The choice of dog food causes a lot of anxiety amongst owners of specialist breeds such as the Shih Tzu. There is a confusing list of potential ingredients and it is hard to know what is good and what is bad. Your little pooch’s diet can have a profound effect on their health, appearance, and well-being so this is one decision that you must get right. We’ve put together an easy-to-understand guide to the best dog food for your Shih Tzu.

The Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu

1 CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula

CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: CANIDAE
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Lamb & Turkey
  • Calories: 468 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Fish Meal
  • Life Stage: All

A great generic dry dog food that makes meal times a lot simpler for dog owners! The recipe is vet formulated and suitable for all ages, breeds, and sizes of dog. This is a plus if you have another breed of dog as well as your Shih Tzu. You also don’t have to swap food as your pup grows up.

It contains a good balance of crude protein (derived from turkey meal, chicken meal and lamb meal) and does not contain chicken by-products, corn, wheat or soy which can cause upset stomachs in some dogs. CANIDAE All Life Stages Formula is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our review of CANIDAE Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice, Rice Bran, Peas, Potatoes, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat, Millet, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Oceanfish Meal, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Suncured Alfalfa, Inulin (From Chicory Root), Lecithin, Sage Extract, Cranberries, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract, Sunflower Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Papaya, Pineapple. Contains A Source Of Live Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.

What others say about it:
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I recently switched my two dogs (one is around 3 and the other is almost 10) to this food and have been happy so far. It has good ratings on the dog food advisor website, and the dogs have transitioned well. My vet wanted to make sure it wasn’t grain free as that has been causing heart issues in dogs, and this food has rice and barley in it. I am also happy that it has several sources of protein and good for all ages and sizes of dogs. I feel like it will be an easy food to continue them on without having to switch up the type of protein or worry about their age difference. I also like that this type comes in a big bag as both my dogs are 70-ish lbs.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Suitable for all life stages and breeds
  • Contains no chicken by-products
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Probiotics for gut health
Cons
  • Several different protein sources – not suitable for some dogs with complex allergies
  • Protein content may be too high for some dogs
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2 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 378 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Brown Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult

This dry food provides your precious pooch with superior nutrition and health protection. It consists of a two-part feeding system which is a combination of dry kibble and LifeSource Bits which is an exclusive antioxidant-rich formula of vitamins and minerals.

The recipe contains only real meat (any chicken is deboned), whole grains, garden vegetables (such as sweet potatoes and carrots) and fruit. There is no corn, wheat or soy and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.  It’s available in a variety of flavours (lamb, chicken, fish) and pack sizes ranging from 4lbs to 30 lbs.

Find out more about Blue Buffalo Dog Food Reviews, Ingredients and Recall History.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Starch, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Peas, Pea Protein, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.

What others say about it:
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Upon acquiring our son’s full blood female Blue Pit, we’re now a two dog household and the breeds couldn’t be different. Initially I fed her the same food as I’d given our male Min-Pin for several years then decided to research some more breed specific dietary needs and they each have their own food now. I found several that met the criteria I’d laid out and went with this variation of Blue Buffalo when I could simply read no longer. She truly loves it and even with cutting back (my husband was way over feeding her) to the recommended serving size and schedule, she stays full. Whereas before, even with too much food at a sitting, she acted as though she were famished when the next mealtime rolled around. She’s lost the few extra pounds, isn’t gulping down the bits without even chewing and is much calmer when given her morning and evening servings. I will definitely continue to order the Blue Buffalo brand as I truly believe it is meeting all of her needs and I feel good about giving it to her.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • No Corn, wheat or soy
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • Added vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Lower calories per cup than some other foods
  • Not all small dogs can cope with kibble
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3 Diamond Naturals Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: Diamond
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice, Grain Sorghum
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 345 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

A dry dog food specially formulated for small dog breeds. The kibble is a small size and therefore suits small Shih Tzu mouths. Helps with dental hygiene and reduces plaque build-up. Available as a 6lb or an 18lb bag. It’s produced by a family-owned firm that only uses trusted and sustainable sources.

The kibble recipe contains chicken from cage-free birds to deliver high-quality protein with an optimal amino-acid profile. Added to the chicken are a range of superfoods (including kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges and quinoa) and it’s further fortified with vitamin supplements and pro-biotics. The result is delicious and super healthy for your little friend.

Take a look at our article on the Best High Protein Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Dried Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, L-Carnitine, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms. The Facility In Which This Food Is Made Also Makes Food That May Contain Other Ingredients.

What others say about it:
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I switched my dog to this food 3 months ago. She was on Royal Canin and Hills food as I got discounts through work, but I was noticing she was shedding a ton more than she used to. Ever since switching to this food, she is shedding less and her fur is so shiny and soft. Diamond has a history of recalls, but for the price it is a very high quality, yet affordable food.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Kibble is the right size for small dogs
  • Uses sustainable sources
  • Full of super foods
  • Dogs love the taste
Cons
  • Contains sodium selenite which some owners like to avoid
  • Quite a lot of carbohydrates
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4 Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe

Hill's Science Diet Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 371 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken Meal & Rice
  • Life Stage: Adult

A dry dog food formulated specifically for adult small and toy breed dogs aged between one and six years and weighing under 25 pounds.  The formula has been developed by animal nutritionists and vets and it is endorsed by vets in a survey conducted in 2017. Available as 4.5 pound or 15.5 pound bags.

The balance of ingredients makes it easy for small dogs to digest. It is packed with high-quality protein as well as minerals to promote healthy muscles and bones. The carefully selected antioxidants and vitamins support a robust immune system and help your cute little pooch fight off infections. Added to this are the Omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E which promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Check out our detailed look at Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Pork Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Green Peas, Apples, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Broccoli, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene.

What others say about it:
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My picky little fur babies will eat this pretty well and that is saying a lot for them.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Formula is endorsed by vets
  • Easy for small dogs to digest
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Omega 6 for skin and coat
Cons
  • Brewers rice has little nutritional content
  • Contains which can trigger allergies
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5 Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain Free Chicken Recipe

Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: The Honest Kitchen
  • First 5 ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Dried Apples
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 446 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

If you like the idea of giving your little friend a moist, warm meal you may prefer a dehydrated dog food. All you have to do is add warm water and you have a meal that is easy to digest with plenty of locked in nutrients. It is described as ‘human grade’ because it is manufactured in facilities that meet FDA safety standards for human food.

The recipe in this Shih Tzu food is all natural. The meat base is either wild-caught fish, cage-free turkey, free-range chicken or range-raised beef or. There are no by-products and no added preservatives. It’s available as bags of 2 pounds to 10 pounds.

Ingredients:

Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Dried Apples, Dehydrated Celery, Dehydrated Honey, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Cabbage, Dried Bananas, Dried Papayas, Dehydrated Green Beans, Dried Basil, Dehydrated Organic Kelp, Dried Garlic, Minerals [Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement].

What others say about it:
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I admit that feeding Zeal to my 90-pound Rottweiler is a bit of a financial burden. However, last summer about the time she turned 10, I was afraid I was going to lose her to digestive problems of all things. She had been having episodes of vomiting and diarrhea for the previous 2 years, but they always cleared up with treatment. This time they didn’t. She spent 2 days in the ER and was still passing blood a week later. My regular vet recommended a home cooked diet, but my girl had been on that when the troubles started, and I’d switched her to commercial food hoping it would be better. The vet then said try HK Zeal, many dogs with digestive problems do well on it because it’s so low fat. It’s now been over 6 months, and my girl has not had another episode. Maybe she will again, but I am so grateful for this 6 months of grace. She also looks and seems to feel “less old” in ways it’s hard to describe. For us the food is worth every penny and way better than the fear and cost of another ER visit.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Some dogs prefer moist food
  • Human grade food
  • No by products
  • No added preservatives
Cons
  • Adding water alters the nutritional profile
  • Not as easy to serve as kibble
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6 Wellness Core Small Breed Grain Free Dog Food

Wellness Core Small Breed Grain Free Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Wellness
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Turkey & Chicken
  • Calories: 412 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Turkey & Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

The small breed variety of this brand is free of all grains which can irritate digestion and is rich in protein for healthy muscles. The calorie is specifically formulated to support the higher energy needs of small dog breeds.

There is 80% more meat than in traditional dog foods and absolutely no grains or artificial ingredients. The base recipe is made from premium turkey and chicken with added vitamins, minerals and fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6. If you want to find out more about their company, product lines, and recall history, read our overview of Wellness Core Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Lentils, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Spearmint, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

What others say about it:
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My 14 year old dachshund girl has been eating these kibbles with her soft canned food most of her life. I can’t say if they contribute to her stamina, shiny fur, bright eyes and eagerness to eat, but she is a cushings dog and and these kibbles have always agreed with her. They also have a higher than average percentage of protein which is something recommended for dogs with Cushings disease.
I like that they are grain free; I don’t feel like a canine diet needs a constant supply of grains. I like the small size; they are just right for small breeds.
I used to be concerned with a controversial ingredient…. carrageen, but it is no longer listed, so I feel good enough about these kibbles to rate them a 5.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Completely grain free
  • High meat content
  • Delivers calories perfect for small dogs
  • Omega 3 for skin and coat
Cons
  • More expensive than many other foods
  • Not available in a resealable bag
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7 Royal Canin Dry Dog Food for Shih Tzu

Royal Canin Dry Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Key features:
  • Brand: Royal Canin
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat, Oat Groats
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken & Rice
  • Calories: 355 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

The kibble in this Royal Canin food is specially designed to be easier for your little Shih Tzu to get into their mouths and encourages them to chew. There are elements in the recipe to promote healthy skin (Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A) and good hair health by maintaining that natural softness that you love so much!

It even helps with the parts of your little pooch that you probably don’t like so much, namely, the smell of their poop. The added Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), Omega 6 fatty acids and biotin helps to reduce both the odour and the volume. At the same time, it contains proteins that are easy to digest, fibre and carbohydrate.

Take a look at our Royal Canin Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat, Oat Groats, Wheat Gluten, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dl-Methionine, L-Tyrosine, Fructooligosaccharides, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Salt, Taurine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Inositol, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Monocalcium Phosphate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate], Tea, L-Carnitine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract, Reserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid.

What others say about it:
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I’ve been feeding my dog this food for the last 9 months, since I’ve read about the FDA publishing the dangers of dogs eating “grain-free”. I’m a big believer in this brand since they’ve been around for ages and employ actual scientists and veterinary nutritionists. I’ve bounced around between a few reputable brands of dog food and with each brand my dog has been experiencing some skin sensitivities, coat smell, excessive tears, and itchy paws. Once I got him switched on this brand, after a couple of weeks all those symptoms went away. He’s healthy and energetic, for his 6 years of age. His stool’s are also quite small and he’s overall pretty healthy. I will say that although he readily eats his food, I don’t think he finds this as tasty as something like Orijen, which I used to feed him. However, given how scientifically driven the brand is, I’ll be sticking to this one for the rest of his life. If you value your dogs health, do yourselves a favor and give this one a try!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Soft for small mouths
  • Plenty of vitamins and minerals
  • Vitamin A for health skin
  • Taurine, and L-carnitine for heart health
Cons
  • Strong odor
  • High fat content – not suitable for all dogs
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8 Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe

Merrick Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Merrick
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken & Turkey
  • Calories: 388 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken & Sweet Potato
  • Life Stage: Adult

The grain-free real chicken and sweet potato Shih Tzu dog food contains 70% protein and healthy fats. The recipe is prepared from boned chicken in organically certified kitchens and made one batch at a time. As the name indicates, there is no corn, wheat, soy or gluten ingredients.

Added to the meat are farm-fresh fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes and blueberries as well as vitamins, minerals, Omega 3, Omega 6 and probiotics. The added Glucosamine and Chondroitin promotes healthy hips and joints.

For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of Merrick Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavor, Whitefish Meal, Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Apples, Blueberries, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness, Citric Acid for Freshness, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product. 2B38474.

What others say about it:
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The good news is that Sam (our long-time canine companion) dances every time I fill his bowl, he obviously pkaces a high value on it. I feed him twice a day, have been using it for a year – testimony (I think) to his much he likes it. It is a bit expensive, but in my opinion worth it.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Free from grains
  • Organically certified
  • Contains super foods
  • Omega 3 and 6 for skin and coat
Cons
  • Contains sodium selenite which some owners like to avoid
  • Kibble may be too large for some delicate mouths
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9 Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Chicken & Barley Entrée

Hill's Science Diet Small Paws Chicken & Barley Entrée
Key features:
  • Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Whole Grain Corn, Cracked Pearled Barley
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken & Pork
  • Calories: 166 kcal/can
  • Flavor: Chicken & Barley
  • Life Stage: Adult

A canned wet Shih Tzu dog food made from chicken and pork liver. The calories formulation is specifically for small dogs – 977 kCal ME/kg. Added vitamins including vitamin E and Folic acid.

Ingredients are high quality and easy-to-digest so they are absorbed quickly to maintain health and fitness. Contains soybean oil and whole grain corn.

Ingredients:

Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Whole Grain Corn, Cracked Pearled Barley, Beef By-Products, Soybean Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Whey, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid), minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Magnesium Oxide, Beta-Carotene.

What others say about it:
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My dogs loved it. I had to change foods quickly when my frozen dog food arrived completely defrosted and they had nothing to eat. The Hills food did not make them sick and they loved the taste. They also seem to have more energy. It looks and smells palatable for dog food!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Ingredients are easy to digest
  • Some smaller dogs prefer canned food
  • Provides hydration
  • Added vitamins
Cons
  • Contains beef by-products which some owners prefer to avoid
  • Contains soybean oil and corn
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10 Nutro Ultra Small Breed The Superfood Plate

Nutro Ultra Small Breed The Superfood Plate
Key features:
  • Brand: Nutro
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Lamb & Salmon
  • Calories: 348 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken, Lamb Meal & Salmon Meal
  • Life Stage: Adult

A high protein dog food kibble made from chicken, lamb, and salmon. Added ‘superfoods’ including coconut, chia, kale, and blueberries to deliver antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals. Added Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

Made from all-natural ingredients and has no chicken by-product meal, corn, soy or wheat. There are no added artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.

For more information on the brand, check out our Nutro Dog Food Review.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Dried Coconut, Whole Chia Seed, Dried Egg Product, Tomato Pomace, Dried Kale, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Spinach, Dried Blueberries, Dried Apples, Dried Carrots, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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I bought this dog food on the recommendation of my veterinarian for a dog that I fostered who had been horribly abused. As a result of the abuse, the dog was missing most of her digestive tract and required a diet that would keep her regular. This was the food the vet recommended. So, when I adopted my own puppy after fostering her, I kept on purchasing this dog food. My dogs are healthy, large for their breed and all muscle. The vet praises them for their health, weight, and muscle tone every time we visit’ even of my 8 year old chihuahua! The balanced blend keeps their stool a nice consistency, their movements regular, they never have stomach upset, and they’ve never balked at or refused to eat it or gotten tired of the food.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • High in protein
  • Packed with super foods
  • No chicken by-product meal
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat
Cons
  • Several different sources of protein so not suitable for dogs with complex allergies
  • Quite a high carbohydrate content
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Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Buying Guide

What to Look for When Buying Food for My Shih Tzu

Nutrition is a complex scientific discipline in all species and dogs are no exception.  The guidance can be conflicting and changeable leaving Shih Tzu owners confused and perplexed about the best approach to take. It can seem that you need a degree in biochemistry to understand the labels on some dog food containers and choose the best puppy food for Shih Tzu.

The best advice when selecting the best dog food for Shih Tzu is to start reading the ingredients lists and to familiarize yourself with common elements of dog food recipes. There is no single, perfect formulation. However, there are a few things that you can look out for. In general, it is best to opt for foods that list specifically named products. This means that you will where they came from. For example, opt for ‘chicken fat’ rather than ‘animal fat’.

There is also an element of trial and error. Each Shih Tzu is an individual with their own metabolism, digestion, and taste and texture preference.

Fresh meat is always desirable as are fresh vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and Omega oils.

Shih tzu dog standing in the grass

Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Shih Tzu

When you are looking for the best food for Shih Tzu, there are some ingredients that you may want to avoid feeding to your Shih Tzu. That does not mean that they will necessarily cause problems in your pet but they have caused issues in some other dogs and you may want to err on the side of caution.  Here is the Shih Tzu food to avoid.

Beef

Beef is obviously meat and a good source of protein and fat but it does cause intolerance in some dogs and is not as digestible as chicken, turkey, or lamb. Some studies have identified it as the most common allergen in dogs.

Meat and Animal Derivatives

‘Derivatives’ is a generic term that describes any part of an animal and will include elements that you may not like the idea of feeding to your pooch! Literally, anything can be thrown in including guts, hair, feathers, and even wool. It allows a manufacturer to get around naming undesirable ingredients and it leads to inconsistency between batches. They can simply use whatever is available and go cheap at that time. If you want to know exactly what is in the food that you are giving to your Shih Tzu and you want consistency in every pack, this would be one to avoid.

Poultry By-Products

This describes parts of slaughtered poultry that do not usually go into human food so it is things like heads, hearts, lungs, and intestines. This is not necessarily a bad thing as they can be a good source of nutrition but it is better if it specifies that it has come from chicken rather than ‘poultry’.

Cereals

This is one to avoid because the term ‘cereals’ doesn’t tell you anything about which grains have been included. If your pooch has an adverse reaction, you have no way of identifying what may have caused it. One batch could be entirely different from the others and so reactions can suddenly occur even though you have used the same brand for many months.

Corn

Corn is a grain that can cause intestinal problems in dogs because it is hard for them to digest. It is used in dog food as a ‘filler’ because it is cheap but it may be worth you paying a little more to avoid it.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a preservative that is used in anti-freeze so it is hardly surprising that many dog owners would prefer to not feed it to their dog! There are reports that it can cause hair loss and a dull coat which is the last thing you want for a gorgeous Shih Tzu. Many dog foods contain no artificial preservatives or colors at all and these may be the best option.

Soy

Soy is a cheap source of protein and therefore attractive to dog food manufacturers. The bad news is that it commonly causes allergic reactions in dogs and is best avoided.

Wheat

Wheat is a very common cause of dietary intolerance in dogs. It is best to opt for foods with an alternative carbohydrate source.

Common Shih Tzu Health Problems

Most Shih Tzus can look forward to a long and healthy life and there are no widespread health problems associated with the breed. However, you will need to be mindful of the following potential issues.

  • Eye injuries and infections. Their large forward-facing eyes and short muzzle make them prone to eye issues.
  • Umbilical and inguinal hernias. It will show up as a bulge in the abdominal area and must always be checked by a vet.
  • Over-crowded teeth. Due to the shape of the jaw.
  • Allergies and intolerance. Speak to your vet about a change of diet.

Dry dog food in bowl

Our Top Pick – CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish Meal Formula

A great vet-formulated all-around dried dog food containing no chicken by-products, corn, wheat, or soy. The added vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and Omega fatty acids promote optimum health. The absence of soy and grains avoids the risk of adverse reactions and stomach upsets.

FAQs:

Your Shih Tzu puppy is likely to be affectionate and friendly and they will adore being with you! They are very alert and can be territorial so they may bark when the doorbell goes. They can be wary of strangers so it is vital that you train and socialize them correctly to stop them from becoming temperamental and snappy.

Looking after their coat is going to involve a lot of effort. They require daily brushing and there will need to be visits to the grooming salon. The hair around the eyes needs to be trimmed. The color of their coat can change so the adult dog you end up with may be a different color to their puppy coat!

Training them can be a challenge as they can be headstrong and stubborn. They can only concentrate for short periods so several short training sessions where you repeat the commands are needed. Housetraining (housebreaking) them can also take time. They are not the dog for you if you expect your pooch to be able to master complex demands!

The general advice for changing a dog’s diet is to do it gradually over a period of seven days. Mix the old food with a small amount of the new food and gradually increase the proportion of the new food. However, if you are changing a diet because of health concerns it is vital that you follow veterinary advice on how to switch.

The instructions of dog foods will give you the recommended feeding schedule for that particular product but if you are in any doubt, your vet will be able to advise you. The number of daily calories that your dog needs will depend on their age, activity level, health status, and their bone structure. As a general rule, Shih Tzu puppy food is given three times a day but this may be reduced to two bigger meals in mature dogs.

Even though the Shih Tzu is widely regarded as one of the non-shedding breeds, they will, of course, lose some of their coat. If you notice any problems with your pet’s coat including a loss of texture or the appearance of bald patches you must consult your vet. Diet can play a role in this. It could be an allergy so eliminating certain food ingredients may help or select food with added Omega oils can help coat shine and strength.

If your Shih Tzu will only eat wet food then go ahead and feed them that. However, overall a dry kibble is the best dog food for Shih Tzu beacause of their dental health. Shih Tzus often suffer from dental issues so this is something to bear in mind. Kibble scrapes plaque off teeth which protects them from decay and also helps to prevent gum disease.

As well as the usual list of foods that are poisonous to dogs, there are several other human foods that you should not feed to your Shih Tzu because they can have very sensitive stomachs. It is best to avoid milk and dairy products and any meat or eggs that have not been cooked properly. Also, do not feed your Shih Tzu any food that has a high sugar or salt content or foods that are very high in fat.

True food allergies are quite rare in dogs but many have dietary intolerances to some types of foods. The foods that often cause issues for the Shih Tzu breed are wheat, soy, corn, eggs and additives. Food intolerances or allergies can cause skin or digestive problems.

 

Some human foods are safe for your Shih Tzu to eat every now again. However, these are best given as a treat. Many Shih Tzus love chopped apples or carrots, peas and natural plain yoghurt. Some also enjoy a little pumpkin or sweet potato. Check out a more comprehensive list of human foods that are safe for dogs here.

Peanut butter is a safe and delicious treat for a Shih Tzu and most little dogs love it! Peanut butter contains loads of protein as well as vitamins and healthy fats. However, it is best to buy the products that are made specially for dogs. Some human peanut butter brands contain Xylitol which is toxic for all breeds including small breeds like the Shih Tzu.

Bacon is not a good dog food for Shih Tzu dogs. It contains a lot of fat and this can lead to weight gain which is very bad for your little friend. Secondly, bacon contains a lot of salt because of the curing process that it undergoes. This is not good for dogs. However, half a mouthful of bacon every now and again will not cause serious harm to most dogs.

It is fine for Shih Tzu to eat plain scrambled eggs with no added oil, salt or butter. They contain plenty of protein and omega oils and are soft and easy to chew. However, this is not something that your Shih Tzu should be eating all the time. Eggs contain quite a lot of fat and this can lead to weight gain.

Hot dogs are not suitable dog food for Shih Tzu – or any other breed. However, dogs do find them irresistible and many owners use them as a training treat. They are especially useful when teaching a dog a new behavior. The problem with hotdog sausages is that they are packed with additives and other ingredients and these can cause stomach upsets.

There are concerns that tuna can contain high levels of heavy metals such as mercury. For this reason, it is best for dogs not to eat too much tuna as they only have small bodies. However, if your Shih Tzu does grab some tuna from your plate do not panic as a small amount every now and then will not hurt them.

The short answer is ‘yes’ your dog can eat bread but it is certainly not the best Shih Tzu food to be giving them on a regular basis. The odd mouthful won’t hurt but it has little nutritional value for dogs and can lead to weight gain which is a particular problem with this breed. Also, be very careful about what is in the bread. Anything like raisins, garlic, some nuts and seeds are highly toxic for all dogs.

Shih Tzu dogs can be picky eaters which can be a bit of a shock if you are used to dogs that gulp down their food. If your Shih Tzu does not seem to be eating well there can be a number of reasons. The first possible cause is a health condition and this needs to be checked out by a vet. Once health conditions have been ruled out, you may find that your Shih Tzu is a picky eater because you are over-estimating how much food they need, you are choosing too many meals a day, they don’t like the type of food that you are offering, you are fussing over them as they eat or you are panicking and giving them treats too often instead of food!

It is best to feed a Shih Tzu puppy a limited ingredient food as they make the transition from relying on their mother’s milk. This can be a difficult time for Shih Tzu puppies and some can get stomach upsets. If they do develop any food allergies, at least you will be able to identify what the problem is. Some Shih Tzu puppies have very delicate mouths and small teeth and may prefer a wet food. If you do decide to feed them a dry Shih Tzu puppy food, make sure that you mix it with some water and let it soften first.

Sharon Parry

Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!

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