Diet & Nutrition Guide: Shih Tzus

Shih Tzu Feeding Guide

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The Shih Tzu is a beautiful toy breed with an eye-catching coat and an absolutely charming personality. Descended from ancient Chinese royalty, they expect the highest quality meals when it comes to their daily food. But what is the best dog food for a Shih Tzu that fulfills this high standard?

Luckily for you, we’ve gathered all the information you need to feed your Shih Tzu the best way, with food that is both healthy and delectable enough to please the aristocratic pooch!

In this guide to Shih Tzu nutrition, we’ll be covering what your Shih Tzu needs from their food, how much food to give and how often, along with pointers on common dietary issues.

Feel free to use the links below if you’re looking to find a specific piece of information!

What is the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Puppies?

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A puppy always requires their diet to be 100% spot-on. After all, this is the stage of their development where they are rapidly growing each day.

Puppyhood is a particularly crucial time for the Shih Tzu. As they are so small with a rapid metabolism, their food needs to be of the highest quality.

Feeding your pupper poor-quality food can lead to a wide array of issues, including undesirable weight gain, stunted development, and malnutrition. 

If it contains artificial ingredients, it’s a Shih Tzu food to avoid!

Instead, the Shih Tzu puppy needs to be given a quality diet that is specifically formulated for puppies. As they are expending a lot of energy on growing, their food needs to be balanced with this in mind. 

Therefore, we’d recommend a fresh food diet to help lock in as much nutrition as possible. Of course, you need to ensure you have the right ingredients to ensure they get a good balance of everything they need!

Here is a list of some of the best puppy food for Shih Tzus to sink their teeth into!

  • Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
  • Beef & Pumpkin
  • Lamb & Quinoa

How Much Do You Feed a Shih Tzu?

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The amount of food your Shih Tzu needs to eat each day comes down to many different factors. Therefore, to work out how much your Shih Tzu needs, you’ll need to take their age, weight, activity level, and any present health conditions into account.

It’s also important that they are on a quality diet. Heavily-processed dog food commonly includes filler ingredients that offer absolutely no nutritional value, resulting in the need to consumer more calories just to feel satiated. These kinds of foods often lead to weight gain, due to all the empty ingredients that your dog is consuming each day.

Keep in mind that if you overfeed your Shih Tzu, they will gain weight regardless of the quality of food! If you’re worried that you may have been overfeeding your Shih Tzu, there’s a tell-tale sign that they may be overweight. Try examining their abdomen. It should tuck in towards their body. If your Shih Tzu has a bit of a belly instead, they are likely overweight.

If you’re unsure about how much food a Shih Tzu should eat each day, you can refer to the table below for a general guideline. 


AgeFeeding AmountTotal Calories per DayIdeal Weight
0 – 1 Years (Puppy)1.0oz – 2.0oz per day40 – 55 per pound of body weight2lb – 16lb
1 – 9 Years (Adult)2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day80 – 140 per pound of body weight9lb – 16lb
9+ Years (Senior)2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day80 – 140 per pound of body weight9lb – 16lb


For a more accurate feeding amount for the growing puppy, you can generally feed them an ounce of food per pound of body weight. Once an adult, this declines to half an ounce per pound of body weight.

How Often Should You Feed a Shih Tzu?

So now that we hopefully have a typical daily feeding amount in mind, how do we split this up throughout the day?

It’s recommended that you feed your Shih Tzu at least three times a day when they are of adult age. If they are still a puppy, they may require 4-6 meals a day.

This is due to the fact that this breed is susceptible to hypoglycemia. With such a fast metabolism, they lack the ability to hold much of an energy reserve. Therefore, spreading out their meals throughout the day helps to keep their energy levels stable.

See below for some more information on how to properly schedule their meals throughout the day:


    • Morning: We recommend that you feed your Shih Tzu at the same time each morning. This can coincide with any early responsibilities your family has, such as work or school.
    • Mid-day: This meal can be tough for busy families, as much of the family may be away from the house. If no one can be home at this time, we’d recommend filling an automated treat dispenser with their meal. You can then set it to dispense around this time.
    • Evening: For the last meal of the day, you can feed your Shih Tzu not too long before bed so they have enough energy throughout the night.
    • Snacking: It’s advisable that the Shih Tzu is given periodic snacks throughout the day to keep their energy up. Looking for some healthy treats that will leave your Shih Tzu drooling? Check out our very own organic treat here!

Diet-Related Health Issues in Shih Tzus

shihtzu 02The Shih Tzu is known for having a sensitive stomach. Sudden changes to their diet can be quite a shock to their system and they have been found to be at an increased risk of experiencing food allergies. Therefore, it’s important that you keep a close eye on them, especially if you are in the process of trying out a new diet. 

While sometimes the symptoms can be quite obvious, such as vomiting, other times the signs may be quite subtle. Lethargy, a dull coat, itchy skin, diarrhea, constipation – all of these may be a clue that something within their diet isn’t right for them. 

We’d recommend you keep a close eye on their energy levels. If you notice that they simply don’t have as much energy as they used to, perhaps try a new diet.

Furthermore, their poo can tell you a lot about their health, despite it not being very pleasant! If it’s too hard, or conversely, a liquid, there is likely a cause behind it. 

If these issues continue regardless of a change in diet, we’d recommend a check-up at the vet.

Along with the above, the Shih Tzu can run into various other health conditions that may require a change in diet. See below for our recommendations.


If your Shih Tzu is a bit on the chubby side, it’s time to adjust their diet. 

First, you’ll need to ascertain why they are overweight. Is their food low-quality and filled with artificial ingredients? Have you been feeding them more than recommended? 

It can also be worth scheduling an appointment with the vet to see if there are any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to weight gain.

Once you have all this information, you should have a clearer idea of a path forward. Be sure to feed them a balanced diet that is filled with fresh, human-grade ingredients, which are more digestible,  and be sure to exercise them each day. 

Picky Eaters

As they have sensitive stomachs, it’s not too uncommon for a Shih Tzu to be quite choosy with what they eat. This can be a real nightmare when your Shih Tzu repeatedly turns their nose up at every new food you buy for them!

This issue can arise when you tend to give your pup too many high-value treats throughout the day. Rather than eating their actual meals, your pooch can learn to instead wait for the treats instead – they’re the tastier option after all! Therefore, we’d recommend you cut down on the amount of super desirable treats on offer each day.

In combination with this, why not make your daily meals just as desirable as your treats? With our delicious meals that are packed with fresh, quality ingredients, it can be difficult for them to resist!

Check out our various meals here and give them a try! We’ve won over many picky eaters in our time – your doggo can be next!

Heart Conditions

If your Shih Tzu has been diagnosed with a heart condition, then they may require changes to their diet.

Some nutrients have been shown to have an effect on slowing down the progression of heart disease and may help improve your dog’s quality of life. These nutrients are:

  • Sodium
  • Taurine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Antioxidants

As every dog’s health is unique to them, we’d recommend that you speak with your veterinarian or a qualified canine nutritionist about whether these nutrients will be beneficial for your Shih Tzu.


As mentioned earlier, the Shih Tzu is at particular risk of hypoglycemia. This is where the dog experiences a dangerously low drop in blood sugar. In the Shih Tzu, this can be caused by a missed meal, but health conditions such as diabetes may also be a potential cause.

If you notice that your Shih Tzu is experiencing a wobbly gait, lethargy or restlessness, muscle twitching, or seizures, it’s possible that they may be experiencing hypoglycemia. In this situation, you should try to feed your Shih Tzu a meal and see if their symptoms improve. If they are able to eat and this relieves their symptoms, you should schedule an appointment at your vet for a check-in.

If they cannot eat, or fall unconscious, you should try and rub a tablespoon of honey or corn syrup on their gums. This can help give them much-needed sugar. After performing this, take them to the vet immediately.

To help prevent these episodes, ensure that your Shih Tzu is regularly fed at least three times a day with healthy snacks between meals.

So, What is the Best Diet for a Shih Tzu?

shihtzu 05A quality Shih Tzu diet will be properly balanced according to their age and be bursting with nutrition. There will be no fillers or artificial ingredients and the meal itself will be positively scrumptious!

Additionally, it’ll be easy on their sensitive stomachs and not be a trigger for any Shih Tzu food allergies that may be present. A great diet shouldn’t be causing your pooch any nasty symptoms.

But where can you find a food that fulfills all of the above? Luckily for you, you’re already in the right place!

Our food at Pet Plate is created with human-grade, fresh ingredients. We will never put anything artificial in our food; every ingredient is natural and cooked in a USDA facility. 

Not only are our ingredients top-notch, but every meal we offer has been formulated by our very own veterinary nutritionist. That way, you know you’re getting the absolute best for your pooch.

We’re also currently offering 30% off for first-time customers so there’s no better time to give us a try! Simply let us know about your dog here and we’ll tailor a meal to their needs, to be delivered directly to your door.

Your Shih Tzu’s favorite food lies just a few clicks away!

We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to feed your Shih Tzu the right way. We wish you and your lovely pooch all the best!


What is the ideal weight for a Shih Tzu? – The ideal weight for a Shih Tzu relies on a few factors, including their age and size. You can use our table above as a general reference, but a veterinarian may be able to give a more specific range, or you can take Pet Plate’s short quiz here.

How can I help my Shih Tzu lose weight? – Helping your Shih Tzu lose weight is often a combination of dietary changes and fulfilling their exercise needs each day. For more tips, see the section above where we discuss overweight Shih Tzus.

How much exercise does my Shih Tzu need? – The Shih Tzu does well with a few short walks daily, along with some fun indoor play!