A Shih Tzu is an adorable toy dog breed famous among fur parents. This small dog is known for its charm, affection, and loyalty. Considering its size, it is important to note how much to feed your Shih Tzu.
A Shih Tzu’s feeding requirements largely depend on its weight and age. Generally, puppies need to eat around ¼ to 1 ½ cups of food every day, while adults should be provided with ½ to 1 ¼ cups. As for seniors, giving them ½ to 1 cup of food per day is suggested.
This article will provide information about Shih Tzu feeding. You’ll learn how much food this breed requires in their puppy, adulthood, and senior years.
What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Shih Tzu?
Similar to all other breeds, Shih Tzu dogs have distinct dietary requirements. Note that this dog is a picky eater, so it should be given a well-balanced diet to keep it healthy and thriving.
To ensure you’re feeding your pet healthy foods appropriately, it’s important to consider several factors. Neglecting these things could result in overfeeding or underfeeding your pet.
Here are the factors that impact Shih Tzu feeding:
- Age: Puppies require more food than adult dogs due to their higher energy requirements for growth and development. Feeding your Shih Tzu puppy several small meals daily will support its growth. This will also help avoid overloading its digestive system.
- Weight: Shih Tzus are small dogs with an average weight of 9 to 16 pounds. Overfeeding them can lead to obesity and related health issues like joint problems, diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.
- Activity level: While Shih Tzu dogs have moderate energy levels, their activity level can vary. Active dogs require more food to fuel their energy needs, while less active dogs may need fewer calories. Thus, consider your pet’s lifestyle when determining its food intake.
- Health status: Certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, may require a special diet and feeding schedule. Consult a veterinarian to determine the appropriate food and feeding plan for a Shih Tzu with specific health needs. It’s also better to feed them fresh food than processed ones.
Provide a balanced and nutritious diet for your dog to avoid over- and underfeeding. Additionally, the feeding guidelines on dog food packaging can be a helpful starting point.
However, adjustments may need to be made based on the individual dog’s needs. So, it is always best to consult a veterinarian for specific feeding recommendations.
How Much to Feed Your Shih Tzu?
Your Shih Tzu’s diet and feeding requirements shift as it goes through different stages of its life. As a pet owner, you need to monitor their food consumption and ensure they get balanced nutrition.
Shih Tzu Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
At around 3-4 weeks old, Shih Tzu puppies can begin to be weaned off their mother’s milk and start eating small amounts of solid food. This is usually a gruel or porridge made by mixing puppy formula or canned puppy food with warm water or goat’s milk.
At 8 weeks and beyond, most Shih Tzu puppies can start eating dry kibble.
You can use the following guide to determine how much dry food to feed your Shih Tzu puppy:
|Age||Daily Feeding Amount (Cups)||Caloric Intake (Per day)|
|2 – 3 months||¼ – 1 ¾||125 – 799|
|4 – 7 months||¼ – 1 ½||166 – 656|
|8 – 12 months||½ – 1 ½||269 – 676|
A puppy’s weight and appetite are important factors to consider when determining how much to feed as you transition from mother’s milk to solid foods.
Consult your vet if a puppy seems underweight or if you have concerns about their growth and appetite.
Adult Shih Tzu Feeding Chart (1 to 9 years)
When Shih Tzu puppies reach the age of one year, they are officially considered adult dogs. During this stage, you must transition from puppy formula to adult dog food.
Puppy food is high in fat and can cause weight gain. Adult dog food has less protein and fat, as dogs need fewer calories as they age. That’s why older Shih Tzus have smaller portions than puppies.
The table below shows the amount of Shih Tzu food required once your pet reaches adulthood:
|Age||Daily Feeding Amount (Cups)||Caloric Intake (Per day)|
|1 – 9 years||½ – 1 ¼||222 – 541|
To maintain your furry friend’s health, provide them with the best dog foods. Feeding your dog nutritious meals, such as chicken fat, can significantly improve their well-being.
Make sure to follow the dog food package instructions closely based on your dog’s weight. Avoid specialty foods such as grain-free or senior brands without consulting your vet first.
Senior Shih Tzu Feeding Chart (10 years and above)
As your Shih Tzu ages from adult to senior, it’s crucial to consider transitioning to a senior diet.
The formula for senior dogs should cater to their energy level and include added benefits to prevent skin and coat problems that may arise as they age.
Below is the senior Shih Tzus’ feeding guide:
|Age||Daily Feeding Amount (Cups)||Caloric Intake (Per day)|
|10 years and above||½ – 1||178 – 433|
Senior Shih Tzu dogs eat slower and may require soft food due to dental problems. Another vital concern is joint health, as they are prone to hip, back, and knee issues. Most senior dogs also develop osteoarthritis.
During senior years, dog owners should consider adding fiber, probiotics, vitamins, and omega-fatty acids like fish oil to their pet’s meals. This will help to maintain their digestive, immune, skin, and coat health.
However, keep in mind that each dog has different needs. When determining the appropriate amount of food, consider other factors such as their activity levels and any health concerns.
How Often Should You Feed Your Shih Tzu?
The number of meals and snacks you provide to your Shih Tzu will vary depending on their age. For example, puppies require about 4 to 6 meals per day. On the other hand, adults must be fed three times a day, while seniors should be given food twice a day.
Refer to the table below to determine the appropriate feeding frequency for your pet:
|2 – 12 months||Three to four times a day|
|1 – 9 years||Two to three times a day|
|10 years and above||Twice a day|
But regardless of your choice, it’s essential to remember that toy breeds like the Shih Tzu should not be fed just once a day due to their increased risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
How to Transition Your Shih Tzu to a New Food
Transitioning your Shih Tzu to a new food is something you cannot stop. As they grow and mature, their diet and nutritional needs change.
Changing your dog’s food suddenly can lead to stomach problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. To avoid this, introduce the new diet gradually. This will give your small dog’s digestive system time to adjust.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends the following table as a guideline for a dog’s dietary transition:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|Day 1 – 2||75%||25%|
|Day 3 – 4||50%||50%|
|Day 5 – 6||25%||75%|
Dogs with sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or other gastrointestinal diseases may require a longer period of dietary transition. Hence, monitor their response during the transition to ensure a successful dietary change.
You should slow down the process if your dog shows signs of appetite changes, vomiting, or diarrhea during the dietary transition.
If your dog still experiences stomach problems or other health issues after a gradual transition, it is advisable to seek advice from your veterinarian.
Tips on Feeding an Overweight Shih Tzu
Toy-breed puppies can still become overweight. This is especially true for breeds like the Shih Tzu. Due to their bone structure, these dogs can carry excess weight.
So, if you have an overweight Shih Tzu, it’s important to take steps to help them lose some pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
Below are some tips that can help when feeding an overweight Shih Tzu:
- Consult with a veterinarian. Before making any changes to your Shih Tzu diet or feeding routine, consult a veterinarian first. They can help you determine your Shih Tzu’s weight target. They can also recommend a feeding plan appropriate for their needs.
- Measure their food. Overfeeding is a common cause of weight gain in many dogs, so measure your Shih Tzu food and avoid free-feeding. Use a measuring cup to portion out their food according to the feeding guidelines on the packaging, and adjust the amount based on their weight loss progress.
- Choose high-quality, low-calorie dog food. Look for the best dog food low in calories and fat. Many healthy food brands have weight management formulas for overweight dogs. Avoid dog foods that contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and canned food with unhealthy ingredients.
- Add vegetables and fruits to their diet. Vegetables and fruits can be a healthy addition to your Shih Tzu’s diet, as they are low in calories and high in fiber. Some examples of safe vegetables and fruits for dogs include carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, blueberries, and apples. Be sure to wash and chop them into small pieces before feeding.
- Avoid giving table scraps. Human foods can be high in calories and fat and harmful to dogs. Avoid giving your Shih Tzu table scraps or allowing them to beg for food at the table.
Weight loss in dogs should be gradual and not exceed 1 to 2% of their body weight per week. So, monitor your Shih Tzu’s body weight and adjust its feeding plan accordingly.
With patience and consistency, you can help your furry friend reach and maintain its weight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Shih Tzu Enough?
One of the easiest ways to tell if your Shih Tzu is receiving enough food is by checking their body condition.
You should be able to feel their ribs without having to press too hard, and they should have a waistline when viewed from above.
If you can’t feel their ribs or have no waistline, they may be overweight and need to adjust their wet or dry food intake.
Why Is My Shih Tzu Not Eating?
There are several factors to consider as to why your Shih Tzu is not eating. One of the major reasons is that they’re likely suffering from certain health problems. A lack of appetite can be a sign of an underlying illness.
If your Shih Tzu is not eating and seems lethargic or shows signs of food intolerance, take them to the veterinarian for an evaluation.
Other reasons your pet is not eating include dental issues, changes in routine, stress, food preferences, and overfeeding. So, if your Shih Tzu is not eating, try to identify the cause and address it.
Can I Feed My Shih Tzu With Human Food?
Generally, it is not recommended to feed your Shih Tzu human foods. However, certain foods can be given to them in moderation as treats or supplements to their regular diet.
Some of these include lamb meal or chicken meal, brown rice or healthy whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. But note that human foods should only be given to your Shih Tzu in moderation.
Feeding them too much human food can cause an upset stomach or lead to weight gain. Thus, it’s still advisable to monitor what your dog eats.
Do Shih Tzu Eat a Lot?
Like other small breed dogs, Shih Tzus do not require a large amount of food. However, the amount depends on factors such as age, body weight, activity level, and overall health.
Shih Tzu puppies require more frequent feedings and may need to eat up to three times per day. Choose high-quality puppy food formulated to meet the nutritional needs of your growing pet.
Remember to monitor your Shih Tzu’s eating habits and adjust their food intake as needed to maintain a healthy weight.
Can Shih Tzu Eat Bones?
It is not recommended to feed your Shih Tzu bones. Bones, especially cooked bones, can splinter and cause various problems for your dog’s teeth.
These problems include broken teeth, choking, or gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or blockages. Bones can also get stuck in the throat, esophagus, or digestive tract, leading to serious health complications.
In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the bone.
Let us know in the comment sections below if you have more questions about how much to feed your Shih Tzu.