Shih Tzus are one of the cutest dog breeds. You brought home one. It is time to feed your buddy but you wonder: What can Shih Tzu eat?
Dogs not eating is the most common nightmare of a pet owner. Particularly, small dogs such as Shih Tzus have small stomachs and high metabolic rates, so feeding them can sometimes be challenging. Since there is not much room for food in Shih Tzu’s stomach, it is important to get the right nutrition in every bite. Feeding your Shih Tzu too much junk or filling him up with too much food can result in either malnourishment or overeating. That, we must avoid. But what is the right amount—and type—of food for your Shih Tzu?
That is what we explore in this brief ‘What Can Shih Tzu Eat’ guide. This guide covers every small detail of Shih Tzu feeding so that you don’t face any difficulty while parenting it.
Here is what you need to know before learning how to feed your Shih Tzu
Before you do anything else, you must determine which category your pet falls into. Is your Shih Tzu a roly-poly puppy? A sophisticated grown-up? A serious senior? Is it a little bit chubby? Does it have any adverse health conditions such as arthritis or allergies? These are some of the questions that you need to answer before setting up the diet plan for your Shih Tzu. For, a different answer to any of the above questions, can affect the meals you should choose for your Shih Tzu. Luckily, pertinent to foregoing factors, pet food manufacturers make meals to compensate for all their needs.
Which diet should you give a Shih Tzu based on its age?
The following details describe which food you should feed to your Shih Tzu based on the group it belongs to.
Puppy (4 weeks to 11 months)
The best food for your Shih Tzu, about a year old, is probably puppy formula unless your vet advises otherwise. Puppies need pup food that is specially formulated for healthy growth. Puppy formula foods are made especially for the dogs with tiny stomachs and quick metabolism that needs to consume nutrient-rich food regularly to stay energized.
Adult (1 to 10 years old)
For Shih Tzu aged from 1 to 10 years, there are adult dog formulas that cater to the needs of active adult dogs of normal weight. Since your dog isn’t growing anymore, adult dog food has fewer calories than puppy food but provides everything it needs to stay fit and healthy.
Senior (12 to 16 years old)
For old Shih Tzus, food companies design specific senior formulas that contain less protein to benefit dogs with kidney problems. On the contrary, these formulas can also contain more protein to ensure strong joints and muscles.
Some formulas contain fewer calories for older dogs, because seniors slow down and use fewer calories, and such foods can prevent them from becoming overweight as they age. Additionally, many contain ingredients for healthy digestion, healthy joints, and healthy skin and coat.
The majority of vets believe that you should not switch your dog to a senior formula unless it is showing signs of aging. When dogs are in the aging process, most of their body functioning slows down. Owners should keep track of their senior Shih Tzus’ habits and maintain contact with their veterinarian to avoid any health issues.
Besides age, there are a few other things that affect what Shih Tzu can eat.
Shih Tzu breed-specific foods
Other than homemade treats and generalized dog foods that you are feeding your Shih Tzu with, there are some Shih Tzu breed-specific foods in the market as well. These Shih Tzu breed foods are developed specifically for small dogs with small stomachs that require high nutrient diets.
Shih Tzu weight control foods
Are you worried about your Shih Tzu getting a little tubby chubby? Weight control formulas are the answer!
Although many people can control their pets’ weight with a little exercise, smaller portions, and fewer treats. However, considering the age factor of Shih Tzus, you might want to turn to weight control foods.
Shih Tzu prescription diets
If your dog is facing some health issues, you should strictly follow the diets prescribed by your dog’s vet.
It is forbidden to use YouTube remedies from unofficial channels. You should know that most of the content there is not suitable for all of the dogs. Stick to your vet’s medications.
A Shih Tzu’s vet may prescribe a special diet if it has allergies, diabetes, digestive disorders, kidney disease, or is showing signs of cognitive decline as it ages.
Shih Tzu is fragile and has a sensitive stomach, so there is an increased risk of health fatalities that could be caused by inauthentic home remedies.
What is in the food market for Shih Tzu dogs?
While considering which foods to give to your dog, there are three options available to you.
Packaged dog foods
In most cases, people purchase their pet’s food from the store because it is easier, more convenient, and standard. It may be more expensive to buy your dog’s food than to make it yourself, but you are paying more for the convenience as well as for the high quality.
In most cases, people opt for premium brands as well. They are expensive, but they’re worth it — the ingredients are digestible, less processed, and produced with more humane practices.
Premium food from the store comes in three main forms
- frozen raw
Out of these options, which one you choose will totally depend on whether your Shih Tzu will like it or not. Try all three and see which one your dog loves the most.
Homemade dog foods
A large number of dog owners believe that dogs aren’t meant to eat processed food. Instead, dogs ought to be fed fresh, natural foods, including meat, vegetables, fruits, and so on. These dog owners make foods for their Shih Tzus at home or give them the leftovers from their healthy meals.
Mixed dog foods
If you want the best of all possible worlds, try mixing up the benefits of kibble, the nutritional benefits of natural foods, the palatability of canned meat and real fresh meat, and the freshness of certain raw foods.
Irrespective of the kind of food you choose, make sure that your vet has given you the green signal for doing so.
What are the healthy foods for your Shih Tzus?
For your convenience we have prepared a list of the healthiest treats that you can feed to your Shih Tzu:
- Baby carrots
- Blueberries, strawberries, or any other berries that are not toxic for dogs
- Small broccoli florets
- Tiny bits of meats
- A spoonful of yogurt (if your Shih Tzu is lactose intolerant then avoid yogurt)
These are the treats that are not only healthy but these are the foods that Shih Tzus savor as well.
The owner must know that treats should be as healthy as regular food. This would avoid any kind of stomach reaction which can lead to complications.
Some of the healthy regular foods for your Shih Tzu are:
- Organs (liver, heart)
- White chicken meat
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Sweet peas
- Cottage cheese
- Plain white or brown rice
What are the non-healthy foods for Shih Tzus?
This is the part where you should be the most conscious of. Mostly, dog owners feed their pets with some diets that they deem would be healthy. On the contrary, they do a great deal of damage to the health of their puppies and lead to harming some of the organs as well. Great attention should be paid to before feeding your Shih Tzu. Here is the list of some restricted foods by the vets:
- Liver and processed meat hot dogs and pepperoni: Liver can cause loose stools in some dogs.
- Meat, like hot dogs, bologna, and sausages: These contain too much salt and fat which damages the health of dogs.
- Junk food and processed food
- High-fat cheese: Most dogs don’t digest cheese very well
- Anything containing sugar and/or white flour
Which foods are highly toxic for Shih Tzus
In addition to these not-so-healthy foods, there is another list of highly toxic foods for Shih Tzu:
They contain thiosulphate, a toxin that can cause hemolytic anemia in Shih Tzus. The symptoms of this disease include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, bloody urine, and even death.
- Grapes and raisins
Shih Tzus can suffer kidney failure if they eat them raw or in any packaged food.
- Macadamia nuts
Besides pain, the toxin found in macadamia nuts causes weakness, tremors, and temporary paralysis.
- Chocolate and cocoa powder
The caffeine and theobromine in these items can be very toxic to Shih Tzus.
- Alcoholic, caffeine, tea, and tobacco products can have a toxic effect on toy breeds like Shih Tzu.
How much should you feed a Shih Tzu?
- The owners of small dogs must be careful when it comes to serving size. If your dog eats too much, it can cause obesity in them as well as stomach upsets. The amount you feed to your dog depends on its metabolic rate and activity level.
- It is best to not let your dog have access to food throughout the day to prevent it from becoming obese.
- When it comes to how much portion size of the food you should give to your Shih Tzu, it’s best to start at the bottom of the container’s serving size.
- As long as this amount keeps your Shih Tzu in good health (which is 9 to 16 pounds), you’re on the right track. The amount can be increased by 1-2 tablespoons if it gets too thin.
- If your Shih Tzu becomes overweight, decrease the amount by a tablespoon, even if the label suggests a lower limit.
Whatever you feed your dog with, ask your vet first. Being careful would only help your Shih Tzu in staying healthy and energetic, it would also help strengthen his immune system and would keep him from aging, obesity, and malnourishment.
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