Shih Tzu Food to Avoid for a Healthy Life: Know Better, Feed Better

Last Updated: 11 months ago

Although this should come as general knowledge to most people, the dietary needs of humans and dogs are different.

Oddly enough, there are those pet parents that will feed their pets with the same food that they themselves consume. This could either be while they’re sitting at a table, tossing the odd tidbit to their begging Shih Tzu with puppy dog eyes or sharing humans treats with their best friend. 

However, this is likely to be a serious mistake and, in the worst of cases, even a fatal one. Some foods are perfectly suitable for us to eat while they can be extremely toxic to dogs and could lead to them suffering from chronic illnesses that could result in their death.

So what are the foods that you should avoid feeding your Shih Tzu? While there is a long list of foods you should give your dog, there is an equally long list of that should be avoided at all costs.

In the following guide, we’ll take a look at the foods you should avoid feeding your beloved Shih Tzu in order to have them both healthy and happy. 

How much should a shih tzu eat?

Shih Tzu Puppy Portrait

How much should you feed your dog?

Your Shih Tzu’s diet should comprise quality meals and healthy snacks. Various health issues could arise if you fail to provide and keep them on a healthy and disciplined diet.

These health issues can result from their food containing too many chemicals, coloring, and additives. Often skin and coat issues, as well as digestive problems, are top concerns. In the following section, we are going to cover dietary guidelines for Shih Tzus from puppies to adult dogs.


One of the most widely accepted ways of feeding a Shih Tzu puppy is Free-Feed. This method comprises having a bowl of nutritional goodness available at all times so your puppy can eat as he wishes. 

The reasoning behind this method is because Shih Tzu puppies who are very young are susceptible to hypoglycemia, a speedy drop in blood sugar, and one of the main causes of this condition is going too long without food.

However, it is recommended that Shih Tzu puppies are only Free-Fed for the first month, and this is because Free-Fed puppies do not develop disciplined eating habits. It would, therefore, be difficult to get the puppy into a housebreaking routine as it gets older.

So the rule of thumb is that Shih Tzu puppies older than one month need to eat 1 ounce of food for every pound that they weigh. So if your puppy weighs 5 pounds, he should eat 5 ounces of food at each meal.

After the first month or so, your puppy between 3 to 12 months old should be consuming three meals per day.

It is also essential to not just top off the ball as this will cause old and stale food to remain at the bottom. Instead, keep a small amount in a dish, clean the bowl, and add fresh food as needed.

Additionally, for the first month or so, you may need to keep reminding your puppy where his food and water dish is, and this will also encourage the puppy to nibble away throughout the day. 


This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions that Shih Tzu owners have and for a couple of good reasons.

When it comes to feeding Shih Tzu dogs, there is usually one of two extremes; either your dog doesn’t seem to be eating enough or never seems to be satisfied in spite of eating a lot. 

When it comes to the exact portions you should be feeding your dog, there are quite a few variables that you should be aware of such as the type of food you are feeding your dog, the quality of food as well as your dogs’ activity level, age, health status, and metabolism. 

Therefore, it makes sense that there is no clear-cut answer here. 

If you are feeding your dog manufactured dog food, then you should look to the manufacturers feeding guidelines to give you some direction. Usually, the recommendations are according to weight, so you need to know how much your dog weights to determine the exact portions. 

The serving recommendation is usually daily, and this is also assuming that you are feeding your dog several snacks per day. So as a general guideline, when it comes to an adult Shih Tzu, the serving recommendation should be between 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups per day for every 10 pounds of weight.

Most owners of adult Shih Tzus usually feed their adult dogs two main meals per day, and this works very well provided they are given healthy snacks and training treats too.

Alternatively, there may be some Shih Tzus that enjoy three meals, and this is perfectly fine as well. However, Shih Tzus should never be fed just one meal a day, and this feeding pattern should be reserved for much larger dogs. 

How often should they eat on each day?

Imperial Shih Tzu Puppy

The nutritional needs of puppies and adult dogs are different. Therefore, the amount and the quantities of food that Shih Tzu puppies and adults are fed will vary accordingly.


As mentioned earlier, puppies under one month should be Free-Fed, and this basically means that there should be enough food left out for them to nibble whenever they please.

However, from the second month onwards, you should feed your puppy three times a day, and the exact proportion is 1 ounce for every pound they weigh. 


An adult Shih Tzu should be fed twice a day, provided their diet includes a couple of snacks or healthy treats throughout the day as well. Alternatively, you can feed adult Shih Tzus three meals per day.

Typically, they should eat once in the morning, once at midday, and once at night.

What vegetables can shih tzu eat?

Shih Tzu Dog

When contemplating what vegetables to feed your Shih Tzu, take into account his tiny snout and fluffy face.

Trying to feed him canned pumpkin may very well end up on his face and ears instead of in his tummy, so the best vegetables to feed your Shih Tzu are small, tidy, and easy to eat ones. 

There are several veggies that make fine vegetable treats for your Shih Tzu. Some of the raw veggies he may enjoy are frozen peas, zucchini slices, alfalfa sprouts, and romaine lettuce. 

If you plan on giving him a few cooked vegetables, you may include steamed green beans and cauliflower and broccoli, which are all rich in vitamin C and calcium.

You may also take two of the baked squash or potato. However, in order to avoid the mess, offer him bite-sized pieces instead of mashed vegetables.

Carrots are also a great choice and can be offered raw or cooked. Some people prefer to offer it frozen, making it a healthy and chewy snack. This is great for teething puppies who would enjoy and take relief from the cold and chewy treat. 

However, this option is not one of the tidier choices since the melting moisture from the frozen carrot, and the mixture of puppy drool can cause his face to get quite damp and stained in a light orange color, temporarily of course.

Can shih tzu eat fish?

Shih Tzu Dog WIth A Fish

If you are a seafood lover, you’re probably wondering if your Shih Tzu can eat fish too. Although fish can have some benefits for dogs, the wrong kind can cause a variety of issues and some types of fish that should be avoided altogether.

When people eat fish, it has lots of health benefits, so it is easy to assume that fish is just as healthy for dogs. However, you should proceed with caution when it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu fish. Some types of fish are extremely poisonous and can be fatal.

It is also worth noting that a dogs’ response to some types of foods is different from other animals’ reactions. For example, just because a cat can chug down a can of tuna and seem perfectly okay, it doesn’t automatically mean the same applies to your dog.

Shih Tzus have a unique body chemistry and an even more unique digestive system, so it’s crucial to note what type of foods are safe for them and which are not.

Fish is a common ingredient seen on the back of most dog food labels; however, that does not necessarily mean that they are healthy or optimal for dogs.

So although some type of fish is safe for feeding to your Shih Tzu, these are ones that should be avoided:

Tuna and canned tuna: Tuna contains extremely high mercury levels that ultimately lead to mercury poisoning and other severe issues in your dog.

Raw and smoked salmon: Salmon contains a parasite that leads to a fatal condition known as salmon poisoning.

Blowfish or pufferfish: Blowfish or Pufferfish are incredibly toxic, and dogs usually suffer from blowfish toxicity after eating pieces of this fish. This is because the blowfish contains a specific poison that remains active even after the fish is dead.

Can shih tzu eat chicken?

Shih Tzu Portrait On Grass

There’s nothing healthier than feeding your Shih Tzu fresh and home-cooked meals. Preparing natural foods such as chicken is highly recommended. After all, who doesn’t love chicken?

Apparently, your Shih Tzu loves it. It’s a great protein and is a good replacement for store-bought dog food. 

However, the chicken should be cooked and unseasoned before serving it to your furry friend as a meal. As an extra treat, you may also provide them with soft chicken bones to munch on.

Can shih tzu eat eggs?

If you’re wondering if can your dog eat eggs, then read on. Chicken eggs can be good for dogs, mainly because they contain a lot of protein. They are essentially nutritious food because of their macro and micronutrients. 

The amino acids are also necessary for the adult dog. These amino acids are ones that dogs cannot synthesize on their own. Eggs also include healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

So eggs can be good for dogs as they help to maintain the central nervous system, their memory centers and also provide a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are great for visual health. 

One important point to take note of when it comes to feeding your dog is that eggs should be cooked.

Raw eggs can contain salmonella bacteria as well as a protein called avidin, which, when raw, interferes with the absorption of the vitamins in the eggs. Eggs can be offered up as omelets, scrambled, or boiled to your dog.

Can shih tzu eat cheese?

If you are wondering if it’s okay for your Shih Tzu to eat cheese, then the short answer is Yes. Lots of pet owners believe that is harmful to feed their dogs cheese, but the truth is that most dogs can eat cheese without any problems.

Cheese is a staple food item around the world, which is made from fermented milk, and there are thousands of different types of cheeses available.

Cheese does contain a surprising number of vitamins and minerals; however, eating them in moderation is essential. Therefore, cheese should be given to your dog as a snack or treat as opposed to a meal.

Cheese contains protein, calcium, vitamin A and B12, zinc, and phosphorus. It also contains fats and sodium, which is also important for adult Shih Tzus,  but as they say, too much of a good thing can be bad. 

Can shih tzu eat rice?

Well, the answer to this question is yes, your Shih Tzu can eat rice, and with that said, it’s important to consult a vet for a professional opinion before choosing a new food to introduce into your Shih Tzus diet.

By consulting with a vet, he will be able to advise you on how often and how much rice to feed your dog. 

That said, you may not want to feature dog rice each and every day. This is especially if his commercial dog food already contains rice as an ingredient. In this case, you should feed him even smaller amounts of rice and only with selected meals.

Ultimately, rice is a great option if your dog is a picky eater as it is bland and converts well to energy.

Can shih tzu eat strawberries?

Although it is okay to feed your Shih Tzu strawberries, it’s recommended to provide it in moderation to avoid giving your dog too much. The sugar in strawberries may be natural; however, it is essential to go easy even on natural sugars that are found in fruits.

Too much natural sugar can give your Shih Tzu an upset tummy and even lead to diarrhea.

So if you are going to feed him strawberries, it’s important that you chop it up into bite-sized pieces ensuring that it is easy for him to chew and only feed him one of two for the day. 

Can shih tzu eat icecream?

The question here is not so much, can you feed your dog ice cream as it is should you be feeding your dog ice cream? The main issue with ice cream is all the milk and sugar crammed into it.

As you may already know, most adults dogs are lactose intolerant, so the ice cream would generically not agree with a dog’s digestive system. 

While people consume ice cream and feel pure joy, dogs, on the other hand, suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, all of that sugar leads to unpleasant dental problems. 

However, if you must give it to your dog, ensure that it has no artificial sweeteners and just stick to plain vanilla. There are different flavors available, and some of them are toxic to your dog.

One of the most toxic flavors to your dog is chocolate-flavored ice cream. So for the record, never give your dog chocolate-flavored ice cream. 

Alternatively, there is ice cream made specifically for dogs. So if you can get your hands on it, all the better. However, our advice is that as much as your dog tries to get their hands, or shall we say, paws on the ice cream, just don’t give in.

They will suffer from gas and bloating even if it doesn’t lead to diarrhea and vomiting; therefore, it is advisable to simply stick to healthy treats for your dog.

What foods should you avoid at all costs?

First on the list is chocolate. Chocolate is probably one of the most dangerous food you can ever feed your Shih Tzu. The darker it is, the more dangerous it is.

It usually causes vomiting and can be lethal in even the smallest amounts. Chocolate is toxic to your dogs’ nervous system and should be avoided at all costs.

There are quite a few fruits and vegetables that are healthy for your dog, but some are deadly. Grapes or raisins are probably two of the worst fruits that you can ever give your Shih Tzu as it leads to death. 

Onions, garlic, and chives as well are equally dangerous, causing gastrointestinal irritation and leading to red blood cell damage. Avocados, including the leaves, seeds, and bark of the avocado, contain persin, which is a compound that causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Sweets and candy contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol that increases insulin production and produces serious health issues. Mushrooms lead to abdominal pain, while macadamia nuts cause kidney stones.

Cow’s milk contains lactose that adult dogs cannot stomach and lead to diarrhea. Bread dough contains yeast that can swell in the intestines and lead to a blockage. 


Caring for your Shih Tzu puppy is somewhat different from caring for an adult Shih Tzu. Their dietary requirements, the proportion of food, and the frequency of meals will vary from a puppy to an adult.

So it is important that you take note of the differences between looking after a puppy and a grown Shih Tzu in order to ensure that you are doing the best for your furry friend.

Caring for your Shih Tzu is no easy feat. While these happy and affectionate house dogs bring much joy into your life, the onus is on you as a pet owner to ensure that you are feeding your Shih Tzu the healthiest foods for them.

So take the time to learn exactly what you should and should not be feeding your dog to raise a happy and healthy companion who will be around for years to come.


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