Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Review
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10 Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus in 2021

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Shih Tzu, also known as the lion dog in Chinese history, is an adorable toy breed with soft fur, big eyes, and tiny wiggling noses. What makes them even more appealing is their puffy coats that require extensive care from time to time. They are beautiful companions that tend to live long, as long as they receive proper care. If you have a Shih Tzu, then you’re most likely aware of their alluring big brown eyes that make you swoon for them. More than that, you’re also aware that they can be a bit high maintenance when it comes to their health and nutrition.

Vet Approved Content
  • Sara Redding Ochoa DVM
  • Certified content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.

    Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

One crucial step in caring for a Shih Tzu is to provide them with an adequate diet, especially since some can have sensitive stomachs. So, what do Shih Tzus eat? And what kind of food for Shih Tzu should you avoid feeding them?

Before you find the answers to these questions, check out our top 10 list for the best dog food for Shih Tzus in 2021.

You may also like: Top rated cheap dog food products.

View The Best Dog Food For Shih Tzus Below

1. Farmer’s Dog Food

the farmers dog food

Product Specifications

  • Brand: The Farmer’s Dog
  • Lifestage: All Life Stages
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free

Our Review

Human-grade ingredients are always the top choice for your dog. This ensures your Shih-Tzus will get the number one choice of food even you could enjoy. Even the best dog foods for your Shih Tzu breed may not live up to the standard of food quality for humans, so Farmer’s Dog Food is our top choice. Your dog will love the freshly cooked meals from real ingredients with minimal processing.

The best part about this grain-free dog food is each recipe is tailored for your dog. Input your Shih Tzus weight, age, and taste preference, and Farmer’s Dog Food will do the rest to meet their energy levels! Each recipe is delivered to your door and served to your baby fresh. This makes Farmer’s Dog Food one of the best dog foods for your Shih Tzu.

Ingredients

USDA turkey, parsnips, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, spinach, fish oil, vitamins & minerals [tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin B12 supplement, taurine, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin…

Pros:

+ Freshly cooked
+ Minimal processing
+ Human-grade ingredients
+ Tailor-made
+ #1 source of protein is from fresh animal meat
+ Vet-approved

Cons:

– Has shorter shelf life because it is made fresh
– Farmer’s Dog Food contains high carbs

Nutrition Information:

Protein27%
Carbs37%
Fat36%

Why We Like It – Farmer’s Dog Food sits at the top spot on our list for canine foods for your Shih Tzus because of the fresh and real ingredients used and nutrient-packed recipes.

2. Wild Earth Dog Food

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Wild Earth
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds
  • Total Weight: 18.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: Vegan

Our Review

Wild Earth Dog FoodWild Earth Dog Food is jam-packed with protein and enough energy for your excitable Shih Tzus. What’s important to note is that your Shih Tzus deserve the highest quality food, and the top dog foods never have any unneeded fillers or artificial ingredients. This is a promise from Wild Earth, a brand that takes care of your small breed. The recipes are formulated by pet nutritionists, and the ratios are all backed by science.

Not only is clean protein the optimal choice in dry dog food, but it’s also recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs. In addition, the clean ingredients will meet your puppy or adult pup energy levels and offer digestive support for your small breed dog.

Ingredients

Dried Yeast, Chickpeas, Oats, Peas, Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Sweet Potato, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Flaxseed Meal, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Marine Microalgae…

Pros:

+ Balanced small breed dry dog food
+ Clean protein
+ 100% money-back guarantee
+ Great for sensitive stomachs
+ Vet-formulated
+ Ecologically sustainable with plant-based protein

Cons:

– A no meat-diet is not favorable to some dogs
– With processed canola oil which is not considered a healthy option

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3557 kcal/kg 333 kcal/cup
Crude Protein31% min
Crude Fat10.5% min
Crude Fiber5% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids1.0% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.0% min
Moisture10% max

Why We Like It – Wild Earth Dog Food is a superb food to feed your beloved Shih Tzu. With a complete and balanced diet for your small breed, you can ensure that your dog gets the best nutritional value in their food.

3.  Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Mix

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Extra Small & Toy Breeds, Small Breeds
  • Total Weight: 10.0 pounds

Our Review

When looking for the best dog foods for your Shih Tzu pups, we definitely have to consider this Royal Canin Shih Tzu food that has been developed with the toy dog breed in mind. It helps reduce tartar with the help of Calcium chelators and appropriate kibble size. Since teeth and mouth issues are commonly found in small dogs, this diet has the toy dog breed’s best in mind.

This Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult dry food for adult Shih Tzu’s supports a healthy coat and skin. It also includes ingredients to promote the reduction of stool and odor. This dog food is for 10 months, mid, and senior Shih Tzu.

Got a senior dog? Orijen dog food for seniors is a fantastic choice.

Ingredients

Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat, Oat Groats, Wheat Gluten, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dl-Methionine, L-Tyrosine, Fructooligosaccharides, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Salt, Taurine, Vitamins…

Pros:

+ Made especially for Shih Tzus
+ Promotes teeth, mouth, and gum health
+ Stool and odor-reducing
+ Small kibble size
+ Enriched with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat nutrition

Cons:

– Not for fussy eaters
– A little pricey
– The only source of animal protein is the chicken by-product meal

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3,905 kcal/kg, 355 kcal/cup
Crude Protein22.0% min
Crude Fat18.0% min
Crude Fiber4.3.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.57% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.43.0% min
Moisture10.0% max

Why We Liked It – Like many other small dogs – a Shih Tzu can be quite a picky eater. This Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult dry dog food caters to their exact needs. The manufacturer clearly knows how to charm a small fuzzy eater into eating!


4. Royal Canin Breed Specific Health Nutrition Shih Tzu Loaf in Sauce

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breed
  • Total Weight: 12 ounces

Our Review

If your beloved pup is one of those that won’t eat unless there is something soft, mushy and juicy added to the kibble – then this breed formula could be a solution! This recommended Royal Canin breed-specific dog food for your adult Shih Tzu dogs is a soft blend of irresistible goodness filled with vitamins and minerals. This Royal Canin food also has ingredients that promote cardiac health and healthy coats and skin.

This Royal Canin breed formula has been uniquely developed to provide the Shih Tzus with all the nutrients they need.

You might also like: Top foods for Yorkshire Terriers.

Ingredients

Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Chicken, Chicken By-Products, Pork Liver, Corn Flour, Powdered Cellulose, Vegetable Oil, Fish Oil, Carrageenan, Natural Flavors, Carob Bean Gum, Potassium Phosphate, Taurine…

Pros:

+ Soft and easy to chew
+ Promotes a healthy heart
+ Rich in vitamins and minerals
+ Meaty taste for picky pups
+ With EPA, DHA, and Vitamin A to support skin nourishment
+ Includes sodium, taurine, and L-carnitine that promotes a healthy heart

Cons:

– Has a strong order your pooch may not like
– Not suitable for diabetic Shih Tzus because of the high fat content

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content932 kcal/kg; 79 kcal/can
Crude Protein6.5% min
Crude Fat4.6% min
Crude Fiber2.3% max
Moisture81.5%.max

Why We Liked It – Finding the best dog food for a Shih Tzu can be challenging, especially if your four-legged friend is a picky eater. This mushy and delicious pet food is perfect for mixing in with kibble or feeding on its own to make sure they get the nutrition they need.

Don’t want meat? Try Vegan doggy treats.


5. Nutro WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS for Small & Toy Breeds

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Nutro
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Extra Small & Toy Breeds, Small Breeds
  • Total Weight: 13.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Non-GMO

Our Review

Nutro WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS is a real chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato formula/toy breed recipe that is good dog food for Shih Tzus. This toy dog breed recipe contains Omega fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are great for healthy coat and skin. The number one ingredient is meat (real chicken) – something you always want to look for when choosing dog food products.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride…

Pros:

+ First ingredient is a high-quality protein source
+ With fatty acids such as omega 3 and Omega 6
+ Great for improved fur quality
+ Natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joints
+ No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
+ Good balance of meat and vegetables

Cons:

– Sudden change in diet may cause diarrhea because of the new formula. (Make a gradual transition to this food to avoid this)
– Not recommended for dogs with a sensitive stomach

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3752 kcal/kg, 352 kcal/cup
Crude Protein24.0% min
Crude Fat16.0% min
Crude Fiber3.5% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.2% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Moisture10.0% max

Why We Like It – This best dog food for your Shih Tzu pups is a great way to ensure they get the nutrients they need. Thanks to the high content of healthy fatty acids and vegetables like celery in this Nutro Wholesome Essentials dog food for Small & Toy Breeds.

Need a new bowl for your lovely pup? Find your pups’ next ideal dog bowl.


6. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, All Breeds
  • Total Weight: 26.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy

Our Review

Looking for the best Shih Tzu food that is also grain-free? The Rachael Ray brand uses only quality ingredients, which Rachael Ray herself would consider using in her own kitchen. So get the best out of this food that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It is also gluten-free with no unnecessary fillers, and it has U.S farm-raised turkey as its first ingredient.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain also contains turkey meal and chicken meal as its second and third ingredients, which are very protein-rich. They work great in combination with the top-quality legumes and vegetables that are also part of the kibble composition.

Ingredients

Turkey, Chicken Meal, Whole Dried Potato, Sunflower Meal, Dried Peas, Pea Starch, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Menhaden Fish Meal, Salt, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Taurine…

Pros:

+ Grain and filler-free
+ High-quality ingredients
+ No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
+ Two first ingredients are meat
+ With essential amino acids and B vitamins
+ Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and shiny coat

Cons:

– Has low-calorie count which can lead to weight loss; perfect for dogs going on a diet

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3,370 kcal/kg, 345 kcal/cup
Crude Protein26.0% min
Crude Fat14.0% min
Crude Fiber5.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids1.0% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Moisture10.0% max

Why We Liked It – Rachael Ray is all about making quality dog food, and that’s exactly what you’ll want to find when looking for good dry dog food for your Shih Tzu.


7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, All Breeds
  • Total Weight: 24.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: Sensitive Digestion, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Chicken-Free

Our Review

Finding the best dog food for your Shih Tzu with food allergies can be exhausting. This product uses limited ingredients, restricting the components used in the kibble, which makes it easier to eliminate whatever it is that your pup is allergic to.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food contains a sweet potato formula, which is highly digestible for dogs. It is an excellent Shih Tzu puppy food and excellent food for adult dogs with food sensitivities.

Ingredients

Duck, Duck Meal, Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Brewers Dried Yeast, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Dl-methionine…

Pros:

+ Limited animal protein sources
+ 100% free from grains, no fillers, and no artificial colors and flavors
+ Promotes healthy digestion
+ Offers complete and balanced nutrition for an adult dog
+ Provides essential amino acids to support healthy muscles

Cons:

– A little bit pricey
– Formula change can cause an upset stomach because of the sudden change in diet

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3431 kcal/kg, 370 kcal/cup
Crude Protein24.0% min
Crude Fat10.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids1.5% min
Moisture10.0% max
Calcium0.8% min
Vitamin E50 IU/kg min

Why We Liked It – This product makes it to our top 10 list because it can be used for both puppies and adults, which means you don’t have to switch out their pet food as they grow. It is also recommended for sensitive stomachs and for dogs with allergies because of its limited ingredient recipe.


8. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Wellness CORE, WellPet
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, All Breeds
  • Total Weight: 26.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, Gluten Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein

Our Review

This grain-free food for Shih Tzu pups has meat products listed as its first three ingredients, which is a good sign of it having enough protein to properly fulfill your fur baby’s needs. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is full of prebiotics, fiber, live active probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. This dog food has a complete package of benefits for your dog. It promotes eye and mouth health, strengthens the immune system, and improves overall health. It is made with natural ingredients, the way good Shih Tzu dog food should be made, and it is full of delicious flavor, which your four-legged friend is sure to love.

Ingredients

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Lentils, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale…

Pros:

+ Grain and gluten-free
+ Made with natural ingredients
+ Premium source of protein such as turkey, chicken, salmon oil, fruits, and vegetables
+ With glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
+ Strengthens the immune system
+ No meat by-products, fillers, corn, wheat gluten, soy or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Cons:

– A little expensive compared to other dog foods
– This product does not come in resealable bags

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3,698 kcal/kg or 417 kcal/cup ME
Crude Protein34.0% min
Crude Fat16.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.25% min
Moisture10.0% max
Calcium2.0% max
Vitamin E400 IU/k

Why We Liked It – The best diet for these dogs is, without doubt, a natural limited ingredients diet. This product offers an all-natural concept, with added vitamins, minerals, and more for your pup to eat like the king or queen they are!

Read our full Wellness Core review here.


9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, All Breeds
  • Total Weight: 40.0 pounds
  • Special Diet: Gluten-Free

Our Review

When trying to decide what to feed these lion dogs, this brand is one worth considering. The Rachael Ray Natural’s Dry kibble is dry dog food made with wholesome ingredients that live up to human food standards. You can find real beef, brown rice, peas, carrots, and plenty of vitamins and minerals on the ingredient list.

It is a good option for the best food for a Shih Tzu puppy and an adult Shih Tzu. Another great thing about buying this Rachael Ray product is part of the profit is donated to pet charities and animal rescue organizations.

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Meal, Soybean Meal, Whole Corn, Grain Sorghum, Dried Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Corn Protein Concentrate, Brown Rice, Pea Starch, Natural Flavor, Salt, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Carrots, Malted Barley Flour, Inulin, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin…

Pros:

+ Real beef is the first ingredient
+ Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
+ Money donated to animal rescue organizations
+ Made with natural ingredients
+ No poultry by-product meals and no fillers
+ With fiber sources like peas and brown rice that aids healthy digestion

Cons:

– Food comes in hard chunks but you can fix that by mixing 1/4 cup of water to 2 cups of Rachael Ray Nutrish
– Kibble size may be hard to chew for a small dog

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content3508 kcal/kg, 326 kcal/cup
Crude Protein25.0% min
Crude Fat14.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Calcium1.2% min
Vitamin E75 IU/kg min
Moisture10.0% max

Why We Liked It – When giving food to a small breed like Shih Tzus, it needs to be high-quality and nutritious since they are active dogs prone to some health issues. These health issues can be prevented with good nutrition. We also like that this product is made with ingredients that are fit for human consumption.


10. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Wet Canned Dog Food

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Product Specifications

  • Brand: Wellness CORE, WellPet
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds, Medium Breeds, Large Breeds, All Breeds
  • Total Weight: 12.5-oz
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Pea-Free

Our Review

Wet dog foods for Shih Tzu breed dogs can be a lifesaver, and few pups can resist the meaty taste of Wellness CORE! It is completely free from grains, animal by-products, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. In addition, the Omega fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, promote healthy cellular activity, an extra shiny coat, and a stronger immune system. This is the Shi Tzu dog food that will keep your beloved lapdogs healthy and strong throughout their life stages regardless of energy levels.

Ingredients

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Pork Liver, Duck, Chicken Meal, Ground Flaxseed, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite…

Pros:

+ No animal by-products or artificial flavors
+ Packed with Omega-3, Omega-6, and vitamins
+ Premium protein from fresh meat ingredients
+ Wet food with an irresistible meat taste
+ Made in the U.S.
+ Infused with superfoods for a complete and balanced nutrition

Cons:

– Not an easy-open can with a pull tab lid
– A bit pricey

Nutrition Information:

Caloric Content1,311 kcal/kg or 464 kcal/can
Crude Protein12.0% min
Crude Fat7.5% min
Crude Fiber0.5% max
Moisture78.0% max

Why We Liked It – This wet Shih Tzu favorite food (to be) has all the nutrients of high-quality dry food for adult toy breeds but can be more appealing to fussy eaters. It can be used as Shitzu puppy food, adult dogs, or a topping or compliment to a balanced Shi Tzu limited ingredient diet.


A Buyer’s Guide to Dog Food for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are adorable and fluffy dogs that have the ability to charm just about anyone, but any Shih Tzu owner knows that they are also very strong-willed dogs, and many times also incredibly picky when it comes to eating. You could present your new puppy with the best Shih Tzu puppy dry dog food there is, and he and she might still not like it!

That is why we made the list above to help you pick out the right canine food for your beloved Shih Tzu. More than that, we prepared a buyer’s guide for fur parents like you to help you determine the essentials in buying food that will support your pup’s overall health.

Nutritional Needs of a Shih Tzu

A Buyer’s Guide to Dog Food for Shih Tzus
Image by tookapic, silviarita, and Ирина Александрова from Pixabay

Like other dog breeds, Shih Tzus need a proper and balanced diet to achieve optimal health. They’re very active and energetic dogs that exercise isn’t much of a requirement for them because Shih Tzus do a pretty good job of that themselves by being active. But of course, to match their activity level, they need food supplemented with vitamins and minerals to keep them on the go and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Protein

For active small dogs like Shih Tzus, getting high-quality protein is one of the essentials that should be included in their diet. Protein helps support lean muscle mass for your pooch and strengthen their immune health. When picking food for your Shih Tzu, look out for dog foods that list meat in one of their first three ingredients. You can get high-quality protein from animal meat like lamb, turkey, and chicken or organ meat such as liver, kidney, or heart. Meat meal products, such as deboned chicken, chicken meal, lamb meal, or turkey meal, are also high-quality protein sources great to be included in the first three ingredients.

Carbs

A balanced diet for dogs includes carbohydrates. Carbs are responsible for supplying your dog with a sufficient amount of energy. Now, if you’re taking care of a Shih Tzu puppy, it’s most likely they have high activity levels compared to an adult or an old Shih Tzu. Giving your dog food with an adequate amount of carbohydrates will replenish their energy levels. Some good carbohydrates are brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat or whole corn.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a few of the human foods that dogs can eat. However, based on American Kennel Club, not all fruits and veggies are healthy for dogs, and it’s better if you’re aware of those that are safe for your pup.

Fruits like apples, blueberries, watermelon, pears, peaches, or strawberries are safe for Shih Tzus, as long as fed in small amounts. Meanwhile, fruits that are not allowed for Shih Tzus are tomatoes, grapes, cherries, and avocado. Fruit seeds from apples and pears are also not safe to be ingested by pups. Make sure that when feeding them an apple, remove the seeds to avoid unwanted health problems.

Some vegetables like broccoli, carrots, green beans, celery, peas, and spinach are safe for a dog to eat. On the other hand, onion, mushrooms, and asparagus are not.

Supplements

Adding supplements in your Shih Tzu’s diet ensures that they receive all the necessary nutrients they need that food can’t provide. Hip Dysplasia and Patellar Luxation are two of the health issues Shih Tzus are prone to. Calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, glucosamine, and chondroitin are vitamins that will help maintain your dog’s strong bones and healthy joints. Meanwhile, to preserve your pupper’s memory, antioxidants Vitamin C and E are what your dog needs.

It’s not always that dog food can provide all the necessary vitamins to support a dog’s health. That’s why vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes added to their diet. Consult your vet to see what kind of supplement your Shih Tzu will need depending on their age, weight, health, and activity levels.

Main Health Problems of Shih Tzus

Main Health Problems of Shih Tzus
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Being a responsible owner means having an awareness of possible health issues your Shih Tzu may experience. Although Shih Tzus are naturally healthy breeders, they can still suffer from unfortunate illnesses. As their fur parent, you should be aware of these common health problems of Shih Tzus so that you can take extra precautions when caring for your precious pooch.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an illness that can affect your dog’s sight, from mild visual blindness to total blindness. If you notice your pup getting clumsy and always stumbling into things, consult your vet to ensure they’re not suffering from any visual impairment. As of now, there’s no known cure for PRA, but through the help of your vet, a mild visual impairment is still salvageable. Other signs of this disease are swollen eyes or redness.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is a genetic defect that is very common among toy breeds. Most of the time, they come unannounced, but if your Shih Tzu’s parents have the same defect, there’s a chance that the condition is passed on to your pupper. You can determine if your pooch is suffering from Patellar Luxation if they’re limping or hopping on one leg from time to time. A short explanation of how this happens is when your dog’s kneecaps get dislocated and pop out, possibly while they’re running or playing around. Treatment varies from case to case, and in some cases, this defect can either affect one or both knees.

Dental Issues

Shih Tzus need extra care for their teeth and gums when it comes to oral health because they’re very susceptible to developing dental issues. Gingivitis is one of the leading dental problems of Shih Tzus. According to VCA Hospitals, this is caused by plaque buildup where your dog is at risk of bacterial infection. Reduce tartar and plaque buildup in your dog’s teeth by constantly brushing their teeth or using pet toys and treats that are designed to protect your Shih Tzu from tartar buildup. This will help in preventing gum inflammation or Gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include tartar buildup, plaque buildup, swollen gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and difficulty eating.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Breathing problems are prevalent for Brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Chinese Pugs, Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers, and more. These are breeds to suffer from Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome resulting in difficulty breathing, panting, snoring, loud breathing, coughing, etc. They are called Brachycephalic breeds because of their heads’ physical appearance, flat-faced and short-boned in the face and nose. Because their airway passage is compressed and the air is constrained through their tiny noses, it is hard for them to breathe.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, in layman’s terms, is dry eyes. In Dr. Karen Shaw Becker’s analysis from an article in healthypets.mercola.com, this common eye condition is caused by dryness and inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva. This happens because of the lack of lubrication of the eyes from your dog’s tears. They get red eyes because the liquid that’s suppose to lubricate their eyes lacks water, and only oil and mucus are present. The symptoms of this eye condition are redness around the eye, yellow discharge, squinting, and pus discharge.

Common Allergies of Shih Tzus

Common Allergies of Shih Tzus
Image by Innviertlerin from Pixabay

20% of the dog population is allergic to at least one type of allergy. And the thing is, you can’t always immediately determine if your dog has an allergy. Most probably, your pooch would have to come in contact or be fed with the allergen before you can decide they’re allergic to something. That’s why if you’re keeping a Shih Tzu, it’s better if you’re aware of the type of allergies Shih Tzus are prone to.

Flea Allergies

Flea allergies are widespread during the summer, and any pet is at risk of suffering from flea allergies. Dogs that are allergic to a flea bite can develop skin irritation and eventually an infection. Signs and symptoms of a flea allergy include skin rash, bleeding spots, hair loss near the bite mark, red bumps, itching, biting, and scratching. The itching can last for more than 2 weeks, and your Shih Tzu’s skin can be severely damaged by then. For your Shih Tzu, the best way to do is consult your vet as soon as your pup shows signs of skin irritation.

Food Allergies

Allergic reactions that cause food allergies often come from additives that pet food manufacturers put in the food. Most of the time, these are from low-quality dog foods. Still, many brands, even popular ones, include additives such as artificial and chemical preservatives, coloring, or flavors in their dog food. Some dogs are highly allergic to wheat or gluten, so they avoid dog foods with gluten as much as possible. Meanwhile, on rare occasions, some dogs are allergic to meat or animal-based protein. In this case, vegan pet food is their best option. Similar to dogs that are allergic to grains, they can go for grain-free options instead.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are caused by airborne allergens such as pollens, dust mites, weeds, or grass. Aerosol spray or air fresheners are also possible causes of environmental allergies. Suppose you suspect your Shih Tzu has an environmental allergy. In that case, you’ll want to always keep your house clean and prevent them from going outdoors as much as possible. Limiting their exposure outside helps in avoiding any allergic reactions.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms will depend on your pooch’s specific allergy. However, as a general guideline, here are some signs and symptoms that can determine if your Shih Tzu is having an allergic reaction:

  • Irritated skin like itching, rash, or skin sores
  • Skin inflammation
  • Hair loss
  • Dry and dull coat
  • Glassy eyes
  • Teary eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Chronic ear infection
  • Upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Biting or scratching of their own skin

Most Important Things to Look for in Dog Food for Shih Tzu

Most Important Things to Look for in Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Images from Unsplash

Meat Content

It is important to ensure that the kibble or wet food you choose for your Shih Tzu has a high enough protein content. Protein is something which is mostly found in quality meat and some vegetables and legumes.

The three first ingredients are the ones you should pay attention to. You will want to see specific animal meat as the first ingredient listed. Beef lamb, turkey, and chicken are great examples of animal meat because you know the specific source of the protein. Unnamed sources of meat, however, are not trustworthy because the source could be unsafe. Food with ingredient lists that only indicates “meat,” “poultry,” or “meat meal by-product” are foods that you should avoid.

Skin and Coat Health

Shih Tzus are incredibly charming with their silky soft coats and properly groomed furs. Ensure that your pup gets the proper nutrition for their hair and opt for foods that protect their precious coats. The best Shih Tzu foods should have a good level of healthy vitamins, minerals, Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids that benefit both skin and coat health. Good sources of Omega fatty acids are fish oil from salmon or sardines. Other sources include corn oil, soybean oil, or animal fats.

Kibble Size

Again, thinking about how Shih Tzus are picky eaters, it will get easier if picking a kibble with appropriate bite size. This makes eating less of a hassle for the dog, and it can also benefit their teeth and gum.

Dry vs. Wet Food

Feeding your Shih Tzu dogs wet or dry food is a personal choice since both can provide your pup with the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Feeding your Shih Tzus only wet dog food can get a little pricey. However, it is a great idea to top the kibble with delicious wet dog food and mix it together to satisfy your picky pupper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended calorie content to feed my Shih Tzu?

You can follow the table below as a general feeding guideline for your Shih Tzu.

Life Stage (Age)FrequencyTotal Calories Per DayIdeal Weight
Shih Tzu Puppies (0 – 1 year old)4 to 6 meals a day40 – 55 calories / lb of body weight2lb – 16lb
Adult Shih Tzu (1 – 9 years old)2 to 3 meals a day80 – 140 calories / lb of body weight9lb – 16lb
Senior Shih Tzu (9+ years old)1 to 2 meals a day80 – 140 calories / lb of body weight9lb – 16lb

What human foods can Shih Tzus eat?

Shih Tzus can eat the occasional human foods such as broccoli, carrots, eggs, apples, green beans, cheese, pumpkin, etc. But all of these should be taken in moderation, and before you feed your lovely Shih Tzu anything, make sure that they’re not allergic to the food you’re feeding them. Remember that some of these can’t be served raw to your pooch. Either cook or boil them first before feeding them to your Shih Tzu. Just be sure to talk to your vet first to see what kind of human foods are most beneficial for optimizing your dog’s overall health.

What are Shih Tzu foods to avoid?

Treat your fur baby like royalty and avoid low-quality food with unnecessary fillers that do little or nothing for your dog, like corn or wheat. As much as possible, refrain from feeding your Shih Tzu with foods that are high in additives or include chemical and artificial preservatives. Most of the time, these are triggers to skin or food allergies for dogs.

Avoid products with “animal by-products,” This is usually a low-quality protein source made up of whatever scraps are left over at a slaughterhouse. It can be anything from bone, bird beaks, and/or the meat that was deemed unfit for human consumption, so for the sake of your pup – avoid it altogether.

What is the best dog food to feed a Shih Tzu?

Consider the Royal Canin Dog Food Shih Tzu Dry Mix since it is specially developed to be a good fit for the toy dog breed. All dog breeds are slightly different, and this product has all the ingredients to keep that flowing fur shiny and healthy. The kibble is appropriately sized, and it has a flavor that is likely to appeal to a picky eater. It is tailored to fit the needs of a Shih Tzu, making it the perfect product for any Shih Tzu pet parents.

What is the best Shih Tzu puppy food?

We recommend Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet because it’s suitable for Shih Tzu puppies and adults. It’s also a limited ingredient formula which is excellent for Shih Tzus with sensitive stomachs and a smooth transition for puppies after stopping to receive milk from their mothers.

What is the best dog food for a Shih Tzu with food allergies?

Even here, ‘Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet’ is one of our top choices because of its single meat source and limited additional ingredients.

Related: Check out our article for 5 Best Hypoallergenic Food for Dogs with Skin Allergies.

What is the best dog food for Shih Tzus with sensitive stomachs?

The Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food has added prebiotics, live active probiotics and fiber. These are all known to help promote healthy digestion in both dogs and humans.

Conclusion

Dog food often comes in colorful and eye-catching bags and packages. It’s easy to be fooled by that big chunk of meat displayed on the front or by the text that reads “complete nutrition.” You can do the best thing for your Shih Tzu dog by knowing what ingredients to look for and avoid.

When looking for small breed dog foods for Shih Tzus, make sure you read the ingredients list rather than be pulled in by the colorful images.

Did You Know?

The toy dog breed is over 1,000 years old, originally comes from Tibet, and means ‘Little Lion’ in Mandarin. The lion is the king of the jungle, so why not treat your little lion-like the royalty we all know they are and feed them high-quality food that will allow your pup to thrive? The best dog food for Shih Tzus is only a short click away.

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