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Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Shih Tzu

by Scott Lipe
Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Shih Tzu

When it comes to dog food for Shih Tzus, it’s important to choose the right option to ensure optimal health for your furry friend. Shih Tzus have different nutritional needs based on their age, so selecting a food designed for their specific life stage is crucial. There are no official nutrient standards for this breed, so it’s important to choose a food that matches the AAFCO nutrient profile for your Shih Tzu’s age and stage of life.

The 3 Life Stages of a Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus, like all dogs, go through three distinct life stages: puppy, adult, and senior. Each stage has its own unique characteristics and nutritional needs that should be considered when choosing the right food for your Shih Tzu.

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During the puppy stage, Shih Tzus require a diet that is rich in calcium and protein to support their rapid growth and development. A high-quality puppy food formulated specifically for small breeds, such as Shih Tzus, is recommended during this stage. This will ensure that your puppy receives the necessary nutrients to build strong bones and muscles.

As Shih Tzus transition into adulthood, their nutritional needs shift towards a balanced diet that provides them with the energy they need for daily activities. Adult Shih Tzus should be fed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Look for a food that contains a good balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates to maintain their overall health.

When Shih Tzus reach the senior stage, their dietary requirements change once again. Senior Shih Tzus may have reduced activity levels and slower metabolisms, so it’s important to adjust their diet accordingly. Look for a senior dog food that is lower in calories but still provides adequate protein to support their aging bodies. Additionally, foods that contain joint-supporting ingredients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may be beneficial for senior Shih Tzus.

Table: Nutritional Needs by Life Stage

Life Stage Nutritional Needs
Puppy High in calcium and protein for growth
Adult Balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates for maintenance
Senior Lower in calories, adequate protein, and joint-supporting ingredients

Understanding the different life stages of a Shih Tzu is essential for choosing the right food to meet their specific nutritional needs. By providing them with appropriate nutrition at each stage, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu stays healthy and happy throughout their life.

Our Top Recommendations

dog food brands

When it comes to choosing the best dog food brands for your Shih Tzu, there are several options that have received positive reviews from experts. These brands offer a variety of choices that cater to different life stages and preferences, ensuring that your Shih Tzu receives a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Here are our top recommendations:

  1. Nutro Ultra Small Breed
  2. Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  3. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy
  4. Raised Right Dog Food
  5. Health Extension Little Bites
  6. Merrick Lil’ Plates Wet Food
  7. Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed

These brands have been praised for their quality ingredients and commitment to providing optimal nutrition for small breeds like Shih Tzus. Nutro Ultra Small Breed offers a blend of real chicken, lamb, and salmon, along with whole grains and fruits. Ollie Fresh Dog Food delivers fresh, human-grade ingredients tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy provides a formula designed to support healthy growth and development with real meat as the first ingredient. Raised Right Dog Food offers a humanely raised, ethically sourced, and scientifically balanced diet. Health Extension Little Bites features a variety of flavors and is made with natural ingredients. Merrick Lil’ Plates Wet Food and Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed provide a range of wet and dry food options specifically formulated for small breeds.

Remember, choosing the right dog food brand is just the first step. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the specific nutritional needs of your Shih Tzu based on their age, weight, and overall health. Additionally, be sure to transition to a new food gradually to prevent any digestive upset. By selecting one of our top recommendations and tailoring the feeding schedule and portion sizes to your Shih Tzu’s needs, you can ensure they receive the nourishment they need for a happy and healthy life.

How Often to Feed a Shih Tzu


The frequency of feeding a Shih Tzu depends on their age and life stage. It’s important to establish a regular feeding schedule to ensure your Shih Tzu receives the right amount of food. Here is a breakdown of how often to feed a Shih Tzu:

Feeding Schedule for Shih Tzu Puppies:

  • Under 3 months old: Shih Tzu puppies under 3 months old should be free-fed to prevent hypoglycemia. This means having food available at all times.
  • 3 to 12 months old: Puppies between 3 and 12 months old should be fed three meals per day. This helps provide them with the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

Feeding Schedule for Adult Shih Tzus:

  • 1 year and older: Adult Shih Tzus can be fed two to three meals per day. This depends on their individual preference and activity level. Some may prefer two larger meals, while others may do better with three smaller meals.

When it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu, it’s important to monitor their weight and adjust the portion sizes accordingly. If your Shih Tzu starts to gain or lose weight, you may need to adjust the amount of food you are giving them. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate feeding schedule and portion sizes for your individual Shih Tzu.

How Much to Feed a Shih Tzu

Feeding your Shih Tzu the right amount of food is essential for their health and well-being. The serving size and daily calorie intake for your Shih Tzu will depend on factors such as weight, activity level, and individual metabolism. As a general guideline, the recommended serving size is usually 3/4 to 1 and 1/4 cups per day for each 10 pounds of body weight.

While this guideline provides a starting point, it’s important to consider your Shih Tzu’s specific needs and adjust the feeding amount accordingly. Keep in mind that every dog is unique, and some Shih Tzus may require more or less food to maintain a healthy weight.

Weight (in pounds) Serving Size (in cups) Calories per Day
5 1/2 – 3/4 250 – 375
10 3/4 – 1 and 1/4 500 – 625
15 1 – 1 and 1/2 750 – 1125

To determine the ideal feeding amount for your Shih Tzu, it’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian. They can assess your dog’s overall health, weight, and lifestyle to provide personalized feeding recommendations. It’s important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s body condition and adjust their food intake as needed to maintain a healthy weight.

Key Points:

  • The serving size for a Shih Tzu is generally 3/4 to 1 and 1/4 cups per day for each 10 pounds of body weight.
  • Consider your Shih Tzu’s specific needs and adjust the feeding amount accordingly.
  • Consult with your veterinarian for personalized feeding recommendations based on your Shih Tzu’s weight, health, and lifestyle.

Wet vs Dry Dog Food

When it comes to choosing the right dog food for your Shih Tzu, you’ll often come across options for both wet and dry food. Each type has its own pros and cons, and understanding them can help you make an informed decision for your furry friend.

Wet Food

Wet dog food is typically made with higher moisture content and has a soft, moist texture. It is often more palatable for dogs, thanks to its rich aroma and flavor. This can be particularly beneficial for picky eaters or dogs with dental issues who may have difficulty chewing dry kibble.

Additionally, wet dog food can help keep your Shih Tzu hydrated, as it provides an additional source of water. This can be especially helpful if your dog doesn’t drink enough water throughout the day.

Quote: “Wet food is more appealing to dogs and can be beneficial for dogs with dental issues.”

Dry Food

Dry dog food, on the other hand, is more commonly known as kibble. It is typically less expensive than wet food and has a longer shelf life. Dry food is also more convenient to store and serve, as it doesn’t require refrigeration and can be easily measured and portioned.

One of the main benefits of dry food is that it promotes dental health. The crunchy texture of kibble can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of dental issues such as gum disease or tooth decay.

Quote: “Dry food promotes dental health and is more cost-effective.”

The Pros and Cons

Both wet and dry dog food have their own advantages and disadvantages. Wet food is more palatable and hydrating, making it a great option for dogs with dental issues or those who struggle to drink enough water. On the other hand, dry food is more convenient, cost-effective, and promotes dental health.

Ultimately, the decision between wet and dry food should be based on your Shih Tzu’s specific needs, preferences, and any dietary recommendations from your veterinarian. You can also consider offering a combination of both wet and dry food to provide variety and cater to different aspects of your dog’s well-being.

By carefully considering the pros and cons of each type of food, you can choose the option that best suits your Shih Tzu and ensures they receive a balanced and nutritious diet.

Wet Food Dry Food
Pros Palatable for picky eaters Convenient and cost-effective
Hydrating Promotes dental health
Cons Shorter shelf life May be less appealing to some dogs

What About Grain-Free?

Grain-free dog food has gained popularity among pet owners in recent years. It is often marketed as a healthier alternative for dogs, including Shih Tzus. However, concerns have been raised regarding the potential risks associated with grain-free diets, particularly a possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in certain breeds, including Shih Tzus.

Grain-free formulas typically replace grains with alternative ingredients such as legumes and exotic meats. While these ingredients may be suitable for some dogs, studies have suggested that a diet high in legumes may contribute to an increased risk of DCM. This heart disease can be potentially life-threatening and can affect the overall health and well-being of your Shih Tzu.

It is important to note that the link between grain-free diets and DCM is still being researched, and not all grain-free foods pose a risk. However, it is recommended to discuss the potential benefits and risks of grain-free diets with your veterinarian before making a decision for your Shih Tzu. Your veterinarian can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific needs and help you choose the most appropriate diet to support their overall health and well-being.

In summary, while grain-free dog food may be trendy, it is essential to weigh the potential risks and benefits for your Shih Tzu. Consultation with a veterinarian is crucial in making an informed decision regarding your dog’s diet. Your veterinarian can provide the necessary guidance and help you select a dog food that meets your Shih Tzu’s nutritional needs while minimizing potential health risks.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Shih Tzu

When it comes to selecting the best food for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients and avoid inferior options that may contain fillers and by-products. These low-quality ingredients can potentially lead to various health issues such as allergies, skin problems, and digestive upset in your furry friend. Opting for high-quality dog food that includes whole animal protein, healthy fats, and limited fillers will ensure your Shih Tzu receives the essential nutrients for a healthy life.

By choosing dog food that is free from inferior ingredients, you can provide your Shih Tzu with a balanced and nutritious diet. Look for dog food that lists high-quality protein sources like chicken or beef as the main ingredient. Avoid foods that contain vague terms such as “meat by-products” or “animal meal.” These ambiguous ingredients may be of low quality and not provide the necessary nutrients for your Shih Tzu’s optimal health.

Additionally, it’s important to steer clear of dog foods that include artificial additives, such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. These additives can potentially cause allergic reactions and may have negative effects on your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being. Instead, opt for dog food that utilizes natural ingredients and avoids unnecessary additives.

Key Considerations for Choosing Shih Tzu Food:

  • Select dog food with high-quality animal protein as the main ingredient
  • Avoid foods with fillers and low-quality by-products
  • Opt for dog food that includes natural ingredients and avoids artificial additives
Ingredient Quality Option Inferior Option
Protein Real chicken or beef Meat by-products or animal meal
Fats Chicken fat or fish oil Rendered fat or unspecified oils
Carbohydrates Whole grains or sweet potatoes Wheat or corn
Additives Natural preservatives or vitamins Artificial colors or flavors

Choosing the right food for your Shih Tzu is an essential part of their overall care and well-being. By selecting dog food that is free from inferior ingredients and includes high-quality protein sources, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu receives the necessary nutrients for a healthy and happy life.

Best Food Options for Shih Tzu

When it comes to providing your Shih Tzu with the best food options, there are a few brands that stand out. The Farmer’s Dog, Sundays For Dogs, and We Feed Raw are known for their high-quality and nutritious dog food offerings that specifically cater to the needs of Shih Tzus.

The Farmer’s Dog offers fresh frozen meals that are made with human-grade ingredients, ensuring that your Shih Tzu receives a balanced and healthy diet. Sundays For Dogs provides air-dried treats that are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients to support optimal health. If you prefer a raw food diet for your Shih Tzu, We Feed Raw offers a wide selection of raw blends that provide all the essential nutrients your furry friend needs.

By choosing one of these top recommendations, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are providing your Shih Tzu with a well-rounded and nourishing diet. Remember to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best food option for your Shih Tzu’s specific dietary needs and preferences.

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