What you feed your dog plays a significant role in their overall health. Please do not pick the cheapest food brands or feed them when convenient for you; because you want to know that your Shih Tzu nutrition is providing everything they need to grow strong and healthy. Therefore, put careful thought and understanding into what you feed your dog daily.
The Importance of Good Shih Tzu Nutrition
There are plenty of dog food brands and flavors to choose from, and the choices can be overwhelming at times, especially for new owners. Therefore, you will need to put a lot of thought into your Shih Tzu diet. Our canine companions need a mixture of nutrients, just like people. The food you select will affect their health and happiness.
When you bring your Shih Tzu home, there may have been a specific brand of food they ate for a certain amount of time. Make sure to ask the breeder or foster parent the specifics about the Shih Tzu diet. At first, continue to feed them the brand they’re accustomed to until you find something better or healthier. The best way to switch your dog to a different brand is to start by gradually mixing the two brands, which will help to lessen the chances of an upset stomach.
Some dogs are susceptible to allergic reactions to certain ingredients in dog foods that can go unnoticed. One of the top ingredients that dogs are allergic to is grain. Therefore, if you notice that your dog is getting sick often after meals, it could mean that the grain in their food is the culprit. Thankfully, there are many grain-free dog foods and treats to choose from that will help you avoid upsetting your pup’s stomach. Chicken is another troublesome ingredient, which many dog owners would not consider problematic.
Chicken is a typical flavor that many dogs love, but it can make certain dogs sick if they consume too much. If your canine companion is always ill and you are unsure what is wrong, you may want to consider changing to a food that does not contain chicken or grain.
Recommended Foods for your Shih Tzu
We always recommend feeding our adults and puppies high-quality foods because some Shih Tzus can suffer from food allergies from chicken and corn. Therefore, if your dog has itchy skin, constant ear infections, or any other allergy symptoms, try eliminating those ingredients to see if the symptoms improve.
Because the Shih Tzu is such a small breed, make sure that the food you give to them comes in pieces small enough for them to chew. Some brands make food specifically for smaller dogs. If your Shih Tzu does not like chewing dry foods, you can go with canned foods or a Shih Tzu raw food diet. Ask your dog’s vet for brand recommendations as well.
Although wet dog food can be more appealing to your Shih Tzu, it can make their breath and their poo smell worse. Therefore, it is essential to select the correct flavor. Select dog food brands that are higher in protein. Unfortunately, a higher price tag comes with these selections, but the benefits for your dog are priceless. The packaging should indicate the percentage of protein contained in the food.
Avoid Soy Ingredients
Karen Deangelo, a Shih Tzu breeder, states that “the Shih Tzu has a hard time tolerating soy, and it can cause bladder stones and vomiting.” Therefore, when selecting food for your canine companion, check the ingredients to ensure that it does not contain any soy. Though it may not be problematic to all Shih Tzu, it is a common ingredient that presents issues for the breed. Keep soy out of all Shih Tzu diet plans.
When finding the right food for your dog’s health, you can choose a small local pet store or a large chain. Large chains tend to be more popular because of their large variety of different brands, and they’re easily accessible. However, local stores carry a smaller selection, but their choices tend to be healthier. Also, local stores tend to be more personable with their customers and offer advice on what to choose for your dog.
If your dog is a picky eater, it is okay to switch up the food every so often, keeping them interested. However, always try to keep the same brand if possible, which will ensure that your dog does not get sick from the sudden change. And if your dog is still picky, try buying different food toppers to go along with the leading food; that can go a long way in making it more appealing for them.
Finding The Right Treats
Most dog owners do not put in the same effort to find treats as they do dog food, though giving your dog the wrong treats can negatively impact their health. Shih Tzu dogs tend to prefer smaller, softer treats because they are easy to chew. Although there are many distinct flavors to choose from, chicken, bacon, cheese, and pumpkin are among the favorites for most breeds.
Some small pet stores may allow you to mix and match different treats in an attempt to help your dog choose which flavor they prefer. Although they are small in stature, the Shih Tzu enjoys chewing on various bones and chews, such as pig ears or bully sticks, which can keep them occupied because they’re like a toy and a treat in one.
Make sure to select a healthy chew for your dog and avoid anything that contains rawhide because of how difficult it is for your dog to digest.
Shih Tzu Food to Avoid
Every dog owner knows how it is to see your dog looking up at them while at the dinner table, hoping to quickly gobble up any scraps that may fall to the floor. However, no matter how cute your dog is, please do not allow them to eat any and everything you put in your mouth.
As appealing and delicious as human food is to your little canine companion, some foods can be highly toxic and even fatal to them. I know at times that it seems like the occasional crumb here and there may not seem like a big deal; though, it is essential to know which human foods should be avoided altogether.
Firstly, if you didn’t know already, the number one food you should never give to dogs is chocolate; it’s almost like giving them poison. Coffee is another toxic substance that should be avoided. In addition, keep your pet away from anything that contains caffeine.
The Shih Tzu is so small that even a little piece of chocolate can be harmful. Another thing to remember is that the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Therefore, keep all chocolate and caffeine far out of reach from your pup.
Avoid Grapes and Raisins
Raisins and grapes are other harmful foods to keep from your dogs. While most other fruits and vegetables are great for consumption, grapes and raisins can result in kidney failure. Unfortunately, no one knows why they are so toxic to the dog’s kidneys; therefore, keep them as far away from your family companion as possible. Grapes and raisins have no place in a healthy Shih Tzu nutritional diet.
Dairy is also problematic. In fact, too much dairy can result in stomach issues like diarrhea. No matter how much they love cheese, milk, and ice cream, it is unhealthy and should never be introduced. Thankfully, there are plenty of human foods that you can substitute. Many pet food stores sell goat milk and doggy ice cream, which is much healthier for your dog, and they will love it as well.
Another problematic human food that tends to go under the radar, and most dog owners still give it to them, not knowing its danger, is bones. Plenty owners are guilty of throwing chicken bones on the floor when they’re through with it. Unlike the bones you buy at the pet store, cooked chicken bones can easily splinter when chewing and result in choking.
Dogs Can Get Sick From Eating Raw Meat Too
Avoid letting your canine companion chew on anything without knowing for sure that it is safe. Also, avoid giving them the fat whenever you’re trimming meat. Cooked or uncooked meat has been known to cause pancreatitis in dogs. Raw meat can also pose potential health risks like bones and fat trimmings.
As with humans, dogs can get sick eating raw fish, chicken, or beef because of the bacteria present, resulting in food poisoning. Consuming any of these items can cause vomiting, resulting in a visit to the vet.
Salty foods such as French fries and potato chips should also be avoided or given in tiny portions if inclined to do so, though not an essential in terms of a healthy Shih Tzu nutritional diet. Too much salt is problematic for dogs to handle and can result in vomiting or diarrhea.
Onions and garlic should also be left out of any Shih Tzu nutritional diet plan because they are just as toxic for your dog as chocolate and grapes; therefore, they should be avoided.
Human Food for Shih Tzu Dogs
Although there are plenty of human foods to avoid giving to your dog, there are some that are okay to give them once in a while. However, please do not make it a habit. Do some research before feeding your dog any human food.
Most meats are okay for dogs to consume just as long as they are adequately cooked. One of the best and healthiest proteins for your dog is salmon. It is delicious for the dog and helps with their skin, joints, and immune systems, and should be a main part of a healthy Shih Tzu nutritional diet.
Turkey and ham are also great as long as there are no onions, garlic, or other seasonings. Do not forget to remove all bones from the meat, a choking hazard mentioned earlier. Just as long as the meat is cooked to ensure the eradication of parasites and bacteria, then it is safe for your pup to enjoy.
Peanut butter is another human food that your dog can safely enjoy, and it is a great addition to the Shih Tzu nutritional diet. Dogs love the flavor of peanut butter, which is why it is incorporated into a variety of different treats and doggy bones at the pet store. It is also an excellent source of protein. Spreading a little on the food of a picky eater could help with getting them to eat the meal.
Some Fruits and Vegetables are Excellent
Many fruits and vegetables are great for canine consumption as well; however, make sure you have knowledge of which ones are safe. For example, apples, oranges, blueberries, bananas, watermelons, and strawberries are healthy and tasty for your pup’s consumption. Before giving these fruits, make sure to remove all seeds, stems, and leaves, which can be problematic if eaten in large quantities.
Healthy vegetables you can add to your Shih Tzu nutritional diet include carrots, broccoli, peas, sweet potatoes, and green beans. However, some dogs may not enjoy vegetables because they lack the taste of other human foods they enjoy. Also, they can become a healthy alternative to dog treats if your dog enjoys them. However, as with any human food, please give it to them in moderation. Too much can cause an upset stomach and a potential trip to the vet.
One food that dogs love is cheese. I cannot open a bag of shredded cheese without my Shih Tzu running into the kitchen wide-eyed and begging. Although cheese is not hazardous to dogs, it is dairy, and as mentioned earlier, dairy foods are problematic when introduced to a Shih Tzu nutritional diet. However, if your dog tends to do well after eating it, a little in moderation is okay.
Although these foods are relatively safe for dogs to consume, they should not be given too much at one time. Please do not give it to them no matter how they beg. It is okay to say no, especially regarding their overall health. Do not let them develop a habit of every time they beg; they get table scraps.
Shih Tzu Weight Management
If your Shih Tzu is beginning to get a bit chunky, you need to scrutinize everything they eat. Also, a little extra exercise is always a good thing. Too many dog owners overfeed their pups without realizing their Shih Tzu eating problems, which is unfortunate because they are doing more harm than good. Try to keep the Shih Tzu diet as simple as possible.
People with overweight dogs need to take drastic action to remedy the situation, like measuring the food served. Stop grabbing a handful and just throwing it in the bowl. The most significant way to do this is to read the directions on the bag. It should list the dog’s weight and how many servings of food are best for its weight.
Too Many Treats is Not Good
Keep a measuring cup by the dog food at all times, which will help to remind you to serve the correct amount of food. However, if your dog is still gaining weight and not losing and you’ve been giving the right amount, then you may want to cut back on the serving sizes. In fact, your pup may not even notice that it is getting slightly less food than usual.
This is an excellent start to getting them back to an ideal weight. Another potential cause of weight issues is the number of treats you provide them. I know some owners can’t help spoiling their dogs with extra goodies. However, this is a habit that you will have to break if you want your little canine companion to live a long healthy life.
Although treats do not have a ton of calories in every little bite, if you’re constantly giving them goodies on too many occasions, those calories can add up fast. Instead of praising your dog with treats, do it with petting, belly rubs, and plenty of hugs. If you give your Shih Tzu the attention it deserves, it won’t even notice that it gets fewer treats.