Whether you’re a first-time Shih Tzu owner or are a long-time Shih Tzu fan wondering what is best for your dog, it can be confusing to sort through all of the information surrounding optimal dog food for your pet.
In order to ensure that your pet gets the best nutrition possible, it’s important to find out what the best dog food for Shih Tzus is!
Shih Tzus, like most dogs, require a specific ratio of ingredients in their food in order to live long and healthy lives.
Many pet foods contain an improper ratio of ingredients that can contribute to your pet’s poor health, or even cause illness.
While it can seem overwhelming, choosing the best food for your Shih Tzu is really only a matter of making sure a particular brand of dog food satisfies a few basic requirements for nutrition and health.
Once you know what to look for, ensuring your pet’s health and happiness is the easy part!
Top Picks for Best Food for Shih Tzus*
Note: Above ratings are based on our experience with the product and/or expert opinions. Click the link above to read best dog food for Shih Tzu reviews in 2016 and see the current prices on Amazon.
Calories Requirements for Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus are small to medium size dogs, usually weighing between sixteen and thirty-two pounds and standing eight to eleven inches tall.
Shih Tzus don’t shed their fur, which makes it especially important to choose a dog food that nourishes their coat and skin to prevent greasy or malnourished fur.
In addition, Shih Tzus’ small size means that they should be monitored to make sure that they don’t overeat and gain excess weight.
One of the most important factors to consider when feeding your dog is how much to feed them.
Just like humans, dogs have a specific amount of calories that they should consume per day for optimal nutrition.
Note: Above estimated calorie requirements are primarily based on an average weight of Shih Tzus. Before making any significant changes in your dog’s diet, please consult with your veterinarian.
Calorie estimates for Shih Tzus vary depending on the size, age, and activity level of your pup.
For Shih Tzus who average around twelve pounds, typical adult dogs should consume around 350 calories per day.
More active dogs can consume up to 550 calories, while older dogs only need to consume around 285 calories.
By using these estimates and taking into account your dog’s own needs, and by consulting with your vet if necessary, you can determine exactly how much to feed your Shih Tzu.
Micronutrient Requirements for Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus are a unique, loyal, and extremely intelligent breed of dog with many great characteristics, making them an ideal pet for both families and individuals.
To ensuring your Shih Tzu dog is healthy, it is crucial to give him a balanced diet. A balanced diet not only improves his physical and mental health but also increases the dog’s life span and his quality of life.
Here are micronutrient requirements for Shih Tzus and some important things that you should consider when choosing a best dog food for Shih Tzus.
Shih Tzus must consume a diet that is high in protein in order to stay happy and healthy.
You should feed your dog a pet food that has at least 20-30% protein content.
If possible, it is advisable to feed your Shih Tzu dog food with a protein content of 35% or higher, as this provides additional nutrients that your pet needs to grow and thrive.
As for many dogs, protein is the most essential component in Shih-Tzu food, and should be one of the main ingredients listed.
In addition to considering the protein ratio, pet owners should also consider the sources from which protein is obtained.
Not all protein sources are created equal, and some pet foods like to up their protein ratio by including meat byproducts and other unseemly ingredients that have minimal health benefits for your pet, and can even be harmful.
Make sure that you feed your Shih Tzu pet food with high quality sources of protein, such as beef, chicken, turkey, and fish, and steer clear of meat byproducts and fillers.
In addition, it can be beneficial to occasionally feed your Shih Tzu raw meat.
While it’s important to make sure that the raw meat is sanitary and free of health hazards, raw meat has many benefits for your pet and can be incorporated into a diet of wet or dry food for an added protein boost.
Fat is another important ingredient in your dog’s food.
Just like with protein, there are some important percentages to consider in order to ensure that your dog is eating the healthiest food possible.
An advisable level of fat for pet food for Shih Tzus is 20-30%, but pet food should contain at least a minimum of 10% fat in order to meet nutritional requirements for your dog.
Fat serves an important role in your pet’s food as it provides important nutrients, induces satiety in your pet, and makes the food taste good!
Just like with humans, fat is essential in small doses, but too much of it isn’t a good thing, so it’s important that the ratio of fat to other ingredients is balanced.
When considering a pet food for your Shih Tzu, it’s also important to steer clear of food with low-quality sources of fat.
These include lard, beef tallow, and vegetable oil, which are often cheap fat sources without as much nutritional value.
In large quantities, they can even be harmful to your pet and cause weight gain and other health issues. Instead, look for pet food whose fat comes from sources such as fish, avocado, and flax in order to ensure the best quality food for your pet.
Unlike fat and protein, there is no minimum requirement for carbohydrates in your dog’s diet.
While many pet foods do contain carbohydrates as a primary ingredient, Shih Tzus don’t need to consume carbohydrates in order to survive.
In fact, excess consumption of carbohydrates can even be harmful to their health.
However, many pet foods do contain carbohydrates as a way to provide texture and consistency for dog food as well as to bulk up the food with grains that are cheaper than many fat or protein sources. Carbohydrates can be a helpful part of any balanced pet food.
When considering a pet food for your Shih Tzu, it’s okay to include carbohydrates in your pet’s diet.
However, carbohydrates probably shouldn’t be the main source of your dog’s nutrition, as they don’t provide the same health benefits as fat, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
In addition, you should steer clear of low quality sources of carbohydrates such as grains, including wheat, soy, and corn.
Dog food manufacturers and producers often add these ingredients into food because they are cheap and easy, but they can have negative health consequences for your pet.
Instead, look for high quality sources of carbohydrates such as brown rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
Vitamins and Minerals
Just like for human beings, vitamins and minerals are an important part of a balanced diet for your pet!
Unlike humans, however, dogs don’t have multivitamin gummies or pills, and so have to obtain their vitamins and minerals the old-fashioned way.
High quality pet food for your Shih Tzu should contain an ample amount of vitamins and minerals. These ingredients are essential for your pet’s health and ensure that their body functions smoothly.
Without these vital nutritional ingredients, your pet could suffer serious deficiencies resulting in health problems.
Common sources of vitamins and minerals in pet food are fruits and vegetables. It’s advisable for your dog’s pet food to contain a wide range of fruits and vegetables in order to cover as many vitamins and minerals as possible.
Some dog foods tend to depend on only one or two fruit or vegetable sources, but variety is always better in this case.
Since pet food is your dog’s primary source of nutrition, it’s essential that you pack in as many vitamins and minerals as possible into their meals to ensure that they live healthy, happy lives.
Water is also an essential component of a healthy diet for your Shih Tzu.
It’s important to keep your pet hydrated throughout the day by making sure that they always have fresh, clean water available to them to drink.
Especially since many pet foods contain salt and other additives that can make your pet thirsty and dehydrated, water should always be made available to your pet after they’ve eaten or exercised.
In general, Shih Tzus should consume between 9 and 16 ounces of water per day, or one ounce of water for each pound that they weigh.
However, if a dog is still thirsty you shouldn’t restrict them from drinking more water – it won’t hurt them!
An easy way to make sure that your pet always has enough to drink is to leave a large bowl of water out for them and to refill it twice daily when you feed them or whenever it becomes empty, whichever comes first.
In addition, you can purchase a self-refilling fountain that ensures that your pet’s water is safe, clean, and replenished at all times.
Water is an important part of your pet’s diet and overall health, and shouldn’t be neglected!
Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food
While there are certain ingredients that you should always look for when selecting a pet food, there are other ingredients that you should absolutely avoid.
Sometimes ingredients are added to pet food because they are cheap, easy, and taste good to your pet, not because they are healthy or good for them.
Just like you wouldn’t eat fast food every day yourself, it’s important not to feed your pet the same potentially harmful food day after day.
One thing to make sure to avoid is low-quality protein ingredients. These ingredients are things that are often left over after creating human food and pet food, and are the bits and pieces of animals that would otherwise get thrown out but are instead repurposed into pet food.
These include meat by-products, bone meal, blood meal, and other unsavory substances. Make sure your pet food doesn’t contain any of these items.
In addition, it’s best to avoid low-quality sources of carbohydrates such as grains.
You should try to steer clear of wheat, corn, and soy, as these ingredients are often added because they are a cheap way to fill up dog food without spending too much money on higher quality ingredients.
These carbohydrates provide little nutritional value to your dog and should be avoided if possible.
For Shih Tzus, you should also try not to purchase pet food with large amounts of dairy.
While a little bit of dairy is okay for your pet, large amounts can be potentially harmful to their health and should be avoided if possible.
Finally, you should avoid pet foods with any cooked bones in them, as well as pet food with excess salt, sugar, artificial preservatives and coloring, and artificial flavors.
These ingredients are usually added to mask the inclusion of other poor-quality ingredients, and don’t have any health benefits for your pet.
Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus Recommendations
Shih Tzu is a small dog breed as we know, and as such, not all dog foods will be suitable for it. Some dog foods have been designed specifically for these kinds of breeds. They offer smaller kibbles’ sizes.
Let’s have a look at the 5 best dog foods on the market to suit your pet.
This dry food for dogs has been developed and manufactured specifically for small breeds like the Shih Tzu.
It is among the best dog foods you can wish for. This food will help your dog maintain a proper Shih Tzu food diet.
Grain-free, it will provide your furry baby with well-balanced everyday sustenance.
Being naturally free from grain and rich with protein, Wellness CORE Natural dog food has been concocted with chicken and turkey to deliver the best Shih Tzu food.
There are various choices besides the chicken & turkey combination. You might want to opt for a fish cocktail or boar & rabbit & turkey & wild game duck.
The calories level of this formula is just what your pet needs to support their energy.
This premium diet is made from all-natural ingredients. You won’t find in there things like wheat, soy, corn, meat by-products or preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors.
This formula suits all sizes of the breed.
It contains whole grains, vegetables, and fruits which will help your pooch with their bowel movement and keep their weight at bay.
The dry food consists of real chicken, lamb or fish plus specially designed nutrients blend enhanced with antioxidant-rich components.
This Shih Tzu dog food is manufactured with merely the best and natural ingredients.
You won’t find there any of the followings: by-product meat, corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors.
Dogs adore Blue Buffalo Life Protection dog food, and many owners have testified that their pooch has gotten back to normal weight soon after switching to it.
Dogs are omnivorous, and this type of food takes it into consideration. It supplies your dog with the so needed protein to maintain healthy energy levels, on the one hand. It also takes care of the fiber, vitamins and minerals demands with its fruit and vegetable compound.
This food bears a promise of supporting and enhancing the immunity system for a long and healthy life.
What’s better than this?
A dog of any age can enjoy this product, from pup to an adult with a variety of tastes available.
Hill’s Science Diet Small Breed dog food includes a whole bunch of natural ingredients plus amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.
Its antioxidant benefits are claimed to have been clinically proven, so no mistake, it is a science diet.
Another beautiful little detail of this food is the multiple forms it can take. These can be canned, dry or treats. Pick your favorite or better yet, get them all, so you are free to combine and interchange.
With this dog food, you will be giving your small & toy dog breed an easy to digest, well balanced nutrients-filled diet.
With this dog food, your pooch will enjoy complete health.
The manufacturer states that this diet provides full and well-balanced nutrition for your small breed dog.
This food seems to be perfect for those canines who struggle with extra weight.
The calories count is reduced, but it is still made with turkey meat to satisfy the hunger and protein needs. Your dog will feel full while keeping his weight at a healthy level.
Their kibble size is smaller than of other dog foods. That allows the smaller dog to manipulate the kibble quickly and to have fun chewing it without straining the gums.
Wellness Complete Health Natural dog food suits ideally smaller mouths. It will bring the joy of losing and maintaining weight, allowing for more comfort and mobility in the daily dog’s routine.
‘Wellness complete health’ will keep your dog’s coat smooth and beautiful just as it should be. After all, the external beauty is a sign of inner health.
With all the advancement that our world has undergone, we should not forget that our dogs derive from the wild.
In the wilderness of the prairies, they used to hunt for their prey. Only from time to time would they chew on leaves and herbs.
This food aims to provide your pet with their ancestral nutritional demands and needs.
High in protein and probiotics, it takes care of your dog’s muscles energy and overall health. It has been proved splendid food for reducing dog’s allergies and improving the state of their coats.
Another great benefit of this particular diet is that this product suits small as well as large breeds. If you happen to have more than one dog and their sizes vary, you can still use the same ‘Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food.’
Dogs seem to adore this stuff. This is one of the best food for Shih Tzu.
When ordering, pay attention that there are two different kibble sizes: canine formula & puppy formula.
Common Health Problems in Shih Tzus
Like every other dog breed, Shih Tzus has a set of health problems that crop up more often. It is important for you to be informed of these health problems so that you can avoid them where possible.
Feeding your dog a healthy and balanced diet can help prevent some of these problems.
Food allergies among dogs are very common, and especially so among Shih Tzus.
They can range from mild to severe depending on the particular dog.
Most food allergies can be treated by removing the offending food from your dog’s diet.
If you think your dog might have a food allergy, it is best to work in concert with your dog’s vet in order to determine what they might be allergic to and how to treat it.
If your pet is having a severe allergic reaction to something, be sure to take them to the vet right away.
One of Shih Tzu’s distinguishing characteristics is their large, prominent eyes.
While these eyes are often viewed as one of the cute or aesthetically appealing features of the dogs, unfortunately, these eyes can sometimes cause health problems.
Allergies can cause discharge around the eyes that should be monitored and cleaned regularly if necessary.
In addition, Shih Tzus are prone to developing cataracts as they age, and may go blind if untreated. Their eyes can also be easily scratched, which can lead to ulcers.
If you are concerned about your pet’s eye health, take them to see a vet in order to determine the best course of action.
Feeding Schedule for Shih Tzu Puppies and Adults
It can be tough work deciding upon the perfect Shih-Tzu food.
After that, however, you need to know when and how to feed your Shih Tzu as a puppy, as an adolescent, and beyond!
A proper feeding schedule is an essential part of your puppy’s early growth and development.
As newborn and young puppies, Shih Tzus should consume breast milk from their mother.
After four weeks, puppies can consume a mix of plain breast milk and dry food soaked in milk or formula. Make sure to introduce solid food gradually into your puppy’s diet!
At around eight weeks, puppies can start consuming exclusively solid food.
In addition, puppies should eat three to four times per day as they are doing a lot of growing in a short amount of time!
After six months, Shih Tzu puppies can transition to a high quality adult dog food and eat two times a day.
After you and your pup make this transition, it is beneficial to establish a feeding routine for your dog so that they know what to expect and don’t develop any issues surrounding food.
Treats are okay every once in a while, but make sure not to indulge your pet too much!
Frequently Asked Questions about Best Food for Shih Tzus
In this section, we will ask the most burning questions and delve deeper into the subject of dog food and Shih Tzu. It is always interesting to learn more about anything to do with our beloved pets.
We only want the best for our furry companions, and it is up to us to ask the questions and seek answers. Here’re the 6 most important themes we can clarify when looking for best dog food for Shih Tzus.
1. How is Shih Tzu puppy food different from adult Shih Tzu food?
Puppies, as they are growing and developing, need twice the amount of calories found in adult dog food. It all still has to come in a pup-sized portion.
Pups are extremely active, much more so than adults and their nutrients content has to provide their muscles, joints, and bones with the needed strength.
Pup’s mouth is small, so kibbles have to come in smaller sizes. Best Shih Tzu puppy food brands consider that factor.
2. Is chicken meal good for my Shih Tzu?
Chicken fat is highly palatable and considered a good quality fat. Chicken provides an excellent source of amino acids and protein.
Poultry meat, chicken, in particular, is perfect for dogs of any size. Some dogs’ owners feel that chicken on its own is superior to chicken meal.
Whether it’s true or not, when eating prepared dog food, your Shih Tzu will benefit from a chicken meal in it.
3. What is the ideal Shih Tzu puppy food serving size?
Usually, toy breed dogs eat a relatively small amount of food. Shih Tzu, however, is on the larger end of the toy dog scale, and their food quantities are accordingly larger.
Different foods will have different calories count. Generally speaking, a puppy should have one ounce of food for each pound of weight.
By touching the ribs, you can determine if your dog is under, proper or overweight.
4. Can I give treats to my Shih Tzu puppy?
Surely you can give treats to your pup. Treats should be given as part of training, as rewards. A thing to remember is that while treats are okay and even good to give, they must be moderated.
Fruits and vegetables are a great treat, low in calories and totally natural. Tell your pup to sit, for example, and then, when he does, feed him a small piece of fruit or veggie.
5. Is dog food responsible for Shih Tzu food allergies?
Dog food comes third on the allergy scale, right after fleas and seasonal. This kind of allergy can happen to any dog, male or female, neutered, sprayed or neither.
The allergy might show up while the dog is merely a pup or, on the contrary, when he’s mature. Most food allergies seem to appear between ages 2 and 6.
Most common elements to cause dog food allergies are as following: wheat, soy, corn, chicken eggs, fish, chicken, and lamb.
6. Does high protein dog food cause kidney disease?
As important as protein is for healthy canine diet, we have to realize one thing. There is only so much protein that the body can utilize at once.
When more is consumed, the organism cannot store it for a rainy day. The body will, therefore, get rid of it via kidneys and into the urine.
If the protein consumption is way too high, the kidneys might find it challenging and will be affected for worse by it.
It can be tough to figure out what the best dog food for Shih Tzu is, but as long as you consider a few important variables, your pet should be able to consume pet food that is healthy, nutritious, and composed of high quality ingredients while still not breaking the bank.
Pet food plays an important factor in your dog’s health, happiness, and overall lifespan, so it’s good to do your research and find the right fit for you and your pet!
After considering all of these variables, you can rest assured that your dog will be eating the food that is best for them.
Like this article? You may also like to check out our detailed guides on recommended dog food for Yorkies.
*Disclaimer: Our best dog food for Shih Tzus reviews are based mostly on our expertise and the experts/veterinarians we consulted with and the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many products, but it’s not possible to test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and before changing your dog’s diet, please consult with a local veterinarian.