Owner’s Guide to the best Dog Food for Shih Tzu

Known as lap-warmers, Shih Tzus are imperial dogs that are glamorous and intelligent!

While considered a toy breed, they can be active little pooches that excel at agility! Although, many lead sedentary lives.

Shih tzu dog waiting for the treats

This little Chrysanthemum Dog can benefit from high-quality kibble as they are prone to atopic dermatitis or skin disease.

Find out what are the most recommended diets for your Little Lion below.

Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus in 2021

  Dog Food Recipes Our Rating
 

Best Overall

Wellness Beef Stew Grain-Free Dog Food

  • Crafted with nutrient-rich veggies and premium real meat slow-cooked into a savory and palatable gravy
  • Developed with added minerals and vitamins to ensure dogs get a complete diet when consuming this wet dog food as a snack or as a meal
  • Free of grains, additives, artificial preservatives, fillers, and meat by-products
 

5

Best for Shih Tzu puppies Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Puppy Formula

  • Made without artificial colors, flavors, wheat, corn, or grains
  • Crafted K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics which help all dog breed’s immune system, digestion, and overall wellness and health
  • Has minerals and vitamins from superfoods and real fruits
 

5

Best for Adult Shih Tzus Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Crafted with whole grains to support proper absorption and nourish your dog’s digestive system
  • Made without soy, wheat, corn, chicken by-product meal, or has non-GMO ingredients
  • Uses high-quality real lamb as its protein source
5
 

Best for Senior Shih Tzus

Hill’s Science Diet, Adult 11+ Small Paws Recipe

  • Filled with essential nutrients such as Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and C for healthy immunity, shiny coat, and protects the brain
  • Made with easy-to-digest, high-quality, and natural ingredients
  • Has no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors
 

5

Best Budget Food for Shih Tzus Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed Formula

  • Free of soy, wheat, corn, as well as by-product meals
  • Has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin
  • Made with protein, healthy fats, and glucosamine for lean muscle mass, as well as mobility and joint health
5

21 best dog food brands for Shih Tzus by life stage

Some dog owners struggle with finding food that works for their Shih Tzus.

We’ve gathered the top dog foods that offer different features, such as high-fat content for puppies to give them adequate nutrition for growth, or carnitine for heart health in older dogs.

As you can see, dogs in different life stages require different nutrition, which is essential in giving them the best in life. Let’s start with our list.

Best puppy foods for Shih Tzus

Shih tzu puppy sitting on the grass
A little Shih tzu puppy sitting on the backyard – Image source

Puppies need a puppy formula with high amounts of protein and fat. These will help give their immunity a kick start and provide them with nourishment to grow healthy.

It should also be fortified with essential nutrients that will support their development throughout puppyhood.

1. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Dry Small Breed Puppy Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal
Type: Dry

This turkey, oatmeal, and salmon recipe from Wellness Complete Health is made with carefully selected ingredients that are all-natural and will support overall balanced nutrition.

Shih Tzu puppies will also enjoy those smaller kibbles for easier digestion.

Pros:

  • Fortified with probiotics, essential vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids
  • Made with no artificial preservatives, fillers, by-products, soy, wheat, and corn
  • Added calcium and phosphorus for dental and joint health

Cons:

  • Picky eaters may not be a fan of this recipe
  • One owner complained that the kibble size is not small enough for small breeds

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn
Type: Dry

If you’re looking for a puppy food that’s made specifically for Shih Tzus, try this option. It’s designed for Little Lions who are between the ages of 8 weeks and 10 months.

Royal Canin said this formula can help fight the illnesses Shih Tzu’s are prone to, such as osteoarthritis, heart issues, kidney problems, and cataracts.

Pros:

  • Has Vitamin A, DHA, and EPA for healthy coat and skin
  • Helps maintain a balanced intestinal flora and supports digestive health
  • Formulated with an exclusive complex of antioxidants that aids your pet’s natural defenses

Cons:

  • One pet parent said their dog has been on this diet since it was a puppy, but suddenly don’t like it, making them think something changed in the recipe

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Iams Proactive Health Puppy Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal
Type: Dry

Does your little doggo love chicken? Try this puppy formula that features just that!

Its premium protein source is from real meat, specifically farm-raised chickens, that can help her grow strong muscles as she goes from puppyhood to adulthood.

And since pups will benefit more if they drink their mom’s milk, IAMS designed this recipe to have the same 22 key nutrients that their mommy dog can give.

Pros:

  • Aids cognitive development with its Omega-3 DHA
  • Real chicken is its first ingredient
  • Offers all the nutrients growing puppies need

Cons:

  • Few dog owners said their fur babies didn’t like this particular recipe

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Puppy Formula

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Type: Dry

Does your fido prefer a different taste from the usual chicken flavor? If so, this recipe suitable for all breed sizes has roasted venison and bison as its source of protein!

It supports lean muscles, joints, and bones, and it also has prebiotics that promotes healthy digestion.

Pros:

  • Made without artificial colors, flavors, wheat, corn, or grains
  • Crafted K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics which helps with your dog’s immune system, digestion, and overall wellness and health
  • Has minerals and vitamins from superfoods and real fruits

Cons:

  • A few owners complained about the smell of the dog food and that their pets didn’t like this brand

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn
Type: Dry

If your fur buddy isn’t allergic to grains and poultry, she might like this high-protein recipe from Eukanuba.

It will help fuel your fido’s developing mind and body with its optimal levels of carbohydrates, optimized fats, DHA, phosphorus, and calcium.

Pros:

  • Provides balanced and complete nutrition for puppies until they’re 12 months old
  • Vitamin E for supporting the immune system’s development
  • Has prebiotics and natural fiber that aids with digestion

Cons:

  • Some pets didn’t like this recipe, while a few owners are concerned about the ingredients

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best dog food for Shih Tzu adults

Shih tzu looking at the empty bowl
A Shih Tzu dog checking the empty bowl if there’s a food – Image source

Once your Shih Tzu becomes an adult, she’ll need less calorie-dense food to help maintain her weight while getting all the essential, high-quality nutrients to stay fit and active.

It’s also best to feed her a diet that will help stave off any health issues to ensure the longevity of your pooch.

1. Wellness Beef Stew Grain-Free Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing
Type: Wet – Stew

You may have a Shih Tzu who prefers wet dog food over dry kibbles, and this option is worth checking out. It’s a recipe formulated by animal lovers, veterinarians, and nutritionists.

They made sure that breeds of all sizes would get the right nutritional balance.

Pros:

  • Crafted with nutrient-rich veggies and premium real meat slow-cooked into a savory and palatable gravy
  • Developed with added minerals and vitamins to ensure dogs get a complete diet when consuming this wet dog food as a snack or as a meal
  • Free of grains, additives, artificial preservatives, fillers, and meat by-products

Cons:

  • A few pet parents reported that their dogs got ill after trying this formula

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat
Type: Dry

Boost your dog’s healthy lifestyle and immune system with a nourishing recipe made for adult canines who are 1 to 6 years old.

It’s made with high-quality protein, wholesome ingredients that promote a shinier coat and healthier skin, muscle and bone strength, and more!

Pros:

  • Made with natural ingredients and has no preservatives, artificial flavors, or coloring
  • Has Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Manufactured in the U.S. to meet and exceed industry standards

Cons:

  • May trigger allergic reactions for canines who can’t eat poultry and grains

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Adult

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal
Type: Dry

This dog food is packed with fatty acids that include EPA and DHA that support your pupper’s health and well-being, as well as a nice shiny coat.

There’s also chicken fat, which provides a high-quality fat source to provide your doggo with energy.

Pros:

  • Has real deboned chicken as its main protein source
  • Crafted with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and hips
  • Offers balanced and complete nutrition for small, medium, and large breeds

Cons:

  • A few owners noted that their dogs turned their noses up at this food

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice
Type: Dry

Other than being tailored for your pooch’s well-being, this dog food also has smaller kibbles for small, miniature, and toy breeds.

It’s packed with natural fiber to support digestion, as well as essential antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

Pros:

  • Crafted with whole grains to support proper absorption and nourish your dog’s digestive system
  • Made without soy, wheat, corn, chicken by-product meal, or has non-GMO ingredients
  • Uses high-quality real lamb as its protein source

Cons:

  • This recipe might not work for all dogs who are picky eaters

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas
Type: Dry

Looking for a Blue Buffalo recipe specifically tailored for small breeds? You might want to consider this one.

Not only does it have the right blend of protein and carbs for your Shih Tzu, but it also has Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and the brand’s LifeSource Bits.

Pros:

  • Has no preservatives, artificial flavors, by-product meals, soy, corn, wheat, grains, or gluten
  • Made with real chicken as its first ingredient
  • The kibble size is designed for small canines

Cons:

  • Not all dogs are a fan of this recipe, especially picky eaters

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best dog food for Mini Shih Tzu (Teacup Shih Tzu)

Two adorable Shih tzu dogs
The two adorable Shih Tzu dogs waiting for their food – Image source

Breeders have often attempted to create smaller breeds, even from already small canines like the Shih Tzu!

The Mini Shih Tzu is not a separate breed, but it’s usually bred from runts or smaller dogs that are less than 7 lbs (3 kg) and are no taller than 6 inches (15 cm) tall.

They don’t need to be fed as much as their standard-sized counterparts, and can also be prone to health issues. You want to feed them a high-quality kibble that features all-natural ingredients.

Check out the list we have to offer for Miniature Shih Tzus.

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed Formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice
Type: Dry

Designed for small dogs, this recipe is crafted with Blue Buffalo’s antioxidant-rich ingredients called Super 7 Package with added LifeSource Bits.

It also has chelated minerals and vitamins for immune system health.

Pros:

  • Free of soy, wheat, corn, as well as by-product meals
  • Has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin
  • Made with protein, healthy fats, and glucosamine for lean muscle mass, as well as mobility and joint health

Cons:

  • Some of the toy dogs who tried this dry dog food didn’t enjoy it. Some of the owners said the kibble is too small

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Instinct Original Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe

Instinct Original Small Breed Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Wet Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver
Type: Wet – Pate

If your Miniature Shih Tzu prefers bow-licking meals, satisfy that need with this gluten-free and grain-free dog food by Instinct.

It’s made with ingredients that are natural sources of omega fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, and meat in a yummy loaf texture.

Pros:

  • Crafted with real liver and chicken to help build lean, strong muscles
  • Free of preservatives, artificial colors, by-product meal, soy, wheat, corn, and potato
  • Specifically designed for extra small breeds

Cons:

  • One owner said they found sharp bone fragments in this wet dog food

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best dog food for Shih Tzu seniors

Senior Shih tzu inside the traveling basket
Meet CC, a senior Shih Tzu dog inside the traveling basket – Image source

Give your furry friend a dog food that’s suitable for her age bracket and requirements. Is she still able to chew properly? Does she need any additional supplements for her health?

Plenty of older Shih Tzus needs weight control support as they’re no longer the bouncing pup of yesteryears.

While you could get just about any wet food or senior kibble off Amazon, we’d highly suggest you check out the following products which are specially formulated for small breed seniors.

1. Wellness Complete Health Senior Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior Deboned Turkey & Peas Recipe

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice
Type: Dry

Dogs with bad teeth can also chow down on kibble as long as possible because of the dental health benefits.

The small kibbles provide easy chewing, plus it’s an excellent choice for dogs with digestive problems.

For extra picky eaters, you can mix this with their matching senior wet food.

Pros:

  • Helps with digestive problems and helps with weight control
  • Fortified with omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine
  • Designed to support optimal energy levels, a strong immune system, and healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Not all picky eaters are a fan of this dog food

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Hill’s Science Diet, Adult 11+ Small Paws Recipe

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 11+ Small & Toy Breed Age Defying Formula

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice
Type: Dry

Considerably low in protein, at only 18%. It’s ideal for sedentary dogs that don’t require a whole lot of calories. What it lacks in protein, it makes up for in essential nutrients.

Protect your aging pooch’s immune system with this food’s antioxidant blend with Vitamins E and C, and support digestive health with this recipe’s highly digestible protein and fiber.

Pros:

  • Filled with essential nutrients such as Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and C for healthy immunity, shiny coat, and protects the brain
  • Made with easy-to-digest, high-quality, and natural ingredients
  • Has no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors

Cons:

  • An owner said their dog easily got tired of this dry dog food, which can be from the taste or smell

CHECK PRICE HERE

Buyer’s guide for Shih Tzu dog foods

Two Shih tzu dogs excited for their dinner
The two excited Shih Tzu dogs waiting for their meal at the table – Image source

A well-balanced and right diet is the key to your dog’s healthy life while helping her manage any health problems she may have and improving her quality of life. It might even help extend your dog’s lifespan.

So keep an eye out for filler ingredients that don’t do any good for your dog. And while vitamins are a great addition, synthetic vitamins can be harmful.

Shih Tzu nutritional requirement: What to look for when buying food for my Shih Tzu

If you don’t know what to choose, try the big-name brands first. They are popular for a reason and often offer better accountability.

If you’re hesitant to try commercial dog food or would like to support locally made products, here are a few key factors to determine whether a dog food is of good quality or not.

Generally, protein content should range around 22 to 25% and 8 to 10% fat.

For seniors that are slowing down, they can make do with less. However, if your doggo still bounces around like he’s a young pup, you want to sustain that energy by feeding him dog food that’s high in calories.

Ingredients to avoid feeding your Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus can be quite sensitive to certain ingredients due to their delicate stomachs.

If they have food sensitivities or allergic reactions, it can make their eyes and skin itch, and you might notice hot spots forming if they aren’t fed a diet that suits them.

Here are a few common ingredients that can cause allergies in Shih Tzus.

  • Beef
  • Animal by-products
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Propylene glycol

Are grain-free diet options preferable for Shih Tzus?

Not all allergies are created equal. Your dog might be allergic to chicken but do fine with grains. It all boils down to what your dog can take and what triggers their allergies.

There’s no reason to cut out ingredients that are perfectly suited to your dog.

Furthermore, grain-free products have been linked to heart problems in Shih Tzus. Unless your dog needs it, grain-free shouldn’t be your first option.

Health & diet: Choosing the best dog food for Shih Tzus with health problems

The Shih Tzu might be considered a hypoallergenic breed, but this little dog can develop allergies on its own, like stomach sensitivities and skin problems.

They can also become overweight. Choosing a diet that will not trigger their health problems will go a long way in giving your dog a healthy life.

It will also be easier on your pocket if you don’t have to bear the cost of their treatment.

The right kibble can help with dental problems by scraping off the tartar buildup. The right formula will stave off obesity and trigger your Shih Tzu’s allergies. 

To find out whether your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, you can try the elimination method.

Remove the most common allergens, one at a time, for a minimum of two weeks and see whether your dog’s condition improves.

Some problems can be hereditary, though, and the best kibble in the world would not be able to help.

Eye injuries and infections are prevalent in this breed due to their umbilical and inguinal hernias, or over-crowded teeth.

The best way to prevent this is to acquire your puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue.

Best Shih Tzu Food For Weight Loss

Shih tzu being lazy while eating
A lazy Shih Tzu dog laying down while eating – Image source

Shih Tzus might be small but they can be quite greedy. These lap dogs aren’t known for their energy. They’re more than happy to just lay around all day, preferably on your lap.

If you can’t get your dog to move, there’s only one other thing that you can do: put him on a diet!

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Recipe

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice
Type: Dry

With only 16% protein, your doggie isn’t going to be putting on much weight with this limited-ingredient diet. Unfortunately, this formula isn’t suitable for dogs under the age of 7 years old.

It’s a good fit for older dogs with trouble chewing, as the kibble is small and can easily be softened with water.

Pros:

  • Made for adult dogs who are 7 years of age or older that can reach a maximum weight of 25 pounds (11 kg) once fully grown
  • Promotes vitality and energy with its synergistic blend of ingredients
  • Has Omega-6 fatty acids for coat and skin health, as well as Vitamin C, E, and antioxidants for a healthier immune system

Cons:

  • One owner complained that this dog food made his dog drink more water than usual

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Green Bean Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Type: Dry

This weight control diet is recommended for small breeds up to large breeds. It’s high protein yet low-fat and made with all-natural, easy-to-digest ingredients.

It promotes overall immune support and gut health with its holistic blend of probiotics, omega fatty acids, and functional superfoods.

Pros:

  • Its first ingredient is real chicken that’s cage-free
  • Made without ingredients that can trigger sensitivities like soy, wheat, corn, grains, or gluten
  • Specifically designed for breeds of all sizes needing a diet that will help them control their weight

Cons:

  • Some dogs won’t try this kibble, while one owner said their pup got sick

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best dog food for Shih Tzus with sensitive stomachs

Sick Shih tzu dog sleeping
A sick Shih Tzu dog sleeping tightly – Image source

The Chrysanthemum Dog can also be sensitive to certain foods. If you’re having trouble picking out one that works for your pup, dogs with sensitivities often do well on fish or limited-ingredient recipes.

Most importantly, you should choose one that comes with added prebiotics and probiotics for aided digestion.

1. DIAMOND NATURALS Small Breed Chicken and Rice Formula

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley
Type: Dry

Fortified with superfoods and fatty acids, Diamond Naturals focuses on delivering the best without compromising on ethical farming.

The birds used in their formulation are free-range chickens, so you can feed your buddy without feeling guilty about where their protein comes from.

Pros:

  • A nutrient-rich recipe that contains minerals, vitamins, and omega fatty acids that support your dog’s energy, coat, and skin health.
  • Packed with prebiotics and antioxidants that aid immune system health, digestion, and overall wellness
  • Pea-sized kibble perfect for tiny mouths

Cons:

  • Super picky eaters might not touch or try this dog food

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal
Type: Dry

If your dog is sensitive to grain, it can cause digestive problems. This grain-free option by Wellness CORE can give your dog the carbohydrates she needs without any fillers made from grain.

This can keep her allergies at bay, while still meeting her nutritional needs.

Pros:

  • Naturally sourced Omega-3 from salmon oil and flaxseed
  • Fortified with taurine, chondroitin, glucosamine, minerals, vitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants
  • Optimal calorie content for small breed dogs 

Cons:

  • One owner has experienced bad breath in their dog after switching to Wellness CORE, but it’s not a prevalent problem

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Dog Food For Shih Tzu With Allergies

A Shih tzu looking for more food
A Shih Tzu dog looking for other food – Image source

Not all Shih Tzus may have food sensitivities that can affect their stomach or have an allergic reaction, but it’s a common problem within the breed. 

Food allergies can be caused by almost any ingredient, but the most common are protein-based or grain. That’s why a grain-free, limited-ingredient recipe is your safest bet.

1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited-Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites Formula

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites Grain-Free Duck & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Duck, Duck Meal, Potatoes
Type: Dry

Designed for small jaws, Natural Balance has engineered this grain-free recipe with the help of board-certified clinical veterinarians, animal nutritionists, research scientists, design engineers, and pet feeding analysts.

It‘s made to be appealing to dogs in both flavor and texture, and efficient in delivering nutrients.

Pros:

  • Specially formulated for extra small and toy breeds
  • Ethically farm-raised duck is the first ingredient
  • Crafted for pups who suffer from sensitive digestion and is free of chicken, peas, grains, soy, wheat, and corn

Cons:

  • Some owners have complained that their dogs won’t touch this kibble
  • Causes bloat and gas in some dogs

CHECK PRICE HERE

The Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus with Skin Allergies

If your dog is showing signs of itchiness. Allergies can affect their eyes, ears, or skin. Typically, they develop infections due to excessive scratching.

On top of that, they might even exhibit coughing or other asthma-like symptoms.

A Shih tzu in the veterinary clinic for checkup
An ill Shih Tzu dog in the veterinary clinic for checkup – Image source

1. Avoderm Small Breed Dry Dog Food

AvoDerm Advanced Sensitive Support Lamb Formula Grain-Free Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Peas
Type: Dry

Avoderm offers digestive aid with a unique blend of fibers. This grain-free recipe will make your dog begging for more.

Dog owners have noticed how their dogs grow a thicker and healthier coat, and they chalk it all up to this product. It’s also favored by fussy eaters. A great all-rounder.

Pros:

  • A gluten-free and grain-free formula that helps with skin or stomach sensitivities
  • 100% free of artificial flavors, colors, by-product meals, soy, wheat, and corn
  • Specially made for canines under 20 pounds (9 kg)

Cons:

  • One reviewer said their dog won’t touch it

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Small Breed Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas
Type: Dry

This limited-ingredient dry dog food doesn’t have anything that can trigger allergies or food sensitivities. Aside from having a single source of animal protein, this low-carb diet is free of anything artificial and grains.

It’s also chicken-free, non-GMO, gluten- and pea-free, and low glycemic.

Pros:

  • Made in the US without any preservatives, artificial colors, soy, wheat, corn, pea protein, eggs, tapioca, or potatoes
  • Promotes immunity and gut health with its specially-formulated probiotics called Ganeden BC30
  • Offers a balanced and complete diet for small breeds in a smaller kibble

Cons:

  • A few owners noted that their dogs aren’t big fans of this kibble

CHECK PRICE HERE

Choosing the best dog food for your Shih Tzu can prevent illnesses

It’s important to note that these companion dogs tend to put on weight. Obesity can aggravate or cause health issues to develop.

The nutritional value and overall calories matter more than the type of food you’re feeding your dog. As long as your pooch is on a small breed formula, it should be able to sustain them well.

A certain kind of dog food, brand, or recipe is not a cure. But picking out that right one based on your canine friend’s weight, breed size, and metabolism can help her avoid potential diseases.

Shih Tzu Dog Food Choices: Should you give your Shih Tzu dry kibbles, wet food, raw diet, or homemade?

There are so many different options of pet food on the market. Some owners even resort to homemade meals. Dry food remains the most popular option as it is convenient.

Kibble size should suit their small frame because large kibbles pose a choking hazard for little dogs. It can also cause indigestion.

Wet food might be more appealing to fussy eaters, but it doesn’t have the same oral benefits that kibble provides.

Since Shih Tzus can be rather picky eaters, certain owners have no choice but to feed them wet or raw food. However, it should be mixed with some dry kibble to prevent tooth decay.

Fruits and vegetables your Shih Tzu can and cannot eat

Shih tzu dog guarding his banana toy
A Shih Tzu dog playing with his banana toy – Image source

Not all fruits and veggies are safe for your dog. Grapes, for instance, are incredibly toxic to them, even in small amounts.

Here are a couple of other foods you should avoid:

  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Avocado
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Nuts (macadamia in particular)
  • Coconut water

And these are the vegetables that are safe for your precious pooch:

A homemade recipe you can try for your Shih Tzu

Some owners believe that kibble and commercial dog food is overly processed, which is why they prefer supplementing with a home-cooked meal now and again. Here’s a quick meatloaf recipe for your furry friend. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups grated mixed vegetables
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉ (180°C)
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl 
  3. Press into a square pan
  4. Bake for 40 minutes
  5. Slice and serve! 

With this recipe, you can also freeze whatever’s left if you made a big batch.

Shih Tzu Feeding Chart

Shih tzu licking after eating the delicious treats
A Shih Tzu dog licking his nose after eating the delicious meal – Image source

Our dogs’ activity level, life stage, and even gender should be taken into consideration when deciding how much to feed them. Generally, they should be consuming 35 calories per pound of body weight.

Here’s a rough guideline for your reference, do note that the allocated food should be divided into two or three meals a day.

Adult Shih Tzu Feeding Chart
Activity level 4.4 – 6.6 lbs 
(2 – 3 kg)
6.6 lbs – 11 lbs
(3 – 5 kg)
11 lbs – 13.2 lbs
(5 – 6 kg)
Sedentary ¾ cup ⅞ cup 1 ⅛ cups
Moderate ⅞ cup 1 cup 1 ¼ cups
High 1 cup 1 ⅛ cups 1 ½ cups 

Young dogs need to be fed less dog food but more often than adult dogs. Shih Tzu puppies should be fed three to four times a day.

Transition: How to switch from puppy to adult dog food?

Making the switch is not hard at all. For seven days or longer, mix in the new kibble with the old.

Gradually change your dog’s diet by doing a 1:4 ratio, slowly adding less of the old kibble until you’ve completely transitioned to the new dog food.

Here’s a video to give a more visual on how to switch your Shih Tzu’s do food:

If you’re changing your dog’s diet due to medical reasons, always follow your vet’s advice on how to make the switch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Confused Shih tzu dog
A Shih Tzu dog looking confused- Image source

Do Shih Tzus need supplements? 

A dog on a well-rounded diet shouldn’t need any supplements at all. Unless recommended by your vet, all you’re doing when you purchase additional supplements or vitamins are paying for the company’s advertising fees.

Don’t give in to the marketing tactics of manufacturers telling you that your dog needs certain supplements to be healthy.

What human foods can Shih Tzus eat?

Here’s a list of dog-friendly human foods that your pooch can share. 

  • White rice
  • Unseasoned and cooked meat (fish, chicken, lamb, etc)
  • Peanut butter (check for xylitol)
  • Plain popcorn
  • Pain pasta

One of the human foods we enjoy that are lethal to pets is chocolate. You also want to avoid feeding them salted or seasoned foods.

Leave the curries and chips for your human friends. They also shouldn’t take caffeine or anything with alcohol.

Is cheese OK for Shih Tzus?

Yes, dairy products are fine in small amounts. Allowing your dog to gorge excessively on cheese or milk can cause stomach problems because dogs aren’t great at digesting lactose.

If your dogs vomit after ingesting dairy products, they might be lactose intolerant and should stay away from yogurt, milk, or cheese.

Can Shih Tzu eat tuna?

Yes, because fish is a great source of omega oils that can help with brain development in puppies and cognition in seniors. To top it all off, it also helps keep your Shih Tzu’s skin clear and coat shiny!

Make sure that the tuna is uncontaminated and not diseased before giving it to your pup, especially if you’re feeding it raw because raw meat can contain parasites.

Your best bet is to buy it from sashimi experts or your favorite sushi store.

Can I feed raw meat to a Shih Tzu?

Raw protein is always welcomed in a dog’s diet but you have to be wary of where the meat comes from.

If you can’t be sure that it’s healthy, human-grade meat, it’s best to cook it to get rid of any viruses or bacteria that might have infested the meat.

How do I change my Shih Tzu dog’s diet?

You should always do it gradually, whether it’s just changing brands, recipes, or transitioning to an age-appropriate diet.

Checking their stools is an easy and accurate way of seeing whether the new diet sits well with them. A suitable diet will provide firm, brown stools which should not have any undigested food.

Can certain dog food help reduce shedding in my Shih Tzu? 

The Lion Dog is fluffy but they are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed much. Omega oils can help keep their coat shiny and healthy.

If you notice excessive shedding or bald patches, it can be due to food allergies or underlying health issues such as mange or Alopecia X. If it’s due to food allergies, eliminating certain types of food might help.

Why is my Shih Tzu not eating? 

Some dogs are just picky eaters. If your dog’s not eating, he’s been spoiled with too much yummy human food or treats.

Stop giving him any table scraps and ensure that he has a fixed feeding schedule. Put down his food for 20 minutes and remove whatever’s left. Don’t feed him anything else until he begins to eat his food again. 

Dogs will never allow themselves to starve and will eventually get around to eating the kibble that they are given.

What time should I feed my Shih Tzu?

The best time to feed your dog is once in the morning and once in the evening. According to renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan, dogs need to work for their food.

Rewarding them before they have a chance to do anything will confuse them and make them anxious. It could also be one of the reasons why your dog won’t eat.

You should also never allow your dog to eat before you because this gives them the wrong impression that they are the alpha dog, not you.

Best dog treats for Shih Tzus

Shih tzu looking for the treat
A Shih Tzu dog patiently waiting for the treat – Image source

When choosing treats for small breeds like the Shih Tzu, consider the purpose of the treat. If it’s for training, pick one that’s soft, small, and low in calories.

If you just want to give your dog something to chew on in their spare time to alleviate boredom or to clean their teeth, you should be looking for something a bit more durable.

  1. Bones & Chews Made in USA Roasted Marrow Bone 6″ Dog Treat
  2. Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Lamb & Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dog Treats
  3. American Journey Peanut Butter Recipe Grain-Free Oven Baked Crunchy Biscuit Dog Treats
  4. Milk-Bone Mini’s Flavor Snacks Beef, Chicken & Bacon Flavored Biscuit Dog Treats

What makes dog food good for Shih Tzus? 

Shih tzu dog bringing the food bowl asking for food
A Shih Tzu dog bringing the food bowl – Image source

The best dog food is one that suits your Shih Tzu’s needs, weight, age, metabolism, and health. Now, just because it works for your Little Lion doesn’t mean it’ll suit all Shih Tzus.

It’s important to look at your dog when evaluating dog food. The quality of their coat, to the color and consistency of their waste, can give you an idea of whether the dog food agrees with them.

What do you think is the best dog food for Shih Tzus? Let us know in the comments below.

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