Food for baby shih tzu

Diet & Nutrition Guide: Shih Tzus

Shih Tzu Feeding Guide

The Shih Tzu is a beautiful toy breed with an eye-catching coat and an absolutely charming personality. Descended from ancient Chinese royalty, they expect the highest quality meals when it comes to their daily food. But what is the best dog food for a Shih Tzu that fulfills this high standard?

Luckily for you, we’ve gathered all the information you need to feed your Shih Tzu the best way, with food that is both healthy and delectable enough to please the aristocratic pooch!

In this guide to Shih Tzu nutrition, we’ll be covering what your Shih Tzu needs from their food, how much food to give and how often, along with pointers on common dietary issues.

Feel free to use the links below if you’re looking to find a specific piece of information!

  • Feeding Shih Tzu Puppies
  • How Much to Feed Shih Tzus
  • How Often to Feed Shih Tzus
  • Common Dietary Issues
  • Common Questions

What is the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Puppies?

A puppy always requires their diet to be 100% spot-on. After all, this is the stage of their development where they are rapidly growing each day.

Puppyhood is a particularly crucial time for the Shih Tzu. As they are so small with a rapid metabolism, their food needs to be of the highest quality.

Feeding your pupper poor-quality food can lead to a wide array of issues, including undesirable weight gain, stunted development, and malnutrition. 

If it contains artificial ingredients, it’s a Shih Tzu food to avoid!

Instead, the Shih Tzu puppy needs to be given a quality diet that is specifically formulated for puppies. As they are expending a lot of energy on growing, their food needs to be balanced with this in mind. 

Therefore, we’d recommend a fresh food diet to help lock in as much nutrition as possible. Of course, you need to ensure you have the right ingredients to ensure they get a good balance of everything they need!

Here is a list of some of the best puppy food for Shih Tzus to sink their teeth into!

  • Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
  • Beef & Pumpkin
  • Lamb & Quinoa

How Much Do You Feed a Shih Tzu?

The amount of food your Shih Tzu needs to eat each day comes down to many different factors. Therefore, to work out how much your Shih Tzu needs, you’ll need to take their age, weight, activity level, and any present health conditions into account.

It’s also important that they are on a quality diet. Heavily-processed dog food commonly includes filler ingredients that offer absolutely no nutritional value, resulting in the need to consumer more calories just to feel satiated. These kinds of foods often lead to weight gain, due to all the empty ingredients that your dog is consuming each day.

Keep in mind that if you overfeed your Shih Tzu, they will gain weight regardless of the quality of food! If you’re worried that you may have been overfeeding your Shih Tzu, there’s a tell-tale sign that they may be overweight. Try examining their abdomen. It should tuck in towards their body. If your Shih Tzu has a bit of a belly instead, they are likely overweight.

If you’re unsure about how much food a Shih Tzu should eat each day, you can refer to the table below for a general guideline.  


AgeFeeding AmountTotal Calories per DayIdeal Weight
0 – 1 Years (Puppy)1.0oz – 2.0oz per day40 – 55 per pound of body weight2lb – 16lb
1 – 9 Years (Adult)2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day80 – 140 per pound of body weight9lb – 16lb
9+ Years (Senior)2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day80 – 140 per pound of body weight9lb – 16lb


For a more accurate feeding amount for the growing puppy, you can generally feed them an ounce of food per pound of body weight. Once an adult, this declines to half an ounce per pound of body weight.

How Often Should You Feed a Shih Tzu?

So now that we hopefully have a typical daily feeding amount in mind, how do we split this up throughout the day?

It’s recommended that you feed your Shih Tzu at least three times a day when they are of adult age. If they are still a puppy, they may require 4-6 meals a day.

This is due to the fact that this breed is susceptible to hypoglycemia. With such a fast metabolism, they lack the ability to hold much of an energy reserve. Therefore, spreading out their meals throughout the day helps to keep their energy levels stable.

See below for some more information on how to properly schedule their meals throughout the day:


    • Morning: We recommend that you feed your Shih Tzu at the same time each morning. This can coincide with any early responsibilities your family has, such as work or school.
    • Mid-day: This meal can be tough for busy families, as much of the family may be away from the house. If no one can be home at this time, we’d recommend filling an automated treat dispenser with their meal. You can then set it to dispense around this time.
    • Evening: For the last meal of the day, you can feed your Shih Tzu not too long before bed so they have enough energy throughout the night.
    • Snacking: It’s advisable that the Shih Tzu is given periodic snacks throughout the day to keep their energy up. Looking for some healthy treats that will leave your Shih Tzu drooling? Check out our very own organic treat here!

Diet-Related Health Issues in Shih Tzus

The Shih Tzu is known for having a sensitive stomach. Sudden changes to their diet can be quite a shock to their system and they have been found to be at an increased risk of experiencing food allergies. Therefore, it’s important that you keep a close eye on them, especially if you are in the process of trying out a new diet. 

While sometimes the symptoms can be quite obvious, such as vomiting, other times the signs may be quite subtle. Lethargy, a dull coat, itchy skin, diarrhea, constipation – all of these may be a clue that something within their diet isn’t right for them. 

We’d recommend you keep a close eye on their energy levels. If you notice that they simply don’t have as much energy as they used to, perhaps try a new diet.

Furthermore, their poo can tell you a lot about their health, despite it not being very pleasant! If it’s too hard, or conversely, a liquid, there is likely a cause behind it. 

If these issues continue regardless of a change in diet, we’d recommend a check-up at the vet.

Along with the above, the Shih Tzu can run into various other health conditions that may require a change in diet. See below for our recommendations.


If your Shih Tzu is a bit on the chubby side, it’s time to adjust their diet. 

First, you’ll need to ascertain why they are overweight. Is their food low-quality and filled with artificial ingredients? Have you been feeding them more than recommended? 

It can also be worth scheduling an appointment with the vet to see if there are any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to weight gain.

Once you have all this information, you should have a clearer idea of a path forward. Be sure to feed them a balanced diet that is filled with fresh, human-grade ingredients, which are more digestible,  and be sure to exercise them each day.  

Picky Eaters

As they have sensitive stomachs, it’s not too uncommon for a Shih Tzu to be quite choosy with what they eat. This can be a real nightmare when your Shih Tzu repeatedly turns their nose up at every new food you buy for them!

This issue can arise when you tend to give your pup too many high-value treats throughout the day. Rather than eating their actual meals, your pooch can learn to instead wait for the treats instead – they’re the tastier option after all! Therefore, we’d recommend you cut down on the amount of super desirable treats on offer each day.

In combination with this, why not make your daily meals just as desirable as your treats? With our delicious meals that are packed with fresh, quality ingredients, it can be difficult for them to resist!

Check out our various meals here and give them a try! We’ve won over many picky eaters in our time – your doggo can be next!

Heart Conditions

If your Shih Tzu has been diagnosed with a heart condition, then they may require changes to their diet.

Some nutrients have been shown to have an effect on slowing down the progression of heart disease and may help improve your dog’s quality of life. These nutrients are:

  • Sodium
  • Taurine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Antioxidants

As every dog’s health is unique to them, we’d recommend that you speak with your veterinarian or a qualified canine nutritionist about whether these nutrients will be beneficial for your Shih Tzu.


As mentioned earlier, the Shih Tzu is at particular risk of hypoglycemia. This is where the dog experiences a dangerously low drop in blood sugar. In the Shih Tzu, this can be caused by a missed meal, but health conditions such as diabetes may also be a potential cause.

If you notice that your Shih Tzu is experiencing a wobbly gait, lethargy or restlessness, muscle twitching, or seizures, it’s possible that they may be experiencing hypoglycemia. In this situation, you should try to feed your Shih Tzu a meal and see if their symptoms improve. If they are able to eat and this relieves their symptoms, you should schedule an appointment at your vet for a check-in.

If they cannot eat, or fall unconscious, you should try and rub a tablespoon of honey or corn syrup on their gums. This can help give them much-needed sugar. After performing this, take them to the vet immediately.

To help prevent these episodes, ensure that your Shih Tzu is regularly fed at least three times a day with healthy snacks between meals.

So, What is the Best Diet for a Shih Tzu?

A quality Shih Tzu diet will be properly balanced according to their age and be bursting with nutrition. There will be no fillers or artificial ingredients and the meal itself will be positively scrumptious!

Additionally, it’ll be easy on their sensitive stomachs and not be a trigger for any Shih Tzu food allergies that may be present. A great diet shouldn’t be causing your pooch any nasty symptoms.

But where can you find a food that fulfills all of the above? Luckily for you, you’re already in the right place!

Our food at Pet Plate is created with human-grade, fresh ingredients. We will never put anything artificial in our food; every ingredient is natural and cooked in a USDA facility. 

Not only are our ingredients top-notch, but every meal we offer has been formulated by our very own veterinary nutritionist. That way, you know you’re getting the absolute best for your pooch.

We’re also currently offering 30% off for first-time customers so there’s no better time to give us a try! Simply let us know about your dog here and we’ll tailor a meal to their needs, to be delivered directly to your door.

Your Shih Tzu’s favorite food lies just a few clicks away!

We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to feed your Shih Tzu the right way. We wish you and your lovely pooch all the best!


What is the ideal weight for a Shih Tzu? – The ideal weight for a Shih Tzu relies on a few factors, including their age and size. You can use our table above as a general reference, but a veterinarian may be able to give a more specific range, or you can take Pet Plate’s short quiz here.

How can I help my Shih Tzu lose weight? – Helping your Shih Tzu lose weight is often a combination of dietary changes and fulfilling their exercise needs each day. For more tips, see the section above where we discuss overweight Shih Tzus.

How much exercise does my Shih Tzu need? – The Shih Tzu does well with a few short walks daily, along with some fun indoor play!

Shih Tzu Food Guidelines for Dogs of All Ages

How Often to Feed a Shih Tzu

How many meals and snacks you give to your Shih Tzu will depend on age: 

Puppy, under 3 months old: 

Free-feed.  This is the method of having fresh food available at all times for a pup to eat as they wish. The reason this is done at this young age is because toy breed puppies are very prone to hypoglycemia, a rapid drop in blood sugar, and one of the causes of this is going too long without food (fuel).  

Tips: Do not just 'top off' the bowl; doing this will cause old, stale food to stay in the bottom. Rather, keep a small amount in the dish. As needed, clean the bowl and add in completely new kibble. 

You may need to keep reminding your new puppy where his food and water dishes are for the first month or so. This will also encourage the pup to nibble away throughout the day. 

Puppies 3 to 12 months old: 

3 meals per day. During the first year one, once the first month of free-feeding is complete, a Shih Tzu puppy should be fed 3 meals per day. If you will be gone during the day and will be missing the mid-day meal, this can be left with the pup. More ahead on this. 


2 to 3 meals per day. Some adults prefer 2 main meals per day and this may work just fine particularly if snacks and training treats are handed out during the day. And, just as many adult Shih Tzu do best staying with 3 meals per day. No matter which you choose, remember that toy breeds like the Shih Tzu should not be fed just one per day; that is reserved for much larger breeds.  

How Much to Feed a Shih Tzu

This is one of the top questions that owners have for a couple of reasons. It is usually one of two extremes; either a Shih Tzu does not seem to be eating enough or never seems satiated despite eating a lot. 

There are quite a few variables regarding the exact amount of food that a dog should be eating. This includes type of food (wet, dry, fresh, freeze-dried) and quality (fillers vs no fillers) as well as a dog's activity level, health status, age, and individual metabolism. 

So, hopefully, it makes sense that there is not one clear-cut answer. 

If you are feeding your Shih Tzu a manufactured food, look to the label and feeding guidelines that are printed there. These are usually recommendations by weight (so, you'll need to know how much your puppy or dog weighs - do not just guess) and are typically pretty spot-on.  

Note that the serving size that you'll see is usually per day (not per meal) and assumes that you are also offering several snacks per day. 

This said, as a general guideline, serving size will be in the range of 3/4 to 1 and 1/4 cups per day for each 10 pounds of weight. 

Wet vs Dry

There are pros and cons to both wet and dry dog food. 

Wet food is often the more appealing option for lots of dogs. But, it is not beneficial for the teeth like dry food is, can tend to be more expensive, cannot be used to fill treat-release toys, and a diet of mainly wet commercial food can cause runny stools.

Dry food, on the other hand, is good for a dog's teeth, is great for filling up treat-dispensing toys, and is generally easier on the stomach which lends to healthier stools.

Considering all of these elements, a diet of dry kibble is best. If your Shih Tzu really loves wet food, you may find that drizzling some low-sodium chicken broth over it, allowing kibble to soak in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes, and/or warming the food can help.  

Another option is to mix a bit of wet food into dry kibble. If you choose this option, it is best to stick with the same brand as the dry dog food (assuming that you are feeding your Shih Tzu an excellent formula). To stick with recommended feeding guidelines, for each meal, remove 1/8 of a cup of dry kibble and replace it with 2 tablespoons of wet food. 

What About Grain-Free? 

What to know: For quite some time, veterinarians have recommended a grain-free formula for dogs that showed an intolerance or an allergy to grains, though in some cases it was gluten that was the problem and not all grains contain gluten. Never-the-less, many dogs do fantastic on this type of diet. It can mean a decrease or elimination of skin outbreaks, chronic itching, and/or stomach troubles. 

However, recently there have been some concerns of a potential association between consumption of at least some types of grain-free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) which is a canine heart disease.  

In December of 2018, an update was given by Dr. Lisa M. Freeman from the Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University that suggests 'grain-free' alone may not be the issue at play but rather a BEG diet (which stands for boutique, exotic and/or grain-free) with the issue possibly being 'exotic meats' (like alligator, kangaroo, bison, ostrich, and venison) alone or in combination with a grain-free recipe that has peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as one of the top 5 ingredients.

In June 2019, the FDA issued an alert that identified 16 dog food brands that were named 10 times or more in reports of DCM. 

Please keep in mind these are ONLY the GRAIN-FREE formulas of these brands:

  • Acana (67 reports)
  • Zignature (64 reports)
  • Taste of the Wild (53 reports)
  • Earthborn Holistic (32 reports)
  • 4Health (32 reports)
  • Blue Buffalo (31 reports)
  • Nature’s Domain (29 reports)
  • Fromm (24 reports)
  • Merrick (16 reports)
  • Natural Balance (15 reports)
  • California Natural (15 reports)
  • Orijen (12 reports)
  • Nature’s Variety (10 reports)
  • Nutrisource (10 reports)
  • Nutro (10 reports)
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish (10 reports)

From 2014 to 2019, over 500 cases of DCM have been reported. In regard to Shih Tzu, there have been 4 reported cases:

  1. An 8-year-old male Shih Tzu that was eating a limited ingredient diet with kangaroo as a protein source (brand unknown)
  2. A 13-year-old male Shih Tzu that was eating Rachel Ray Nutrish (and possibly Iams before 2013)
  3. A 12-year-old female Shih Tzu that was eating 4Health Grain-free
  4. A male Shih Tzu, age unknown, that was eating Crave Salmon and Whitefish

As of right now, the FDA is still investigating and it could be quite some time before there are any conclusive studies. There have been no recalls of dog food in regard to DCM. 

If you have been feeding your Shih Tzu a grain-free recipe and are wondering if you should switch to one that does contain grain, the answer is that it all depends. One of the first dogs found to have developed DCM was a Shih Tzu so it is something that should be discussed with the veterinarian. 

In many cases, dogs identified as having a grain allergy actually have issues with gluten. High levels of gluten are found in wheat and rye and if that is cut from the diet, dogs often do well. There are healthy whole-grains like brown rice, white rice, oatmeal, and quinoa that do not have gluten, so the vet may advise switching to a recipe that has these grains. 

And, if you've been feeding your Shih Tzu a grain-free diet just to be on the safe side in regard to allergies, your little guy or gal would probably do just fine eating a recipe that has grains but not gluten. 

On the other hand, if your Shih Tzu had lots of trouble with non-gluten grains in the past, it may be decided to not make any changes, especially if the formula contains traditional meats such as chicken, lamb, turkey, duck, or fish (in other words, not part of a BEG diet as explained earlier). 

To offer choices for both options, ahead you will see recommendations for some of the best foods that do have some grains that tend to be tolerated quite well (like brown rice and quinoa) and grain-free formulas for Shih Tzu with a proven history of high intolerance or allergies to any sort of grains.  

Keep reading for details on inferior food ingredients or jump ahead to 'The Best Food for Shih Tzu Puppies and Dogs'.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Shih Tzu

If you feel a bit overwhelmed in trying to find the best food for your Shih Tzu, it is understandable. Fillers, by-products, additives? Star ratings? What does it all mean, and does it really matter?

It not only matters, it is perhaps the most important decision that you will ever make for your Shih Tzu. 

Every single bite that your Shih Tzu takes will either be detrimental to his/her health or beneficial. And the wrong food can have terrible consequences, both now and in the future. 

Detrimental ingredients in inferior food:

Fillers - Cheap ingredients added to plump food up without offering any nutrition. Includes corn bran, hulls (oat, peanut, rice), soybean mill run, wheat mill run, corn distillers, and dried grains with solubles.

By-products - Any chicken, beef, or other meat with 'by-product' in its name. This is any part of an animal deemed unfit for human consumption. Includes beaks, feet, tails, spleens, undeveloped eggs, lungs, and more.

Generic meats - Can legally be any animal at all picked up as roadkill and animals that were diseased or died on route to facilities. 

Artificial additives and chemical preservatives - Includes a wide range of chemical preservatives, coloring (Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6), and flavoring including MSG and soy. Can cause terrible reactions including skin outbreaks, poor coat health, loss of skin pigmentation on the nose, and gastrointestinal upset. Some of these additives are linked to long-term health issues including neurological issues and some cancers. 

High wheat content - Will be found in ratios that throws off the needed balance of protein and healthy fats. 

Soy or wheat gluten - Can cause food intolerance, upset stomach, skin issues, and other problems.  

Meats sourced outside of North America - Be very wary of companies that list their food as 'Made in the USA', but they source the meats from overseas.

What a high-quality food will offer:

All natural, wholesome ingredients - This will include human-grade meats, vegetables and fruits, whole grains (for those not placing their dog a grain-free diet), and healthy fats. 

All-natural preservatives - This will usually be a vitamin blend listed as mixed tocopherols. In addition to this, other plant-based natural preservatives may be used such as spearmint, rosemary, and/or green tea extract. 

The Best Food for Shih Tzu Puppies and Dogs

Now that we've covered what to avoid and what you want your Shih Tzu's food to have, let's look at some of our top recommendations. 

The following meet every single requirement for a top-quality, superior dog food, and go above and beyond. With any of these, you can feel 100% confident that you are offering top-notch meals. 

With grains: 

1. Merrick Classic Recipe for Small Breeds. 

The #1 ingredient is chicken meat. Other ingredients include turkey, salmon (great for omega-3 and 6), chicken liver, carrots, blueberries (great source of antioxidants), chia seed, oatmeal, and apples. This has a unique blend of healthy grains: brown rice, barley, and quinoa (super healthy) all 3 of which tend to be very well tolerated. 

There is no soy or corn, this has all of the recommended vitamins and minerals, and there is zero artificial coloring and zero chemical preservatives. This is considered a top-quality brand, is sized for small dogs, and is made in the USA. 

2. Wellness Complete Health for Small Breeds. 

This is also a fantastic choice. Ingredients include turkey, chicken, oatmeal (great for the tummy), salmon and flaxseed (great sources of omega-3 and 6), brown rice and barley (grains that are generally very well tolerated), peas, tomatoes, flaxseed, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries (contains important antioxidants). All other ingredients are to naturally preserve or naturally flavor the food or are added vitamins or minerals. 

There are no fillers, corn, soy, wheat, or by-products. There are no artificial coloring or flavoring, or chemical preservatives. The puppy formula has added DHA which is a specific omega-3 fatty acid that supports healthy cognitive development. The senior formula is a great choice for Shih Tzu age 8 and up since it has added glucosamine and chondroitin (more details ahead on the senior formula). 

This is specifically made for little dogs, so the size of each kibble piece is ideal. And this is made in the USA.

3. Halo Natural for Small Breeds - Chicken and Liver.  

This is one of our most recent recommendations and is now one of our favorites for many reasons. This is an organic formula meaning animals are antibiotic and hormone-free, chickens are cage-free, vegetables and fruits are non-GMO (not genetically modified), and there are no processed foods. There are zero artificial coloring dyes or flavors and preservatives are all-natural (vitamins and plants). Halo prides itself on offering easy-to-digest food which means great news for your Shih Tzu's tummy. 

Ingredients include chicken, eggs, chicken liver, salmon, peas, oats, vegetable broth, pearled barley (usually well tolerated), flaxseed, sweet potato, apples, blueberries, green beans, carrots, cranberries, and zucchini. So, there is an awesome blend of healthy veggies and fruits with this brand. All other ingredients are vitamins and minerals or plant-based all-natural preservatives. 

Though they do not over-promote it, Halo is made in the USA with a few vegetables sourced from Canada and New Zealand (which have very safe regulations). 


Please note: If you jumped down to this section but want to read the latest update regarding grain-free dog food, jump back a bit to 'What about grain-free?'. 

1. Wellness CORE for Small Breeds. 

If you do wish to go with a grain-free recipe, this is one of the best. CORE is a simple recipe with traditional meats that only includes wholesome foods: turkey, chicken, spinach, peas, potatoes, flaxseed, salmon oil, broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, kale, and sweet potatoes. All other ingredients are to naturally preserve or flavor the food or are added vitamins or minerals.

There are no fillers, by-products, corn, soy, or wheat. And there are zero artificial flavoring, coloring, or chemical preservatives. 

It is not possible to top the added bonuses, which include healthy omega fatty acids, antioxidants, botanicals, glucosamine and chondroitin, and probiotics. This is ideally sized for a pleasant eating experience and, of course, this is made in the USA.

2. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Small Breed.

This is a good option if you are on a tight budget, you'd like your Shih Tzu to be on a grain-free diet, and you want to avoid the 16 brands that are listed by the FDA to be connected with instances of DCM.

There are several flavorful recipes: Salmon & Whitefish, Chicken & Turkey, and Pork, Beef & Lamb. Note that the Pork, Beef & Lamb is completely poultry-free for the small percentage of dogs that are allergic to chicken. 

This is 100% all-natural with no artificial additives or preservatives. And there is no fillers, corn, or wheat. Though this does not contain the veggies and fruits of the aforementioned Wellness CORE, it does have all necessary vitamins and minerals and is made in the USA.  

The Best Food for Senior Shih Tzu Dogs - Age 8 and Up

When your Shih Tzu is transitioning from adult to senior, it will be time to start thinking about making a transition to a senior diet as well.

Senior dogs have different needs than adults. The most pressing concerns are joint health since hip, back, and knee issues are not uncommon with this breed and the vast majority of senior dogs develop some level of osteoarthritis.  

In addition, the formula needs to be specific to an older dog's energy level, and there needs to be added bonuses to help prevent skin and coat issues that can develop as a Shih Tzu ages. 

Here's what to look for:

  • Extra glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health. This is a must for senior. While you can give this in the form of supplements, there's nothing easier than having it blended into the food. 
  • Fiber and probiotics are really important to help an older Shih Tzu's digestive system stay regular.
  • The right blend of vitamins and minerals will be needed for optimal immune health. 
  • Quality omegas to help maintain skin and coat health, since drying is very common with senior dogs. This is also something that can be given via supplements, but again is easier to have already added to meals. 
  • And a slightly lower calorie level that is often needed since senior Shih Tzu are less active and mobile as their younger, adult counterparts.  

Our top recommendation for the best food for senior Shih Tzu dogs is Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry for Small Breed Senior Dogs; this is a superior brand that meets every single requirement of what you want in a food, and additionally offers all of the senior-specific ingredients that we've detailed. 

Ingredients include turkey, carrots (ideal source of beta carotene), flaxseed (rich in omega 3), chicken, oatmeal (easy on the stomach), barley, brown rice, spinach, sweet potato (great for the digestive tract), apple, and blueberries (excellent source of antioxidants). 

As with all of our recommended foods, this is all-natural, has zero chemical preservatives, and is made in the USA. 

Grapes and Raisins: These can cause serious kidney damage and it does not take a large amount.

Chocolate: Most people have heard that chocolate may not be good for a dog; the fact is that even a small amount can cause seizures, coma, and death to a small dog like the Shih Tzu.

Onions: This can destroy a dog's red blood cells. Take caution with foods like pizza, pasta sauce, and meatloaf that may contain onions. 

Coffee, Tea, and Soda: Caffeine can cause seizures, coma and eventual death.

Salt: While this is needed in small amounts, a large quantity of salt will cause kidney issues.

Macadamia nuts: This expensive and sought-after nut can cause devastating reactions. The results of ingesting this can include muscle tremors and paralysis.

Fruit pits and seeds: The fruit seeds and pits of many fruits including apricots, apples, and pears can cause a range of health issues including breathing difficulty, and/or fluids that fill up in a dog's abdomen and heart. Some fruit seeds can be fatal within 24 hours.

Xylitol - This is an artificial sweetener that can be found in gum, candy, baked goods, and other foods. 

Commonly Asked Questions and Food-related Issues

My Shih Tzu barely eats, what should I do?

A lot of owners ask about this; in most cases, the puppy or dog is actually eating enough. If not, you'd see major malnutrition and weight loss issues that would lead you to seek veterinary care.

If a puppy is gaining as expected or your adult is maintaining, this means that he or she is indeed eating enough.

Most Shih Tzu puppies are only going to eat 1/2 to 1 cup per day; this is such a small amount that us humans may have trouble comprehending that that is all a pup needs. And the same goes for adult Shih Tzu, that average 3/4 to 2 cups per day. 

Here are a couple of tips to remove the worry:

1. Reassess that you are feeding your Shih Tzu the best food possible, so that each bite means top-notch nutrition. 

2. Serving size (found on the label) is usually based on a dog's weight. So, be sure that you actually know how much your little guy or gal weighs; do not guess. 

3. You may be filling the bowl too high or using a bowl that is too large. Downsize to a small bowl that is just slightly larger than a normal serving size.  

4. Don't overdo it on snacks. While healthy snacks are an important part of a dog's overall diet and can work well to tide a dog over until the next meal and treats are vital for training and are fantastic for reinforcing good behavior, these additions to meals should take up no more than about 10% of a dog's daily food intake.

My Shih Tzu is picky about his food, I can't find one he likes. 

Much of this can be attributed to the above issue, because if a dog was so picky that he was not eating enough, you'd see a fast deterioration due to malnutrition and weight loss.

The same 4 tips above will help in most cases.

Additionally, there are a couple things to keep in mind:

1. If getting your Shih Tzu to eat a meal revolves around you hand feeding him or having to encourage every bite, this may be a matter of a dog playing along with you to gain attention. If so, you'll need to gradually end this sort of game.

2. Reluctance to eat can be due to a health issue. A common one is any sort of dental issue, though just about any illness can cause loss of appetite. If your Shih Tzu suddenly has a decreased appetite, this warrants a veterinarian visit. 

3. Once you have carefully chosen a food that you are confident is a super-healthy choice, stick to your guns. Dogs will eat out of self-preservation. They only time that a dog will not eat his meal is if he is sure that if he holds out that better food is coming. Once a dog learns that his owner has the willpower to outlast him, he'll eat his own food. 

Read more tips about how to deal with a Shih Tzu that is a picky eater. 

What to feed Shih Tzu? Diet


  1. Peculiarities of the breed
  2. Benefits of dry food
  3. Natural nutrition
  4. Puppy food

Every responsible owner of fluffy perfection asks himself what and how to feed his shih tzu. For a dog to be healthy, you need to study the characteristics of its body before giving this or that product. What other ornamental breeds can do, it may not be possible to give Shih Tzu.

Let's see what kind of food is considered correct for this breed, what to choose dry food or natural? And how many times a day to feed the dog. From our article you will also learn what food should not be given categorically, and what can.

Peculiarities of breed

The Shih Tzu is a refined breed and its stomach is also receptive to food. To prevent your dog from developing allergies or diarrhea, make sure that the diet does not contain expired foods or too fatty, smoked and fried foods. A carefully thought-out menu of natural products or a selected balanced diet is the key to the health of your Shih Tzu.

The dog has a gorgeous coat, which requires not only external care, but also nourishment from the inside. Hair follicles will only become stronger when food rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins, vegetable fats enter the stomach.

This is a natural and understandable process. Therefore, Shih Tzu should not be fed foods that we eat ourselves, they contain flavors, spices and unnatural fats, preservatives. If you choose dry food, this is a good choice for the breed, on each package you can read the daily amount of food, which must be divided according to the age table, which is also indicated on the package.

More and more owners trust natural food or canned dog food. True, it is expensive to feed exclusively with canned food. Natural feeding is the owner's sacrifice to his pet, but the one who truly loves his Shih Tzu is able to devote so much time to him.…

Cooking natural food takes not only money, but also time. True, the appearance of the dog will soon please you, but she will not have health problems. Unless, of course, you follow certain rules of healthy eating and know the list of forbidden foods.

Advantages of dry food

When purchasing a pack of dry food, you need to be aware that it can be completely different, both in taste and composition. There is dry Shih Tzu dog food that is softer and more tender, then the packaging says that it is for puppies or pregnant bitches.

Dry and balanced food is available for different breeds, as well as with dietary supplements for allergies and other diseases. If you have decided, then you no longer need to buy additional vitamins for shih tzu, everything you need is in the package and the manufacturers have tried to ensure that all components are balanced in the feed.

When you give dry food, you need to accurately calculate the amount, especially for a puppy. Indeed, at this age, the foundations of a healthy diet are only being laid, but all dogs eat differently. Make sure your puppy is fed but not overfed. To do this, control the norm according to the state of the bowl after the next feeding, so that there is no excess, and if the portion is not enough, sprinkle a little more.

The fact is that each individual dog has its own appetite and what is indicated on the package by age and weight does not always exactly match. Do not forget to be interested in whether the food is fresh and check its expiration date.

The advantages of the feed are that you do not have to stand at the stove for a long time and perform manipulations to feed the puppy, just pour the norm into the bowl and that's it. The rest of your free time can be devoted to Shih Tzu and taking care of her, petting and caring for her coat. Such nutrition also frees you from the constant heating of food, and your head from fantasies about preparing such a dish to please your pet.

If you keep a Shih Tzu on a natural diet, it takes time to “jump off” it and switch to dry feeding. To do this, gradually introduce dry food into the diet, mixing it with regular meals. By gradually removing the amount of food (natural), you will accustom to other food in about a week or two. Do not immediately try to abruptly switch to another feeding. This threatens with problems with the digestive system of a gentle dog.

Watch your drinking - the bowl of water should always be filled to the top. Change the water so that it does not stagnate and make sure that the dog drinks plenty of water. If this does not happen, you need to consult a veterinarian.

Natural nutrition

Yet many and many owners, about half of them remain of their opinion regarding the usefulness of the products. They believe that a natural menu is a storehouse of the most useful for a dog, it is a healthy diet that gives strength, and a dog on natural feeding looks even fresher and more well-groomed. Well, this is purely the opinion of each owner, but we will talk about which natural products are useful and which are harmful to shih tzu.

I immediately want to make a reservation and remove an unnecessary amount of food - do not give legumes, peas, pasta, river fish, pork meat, spicy, smoked, sweet. Quite a small list, but if you follow the rules, then the dog will not experience discomfort.

Based on the list, it is clear that you cannot give food from the table! By doing this, you spoil the Shih Tzu, which can lead to even worse consequences for the dog, God forbid, of course, but this is possible - it can be on the verge between life and death.

Feeding Shih Tzu with natural products is a special topic, it is worth devoting a lot of time to this issue. So, foods that are perfectly perceived by the dog, you can feed them:

  • Meat scalded with boiling water - beef and offal thereof;
  • Rabbit and turkey may be tried;
  • Cottage cheese, preferably homemade;
  • Marine fish, eggs;
  • Hercules, rice, buckwheat;
  • Vegetable stew, excluding potatoes.

Be careful with these products:

  • Fatty, salty;
  • Too hot or cold;
  • Milk;
  • Smoked, fried and farinaceous;
  • Sweets.

It's not for nothing that we included fish and an egg in one item - you need to give them once a week so as not to cause allergies. Porridges with meat are very well combined, it is in them that experienced dog breeders recommend including vitamin supplements. It should be noted that in light-haired Shitsu, buckwheat can turn the hairs pink, so then you will have to eat other cereals.

It is better not to give milk to a dog of this breed, it is poorly digested, but fermented milk products are a must. Pureed fruit is also good for shih tzu, as long as you know it's free of pesticides. And add vegetable oil to cereals with vegetables.

Many adhere to a separate diet, so they recommend Shih Tzu owners to give, for example, cereals in the morning, vegetables or fruits for lunch, and meat in the evening. But how many people, so many opinions. This applies to an adult dog, but what about a small puppy, let's figure out how to feed a puppy.

Puppy food

When the puppies are small and only 1 month old, they still depend on their mother and drink mother's milk. A two-three month old baby still eats semi-liquid food, similar in composition to milk. Puree vegetables, meat and cereals before grinding in a coffee grinder.

Now the quantity is as important as the quality of the food. Feeding the puppy takes place 5 times a day, do not forget about walks, sleep and proper rest are also important at this time. Gradually, by 5-6 months, feed the puppy already 4 or 3 times a day, and by the year, switch to two or three meals a day.

An approximate list of the diet is in the kennel, you need to stick to the food that the puppy received back there. The daily intake of food for a Shih Tzu puppy is 4-7% of its weight . You can easily select the amount when choosing dry food for the baby - it will also not be difficult to do.

Choose only premium food for small breeds and marked puppies.

Porridges at this age are best boiled with milk, and meat is also boiled, later you can simply pour boiling water over it.

Do not forget about the multivitamin complex containing phosphorus and calcium to be included in the nutrition for puppies. And about clean filtered water in large quantities, if the puppy is on a balanced diet. This does not mean that when eating natural, you should not drink, you should - but in much smaller quantities and always according to the needs of the puppy - make sure that the bowl is always filled.

How to feed a Shih Tzu: a puppy and an adult dog

Shih Tzu are luxurious dogs that once lived exclusively in the imperial chambers. Today, everyone can make such a four-legged friend, cheerful and sociable. But only if the owner surrounds the pet with care and love, provides him with quality care and good nutrition, the lion dog will look great and also feel good. How to feed a Shih Tzu so that he gets everything he needs and stays around for as long as possible?


  • 1. "Drying" or "natural": all the pros and cons
    • 1.1. Features of natural feeding
    • 1.2. Peculiarities of feeding with industrial rations
  • 2. Feeding a baby Shih Tzu depending on the pet's age
    • 2.1. 2 months
    • 2.2. 3 months
    • 2.3. 4 months
    • 2.4. 5 months
    • 2.5. 10-11 months
  • 3. Features of a natural diet
  • 4. Prohibited Foods
  • 5. The Best Dry Foods for Shih Tzu

"Drying" or "Natural": all the pros and cons

The first thing owners of a new four-legged friend face is the choice of type feeding. Many follow the simple path - follow the recommendations of the breeder and feed him the same. In this case, experienced dog breeders help to create the right menu or suggest which brand of dry food is most suitable for representatives of this breed.

Both types of feeding - "natural" or "drying" have both advantages and disadvantages, and they should be taken into account when choosing the best for your furry pet.

Features of natural feeding


  • products are cheaper compared to the cost of quality dry food;
  • the owner always knows what his dog eats;
  • food always fresh, properly cooked;
  • with the right menu, the dog's digestive system works perfectly.


  • cooking takes time;
  • Not all foods are suitable for feeding Shih Tzu - some are initially prohibited, others can cause an allergic reaction;
  • balancing the diet is not easy;
  • natural feeding requires additional vitamin and mineral supplements.

Features of feeding industrial rations


  • dry granules are a finished product that does not need to be cooked;
  • “drying” can be stored for a long time and purchased for future use;
  • the food contains everything necessary and in the right proportions - the dog does not need vitamins and supplements;
  • easy to dose;
  • If your dog has a food allergy, a hypoallergenic industrial dog food is the best option.


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  • cheap brands are not suitable for Shih Tzu, they will worsen the pet's health;
  • high-quality food is not cheap.
  • The choice of feeding type is only the first step, after which you will have to find out how many times the Shih Tzu should be fed.

    Feeding your baby Shih Tzu depending on the age of the pet

    When a baby enters a new home, he experiences a lot of stress. Experts recommend that owners not rush to change the diet of a new family member in order to speed up adaptation. It is advisable to feed the puppy for 2 weeks with the same food that he received in the previous family.

    Stress can cause digestive disorders, but in this case they are not a pathological reaction. However, the deficiency of useful components in puppies worsens the condition much faster than in adults.

    The less stress your dog gets, the better his health will be. It is important at this stage to give him a lot of attention and demand less. And setting a schedule and changing meals should be postponed for at least a couple of weeks. Puppies grow quickly, so every month their feeding undergoes a number of changes.

    2 months

    Until this age, the main food of the baby is breast milk, and from 4-6 weeks the breeder begins to introduce the first complementary foods into the menu. It can be wet food or calcined cottage cheese, milk and liquid cereals, it all depends on the type of feeding chosen. From 8 weeks, the offspring are introduced to real food, and puppies practically do not feed on mother's milk.

    3 months

    Responsible breeders do not transfer Shih Tzu puppies to new owners before 10-12 weeks of age. By this time, the crumbs are already able to eat on their own, and even with natural feeding, their diet is quite diverse.

    But the owners still have to introduce new products into the pet's menu - gradually, in small quantities. After the dog has eaten food unusual for him, you should observe for 2-3 days whether a negative reaction has manifested itself.

    A 3-month-old baby is fed 5 times a day, the daily rate is divided into several equal portions. If the pet has not finished eating food, it should be removed from the bowl, even if it is dry granules - this will teach the pet to adhere to the schedule.

    A clearly defined schedule makes it easier for the owner to plan the time of walking. In addition, the constant eating of food leads to a stretching of the stomach, and in the future the four-legged friend becomes a real glutton.

    4 months

    Pet can be switched to 4 meals a day. During this period, there is a change of teeth, so the baby needs microelements and vitamins more than usual. The rate of calcined foods is increased by reducing the amount of carbohydrate food. But the dog should receive the usual portion of protein food - meat, minced meat, offal, which make up at least 50% of the total diet.

    5 months

    The Shih Tzu puppy gets food three times a day. If the pet has a lack of mass, then 4 meals a day is stored until 6 months of age. New items continue to be added to the menu.

    10-11 months

    Puppy of this breed is transferred to adult 2 meals a day. When feeding with natural products, the menu becomes much more diverse. The puppy is allowed to give almost all the allowed food, but do it slowly and carefully monitoring the reaction of the body.

    The younger and healthier the dog, the easier it is to tolerate an allergic reaction, and the easier it is for the owner to stop its manifestations. In addition, at this stage, it is desirable to form a pet's diet, excluding all allergenic foods from it. Some representatives of the canine world are recommended to be fed only once a day, but this regimen is not suitable for Shih Tzu - an adult dog should receive food twice.

    Features of a natural diet

    Despite the popularity of dry food, many Shih Tzu owners choose to feed their pet with natural products. Experts approve of this decision, only the owner will have to take care of additional dressings - it is worth consulting with a veterinarian about their selection. It is important to avoid deficiency or excess of vitamins and minerals - in both cases, this will negatively affect the health of the pet.

    Shih Tzu's diet should be varied, 50% meat or offal, the rest - vegetables, cereals, fruits. Care should be taken to ensure the freshness of both ingredients and prepared meals. Dogs of this breed can be given the following types of offal - heart, stomachs, boiled beef liver, stomachs, ears, cartilage. It is useful to feed the dog with pieces of raw tripe.

    The ideal meat for the Shih Tzu menu is beef and veal. You can also include rabbit meat, turkey, lean lamb in the diet. With chicken, you should be careful - in some dogs, it provokes an allergic reaction. A couple of times a week, the meat part can be replaced with fish - low-fat sea, boiled or stewed, but always pitted.

    Porridges for pets are boiled in water or broth - fish, meat, vegetable. They can be prepared from rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, hercules. The following dishes are excellent food for Shih Tzu:

    • vegetable and meat stew;
    • well-cooked porridges with meat;
    • raw chopped vegetables with pieces of raw meat seasoned with vegetable oil;
    • cereals with minced raw meat;
    • cuts of meat or pieces of offal;
    • porridge with boiled fish;
    • vegetable stew with fish and vegetable oil;
    • curd mass with boiled fish;
    • grated mass of raw vegetables with the addition of finely chopped boiled egg, seasoned with vegetable oil;
    • cottage cheese casserole.

    Eggs are given to the dog infrequently, 1-2 times a week, one serving - 1 chicken or 2 quail eggs. Several times a week, you can treat the dog with pieces of low-fat hard cheese.

    Useful for digestion are fermented milk products - kefir, fermented baked milk, curdled milk, yogurt. It should be food without artificial additives, low fat. But it is undesirable to give milk to an adult dog, as it can cause intestinal upset.

    As for vegetables, almost all of them are suitable for feeding Shih Tzu. Zucchini, cabbage, pumpkin, carrots, beets are especially useful for dogs. It is also recommended to add chopped fresh herbs to dishes.

    Fruits are an excellent delicacy for dogs of this breed, they can be used to prepare salads dressed with a little olive oil. But you should be more careful - some fruits and berries are not suitable for dogs, and even allowed fruits should be consumed in limited quantities.

    Sea kale, fish oil, powdered egg shells, bone meal are suitable for Shih Tzu. In addition, the veterinarian will select a suitable vitamin and mineral complex that will help replenish the animal's body with the necessary elements during the off-season.

    Prohibited foods

    Dogs are different from humans, and what is good for people can not always be given to dogs. The owner of this amazing dog should definitely get acquainted with the list of foods that are strictly prohibited for feeding:

    1. Bones - representatives of this breed do not have a very strong dentoalveolar system, so chewing the bones will be an unnecessarily strong load for it. In addition, bones from fish or chicken can damage the organs of the digestive tract - scratch or pierce the walls.
    2. Raw fish is often a source of parasites, therefore it requires mandatory heat treatment, but it is not recommended to feed the dog with river fish in any form, as it is excessively bony.
    3. Milk is an ideal food for puppies, but the body of an adult animal practically does not digest lactose, so it is advisable to replace this drink with fermented milk products.
    4. Sausages, smoked meats - even their benefits for humans can be doubted, but they are definitely harmful to dogs, as they contain artificial additives that harm the liver of dogs and disrupt the digestive processes.
    5. Confectionery - chocolates, sweets and other foods containing sugar negatively affect the pet's vision, weight and metabolic processes. No matter how the pet begs for sweets, you can’t give him such products.
    6. Salt - the use of this seasoning provokes a violation of the water and electrolyte balance in the animal's body, which can cause convulsions and even heart failure.
    7. Coffee - the body of pets is more sensitive to caffeine, so it can cause arrhythmia, hypertension, seizures, vomiting.
    8. Alcohol - the use of even a small amount causes poisoning with all the accompanying manifestations of serious intoxication.
    9. Macadamia nut - contains substances that are strong toxins for animals. After eating a piece, the dog after a while will feel the symptoms of intoxication.
    10. Grapes - contains substances that adversely affect the functioning of the dog's kidneys. This berry can cause fermentation in the intestines.

    It is desirable for the owner to protect the dog from eating junk food, which will save the pet from negative consequences.

    Best Shih Tzu dry food

    When choosing industrial rations for feeding a pet, the owner should pay attention to brands trusted by professionals. These are premium and super-premium products that are well balanced and consist of quality ingredients. In addition, in the lines of such diets there are always several hypoallergenic menus, special formulas for pregnant, lactating, elderly dogs, pets with health problems.

    The ideal industrial shih tzu pellets should be low in fat and protein. Usually this requirement is met by diets intended for small dogs belonging to decorative breeds.

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