The Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu (Vet Approved Review) in 2021

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    Vicki Smirnova

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    Dr. Sara Ochoa

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  • Updated on: 02/10/2021

Shih Tzus are known for their cheerful, joyful temperament. Shih Tzus seem to get along well with people of all ages and other pets of different species.

The Shih Tzu breed first emerged in Tibet around the 7th century. Experts suggest that the ancestors of the Shih Tzu were Pekingese. The name Shih Tzu means “lion-dog” in Chinese.

This affectionate animal does not like an indifferent attitude to its person. These dogs do not need a lot of physical activity daily, but they like walking. Shih Tzus are docile and easy to train. Beware of training Shih Tzus in hot, hot weather, as these dogs are prone to heatstroke. [1]

best dog food for shih tzuPhoto by Helena Lopes from Pexels

Shih Tzus are very unpretentious and quickly gain extra weight if they are too pampered. The breed’s digestive system is not as delicate as, for example, in Yorkies or Chinese Crested. But the pet’s diet should be chosen carefully.

If you decide to feed your dog with special food, you should not mix it with natural products. All products must be fresh. Carefully monitor your pet’s reaction to any new product in the diet. Whether it’s dry food, a vegetable, or a meat delicacy. Loose stools, vomiting, tears, itching, and skin rashes indicate that the new food is not suitable for the dog. [3]

What Is the Best Food for Shih Tzus? TOP-10 Picks

1. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food            

royal canin shih tzu adult dry dog food
The Best Overall

This Royal Canin formula is designed exclusively for purebred Shih Tzus older than 10 months. It is the best dry food for Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu breed has a unique coat. These dogs have long and thick fur with a dense undercoat. Thick hair often gets into these pets’ eyes, so with age, the breed can suffer from cataracts. Besides, these dogs may have kidney problems, heart problems, and osteoarthritis. That is why it is essential to adhere to a diet adapted to this breed’s specific needs.

A balanced blend of vitamins and minerals helps strengthen his immune system. The nutrients found in this feed help maintain the health of the coat and make the curls silky. This recipe contains prebiotics for gut health and stool normalization that help improve gut health. Food even has biotin to promote healthy hair.


  • Helps to develop the immune system.
  • Designed for Shih Tzus over 10 months.
  • Skin and coat protection.
  • Enriched with Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
  • Food even has biotin to promote healthy hair.



  • Made especially for Shih Tzus.
  • Small kibble size.
  • Stool- and odor-reducing.

This is the diet that I recommend to all of my Shih Tzu owners. I find that the breed-specific diets consider the needs of that breed, giving them the best possible nutrients.

Dr. Sara Ochoa

2. Taste of the Wild Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild dry dog food is high in protein and fat and provides dogs with all the nutrients they need. This formula is rich in protein. This feed composition includes venison, lamb, beans as the first three ingredients. Probiotic and prebiotic fiber makes it easier to digest food, and lamb, egg, and duck contain essential amino acids. Regionally specific, ancestrally proper diets. It is good for dogs with a sensitive stomach.

The pellets of this food are small, which makes it easier for small breed dogs to eat. Each Taste of the Wild Formula product is grain-free, gluten-free, and contains no corn or soy. Thanks to vegetables, fruits, and probiotics, your dog of small breeds will get the necessary energy.


  • The main ingredients are bison and venison.
  • Regionally specific, ancestrally accurate diets.
  • It provides probiotics, proteins and minerals.



  • Grain-free and gluten-free.
  • High protein, high-fat diet.
  • Made in the USA.
  • If your dog has liver or kidney problems, the protein content may be too high.
  • Canola oil in this product.

3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe

blue buffalo freedom grain-free small breed recipe
The Best Budget

The formula of the Blue Buffalo Freedom feed consists of organic products. This food does not contain cereals, gluten, or other ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction in dogs.

This recipe includes boneless chicken. The food is designed with a high protein and carbohydrate content to meet small dogs’ higher energy needs. Your little buddy will love it. The feed contains a balanced amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.


  • It supports immune system health.
  • DHA is key for dog development.
  • Provides healthy oxidative balance.



  • NO corn, wheat or soy.
  • None of the grains contain glutens.
  • NO artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • Not suitable for doggies who can’t eat chicken.

4. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food   

wellness core natural grain free small breed dry dog food
The Best Natural

The formula of natural dry food Wellness does not contain grains. The formula for adult dogs of small breeds includes natural meat of turkey, chicken, salmon oil, fruits, and vegetables.

The food is enriched with antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, including a mixture of omega fish and flax for healthy skin and coat. Glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain healthy bones and joints.

This grain-free, nutrient-rich formula provides your dog with high-quality protein. The feed does not contain low-quality offal, grain, corn, gluten, or artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.


  • It’s packed with high-quality protein from turkey and chicken.
  • No wheat, soy, corn or meat by-products.
  • Omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin & a shiny coat.



  • Support the digestive system.
  • Contains optimal taurine and protein levels.
  • Some dogs also have problems with flaxseed.

5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult

nutro wholesome essentials small breed adult
Quality Protein

Nutro Wholesome Essentials is natural dry food for adult dogs. All products for this feed are grown on US farms. The food includes chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. This recipe for crispy pieces is made mostly from chicken. Natural chicken meat is the first ingredient of delicious, high-quality protein. First ingredient is a meat product with brown rice. It is the best dog food for shih tzu with allergies.

Natural fiber supports your little friend’s healthy digestion. The food also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, contributing to its healthy skin and soft, shiny coat. The food contains artificial ingredients.


  • With fatty acids such as omega 3 and Omega 6.
  • Great for improved fur quality.
  • First ingredient is a meat product with brown rice.



  • Contains antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Support your BFF’s aging immune system.
  • Some Shih Tzus don’t eat it.

6. Merrick Classic Small Breed Dog Food

merrick classic small breed dog food
The Best for Healthy Skin

Delicious dry dog food for small breeds Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food is made from real chicken without bones. This food formula is enriched with all the necessary vitamins and minerals for a full and balanced diet.

The food contains brown rice and quinoa to improve digestion. This dry dog food includes omega-fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a radiant coat. Besides, glucosamine and chondroitin support hip function. This tool helps small dogs build healthy muscles.


  • Leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.
  • No potatoes, corn, wheat or soy ingredients.
  • Powerful levels of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids.



  • Safely cooked in the USA.
  • Includes essential vitamins, minerals.
  • Developed with high levels of omega fatty acids.
  • Not suitable for doggies who can’t eat chicken. 

This is a great diet to help dog’s skin. Those with skin allergies do great eating Merrick dog food. 

Dr. Sara Ochoa

7. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Raw Coated Baked Kibble

stella and chewys chicken raw coated baked kibble
The Best Baked

This Grain-free Stella Dog Food & Chewy’s is made from natural chicken meat. Each piece of food contains a balanced diet for your pet. The food includes probiotics and high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin with the addition of taurine. The food is also rich in omegas for healthy skin and coat.

The food is subjected to minimal processing and is easily absorbed by the dog’s body. The recipe is made in the USA from the best and safest ingredients.


  • Protein-rich baked kibble.
  • Rich in Omega Fatty Acids.
  • Taurine added for heart health.



  • 60-75% of protein from animal sources.
  • No corn, wheat or soy.
  • No artificial preservatives or colorings.
  • Kibbles are very crumbling.

8. Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food

eukanuba puppy small breed dry dog food
The Best for Puppy

Every puppy needs proper nutrition that supports active development. Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog food is the best food for shih tzu puppy. It provides a complete and balanced diet. This food contributes to the healthy development of the young body of your Shih Tzu puppy.
This small breed puppy food is made from high-quality animal proteins.

The feed contains optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus, DHA. Besides, there are fats and carbohydrates in the feed composition so that your puppy grows strong. Natural fiber and prebiotics help with digestion. Vitamin E, which is included in the feed, helps support your puppy’s developing immune system.


  • 1% calcium’s just perfect for little Shih Tzu pups.
  • Keeping your Shih Tzu pup’s skin healthy and boosting his immune system.
  • Contains the DHA that’s necessary for little puppy growth.



  • Real chicken’s heading this ingredient list.
  • Vitamin E inside this yummy formula.
  • It helps your puppy fight off diseases and stay strong.
  • Chicken by-products in this recipe.

This is my recommendation for puppies. The small size of the kibble is perfect for tiny shih tzu puppies.

Dr. Sara Ochoa

READ MORE: When to Switch Puppy to Adult Dog Food?

9. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food

natural balance lid limited ingredient diets small breed bites dry dog food
The Best With Fish

The specialty diet Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diets is made from salmon and sweet potatoes. This dry food for small dogs includes natural salmon meat as the first ingredient. Sweet potatoes serve as a source of carbohydrates.
Small size feed pellets are ideal for small jaws of small breeds of dogs.

The crisp texture helps to clean teeth and promote healthy gums. This premium dry dog food is developed by certified clinical veterinarians, nutritionists, and research scientists. The food is made in the United States using the best ingredients in the world.


  • Features real salmon as the very first ingredient.
  • Limited-ingredient dry food for small dogs.
  • Designed specifically for smaller jaws.



  • Produced in the USA.
  • Crunchy texture.
  • No corn, wheat or soy.
  • Some kibble can stuck together pieces.

10. Nulo Small Breed Dry Grain-Free Dog Food

nulo small breed dry dog food grain free small size kibble
The Best Flavor

Dry dog food Nulo Small Breed Free Grain Free will provide your Shih Tzu with all the necessary vitamins and trace elements. Small pieces of food are very easy to digest. The feed pellets also have the perfect size and consistency for cleaning teeth. 84 percent of the feed is natural protein from real meat, such as salmon, turkey, and lamb.


  • Animal-based protein sources like real salmon & turkey.
  • Contain L-Carnitine.
  • Natural fiber.



  • Made in a smaller kibble size.
  • Grain-free.
  • It promotes proper chewing.
  • It will not provide your dog with as much energy.

The Best Diet for Shih Tzus: Buying Guide

Luxurious wool is one of the main features of the Shih Tzu breed. Long and healthy, with a thick undercoat, it requires care. This food helps strengthen the skin’s barrier function (a unique complex) and maintain the skin and coat (EPA and DHA, vitamin A).

Like all small breed dogs, the Shih Tzu is particularly prone to oral problems (tartar formation). The best way to prevent the formation of tartar is to regularly brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush, and feeding your dog a specially designed diet can also help maintain oral hygiene.

It is this diet that helps to reduce the formation of tartar due to calcium chelators. Besides, the formula of the diet helps to reduce the smell and volume of feces.

Shih Tzu refers to brachycephalic breeds of dogs with a typical round head, the length of which is less than the width. The shape of the croquette is adapted to the unique structure of the Shih Tzu jaws. The size of the pellet makes it easier to grab and chew the feed. 

how to choose best food for shih tzuPhoto by Dieny Portinanni on Unsplash

READ MORE: The Best Dog Toothpaste

How to Choose Good Dog Food For Shih Tzu?

If you have chosen dry food to feed your Shih Tzu, you need to buy premium or super-premium food. Both classes are characterized by balanced composition, high content of meat products. In the composition of super-premium feed, meat is usually the main ingredient. In the premium class, cereals can predominate, and meat, offal-take 2-3 place in the list of ingredients. Such feeds do not contain harmful chemical additives, are made from high-quality raw materials and are enriched with health supplements.

The boundary between these two classes is quite conditional, the composition features depend on the manufacturer, so it is impossible to say unequivocally which dry dog food is better. It is necessary to study the composition of a particular product, to focus on the percentage of the main ingredients, their origin, functional and technological additives.

Feed economy attracts a low price because they are made from cheap ingredients. They contain many cereals, offal, natural meat is not always included in the composition, vitamins and minerals are minimal, and synthetic additives are often used. If you evaluate the composition, then the rating of dog food will be headed by holistic products, perfectly balanced for animals’ needs.

If the pet’s needs are standard, health is normal, it will be suitable for basic food. Specialized feeds have several varieties that are designed for special needs: for the prevention of digestive disorders, allergic reactions, obesity, and other health problems. [4]

The main problem is chemicals (dyes, additives.) that harm the skin, hair, and digestion. In the composition of a good feed should be additional additives. For example, omega-3 and 6 (ideally from fish oil) positively affect the skin, coat, and joints. Antioxidants strengthen the immune system; glucosamine and chondroitin are included in the food for dogs aged 6 years and older. It helps support bones and joints and plays a role in the prevention of osteoarthritis. Probiotics help normalize digestion.

Tips to Feed Shih Tzu Dog

The right food for Shih Tzu is the key to your pet’s health. It is essential to consider the recommendations and tips for feeding and to maintain the animal’s diet:

1. Miniature breeds should eat dry food daily

Miniature breeds often have diseases of the oral cavity: inflammation of the gums, an unpleasant smell from the mouth, loose teeth, abundant deposition of tartar. Diseases develop faster than in large individuals. Dry food reduces the risk of these diseases. In this case, it is recommended to choose a holistic feed. In these feeds, there are no dyes, preservatives, offal.

2. The diet should include wet types of food

Miniature dogs often have diseases of the urinary system; because of their size, the kidneys produce a small amount of urine, in which there is a concentration of harmful inorganic substances. Wet food helps to saturate the body with additional fluid, prevents the appearance of formations in the urinary system. Dry and wet food is undesirable to mix.

3. You can not choose your own food supplements for the animal and do not give food from your table

The advantage of ready-made dry food is balance. The substances that the dog needs are available in the right amount. In homemade food contains many salts and other harmful substances for the animal. A dog whose diet is based on dry food does not need additional dietary supplements. An overabundance of vitamins is more dangerous than a lack of them.

4. Do not overfeed the animal

Small individuals have a tendency to become obese. If you do not control the number of servings in the bowl, the animal may become overweight over time. There is a table on the size of portions and the frequency of feedings on ready-made dry food packages. Compliance with these standards will protect the dog from weight problems. [5]

Shih Tzu Feeding Chart

Puppy’s digestive system needs a diet of the right products. Newborn puppies can be feed with milk or a specialized mixture. At the age of about 1-2 months, you need to feed puppies with natural food: lean meat, eggs, fish, porridge, fermented milk cuisine.

Protein should make up at least 70 % of the diet. In the rest of the diet, add healthy fats and boiled vegetables. Such a menu may seem boring to a person, but puppies do not need various products. Their gastrointestinal tract is just learning how to digest food, preferences are given to simple and healthy products. The diet should not contain fatty, fried, sweet foods; they are forbidden to puppies, and cause serious health and digestive problems.

It is recommended to feed puppies according to the following table:

2 – 3 months4 – 5 months6 – 8 months
(2 kg)
2 – 3.5oz
(55 – 100g)
1.8 – 3.2oz
(50 – 90g)
1.2 – 2.1oz
(35 – 60g)
(4 kg)
3.9 – 7.8oz
(110 – 220g)
3.2 – 5.6oz
(90 – 160g)
2.1 – 3.9oz
(60 – 110g)

Adults are recommended to be fed according to the following table:

4.5 – 6.5lbs
(2 – 3 kg)
6.5 – 11lbs
(3 – 5 kg)
11 – 15lbs
(5 – 7 kg)
Low Activity2 – 2.1oz
(55 – 60g)
2.1 – 3oz
(60 – 85g)
3 – 3.3oz
(85 – 95g)
Medium Activity2.1 – 2.5oz
(60 – 70g)
2.5 – 3.oz
(70 – 100g)
3.5 – 3.9oz
(100 – 110g)
High Activity2.5 – 2.8oz
(70 – 80g)
2.8 – 3.9oz
(80 – 100g)
3.9 – 4.2oz
(110 – 120g)

What Human Food is Good for Shih Tzu?

what human food is good for shih tzuImage by @cynoclub from FreePik

READ MORE: Can Dogs be Vegan?

Despite the popularity of dry food, many Shih Tzu owners choose natural feeding. Experts approve of this decision; only the owner will have to take care of additional fertilizing — it is worth consulting a veterinarian about their selection. It is essential to avoid a deficiency or excess of vitamins and trace elements — in both cases, this will negatively affect the pet’s health.

Ready-made vitamin complexes will serve as an additional source of vitamins and minerals. There are many types of multivitamins and vitamins of a narrow direction developed for small breeds of dogs. Vitamin multicomplex solves the problem with the lack of vitamins in the body of an adult animal.

Shih Tzu’s diet should be diverse, 50% consist of meat or offal; the rest is vegetables, cereals, and fruits. You should take care of the freshness of both ingredients and ready-made dishes. This breed’s dogs can be given the following types of offal-heart, stomachs, boiled beef liver, stomachs, ears, and cartilage.

The ideal meat for the Shih Tzu menu is beef and veal. Also, in the diet, you can include rabbit, turkey, lean lamb. Chicken provokes an allergic reaction in some dogs. A couple of times a week, the meat part can be replaced with fish — low-fat sea, boiled or stewed, but always peeled from the bones. Porridge for a pet is boiled in water or broth-fish, meat, vegetable. They can be prepared from rice, buckwheat, and oatmeal. [2]

Characteristics of the Natural Feeding



  • natural products are cheaper than high-quality dry food;
  • the owner always knows what his dog is eating;
  • food is still fresh, properly heat-treated;
  • with proper menu preparation, the dog’s digestive system works perfectly.
  • cooking takes time;
  • not all products are suitable for feeding Shih Tzu — some are initially prohibited, others can cause an allergic reaction;
  • balancing diet is difficult;
  • with natural feeding, additional vitamin and mineral supplements are required.


What do Shih Tzu dogs like to eat?

If we are talking about natural nutrition, then you can give your pet such products: beef, chicken, lamb, chicken eggs, sea fish. Cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, and other greens are also useful. Strictly prohibited products are pork, river fish, peas and legumes, sweets, pasta, smoked meats, and spices.

Are Shih Tzus picky eaters?

Shih Tzus are not picky eaters. But do not feed the dog food from your table. After this, dogs become more fastidious in food, making it much more challenging feeding.

What vegetables are good for Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzu’s diet can include sweet peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, and various greens (parsley, dill, lettuce), etc.

Can Shih Tzus eat bread?

Yes, the Shih Tzu can eat bread. Giving them this in moderation is fine. But it can contribute to your pet’s weight gain.

Article Sources:

  1. “Shih Tzu Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 11 Jan. 2021,
  2. “The Shih Tzu Personality: 10 Traits You Should Know.” Miracle Shih
  3. Top 10 Dog Breeds That Don’t
  4. Richmonde, Aeryn. “Let’s Talk About Health.” Shih Tzu Fanciers of Southern CA
  5. “Breed Standards: Shih Tzu.” United Kennel Club (UKC), 28 Dec. 2020,

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