Finding the best food for your Shih Tzu is harder than you may at first realise. After spending a good amount of time researching this, it seemed to get more complicated. Shih Tzu really are what they eat and what they eat and good nutrition is paramount for good health and a happy life for your Shih Tzu. Before we get into specific foods that are good for your Shih Tzu, we need to understand the long term and short term implications of the food you choose.
What To Look For When Buying Food For Your Shih Tzu
Proteins should be the main ingredient in your Shih Tzu’s food. The best kind of protein is whole meat and then meal. Meal is just dehydrated meat that’s had the water removed. Chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and beef are the most common, but you can also get a few game meats too. If it’s vague and just says meat or by-product, then it’s probably a collection of animals that have been decided as not suitable for human consumption. These are okay for your dog, but ideally you want recognizable meat as the protein source.
Fat is another essential part of the Shih Tzu diet. There should be half as much fat as protein in your chosen food and again, look for high quality and recognizable sources. It’s required to provide essential fatty acids and to help digest some fat soluble nutrients.
Carbs and Grains
Many Shih Tzu have very sensitive stomachs so they don’t tolerate certain carbs very well. However, they do need fiber so look for foods that contain starchy vegetables and whole grains, like potatoes and oats. This should be the smallest proportion on your dog’s food though to avoid weight gain.
What To Avoid
Just like with our own food, avoid anything artificial. Don’t trust anything you can’t pronounce and keep an eye out for ethoxyquin, BHA or BHT. Also, try and limit the amount of wheat, corn and soy in the food as these are inflammatory for many Shih Tzu. There are then a whole load of foods that are harmful for your Shih Tzu, like raisins, chocolate, macadamia nuts, etc. Check for AAFCO approval to make sure that you’re choosing a food with all the right nutrients.
Making The Right Choice
There is no specific best dog food for small dogs and Shih Tzu, it all depends on your dog and its needs, but once you know the guidelines you can make an informed decision regarding what to choose.
What Works Best For My Dog
Now that you know what to look for in a high quality dog food, you can check the ingredients labels and look for AAFCO approved brands. Just like with our own food, being educated and then being able to make an informed judgement call is always helpful. If you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask an expert. Check with your vet, ask at your local pet store and talk to people who have happy, healthy, lively dogs and see what they’re feeding them, how much and when, etc.
Problems With Feeding Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu are notorious for their sensitive stomachs and allergies to certain foods. If your dog is having a reaction to something, always check with your vet, but it could well be the food that’s the culprit. Usually it’s also grains that are to blame so try removing them from the diet and see if the symptoms subside. By a scientist and experiment, observe and adjust to solve your Shih Tzu’s problem. You’ll know that your Shih Tzu is having a reaction to its food often by seeing upset stomach signs such as diarrhea, vomiting and flatulence along with skin issues like severe itching.
How Much To Feed My Shih Tzu
As a general guideline, you can work out the amount of food to feed your Shih Tzu based on its weight. An adult Shih Tzu should get around 30g of food per kilogram of bodyweight. For puppies, this should be doubled as they are growing and are also susceptible to hypoglycemia. For Older dogs, they need a little less. Shih Tzu over 10 years old need around 11g per kilo of bodyweight.
Checking your Dog Food to make sure that it is the Best dog food for Shih Tzu
Transitioning Your Shih Tzu To New Food
This should be done gradually by mixing some of the new food in with your current dog food. Allow your Shih Tzu to get used to it and over the space of a few weeks, add more and more of the new food and less and less of the old food, until you have completely replaced it. That is, as long as your dog is tolerating it well.
Shih Tzu are prone to obesity more so than other breeds. This means that you have to be careful to find a balance between getting your dog the right amount of nutrients and not over feeding it. Beyond around 4 months old, you should not free feed your Shih Tzu. Give it 2-3 meals a day to make sure that it gets enough nutrients and add high quality snacks in between.
Shih Tzu are also known for having eating disorders like eating far too much in one go or not eating enough to get themselves to their next meal. You should observe your Shih Tzu’s eating habits closely and notice any changes that may be indicative of an underlying health problem. Some Shih Tzu, however, are just fussy.
Which Food To Give Your Shih Tzu
If you give your Shih Tzu a diet of just wet food, you’re going to get rather wet stools. Dry kibbles are preferable as they help keep the teeth clean. You can mix the dry and wet food as a balance part of their diet, but kibbles are better overall as a food source if you really want to stick to just one food. Keep in mind all the things we’re learned here though and don’t be taken in by excessive advertising. Read the labels and pick a high quality food for your Shih Tzu.