The 9 Best Dog Foods For Shih Tzus

You’ll agree with me that…

…finding the right dog food can be really overwhelming. (Thanks to hundreds of dog food brands available)

But that doesn’t mean you should feed anything to your little munchkin.

Shih Tzus are toy breeds that can be both voracious and passive in their eating habits. However, our experts recommend that you feed about 30 calories per pound for adult Shih Tzus and 35 calories per pound for pups.

But hey:

It’s not just about the number of calories, is it?

You’ll probably know that finding the right dog food plays a huge role in your pup’s health and well-being.

So, after spending a couple of weeks on research factoring in things such as ingredient analysis, customer feedback/reviews and more (my 40 point inspection list) I came up with the 9 best dog foods for Shih Tzus…

Let’s get right into it…

The Best Dog Foods For Shih Tzus — My Top 5 Picks

For this article, our product selection team scratched their heads to find just the right dog foods for this wonderful toy breed. Not just that, we got into the nitty-gritty details of the factors that you need to look at when buying these products and the dietary requirements and sensitivities of these little furballs.

Here’s our list of the top 5 Shih Tzu dog foods:

1. Royal Canin — Shih Tzu Adult Dry Food 

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,905 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 22%, Fat (min.) 18%, Fiber (max.)  4.3%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Brewers Rice, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Chicken By-Product Meal, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Oat Groats
  • Breed-Specific Formula

Royal Canin is the only mainstream manufacturer that took the initiative of designing a diet specifically for Shih Tzus. They realize the specific dangers that are posed to this breed, including heart and kidney diseases, and have crafted a formula to specifically help this breed combat them.

This adult Shih Tzu food is ideal for dogs that are above 10 months of age and contains nutrients to fight skin dryness in this breed. Top that off with the addition of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which make this formula a gem for any Shih Tzu that yearns for a soft, lush coat. Since Shih Tzus have a flat face, this kibble is shaped such that it’s easier for them to eat from a bowl. Not just that, but this formula also reduces fecal volume which would make your life a hell of a lot easier.

Buy on Chewy

2. Nutro — Small Breed Formula With Adult Farm-Raised Chicken

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,712 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 24%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.)  4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Split Peas, 4. Whole Brown Rice, 5. Brewers Rice
  • GMO-Free

If you find a food that has farm-raised chicken as its first ingredient and is GMO-Free, then what else are you looking for? Truth be told, small Breed dog foods don’t get much better than this. With a special focus on skin and coat health, this is easily one of the best dog foods for a Shih Tzu. Not just that, it’s completely devoid of artificial flavors and ingredients including by-product meals. Every ingredient in the Nutro Small Breed Formula is of elite quality, to say the least.

The kibble shape in this product is ideal keeping in mind the flat face of Shih Tzus. The kibble is not just easier to eat for your buddy, but also helps reduce plaque buildup on the teeth which can save your dog from an awfully painful experience. It includes Omega-6 fatty acid which can solve dry skin problems for Shih Tzus and leave them with a full coat. If you’re still not impressed, then it’s great to know that this formula is completely manufactured in the USA and is GMO-Free. This means that whatever you’re feeding your pooch is high-quality and natural.

Buy on Chewy

3. Hill’s Science Diet — Sensitive Stomach & Skin Small Breed Adult Formula

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 392 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 21%, Fat (min.) 12%, Fiber (max.)  4%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Yellow Peas, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley

If your Shih Tzu is anything like the others, it’d feel a bit queasy in the stomach every now and then. But with this formula, everything’s sunshine and roses for Shih Tzus as it contains chicken meal and barley which are great ingredients for healthy digestion. Also, this formula lays special emphasis on the coat health of small dogs. Hill’s Science Diet is one of the biggest names in the game due to the quality of ingredients in their dog foods. For this purpose, all ingredients in this product are produced in the United States.

Interestingly, prebiotic fiber is found in this food for Shih Tzus which greatly improves its digestibility. It contains Omega-6 fatty acid which is a lifesaver for dogs with skin and coat allergies. With this product, Hill’s Science Diet does not just work on the digestive system of your dog but also improves the immune system with the help of vitamin C and E. The manufacturer does not add any artificial flavors and colors, making this food perfect for a Shih Tzu.

Buy on Chewy

4. Blue Buffalo — Freedom Small Breed Dry Dog Food For Puppies

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Puppies
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,758 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 18%, Fiber (max.)  5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Starch, 5. Turkey Meal
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free

If your Shih Tzu faces allergic reactions, then this dog food might be a great choice. Blue Buffalo created its “Freedom” line for dogs that suffer from allergic reactions by grains. On top of that, this grain-free dog food contains no gluten, soy, corn, wheat, and meat by-products. That alone is enough to categorize this as one of the best dog foods for Shih Tzus.

But that’s not all:

This formula is great for the development of the brain and eyes as it contains DHA and ARA. With the addition of Calcium and Phosphorous, it’s also great for bone and joint health. This dog food contains the famous LifeSource Bits by Blue Buffalo which help improve your dog’s immune system. With Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, this recipe allows your dog to enjoy a smooth coat.

Buy on Chewy

5. Hill’s Science Diet — Small Paws Chicken & Barley Formula

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Senior
  • Caloric Content (per 5.5 oz can): 164 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 3.5%, Fat (min.) 2.5%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Wet
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Water, 2. Chicken, 3. Cracked Pearled Barley, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Pork Liver

If your Shih Tzu is entering his golden years, then you need a diet that’s designed for its laid-back lifestyle. This formula by Hill’s Science Diet is specifically created for small breeds over 7 years of age. The manufacturer has focused on providing protein sources for lean muscle mass as well as joint health and weight control. What else would a retired Shih Tzu want, eh?

Hill’s Science focuses on adding lean protein sources in this dog food for Shih Tzus so your ol’ buddy could maintain his weight. They really don’t want your Shih Tzu to be pooping all over the place as an old man so they’ve added plenty of healthy fiber in there. Not just that, but the ingredients help keep your dog’s heart strong and keep the vital organs functioning. Customers seem to be specifically pleased with the low sodium content in this formula which is great for senior dogs with heart conditions.

Buy on Chewy


Related Guide:

The Best Dog Foods For Shih Tzus: Frequently Asked Questions

When looking for dog food for their little buddies, people ask all sorts of questions. Well, to help them out, we decided to have a go at all of them in this section.

What is the best dog food for a Shih Tzu with allergies?

Shih Tzus can quite commonly run into skin allergies that lead to dry and scaly skin. There’s no particular dog food that’s great for all Shih Tzus, so the choice is dependent on you. However, dog food that contains a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids would work well for a Shih Tzu with skin allergies.

What foods are bad for Shih Tzu?

Some foods that are bad for Shih Tzus include:

  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Fruit seeds
  • Onions
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Cow’s milk
  • Garlic

What vegetables are good for Shih Tzu?

Vegetables are great sources of fiber that improve digestibility in dogs. Some vegetables that you should include in your Shih Tzu’s diet are:

  • Peas
  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • Raspberry
  • Baby carrots
  • Zucchini slices
  • Bell peppers

What human foods can Shih Tzu eat?

Most human foods are dangerous for dogs of all breeds. However, the following human foods are safe for Shih Tzus:

  • Chicken
  • Peanut butter (without xylitol)
  • Salmon (provides Omega fatty acids which are great for coat health)
  • Green beans (source of fiber)
  • Carrots (perfect treats)

Is chicken bad for Shih Tzu?

Not at all! Chicken is a great natural source of proteins which can be invaluable for your Shih Tzu. However, if your pooch does run into digestive or other health issues by eating chicken, consider paying a visit to the vet.

Is egg good for Shih Tzu?

It is best to avoid eggs for Shih Tzu. Raw eggs are optimum sites for bacterial growth. So, feeding raw eggs can lead to a number of diseases. However, if you wish to feed eggs as a protein source, consider boiling or frying them.

Can a Shih Tzu eat bananas?

Technically, dogs shouldn’t have a problem eating bananas as long as they are given in moderation. Always consider bananas as a treat and not a regular part of your dog’s diet as these fruits are quite sugary.

Is cucumber good for Shih Tzus?

Sure they can! Cucumber is harmless for dogs as it contains mostly water. It’s best to cut the cucumber in small slices before feeding it to your pooch.

Is cheese OK for Shih Tzus?

Yes, Shih Tzus can have all types of cheese, provided they aren’t lactose intolerant. However, it’s important to remember that cheese is a fatty food which should only be fed in moderation.

Can Shih Tzu eat tuna?

Although many many are concerned with the level of mercury in Tuna fish, recent studies have revealed that it’s currently not a matter of concern for dogs and humans. With that in mind, it’s best that you limit the consumption of tuna for your dog.

Is sweet potato good for Shih Tzu?

Anything sweet should always be fed in moderation to dogs. However, it’s true that Shih Tzus have a thing for sugary treats. So, it’s safe to let them have a bit of sweet potatoes once in a while.

Can Shih Tzu eat chocolate?

Chocolates should never be fed to dogs including Shih Tzus, no matter what! If given in large amounts, chocolate can kill your dog due to high levels of theobromine.

Does Shih Tzu eat rice?

It’s certainly safe to let your Shih Tzu have rice. In fact, some of the best dog foods for Shih Tzu include rice in their major ingredients. That’s because rice is bland and readily converts into usable energy for the body. However, always consult your vet before making a major dietary change for your dog.

How many times should a Shih Tzu eat?

This depends on how old your Shih Tzu is. When your pooch is still a puppy, you should let it eat about 3-4 times. After its first birthday, the number of feedings for your Shih Tzu should be limited to 2 a day.

Do Shih Tzus sleep a lot?

Shih Tzus can be quite lazy, for sure. A dynamic puppy would probably sleep half the day while an old pooch could retire on the couch for around 20 hours.

Why is my Shih Tzu not eating?

Shih Tzus are usually energetic as long as you encourage them to exercise. That means their diet is solid as well. So, if your Shih Tzu is not eating, there might be something wrong with its health in which case you should visit your vet as soon as possible.

Can I feed raw meat to a Shih Tzu?

You can, but it might not be the best choice. Many are strong advocates for feeding dogs a raw diet to ensure they are closer to nature. However, feeding a raw diet can be dangerous as raw meat can contain bacteria and viruses. Remember, your pooch is probably just a domestic dog — treat it like one!

How to stop a Shih Tzu from eating poop?

Shih Tzus can eat poop if their diet is not proper or if they’re stressed out. To stop them from doing so, make sure the Shih Tzu dog food you’re buying contains no fillers. Reassess the dietary intake of your dog and limit its access to poop.

Why won’t my Shih Tzu eat her dog food?

Shih Tzus can be picky eaters or simply ones that don’t eat all that much. But if the situation persists, it might lead to weight loss and weakness over time. So, make an appointment with your vet to discuss this issue.

Do Shih Tzu dogs have milk intolerance?

Not just Shih Tzus, but dogs of all breeds quite commonly have lactose intolerance. That’s because they lack the enzyme lactase for digesting milk. Even if your lactose-intolerant Shih Tzu loves milk, you should avoid it at all costs.

Best dog food for Shih Tzus with a sensitive stomach?

If your Shih Tzu has a sensitive stomach, then Hills Science Diet’s Sensitive Stomach and Skin recipe would work well for you. It contains a lower quantity of proteins (only 21%) and high fiber content for better digestion.

What to feed picky Shih Tzus?

If your Shih Tzu is a picky eater, you should try adding some of its favorite treats in its food. Make sure the addition is minimal so you don’t end up feeding too many treats. You could also try different dog foods and see which one works best for your furball.

What to feed a 6-week-old Shih Tzu puppy?

At 6 weeks old, a Shih Tzu puppy can live independently without its mother. At this time, you should feed it a quality puppy food around 4 times a day until it’s ready for an adult formula at around 12 months of age.

Buyer’s Guide for Shih Tzu Dog Foods

Shih Tzus can be quite a tricky breed to feed. That’s because this breed can have a sensitive stomach and a number of allergies as well. That’s why choosing the best dog food for Shih Tzus requires some prior research. So, to help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of factors that one should look into when buying dog food for Shih Tzus.

Here they are:

Protein content

Proteins are arguably the first component that you should look into when buying dog food. The amount of protein required for a Shih Tzu depends on its age and level of activity. However, an adult Shih Tzu would need at least 22-25% protein in its diet.

The sweet spot?

28-32% of protein from a named source. On the other hand, a puppy would need more protein content for growth and metabolism.

Fat levels

Fat is an important part of Shih Tzu dog foods. Ideally, there should be a minimum of 8-10% of fat content in the recipe.

Consider Your dog’s allergies

As mentioned above, Shih Tzus are prone to having allergies and sensitivities digestion. So, if your doggie is one of the unfortunate allergic ones, make sure you read the ingredients of the dog food thoroughly before purchasing it. Many dogs are allergic to grains, so in that case, you should be looking for a grain-free option.

Easy digestion

For Shih Tzus, you’re looking for a dog food that’s easier on the stomach. If your dog suffers from indigestion and vomiting, look for something with lower protein levels. It’s also worth mentioning that a high fiber content allows for better digestion in Shih Tzus.


Like humans, Shih Tzus need their vitamins as well. However, vitamins from synthetic sources can do more harm than good. The best dog foods for Shih Tzus contain natural sources of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Kibble size

Don’t make the mistake of feeding a large-sized kibble to your Shih Tzu. Remember that these dogs are flat-faced which makes it harder for them to eat large kibble. The answer to this problem is simple: buy kibble that is small in size. Feeding larger pieces can not only lead to cuts in the mouth and indigestion but can also cause your little buddy to choke.


We’ve covered proteins, fats, and fiber… but what about supplements?

Shih Tzus are specifically prone to skin allergies which can cause rashes on the coat, leaving a rough texture. But with dog food that contains supplements like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, your dog’s allergies can be curbed. A number of other supplements can also benefit Shih Tzus largely including chondroitin and glucosamine for bone health and antioxidants for a healthy nervous system.

Ingredients to avoid

Not every ingredient in dog foods is safe for every pooch to consume. There are some that should be avoided for breeds like Shih Tzus with sensitive stomachs. So, you should avoid all types of fillers and artificial colors, flavors, and ingredients which can lead to allergic reactions and indigestion.

Wet or dry?

Ah, the age-old debate!

Both, wet and dry foods, have their pros and cons. However, that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.

With that said, wet dog foods are much more palatable for dogs. However, they don’t provide oral hygiene like dry dog foods. Also, wet dog food contains a lot more water and lesser calories as compared to dry options.

Pro tip: Feel free to top your dog’s dry food with a bit of the wet stuff to make it more flavorsome. This is especially useful for picky Shih Tzus.

My Remaining Picks for the Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss

6. Eukanuba — Fit Body Weight Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds

Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3519 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 29%, Fat (min.) 10%, Fiber (max.)  3.9%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Wheat, 4. Corn, 5. Barley
  • Pea-Free
If your Shih Tzu is gaining some pounds over the lazy summer, then you need to switch to a small-breed weight-control formula. Fortunately, this dry dog food by Eukanuba is as good as they come. It contains 40% lesser fat as compared to their regular adult formula. Also, the L-carnitine in this dog food helps utilize excess fat and converts it into useful energy.

7. Wellness — CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per cup): 396 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 36%, Fat (min.) 16%, Fiber (max.)  5%, Moisture (max.) 10%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas
  • Grain-Free
  • Gluten-Free
Wellness CORE is the go-to option if you like your Shih Tzu’s food to be full of high-quality protein. With 36% protein content, this is easily the most proteinaceous dog food on the list. This formula also contains salmon oil which is a great source of Omega fatty acids. Not just that, but the chondroitin and glucosamine in this dog food also help to improve joint and bone health.

8. Merrick — Classic Small Breed Recipe 

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,585 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 30%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 11%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Turkey Meal, 5. Brown Rice
You know what’s great to see?
It’s the fact that Merrick adds real fruits and vegetables in this recipe, both of which are phenomenal sources of fiber. Add to that the presence of a named protein source as the first ingredient (deboned chicken) and it’s certainly a dog lover’s dream come true. If your pooch suffers from hyperglycemia, there’s absolutely nothing to fret about when feeding this formula as it’s potato-free which reduces blood sugar surges after a meal.

9. Pedigree — Small Dog Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,490 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 21%, Fat (min.) 11%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 12%
  • FormDry
  • Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 2. Poultry By-Product Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Soybean Meal
Even though this recipe contains by-product meals and gluten, both of these are perfectly safe for non-allergic dogs. With a fine blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, the Pedigree small breed formula proves to be a wholesome diet. It also contains Omega-6 fatty acids which help to improve your Shih Tzu’s coat.
But it gets better:
This dog food has a crunchy texture which helps improve oral hygiene for dogs.


In this article, we discovered some of the best dog foods for Shih Tzus. If you have one, then make sure you’re aware of its allergies and sensitivities, if any. This can save a ton of money for you and lots of pain for your dog.

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