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10 Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus: Top Picks for Small Breeds, Big Personalities

Last Updated: March 22, 2024 by Lisa Melillo

Did you know that the name “Shih Tzu” translates to “lion dog” in Chinese, a nod to their noble and regal appearance? This breed, with its distinctive face and luxurious coat, isn’t just about looks; their friendly and affectionate demeanor makes them beloved companions. When it comes to their care, one crucial aspect is their diet.

Finding the best dog food for Shih Tzus can be a bit of a journey, given their specific nutritional needs. These adorable dogs require a balanced diet that supports their overall health, including their beautiful coats and active lifestyle. Let’s explore the choices, focusing on options that cater to their unique requirements.

Top Choice: Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food

My top pick for Shih Tzus is the Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, uniquely formulated to cater to the specific needs of this breed. With brewers rice as the primary ingredient, it provides the energy that active Shih Tzus require. The kibble is specially shaped to accommodate their distinctive short muzzle and underbite. It’s enriched with nutrients that promote healthy skin, coat, and overall well-being, making it an exceptional choice for Shih Tzu owners.

  • 22%

    Protein

  • 18%

    Fat

  • 4.7%

    Fiber

The Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzus

ProductFeaturesPrice

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult — Top pick

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 10 lb bag
  • Contains highly digestible proteins
  • Supports a healthy balance of intestinal flora
  • Helps reduce stool odor and volume
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Nutro Natural Choice Adult

NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 30 lb. Bag
  • Real chicken as the primary ingredient
  • Includes brown rice for digestible carbohydrates
  • Rich in essential nutrients and fiber
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Grain Free

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Appalachian Valley Premium Dry Dog Food
  • High-protein formula with real venison
  • Grain-free recipe for dogs with sensitivities
  • Contains proprietary K9 Strain Probiotics for digestive health
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free

Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble, Wholesome And Healthy Dog Food, Chicken And Turkey Recipe - 25 LB Bag
  • Real chicken and turkey as primary protein sources
  • Grain-free formula for dogs with sensitivities
  • Includes high-quality, natural ingredients
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains

Merrick Healthy Grains Premium Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs, Wholesome and Natural Kibble, Small Breed Recipe - 4.0 lb. Bag
  • High-quality deboned chicken as the main protein source
  • Includes healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice, and barley
  • Crafted specifically for small breed dogs
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Redbarn Naturals

Redbarn All-Natural Premium Rolled Dog Food, Beef Recipe - Soft Semi-Moist Wet Formula for High Protein Diet, Training Rewards, & Treat Pill Concealer - 4 lb. (1 Count)
  • Premium beef as the main ingredient
  • Highly versatile, can be used as a full meal or as a supplement
  • Soft, roll form makes it easy to slice and serve
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5 oz cans (Pack of 12)
  • Real chicken as the primary protein source
  • Natural wet dog food with a homestyle recipe
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Canidae All Life Stages

Canidae All Life Stages Premium Wet Dog Food for All Breeds, All Ages, Chicken & Rice Recipe, 13 oz. (Case of 12)
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient for high-quality protein
  • Formulated to be suitable for dogs of all life stages
  • Contains wholesome brown rice for digestible carbohydrates
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Wellness Complete Health Natural

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food Turkey & Sweet Potato, 12.5 Oz (Pack of 12)

  • Premium turkey as the primary protein source
  • Includes sweet potatoes for healthy carbohydrates
  • Grain-free formula ideal for dogs with sensitivities
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

Weruva Steak Frites Dinner

Weruva Classic Dog Food, Steak Frites Dinner with Beef, Pumpkin & Sweet Potato in Gravy, 14oz Can (Pack of 12)

  • Premium beef as the main protein source
  • Includes pumpkin and sweet potatoes for added nutrients
  • Grain-free and gluten-free formula
AMAZON PRICE
CHEWY PRICE

 

1. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 10 lb bag

First Ingredient

  • Brewers Rice

Key Features

  • Specially formulated for Shih Tzus
  • Exclusive kibble shape designed for a Shih Tzu’s short muzzle and underbite
  • Enriched with EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Contains highly digestible proteins
  • Supports a healthy balance of intestinal flora
  • Helps reduce stool odor and volume
  • Designed to maintain a healthy weight
  • Contains essential nutrients to support cardiac health

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food is uniquely crafted to meet the nutritional needs of the Shih Tzu breed. As a veterinary technician, I find the breed-specific approach particularly beneficial. The first ingredient, brewers rice, is a quality carbohydrate source that provides the energy active Shih Tzus need. The kibble shape is specifically designed for a Shih Tzu’s unique short muzzle and underbite, making it easier for them to pick up and chew their food – an aspect I often discuss with Shih Tzu owners at my clinic. 

This food is enriched with EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for maintaining healthy skin and a lustrous coat, a significant concern for Shih Tzu owners. The inclusion of highly digestible proteins is ideal for this breed’s sometimes sensitive digestion, and it also helps in maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Another notable feature is the formulation’s ability to reduce stool odor and volume, a practical aspect for indoor pets. It’s also calibrated to help maintain a healthy weight, preventing obesity, which can be a concern for less active Shih Tzus. 

The food contains essential nutrients that support cardiac health, important for this breed’s wellbeing. Overall, Royal Canin’s breed-specific formulation offers targeted nutrition that caters to the specific requirements of Shih Tzus, making it a highly recommended choice for owners of this breed.

Advantages

  • Tailored for the unique needs of Shih Tzus
  • Kibble shape aids in easy feeding
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Supports digestive health
  • Reduces stool odor
  • Helps in weight management
  • Supports cardiac health

Disadvantages

  • Brewers rice as the first ingredient may not appeal to those preferring a meat-first formula
  • Specific to Shih Tzus and not suitable for other breeds
  • Premium price point
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2. Nutro Natural Choice Adult Dry Dog Food

NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 30 lb. Bag

First Ingredient

  • Chicken

Key Features

  • Real chicken as the primary ingredient
  • Includes brown rice for digestible carbohydrates
  • Rich in essential nutrients and fiber
  • No chicken by-product meal
  • Free from artificial flavors or colors
  • Contains essential antioxidants for immune health
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • Formulated for adult dogs of all sizes

Nutro Natural Choice Adult Dry Dog Food, with its chicken and brown rice recipe, offers a nutritionally complete and balanced diet for adult dogs. As a vet tech, I appreciate that the first ingredient is real chicken, providing high-quality protein essential for maintaining muscle strength and overall health. The inclusion of brown rice not only offers a digestible source of carbohydrates but also provides fiber for healthy digestion. This recipe is free from chicken by-product meal, ensuring that your dog is getting pure, wholesome nutrition. The absence of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in Nutro’s formula is a significant plus, as it reduces the risk of allergies and sensitivities. 

This dog food also includes a blend of essential antioxidants that support a healthy immune system, vital for the overall well-being of adult dogs. The presence of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is particularly beneficial for maintaining a shiny coat and healthy skin, something I often discuss with dog owners. The commitment to using non-GMO ingredients is commendable, catering to pet owners’ increasing concerns about food safety and quality. 

Additionally, this product is versatile, suitable for adult dogs of all sizes, making it a convenient choice for multi-dog households. Overall, Nutro Natural Choice strikes a balance between taste and nutrition, making it a great option for conscientious dog owners.

Advantages

  • High-quality protein from real chicken
  • Supports muscle health and overall wellness
  • Digestible carbohydrates from brown rice
  • Promotes healthy digestion with natural fiber
  • Immune system support with antioxidants
  • Enhances skin and coat health
  • Free from artificial additives and GMOs
  • Suitable for adult dogs of various sizes

Disadvantages

  • Not specific to any breed or size-related dietary needs
  • Brown rice may not be suitable for dogs with specific grain sensitivities
  • Premium pricing compared to some other brands
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3. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Grain Free High Protein 

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Appalachian Valley Premium Dry Dog Food

First Ingredient

  • Venison

Key Features

  • High-protein formula with real venison
  • Grain-free recipe for dogs with sensitivities
  • Contains proprietary K9 Strain Probiotics for digestive health
  • Includes real fruits and vegetables for natural antioxidants
  • Enriched with omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Made with peas and lentils for energy
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Suitable for all life stages

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Appalachian Valley Premium Dry Dog Food, featuring venison as its first ingredient, is a fantastic choice for dogs requiring high protein and a grain-free diet. In my experience, many dogs, particularly those with sensitivities, thrive on a grain-free diet, and venison is an excellent source of lean protein that supports muscle maintenance. The inclusion of K9 Strain Probiotics is particularly beneficial for digestive health, something I often emphasize with pet owners. 

The formula includes real fruits and vegetables, providing natural antioxidants that support a healthy immune system. The presence of omega fatty acids is a great benefit for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat, a common concern for many dog owners. The use of peas and lentils offers a good source of energy without the need for grains, making it a suitable option for dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities.

Also, the absence of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives makes this product a healthier choice for dogs. It’s versatile enough for dogs at all life stages, from energetic puppies to more sedentary seniors. Overall, Taste of the Wild provides a balanced and nutritious diet, especially for dogs that may require a grain-free option with high-quality protein sources.

Advantages

  • High-quality venison as the primary protein
  • Grain-free for sensitive dogs
  • Probiotics support gut health
  • Natural antioxidants from fruits and vegetables
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Free from artificial additives

Disadvantages

  • May not be suitable for dogs with specific meat allergies
  • Grain-free diets may not be ideal for all dogs
  • Premium pricing may not fit all budgets
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4. Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble Chicken And Turkey Recipe 

Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble, Wholesome And Healthy Dog Food, Chicken And Turkey Recipe - 25 LB Bag

First Ingredient

  • Chicken

Key Features

  • Real chicken and turkey as primary protein sources
  • Grain-free formula for dogs with sensitivities
  • Includes high-quality, natural ingredients
  • No poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives
  • Contains added vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
  • Rich in antioxidants for immune support
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Crafted in the USA with globally sourced ingredients
  • Suitable for all life stages and breeds

Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble, with its chicken and turkey recipe, offers a nutritious and wholesome choice for dogs, particularly those requiring a grain-free diet. In my work, I often recommend this brand to dog owners who are looking for high-quality, natural ingredients without the premium price tag. The combination of real chicken and turkey provides high-quality protein, essential for muscle health and overall vitality. The grain-free formula is ideal for dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities, a common concern among many dog owners I meet. 

This dog food is also free from poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives, aligning with a more natural diet approach. The inclusion of added vitamins and minerals ensures a complete and balanced diet, necessary for a dog’s overall health. It’s also rich in antioxidants, supporting a healthy immune system, and contains omega fatty acids, vital for maintaining a healthy skin and coat. 

Crafted in the USA, this dog food meets high-quality standards while using globally sourced ingredients. It’s suitable for all life stages and breeds, making it a versatile option for multi-dog households. Whole Earth Farms provides a great balance between quality and affordability, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a grain-free, natural diet for their dogs.

Advantages

  • High-quality proteins from chicken and turkey
  • Ideal for dogs with grain allergies
  • Free from common allergens and artificial additives
  • Complete nutrition with added vitamins and minerals
  • Supports immune health and skin/coat wellness
  • Suitable for all breeds and life stages
  • Affordable compared to similar premium brands

Disadvantages

  • Some dogs may prefer a diet with grains
  • Not breed-specific
  • Chicken and turkey as primary proteins may not suit all dietary preferences or restrictions
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5. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Small Breed Recipe

Merrick Healthy Grains Premium Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs, Wholesome and Natural Kibble, Small Breed Recipe - 4.0 lb. Bag

First Ingredient

  • Deboned Chicken

Key Features

  • High-quality deboned chicken as the main protein source
  • Includes healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice, and barley
  • Crafted specifically for small breed dogs
  • Rich in omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
  • Enriched with antioxidants for immune health
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Made with locally sourced ingredients in the USA

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Small Breed Recipe is an excellent choice for owners of small breed dogs like Shih Tzus, providing tailored nutrition with high-quality ingredients. The first ingredient, deboned chicken, offers a rich source of protein that’s essential for maintaining healthy muscle mass in small breeds. Including healthy grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and barley, this recipe provides a balanced diet, offering both energy and dietary fiber that’s important for digestive health. As someone who often deals with small breeds in my practice, I appreciate the inclusion of omega fatty acids in the formula, which are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. 

Another notable feature is the presence of glucosamine and chondroitin, which support joint health – an important aspect for small breeds that may be prone to joint issues. The antioxidants included in the recipe play a vital role in supporting the immune system, contributing to overall health and wellness. This dog food is free from artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, aligning with the trend towards more natural pet foods. 

Merrick’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and producing their food in the USA adds an assurance of quality and safety. This product is an ideal choice for pet owners seeking a well-rounded, nutritious diet for their small breed dogs, combining quality proteins, healthy grains, and essential supplements for optimal health.

Advantages

  • Tailored for small breed dogs
  • High-quality protein from deboned chicken
  • Healthy grains for balanced nutrition
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Supports joint health
  • Boosts immune system
  • Free from artificial additives
  • Locally sourced ingredients

Disadvantages

  • May not be suitable for dogs with grain sensitivities
  • Higher cost compared to some standard dog foods
  • Specific to small breeds, not ideal for households with mixed-breed sizes
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6. Redbarn Naturals Beef Recipe Dog Food Roll

Redbarn All-Natural Premium Rolled Dog Food, Beef Recipe - Soft Semi-Moist Wet Formula for High Protein Diet, Training Rewards, & Treat Pill Concealer - 4 lb. (1 Count)

First Ingredient

  • Beef

Key Features

  • Premium beef as the main ingredient
  • Highly versatile, can be used as a full meal or as a supplement
  • Soft, roll form makes it easy to slice and serve
  • Suitable for dogs of all life stages
  • No corn, soy, or dairy
  • Contains added vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
  • Made without artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors
  • Enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Redbarn Naturals Beef Recipe Dog Food Roll stands out as a versatile and convenient feeding option for dogs of all ages and breeds. The use of premium beef as the first ingredient ensures that dogs are getting a high-quality protein source, essential for muscle maintenance and overall health. This dog food in roll form offers unique flexibility; it can be sliced and served as a full meal or used as a tasty supplement to dry kibble, making mealtime more appealing for picky eaters. 

The soft texture of the roll is also beneficial for dogs with dental issues or older dogs who may struggle with harder kibble. I’ve recommended this type of product to many dog owners in my practice, especially for its ease of use and palatability. It’s formulated to be suitable for dogs in all life stages, from energetic puppies to more sedentary seniors. The absence of common allergens like corn, soy, and dairy makes it a safer choice for dogs with specific food sensitivities. 

Additionally, it’s made without artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, aligning with the preference for more natural food options. The inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids is a bonus for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. Overall, Redbarn’s Beef Recipe Dog Food Roll is a nutritious and convenient choice, offering a unique alternative to traditional dry or canned dog foods.

Advantages

  • High-quality beef as primary protein
  • Versatile serving options
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Soft and easy to chew
  • Free from common allergens
  • No artificial additives
  • Omega-3 for skin and coat health

Disadvantages

  • Requires refrigeration after opening
  • Might not be as cost-effective as traditional kibble for daily feeding
  • Limited flavor variety compared to other dog food options
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7. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5 oz cans (Pack of 12)

First Ingredient

  • Chicken

Key Features

  • Real chicken as the primary protein source
  • Natural wet dog food with a homestyle recipe
  • Enriched with garden vegetables and fruits for added nutrients
  • Contains no chicken or poultry by-product meals
  • Free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
  • Features a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food in chicken flavor is an excellent choice for dog owners seeking a high-quality, wet food option. The use of real chicken as the first ingredient provides a delicious and high-protein meal, essential for maintaining a dog’s muscle health. In my experience, many dogs prefer the texture and taste of wet food, and this homestyle recipe seems to be particularly appealing to them. The addition of garden vegetables and fruits not only enhances the flavor but also contributes essential nutrients for a balanced diet.

It’s reassuring to know that this product contains no chicken or poultry by-product meals, which aligns with the increasing demand for cleaner, more natural pet foods. The absence of corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives makes this food a suitable choice for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, it ensures that dogs receive comprehensive nutrition with every meal.

Blue Buffalo also includes a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, known as LifeSource Bits, to support immune health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance. Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes, this wet dog food offers a nutritious and satisfying meal, making it a great choice for a variety of dog owners.

Advantages

  • High-quality chicken as the main ingredient
  • Appetizing wet food format
  • Includes nutritious vegetables and fruits
  • No by-product meals or artificial additives
  • Supports overall health with added vitamins and minerals
  • Suitable for adult dogs of all sizes and breeds

Disadvantages

  • Wet format may not be convenient for all feeding situations
  • Can be more expensive than dry food options
  • Requires refrigeration after opening
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8. Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Dog Food

Canidae All Life Stages Premium Wet Dog Food for All Breeds, All Ages, Chicken & Rice Recipe, 13 oz. (Case of 12)

First Ingredient

  • Chicken

Key Features

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient for high-quality protein
  • Formulated to be suitable for dogs of all life stages
  • Contains wholesome brown rice for digestible carbohydrates
  • Free from soy, wheat, and corn
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals for complete nutrition
  • Supports healthy digestion with natural ingredients
  • Easy-to-open canned format for convenience

Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Dog Food offers a versatile and nutritionally balanced option suitable for dogs in any stage of life, from playful puppies to senior companions. The primary ingredient, real chicken, provides a rich protein source that’s essential for maintaining strong muscles and overall vitality, something I often emphasize to dog owners seeking wholesome food options. The inclusion of brown rice not only offers digestible carbohydrates but also provides dietary fiber, which is beneficial for maintaining healthy digestion. 

I appreciate that this formula is free from common allergens like soy, wheat, and corn, making it a safer choice for dogs with food sensitivities. The absence of artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives is a significant advantage, aligning with the trend towards more natural diets for pets. The formula is also enhanced with essential vitamins and minerals, ensuring that dogs receive all the nutrients they need for a healthy life. 

This product supports healthy digestion, thanks to its natural ingredients, and is particularly well-suited for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The canned format is easy to open and convenient for serving, making mealtime straightforward for busy pet owners. Overall, Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice Formula is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-quality, all-inclusive diet that caters to dogs at any life stage.

Advantages

  • Suitable for all life stages
  • High-quality protein from real chicken
  • Digestible carbohydrates from brown rice
  • Free from common allergens
  • No artificial additives
  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Convenient canned format

Disadvantages

  • Canned food may require refrigeration after opening
  • Some dogs may prefer a dry food texture
  • Can be more expensive per serving compared to dry kibble
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9. Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food Turkey & Sweet Potato, 12.5 Oz (Pack of 12)

First Ingredient

  • Turkey

Key Features

  • Premium turkey as the primary protein source
  • Includes sweet potatoes for healthy carbohydrates
  • Grain-free formula ideal for dogs with sensitivities
  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Contains omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Formulated for complete and balanced nutrition
  • Appropriate for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food, featuring turkey and sweet potato, is a nutritious and delicious choice for adult dogs. The use of premium turkey as the first ingredient ensures a high-quality protein source that supports muscle health and overall well-being. In my experience, dogs not only enjoy the taste of turkey but also benefit from its lean protein. The inclusion of sweet potatoes in the recipe provides healthy carbohydrates and dietary fiber, which are essential for energy and digestive health.

This grain-free formula is particularly beneficial for dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities, a common concern among pet owners. It’s enriched with essential vitamins and minerals to provide complete and balanced nutrition, something I always look for in a quality dog food. The absence of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives makes this food a safer and more natural choice. 

The presence of omega fatty acids is excellent for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes, Wellness Complete Health offers a well-rounded diet that meets the nutritional needs of a wide range of dogs. Overall, this wet dog food is a great option for those seeking a nutritious, grain-free diet that doesn’t compromise on taste or quality.

Advantages

  • High-quality protein from turkey
  • Grain-free for sensitive diets
  • Includes healthy carbs from sweet potatoes
  • Rich in essential vitamins and minerals
  • Free from artificial additives
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Suitable for all breeds and adult dogs

Disadvantages

  • Wet format may not be as convenient for some feeding routines
  • Higher cost compared to some dry food options
  • May require refrigeration after opening
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10. Weruva Steak Frites Dinner with Beef, Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes Weruva Classic Dog Food, Steak Frites Dinner with Beef, Pumpkin & Sweet Potato in Gravy, 14oz Can (Pack of 12)

First Ingredient

  • Beef

Key Features

  • Premium beef as the main protein source
  • Includes pumpkin and sweet potatoes for added nutrients
  • Grain-free and gluten-free formula
  • Rich in gravy for added moisture and flavor
  • Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes
  • Easy-to-open can for convenience
  • Formulated for balanced hydration

Weruva Steak Frites Dinner with Beef, Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes in Gravy offers a gourmet dining experience for dogs, combining high-quality ingredients in a grain-free formula. The beef, as the first ingredient, provides a rich and savory protein source that’s both delicious and nourishing, an aspect many of my canine patients appreciate. The inclusion of pumpkin and sweet potatoes adds not only a touch of natural sweetness but also provides essential vitamins and dietary fiber, supporting digestive health. 

This grain-free and gluten-free formula is an excellent choice for dogs with specific dietary sensitivities or allergies. One of the unique features of this canned food is its rich gravy, which not only enhances the flavor but also aids in hydration, an important factor in a dog’s overall health. The absence of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives aligns with the growing demand for more natural and wholesome pet foods. 

Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes, this product is a versatile option for a wide range of dietary needs. The convenience of an easy-to-open can makes meal preparation effortless for pet owners. Overall, Weruva’s Steak Frites Dinner provides a well-balanced, nutritious, and appetizing meal for dogs, making it a popular choice among pets and their owners alike.

Advantages

  • High-quality beef for protein
  • Nutrient-rich pumpkin and sweet potatoes
  • Grain-free and gluten-free for sensitivities
  • Hydrating gravy formula
  • Free from artificial additives
  • Suitable for all adult breeds
  • Convenient canned format

Disadvantages

  • Premium price point for gourmet recipe
  • Some dogs may prefer a drier food texture
  • Refrigeration required after opening
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About Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus, with their origins in ancient Tibet and China, were cherished as royal pets. Their name, meaning “lion dog”, reflects their esteemed status and distinctive appearance. They were introduced to the West in the 20th century and have since become beloved companions worldwide. In my years of work, I’ve learned that their royal lineage contributes to their dignified yet playful demeanor.

Personality

These dogs are the epitome of friendliness and affection. They bond deeply with their families and are great with children and other pets. Their playful antics have brought smiles to many of my clients, who often share heartwarming stories of their Shih Tzus’ loving nature.

Characteristics

Small, sturdy, and adorned with a luxurious coat, Shih Tzus have a unique facial structure and expressive eyes. Their long-haired ears and curled tail add to their charm. It’s always a delight to see the variety of colors in their coats when they visit my clinic.

Size

As a toy breed, Shih Tzus are perfectly sized for laps and cuddles, weighing between 9 to 16 pounds and standing about 9 to 10.5 inches tall. Their size makes them ideal for various living situations, from apartments to large homes.

Grooming Needs

Their double-layered coat requires regular care. Daily brushing is essential to prevent matting, and many owners opt for professional grooming. I always advise keeping their face clean, especially around the eyes, to avoid any discomfort.

Exercise Needs

They need regular, but not extensive, exercise. Short walks and play sessions suffice. I’ve seen many Shih Tzus known for being a low-energy dog breed, happy with their playtime routines, showing that they don’t need excessive exercise to be content. 

Temperament

They are gentle and friendly, adapting well to various environments. Their adaptable nature makes them suitable for a range of owners, from families to singles.

Training

Training can be a challenge due to their occasional stubbornness. Consistent, positive reinforcement is effective, and early socialization is important. Based on my experience, they respond well to patient and loving training approaches.

Lifespan

Shih Tzus can live for 10 to 16 years, often enjoying a long life with proper care. Regular health check-ups are a key part of ensuring a long, happy life for these wonderful companions.

Shih Tzus are not just dogs with a royal past but are also joyful, affectionate pets. Their care requires regular grooming and attention to their unique health needs. They are a joy to have, and their endearing personalities make them a perfect companion for many.

Health Concerns for Shih Tzus

As a veterinary technician, I’ve had the opportunity to care for many Shih Tzus and observe some common health concerns specific to the breed. Understanding these concerns is crucial for any Shih Tzu owner to ensure the best care for their furry friend.

Respiratory Issues

Due to their brachycephalic (flat-faced) structure, Shih Tzus often experience breathing difficulties. Conditions like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome can be common, leading to snoring and, in more severe cases, significant breathing challenges. Regular monitoring and avoiding overexertion, especially in hot weather, are vital for their well-being.

Eye Problems

Their large, protruding eyes make them susceptible to various eye issues, including dry eye, corneal ulcers, and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential to catch and treat these problems early. In my practice, I always emphasize the importance of keeping their facial hair trimmed to avoid irritation to the eyes.

Hip Dysplasia

While more commonly associated with larger breeds, Shih Tzus can also suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly in its socket. This can lead to arthritis and discomfort. Maintaining a healthy weight and regular, gentle exercise can help manage this condition.

Ear Infections

Their floppy ears are prone to infections, especially if they are not regularly cleaned and checked. Moisture and wax can build up, leading to bacterial or yeast infections. I recommend regular ear cleaning as part of their grooming routine.

Dental Issues

Shih Tzus often experience dental problems due to their small mouths. Overcrowding of teeth can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar, resulting in gum disease and tooth loss. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial, along with daily teeth brushing.

Allergies

Skin allergies are another concern in Shih Tzus, often manifesting as itchiness and skin irritation. Identifying and managing allergens, whether they are environmental or food-related, is important for their comfort and health.

Obesity

Their small size and less active nature make Shih Tzus prone to obesity, which can exacerbate other health issues. A balanced diet and regular exercise are key to keeping them at a healthy weight.

Liver Shunt

In some cases, Shih Tzus can be born with a liver shunt, a condition where blood bypasses the liver, leading to a buildup of toxins in the body. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and seek veterinary care if they arise.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a proper diet, and attentive care can help manage these issues and ensure a happy, healthy life for your Shih Tzu.

Nutrition Needs for Shih Tzus 

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in managing and preventing health issues common in this breed.

Balanced Diet

Shih Tzus require a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients. This means a combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The right balance supports their overall health, including their coat, skin, and energy levels.

Protein

High-quality protein is crucial for muscle maintenance and overall health. Look for foods with real meat (like chicken, lamb, or fish) as the first ingredient. However, be cautious if your Shih Tzu has specific protein allergies.

Limited Fat

Given their propensity for obesity, a diet moderate in fat is recommended. Healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important for skin and coat health but should be given in controlled amounts.

Digestible Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy, but they should be easily digestible. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are good sources. For Shih Tzus with grain sensitivities, grain-free options with sweet potato or peas can be suitable alternatives.

Fiber

Adequate fiber is important for digestive health, especially for Shih Tzus prone to gastrointestinal issues. Sources like beet pulp, flaxseed, or pumpkin can aid in digestion and stool quality.

Vitamins and Minerals

A balanced intake of vitamins and minerals supports overall health, including bone health, which is crucial given their risk of hip dysplasia. Foods fortified with essential vitamins and minerals are beneficial.

Avoiding Fillers and Additives

Steer clear of foods with unnecessary fillers, artificial colors, or preservatives, as these can exacerbate allergies and other health issues.

Size-Specific Formulas

Since Shih Tzus are a small breed, foods formulated for small breeds are often more appropriate, as they are designed to be size-appropriate and easier to chew.

What to Look for in Food for Shih Tzus

  • High-Quality Protein Source: The first ingredient should be a high-quality protein like chicken, lamb, or fish.
  • Adjusted Caloric Content: Given their size and activity level, Shih Tzus don’t need as many calories. Foods with adjusted caloric content prevent obesity.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: For their coat and skin health, look for foods with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Digestible Carbs and Fiber: Ingredients like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits provide necessary energy and support digestive health.
  • Breed-Specific Formulas: If available, choose a formula specifically designed for Shih Tzus or small breeds.
  • Joint Support: Ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin can be beneficial for breeds prone to joint issues like hip dysplasia.
  • Low in Fillers and Allergens: Avoid foods with excessive fillers and potential allergens, especially if your Shih Tzu has shown sensitivity.
  • Age-Appropriate: Select a diet suited to your Shih Tzu’s life stage – puppy, adult, or senior.

Choosing the right food for a Shih Tzu, considering their unique health needs and nutritional requirements, can make a significant difference in their quality of life. As always, consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs and health status.

Feeding Shih Tzus: From Puppy to Adult to Senior

Feeding a Shih Tzu appropriately through each stage of life – from a bouncy puppy to a dignified senior – is vital for their health and wellbeing. As someone who has seen many Shih Tzus grow and thrive, I can offer some insights into how their dietary needs change over time.

Puppy Stage (Up to 1 Year)

Puppies have specific nutritional needs to support their rapid growth and development.

  • High Protein and Fat: Puppies require a diet rich in protein and fat to support their growth. Look for puppy-specific formulas that cater to these needs.
  • Small, Frequent Meals: Young puppies do best with small, frequent meals (3-4 times a day) as they have smaller stomachs.
  • Calcium and Phosphorus: These minerals are crucial for proper bone development. Puppy foods usually have a balanced ratio of these.
  • DHA: An essential fatty acid, DHA, is important for brain and eye development. Many high-quality puppy foods include this.
  • Avoid Overfeeding: Keep an eye on portion sizes to prevent obesity, starting from a young age.

Adult Stage (1 to 8 Years)

Adult Shih Tzus have different nutritional needs as their growth slows down.

  • Balanced Adult Formula: Switch to an adult formula that provides a well-balanced diet suitable for their energy level.
  • Moderate Protein and Fat: Adult dogs need a moderate amount of protein and fat to maintain muscle mass and overall health.
  • Two Meals a Day: Typically, adult Shih Tzus can be fed twice a day.
  • Watch the Calories: Monitor their calorie intake to prevent weight gain, especially as they become less active.
  • Regular Health Checks: Regular vet check-ups can help adjust their diet based on health changes, like the development of allergies or sensitivities.

Senior Stage (8 Years and Older)

As they age, Shih Tzus require a diet that caters to their slowing metabolism and changing health needs.

  • Senior-Specific Foods: These are formulated to support joint health, maintain healthy body weight, and provide adequate nutrition for less active dogs.
  • Lower Calorie Content: Senior dogs are less active and hence need fewer calories. Foods with lower calorie content help in managing their weight.
  • Supplements for Joint Health: Supplements like glucosamine can be beneficial for aging joints.
  • Easy to Chew: As they age, some dogs might have dental issues, so it’s important to select the right food for senior dogs with few teeth, such as softer foods or kibble that’s easy to chew, to ensure they can still enjoy their meals comfortably.
  • Regular Veterinary Monitoring: This helps in adapting their diet to any emerging health issues like kidney or heart problems.

Each stage of a Shih Tzu’s life comes with its joys and challenges. By providing them with the right nutrition at every stage, you can help ensure they live a happy, healthy life. Remember, always consult with a veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s diet, especially if they have specific health concerns.

FAQs about Shih Tzus

How do I know if my Shih Tzu is overweight and what should I do?

You can tell if your Shih Tzu is overweight by feeling for their ribs; they should be palpable under a thin layer of fat. Excess weight can lead to health issues. If your dog is overweight, consult with a vet for a tailored diet and exercise plan.

Are there any specific supplements recommended for Shih Tzus?

Depending on individual health needs, supplements like glucosamine for joint health, omega fatty acids for skin and coat, and probiotics for digestive health can be beneficial. Always discuss with a vet before adding supplements to your Shih Tzu’s diet.

How can I prevent dental issues in my Shih Tzu?

Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth daily and providing dental chews, can help prevent dental issues. Regular vet check-ups for dental health are also important, as small breeds like Shih Tzus are prone to dental problems.

Can Shih Tzus be allergic to certain foods?

Yes, Shih Tzus can develop allergies to certain foods, manifesting as skin irritations or gastrointestinal problems. Common allergens include beef, dairy, and wheat. If you suspect a food allergy, consult with a vet for allergy testing and dietary adjustments.

What human foods are safe to feed my Shih Tzu?

While many human foods are unsafe for dogs, some safe options include cooked lean meats, some fruits like apples and bananas (in moderation), and vegetables like carrots and green beans. Always avoid toxic foods like chocolate, grapes, and onions. Remember, treats (including human food) should only make up a small portion of their diet.

What kind of diet is best for an adult Shih Tzu?

An adult Shih Tzu thrives on a balanced diet with moderate protein and fat, tailored to their activity level. Look for high-quality dog food with real meat, digestible carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids. Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, a common issue in this breed.

Final Woof

Finding the best dog food for Shih Tzus is a journey of understanding and catering to their unique nutritional needs. Throughout this guide, we’ve explored various options, each with its own merits. However, Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food emerges as a standout choice for its targeted approach to the specific requirements of this breed. It exemplifies what every Shih Tzu owner seeks: a diet that supports overall health, vitality, and meets the distinct needs of this special breed. Its popularity among Shih Tzu owners is a testament to its quality and effectiveness.

As you choose the right food for your furry companion, remember that the ideal diet is one that ensures their health, happiness, and well-being. Whether you opt for our top pick, Royal Canin, or another option from our carefully curated list, the key is to provide a diet that nourishes and delights your Shih Tzu, helping them live their best life.

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