Glossy, long-haired, beautiful Shih Tzu often have a special place in their owners’ hearts. Not just because they make such cute, small, lap pooches, but because they’re affectionate, sweet, and loads of fun to play with. And gosh, aren’t they just such adorable little puppies?!As a breed, it’s important to take note of the special needs these sweet little doggies have — from their short noses to their lengthy fur and tendency for sensitive stomachs. Take note of these things, when you pick out a Shih Tzu puppy food (or adult food) and you’ll be rewarded with a happy, healthy little best friend for life.
Quick Review: Top-3 Dog Foods For Shih Tzu
Brand Names Making The Best Puppy Food For Shih Tzu
We’ve put together a tiny summary of each brand name featured in our review:
- Merrick has been a big name in the dog food biz for ages, but have enjoyed a lot of growing popularity in recent years. They’re super in terms of providing variety and well-rounded meals, meaning that your Shih Tzu will have a lot of choice from high-quality options.
- Wellness rarely needs an introduction these days! If you haven’t come across the brand yet, it makes several ranges to cater to different doggy sizes and dietary needs, as well as a whole host of flavors.
- Natural Balance has a sterling reputation — all their dog food is developed by nutritionists and features top-caliber protein ingredients. Real meat, that is, every time!
- Blue Buffalo makes both grain-free and classic options for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Known for being a healthy brand with a firm stance on using choice ingredients, they’re extremely popular nation-wide.
- Eukanuba is owned by Mars, so a high-quality production process and safety standards are guaranteed. You will tend to find more supplements than natural ingredients when you compare their food to other brands, but it’s formulated especially to meet all your dog’s nutritional requirements.
Sometimes, you may find that you’ve run out of a certain type of kibble, or maybe that your little Shih Tzu friend has changed his taste. If this happens, you’ll want to change up his dinner. With an understanding of the nutrients that should be in the best food for Shih Tzu, you’ll be equipped to make a healthy choice each and every time.
Nutrients Inside The Best Puppy Food For Shih Tzu
When you look at your Shih Tzu puppy’s dog food bag, take note of the percentage protein and fats listed. The best puppy food for Shih Tzu will include around 28% to 32% protein, though this may come from different meat or non-meat sources. Importantly, your more active pups are still not going to require much more than 32% protein, regardless of how frequently they exercise. Instead, you’ll want to up their total daily calories slightly, by feeding them more as a whole. Fat-wise, a good target is something close to 20%, which should ideally be from identifiable fat sources, such as ‘chicken fat’ or ‘salmon oil’.
How About The Best Dog Food For Shih Tzu?
At around the age of 1, your grown-up Shih Tzu is ready to start a less protein-rich diet. You’ll want to select food with protein that ranges between 22% and 25%, which is just enough for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As with pups, more energetic Shih Tzu will be burning more calories each day, so may require slightly larger servings at each meal. Your average Shih Tzu adult is also going to require at least 13% fat each day. Once again, do your best to steer clear of vague fat ingredients such as ‘lard’…or anything that leaves you scratching your head, really!
When Picking Out The Best Food For Shih Tzu…
Try to remember the following things!
Be aware of sensitive tummies. As a breed, Shih Tzu are somewhat more inclined than other breeds to develop sensitive tummies. As every dog owner knows, this can be uncomfortable and lead to gassiness, bloating, as well as vomiting, in worse cases. While not for all dogs, lots of Shih Tzu owners tend to prefer grain-free meal options — this often helps alleviate some unpleasant symptoms of a sensitive stomach. You can check out our page on the best food for dogs with sensitive stomachs, but if it is serious, always ask a vet for advice.
Remember their Vitamins K, B, C, A, and more! Don’t forget that just like us, our little Shih Tzu require all the tasty goodness of minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc, as well as yummy vitamins. We love when our favorite brands include real veggies and fruit, because this means that your Shih Tzu is getting these naturally, as well as healthy fiber.
Choose food that suits their tiny jaws. Besides the obvious issues of not being able to pick up bigger bits of kibble, dry food that comes in overly large chunks can sometimes be a choking hazard. The best puppy food for Shih Tzu will usually be designed with more manageable pieces of kibble.
Remember their high energy requirements. A fast metabolism is something that can distinguish smaller breeds from their large counterparts. Smaller animals have a larger surface area to volume ratio, so require more calories per day to keep warm and thrive. This is especially important for little Shih Tzu puppies, so try to aim for around 450k/Cal per cup. For adults, this will be a little lower, around 380k/Cal per cup is a good average.
Shih Tzu Dog Food: Should I Pick Wet Or Dry?
Why not a little bit of both? You can get just as many nutrients from wet food as from kibble, and there is absolutely zero harm in trying out canned and dry packaged foods until you find a Shih Tzu dog food that your little one adores. Just remember to keep an eye on the feeding instructions when doing so, because wet food contains more water. That means that while it’s great for doggies who don’t drink enough, you will generally not be able to just sub in the exact same weight instead.
There’s also room for experimenting with the two in one bowl — many great brands create wet ‘toppers’ that jazz up a dry bowl of kibble like nothing else. These can — like all wet dog food, really — be a little pricier than your standard kibble, but variety is the spice of life! And that goes for your Shih Tzu, too!
Which Is The Best Shih Tzu Puppy Food?
We have done all the label-reading for you, puppy pals! Here’s what we recommend—the best puppy food for Shih Tzu.
- Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health
- A balanced ratio of Omega oils in here will keep your toy dog’s long coat as silky as possible, as well as protect his skin;
- EPA, taurine, and DHA — key developmental nutrients — have been added in optimal amounts for both adults and pups (from fish oil!);
- As well as real chicken and peas for protein, there’s also duck meal for a flavorful twist;
- There are lots of lovely essential minerals inside this recipe, such as iron for healthy blood, copper for their bones, and more; and
- High in protein, the perfect Shih Tzu puppy food for lean muscle development.
- While it’s certified as all-life-stages dog food, it’s possible that 23% protein may be a little low for a Shih Tzu puppy food. These dogs have rapid digestive systems, so be aware of how active your little one is in general to determine the right amount.
- Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food
- Real chicken’s heading this ingredient list, and coupled with protein from egg for a whopping total of 32%;
- 1% calcium’s just perfect for little Shih Tzu pups to develop strong teeth and robust bones;
- There’s healthy Vitamin E inside this yummy formula, which is ideal for keeping your Shih Tzu pup’s skin healthy and boosting his immune system;
- Antioxidant-rich, to help your puppy fight off diseases and stay strong!
- Contains the DHA that’s necessary for little puppy growth.
- We’re not as excited about the use of chicken by-products within this recipe, but on the plus side, this is a natural source of glucosamine.
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Puppy Small Breed
- You’ll notice the multiple protein sources in this Shih Tzu puppy dinner, from turkey to chicken and egg;
- DHA is key for puppy development, and you’ll note that within this blend, it’s naturally derived from fish oil;
- There are also Omega acids in here, so your Shih Tzu can grow a lovely, flowing coat;
- Made with sufficient k/Cal per cup to meet your little dog’s higher energy requirements; and
- Super small kibble pieces, designed for super small jaws and mouths!
- Not suitable for doggies who can’t eat chicken…but otherwise it’s awesome!
The Best Dog Food For Shih Tzu
- Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed
- The top ingredient in all Merrick dog food is always genuine, high-grade meat. In this bag, you’ll find that boneless salmon has the starring role;
- It’s entirely grain- and poultry-free for our sensitive Shih Tzu, so perfect for those who cannot tolerate either gluten or chicken;
- Made with little (whoops, we mean ‘lil’) kibble bits that have been designed especially for smaller adult dogs;
- The recipe even includes healthy probiotics, which are used to encourage easy digestibility; and
- Includes all the nommy vitamins of natural vegetables—alfalfa, apples, blueberries, and more!
- None to speak of!
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed
- Whitefish is the key protein ingredient, authentic and boneless for maximum lick-lipping flavor;
- Pomegranate, spinach, cranberries, and all kinds of fantastic veggies make this doggy dinner as vitamin rich as your adult Shih Tzu requires. There are even whole carrots in here!
- Whole grains such as barley and oatmeal mean that this Blue Buffalo dinner is soft on little Shih Tzu tummies;
- No nasty by-products fillers, fake flavors, or preserving agents; and
- At 24% protein, it’s perfectly balanced for maintenance.
- Nope, we’ve really only picked out the best dog food for Shih Tzu!
- Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed
- No soy in here, nor wheat, nor corn! A great, and completely grain-free, option for our little doggies;
- Not one artificial agent for flavoring or colors, either;
- You’ll also find all the wholesome yumminess of peas for extra nutrition;
- Salmon oil makes this a DHA and Omega acid-rich recipe for sleek, radiant, silky Shih Tzu coats; and
- An antioxidant boost from natural, ground flaxseed—for extra health!
- Wellness Core has received nothing but praise from every dog owner that we’ve met, and this blend for smaller doggies is no exception.
When do I switch from Shih Tzu puppy food to grown-up food?
Shih Tzu usually have a life span of between 10 to 16 years, with the transition from puppy to adult being generally around the 12-month mark. At this point in time, you may notice your little Shih Tzu starting to eat less of the puppy food that you give him. Try not to worry too much — at somewhere close to the 1-year-old mark they will stop requiring as much protein, energy, and fat as they did before.
When you’re ready to move your little puppy off his Shih Tzu puppy food and on to a maintenance (adult) formula, be prepared to set aside a week or so for the process. During this time, you’ll be mixing up adult Shih Tzu food with his puppy food in gradually increasing amounts. The key is to make the switch barely noticeable, to avoid upsetting your little one’s tummy!
I am a soon-to-be Shih Tzu puppy owner! What shall I buy to prepare?
Congratulations!And let’s be honest, is there anything cuter than a Shih Tzu puppy!? Well, besides little baby poodles…
To prepare, you’ll need to know the kind of Shih Tzu puppy food that your tiny friend is currently eating. If you are getting your puppy from a breeder, try to establish what your pup’s nomming on there — whether it’s a certain brand or type, and whether there are any special dietary elements to be aware of. While we’ve listed what we think are some of the best puppy food for Shih Tzu, you will still need to make a relatively slow transition over from what he’s currently having. This can be important in smaller, toy breeds, and Shih Tzu especially are known for having sensitive tummies.
Other than this, you’ll definitely need a brush for your little one, as well as all the usual nail clippers, toys, treats, and go-walkie stuff. You can find a lot of helpful information on fun games to play with your Shih Tzu on our Tips page, too!
Best of luck!
Last update on 2019-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API