5 Best Dog Foods For Shih Tzus

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for Shih Tzus.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus?

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Shih Tzu Dog Food Reviews

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Turkey
    2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine)
    3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate)
    4. Lentils
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 412 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 36%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 5%

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed offers all of the nutrients a Shih Tzu needs to thrive. This food takes whole, deboned turkey as its primary ingredient, a protein source that is easy for the Shih Tzu to digest. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are included in the form of salmon oil to help promote a healthy coat and skin.

To aid with digestion and joint support, Wellness Core’s formulation includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics, making it one of the best dog foods for Shih Tzus with sensitive stomachs.

Pros

  • Many owners report that their dogs love this food, cleaning their bowl with every meal.
  • Owners of small breed dogs like the triangular shape of the kibble pieces, noting they are easy for their dogs to chew.
  • Some owners noted that a steady diet of Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed helped lower their dogs’ blood sugar levels.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet contains no grains, feeling comfortable that it is an excellent choice for dogs with allergies.
  • Many owners share their dogs’ coat quality improved greatly when transitioned to this diet.

Cons

  • Some owners felt that the kibble pieces were too large for small breed dogs like the Shih Tzu and may pose a choking hazard.
  • A few owners expressed they felt this diet was quite expensive.
  • A few owners of dogs with sensitive stomachs noted their dogs had difficulty digesting this food.
  • A number of dogs disliked the taste of this food and would not eat it. This may be simply a matter of preference.
  • Several owners expressed they would prefer this diet to offer added supplements to boost joint health such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Some glucosamine is present organically through the inclusion of turkey meal.

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Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Venison
    2. Lamb Meal
    3. Garbanzo Beans
    4. Peas
    5. Lentils

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 4%

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley is a high-performance food that hits all the high points a Shih Tzu needs from its diet. This food’s main protein source is venison, a novel meat that is unlikely to cause any stomach distress in the Shih Tzu.

A diet that is completely free from grains, Taste of the Wild is rich in proteins and easily digestible fruits and vegetables to provide adequate dietary fiber. This food formulation is free from corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives.

Taste of the Wild, one of the best dog foods for Shih Tzus, includes a proprietary supplement blend of probiotics to support optimal digestion.

Pros

  • Owners indicate they are pleased with the price point of this food, noting it is of excellent quality and available very affordably.
  • Dogs with sensitive stomachs find relief from their symptoms when fed a steady diet of Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley.
  • Dogs suffering from issues with digestion saw a return to normal stool quality with a change to this diet.
  • Dogs love the flavor of this food, looking forward to their every meal with great anticipation.
  • The coat quality of dogs fed Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley is soft, shiny, and healthy.

Cons

  • Some dogs were uninterested in this food and would not eat it. Taste of the Wild offers several formulations for small breed dogs that may be a better option.
  • On rare occasions, some dogs exhibited poor stool quality when transitioned to this diet. This is often the result of a change that is too rapid but could also be a sensitivity to one of the diet’s ingredients.
  • A few owners indicated they would prefer a formulation that includes some grains as their dogs do best on a grain-inclusive recipe.
  • Some owners dislike that such ingredients as peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans feature prominently in this diet.
  • Owners suggest this food could be improved through the inclusion of supplements to boost joint health like glucosamine and chondroitin.

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Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Brown Rice
    4. Barley
    5. Turkey Meal

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 404 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Merrick Classic Small Breed Recipe is an excellent choice for the Shih Tzu due to its ease of digestibility. A diet that is rich in high-quality protein and that is grain-free, Merrick’s carbohydrates are derived from such high fiber foods as carrots, apples, and blueberries.

This food is free from preservatives, fillers, corn, wheat, soy, and gluten. To enrich the efficacy of this diet, supplements have been added; some of which include omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

Merrick’s emphasis on ease of digestibility and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables make it one of the best Shih Tzu dog foods.

Pros

  • Owners like the size of the kibble pieces, indicating they feel it is ideally suited to small breeds like the Shih Tzu.
  • Owners are satisfied with the price of this food, feeling they are getting excellent value for their dog food dollar.
  • Some dogs like this food so much that their owners are able to use it for their meals as well as for training treats.
  • Owners love that this diet contains healthy grains, laying a good foundation for healthy digestion in their Shih Tzus.
  • Even picky eaters love this diet, looking forward to their every meal.

Cons

  • Only occasionally, some dogs suffered from mild gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, diarrhea, and soft stool when fed a steady diet of Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed. This may be from a change of diet that is too rapid.
  • Some owners do express concern that the kibble pieces are too small for some dogs and may pose a choking hazard.
  • A few dogs experienced some recurring itchiness when fed a steady diet of Merrick Classic Healthy Grains. This is likely due to a sensitivity to one of the food’s ingredients.
  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this diet and won’t eat it.
  • A few owners express they feel this food is costly.

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Nutro Natural Choice Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Brewers Rice
    3. Chicken Meal
    4. Whole Grain Brown Rice
    5. Whole Grain Barley

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 343 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Nutro Natural Choice Adult is a top tier food formulation that is among the best dog foods for Shih Tzus available for purchase today. A recipe that is based on whole chicken, this lean meat is easy on dogs’ digestive system and provides the amino acids they need for healthy muscles. This diet contains no by-products, corn, wheat, or soy, making it an excellent option for Shih Tzus with allergies.

A grain-inclusive food, this diet has whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in its carbohydrate profile to ensure a bountiful supply of antioxidants and dietary fiber to encourage fluid digestion and a healthy immune system.

Pros

  • Several owners felt their dogs’ digestion improved with the change to Nutro Natural Choice Adult.
  • Dogs with skin issues found relief when fed Nutro Natural Choice Adult regularly.
  • Owners feel this food is well priced, offering great nutrition at a reasonable cost.
  • Many dogs love the taste of this food and look forward to enjoying their every meal.
  • Owners like the small kibble pieces, expressing they are the ideal shape and size for small breed dogs like the Shih Tzu.

Cons

  • Some owners expressed that their dogs are not doing as well on the new formulation.
  • Some dogs dislike the new recipe and will not eat it. It may be best to switch them to a different Nutro formulation with another protein.
  • A few owners noted that there has been a decrease in the amount of food included in the bag while the price remained the same.
  • A few dogs experienced gastrointestinal distress including diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite with a switch to this diet. This may be as a result of transitioning too quickly or a sensitivity to one of the food’s ingredients.
  • Several owners noted they found the smell of this food too off putting.

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Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon Meal
    2. Potatoes
    3. Sweet Potatoes
    4. Chicken Meal
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 381 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 3.5%

Whole Earth Farms Grain-free is a high-quality diet at an excellent price point, making it a good choice for families with Shih Tzus. A diet based on easily digestible proteins and carbohydrates, this food formulation, considered to be one of the best dog foods for Shih Tzus, is unlikely to cause this adorable breed any gastrointestinal distress.

An American-made food, this diet is free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Pros

  • Owners expressed that transitioning to this diet proceeded smoothly and without any gastrointestinal distress seen in their dogs.
  • Dogs with allergies found relief from the symptoms when transitioned to this diet.
  • Even picky eaters seem to love this food, eating each meal with enthusiasm and gusto.
  • Owners feel the small kibble pieces are ideally suited to small breed dogs like the Shih Tzu.
  • The stool quality of dogs fed Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free is excellent.

Cons

  • A few owners remarked that the smell of this food was off putting to them.
  • Some dogs became itchy when fed a regular diet of Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free. A switch to a different formulation from the same company but based on an alternative protein may alleviate this issue.
  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. There are many Whole Earth Farms foods to choose from, so a change to a different formulation may resolve this problem.
  • In rare cases, some dogs experienced dry, flaky skin after eating this diet consistently. Adding an omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acid supplement may remedy this issue.
  • Some owners feel this diet is costly.

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How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus

The charming Shih Tzu, a breed that was once exclusively reserved to provide canine companionship for Chinese royalty, is a much-loved family pet. Highly prized for its sophisticated appearance, the Shih Tzu is an amiable little breed that loves to have fun. To keep pace with the Shih Tzu’s daily needs, this breed requires a high-quality diet that is based upon lean, healthy proteins and that is well-balanced to meet this dog’s nutritional requirements perfectly.

A breed that can suffer from stomach issues, a highly digestible food formulation that is enriched with prebiotics and probiotics is ideal for the Shih Tzu. The best dog foods for Shih Tzus include fiber-rich foods to support digestion.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are busy little creatures and benefit from a diet that fuels their daily activity levels. The average adult Shih Tzu requires between 300 and 500 calories per day. Moderately active dogs fall towards the bottom of the spectrum with dogs that engage in rigorous daily exercise requiring the most calories. Whether the dog is spayed or neutered will also impact the recommended calorie intake. The Pet Nutrition Alliance calorie calculator is an excellent guide but remember to consult your veterinarian for more detailed nutritional information.

Shih Tzus are well renowned for eating far past the point of satiation if allowed to do so. To prevent weight gain from occurring, it is best to carefully measure the best dog food for Shih Tzus and monitor all intake. Free feeding is strongly discouraged.

The ideal diet for the Shih Tzu should contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. The total amount of food for the day should be divided between two to three meals that are fed throughout the day to keep hunger at bay.

Dietary Requirements for Shih Tzu Dog Foods

The Shih Tzu will do best on a diet that is based on high-quality, lean proteins derived from animal origins. Whole meats are the ideal protein source; however, meat meals are also an excellent choice.

Though Shih Tzus do suffer from stomach sensitivity on occasion, they are not prone to skin issues as some other breeds are. To ensure the Shih Tzu can process and utilize their food well, any carbohydrate included in their diet should be easily digestible; whether it is derived from a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain.

Healthy fats are an important means by which the Shih Tzu obtains energy to fuel its daily activity and development. As an added bonus, fats help the Shih Tzu’s coat and skin to remain in excellent condition. The ideal source for healthy fats is animal-based such as chicken fat or oils from salmon or mackerel.

The best dog foods for Shih Tzus often contain supplements to support important body functions such as digestion and heart health.

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best food for a Shih Tzu:

  • Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list

Protein should be the primary ingredient in any diet that is suited to the Shih Tzu’s needs. Whole, lean meats are preferred but meal meals are also acceptable.

  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements

The addition of helpful supplements can greatly aid the Shih Tzu’s health and wellness. Among the most desirable items to look for in a food for the Shih Tzu are glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics.

  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food

All foods appropriate for the Shih Tzu should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.

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