dental rinses.

Always remember that what you’d want to get rid of is your Shih Tzu’s plaque and tartar which cause a lot of damage to the body. And so if you take care of your Shih Tzu’s dental health, they will live longer and happier. This can also save them from the pains caused by mouth and teeth diseases.

Enjoy and feel free to share any tips in the comments below.