Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu – 9 Nutritious Options Your Furry Friend Will Love You For

Shih Tzus are small, special dogs, identifiable by their round, broad, wide between eyes, and long flowing double coat. Also dubbed as “little lion dog,” Shih Tzus are spunky, full of life, but do require a fair bit of attention and affection regularly.

Your little pooch just like many other small dog breeds is prone to several common health conditions including allergies, joint and bone issues, dental problems, and hypothyroidism.

The combination of their small size, medium energy levels, and chances of experiencing health issues makes feeding Shih Tzus a bit tricky.

But finding Shih Tzu dog food is however an easy task, given the shelves are stacked with myriad options to choose from. But that doesn’t mean you’d feed your dog anything!

Shih Tzus need a high-quality diet that’s rich in protein for healthy muscles, and contains high levels of fat to support their fast metabolism.

That said, we’ve perused several options in the space, while focusing on the nutritional value they provide for Shih Tzus, and present you with 9 recommendations.

Shih tzus need a diet that’s rich in protein, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids for continuous hair growth and softness, and one that includes essential nutrients, and the Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food provides that and much more.

Here are the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus…

ProductDetails
1. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Dry food, kibble
  • For shih tzus over 10 months old
  • Ingredients contain Brewers rice, chicken fat, and natural flavors
  • 355 kcal/cup
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2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach

  • Dry food, kibble
  • For all breeds and sizes
  • Adult formula
  • 26 percent protein
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3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food

  • Wet food, pate
  • For adult dogs and all breeds
  • 345 kcal/13.6 oz can and 1.43 percent low fat content
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4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated with LifeSource Bits – special blend by Blue Buffalo
  • Grain-free recipe
  • For puppies
  • Real chicken, and no artificial flavors
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5. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

  • Grain free dog formula
  • Mix of fruits and veggies
  • 390 kcal/cup
  • 32 percent protein
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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice

  • Unique small kibbles encourage chewing
  • Corn, wheat and soy-free
  • 397 kcal/cup
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7. Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • 3 different size variants
  • 380 kcal/cup
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin supplements
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8. Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

  • 29 percent protein
  • Available in three sizes
  • 336 kcal/cup
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9. Purina ONE SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

  • 380 kcal/cup
  • 4 different sizes available
  • 26 percent protein
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1. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food — Best Dry Dog Food for Shih Tzus

Conceived in 1958 by a French veterinary surgeon, Royal Canin is a leading supplier of cat and dog food in the international market.

The Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult dog food tops this list of best dog food for shih tzus for several reasons, most notably its rich set of ingredients geared specifically to keep your pooch healthy and maintain its abundant coat.

Designed for shih tzus over 10 months old, this dry dog recipe is infused with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which offer two-fold benefits – considerably improve your dog’s skin and coat health, and can even help dogs suffering from dry and itchy skin get some relief.

Plus, it contains biotin – a water-soluble that aids the body’s own natural inflammatory process.

With regards to protein content, the Royal Canin Shih Tzu dry dog food doesn’t fall short with 22 percent crude protein.

This high level of dietary protein helps shih tzu puppies grow and develop, and senior dogs maintain their ideal body condition, and avoid weight issues.

If your shih tzu is suffering from hypothyroidism — a condition that can cause weight gain and other symptoms, then the reduced 355 kcal/cup coupled with the high level of protein should facilitate weight loss.

Your shih tzu will find the kibbles in this dry food formula from Royal Canin easier to pick up and chew, resulting in good eating habits.

For shih tzu dog food that provides a host of benefits for your dog or puppy including no artificial flavors, you really can’t go wrong with the Royal Canin Shih Tzu dry dog food.

Specs

  • Wet dog food
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • For small breeds

Pros

  • Contains Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and biotin for hair growth and softness
  • Helps reduce fecal smell and volume
  • High protein content
  • Kibbles and easy to pick up, and encourage chewing

Cons

  • Not grain-free

Rating – 4.9/5

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2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach — Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus With Allergies 

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Purina by Nestle is an esteemed supplier of pet foods, treats, and litter, and is billed as the largest pet food company in the United States, and second-largest globally.

If your shih tzu has a sensitive stomach or is experiencing an upset tummy, the Purina Pro Plan Focus can help. This lamb and oatmeal formula helps nourish your dog’s sensitive skin and stomach, and considerably improves its overall wellbeing.

It is geared towards small and medium-size shih tzus, and contains a high 26 percent level of protein, which contributes to healthy hair and skin, muscle development, and tissue repair among other benefits.

The Purina Pro Plan Focus highly digestible formula includes prebiotic fiber, which improves digestion by keeping bacteria in check in your dog’s gut.

Prebiotic fiber also accelerates nutrient absorption, and enhances the immune system for better response to vaccines.

Proudly manufactured in the USA, Purina Pro Plan Focus offers a 100 percent complete and well-balanced diet for your pooch, and both omega-6 fatty acids and zinc to promote a healthy shiny coat, and nourish its skin.

Specs

  • Dry food, kibble
  • For all breeds and sizes
  • Adult formula
  • 26 percent protein

Pros

  • Real lamb is primary protein source
  • Contains omega-6 fatty acids and zinc for a healthy skin coat
  • Prebiotic fiber to improve digestion
  • With antioxidants for healthy immune system
  • No artificial flavors/Lamb and oatmeal flavor

Cons

  • May cause fish breath

Rating – 4.8/5

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3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food — For Overweight Shih Tzus

Another bestselling formula from Royal Canin, the Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal dog food is designed for small, medium and large size shih tzus.

It delivers just the right amount of nutrition for your fur-baby, and helps him recover from common health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and appetite loss.

The Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal wet food formula for shih tzus is especially great for overweight shih tzus, given its low-fat content of just 1.43 percent.

Furthermore, it features a blend of dietary fibers, which collectively improve digestion, and greatly reduce the chances of bladder crystal development, resulting in a healthy urinary tract.

This tasty prescription diet boasts all-natural flavors, and includes myriad ingredients including Brewers rice flour, pork liver, cord grits, and dried plain beet pulp.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal diet formula features essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids sourced from fish oil.

These nutrients help nourish and soothe your best friend’s GI tract, consequently preventing any issues stemming from his digestive system.

The antioxidants included in this formula help support the immune system, and prevent allergies and arthritis.

This tasty prescription diet contains all-natural flavors, Brewers rice flour, pork liver, etc., and just 345 kcal/13.6 oz per can.

Specs

  • Wet food, pate
  • For adult dogs and all breeds
  • 345 kcal/13.6 oz can and 1.43 percent low fat content

Pros

  • Supports recovery of common health issues – diarrhea, vomiting, and appetite loss
  • Helps nourish the GI tract, and contains all-natural flavors
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for immune system support

Cons

  • Requires a veterinary authorization
  • Low protein (6 percent) content

Rating – 4.7/5

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4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Puppies

Blue Buffalo believes in feeding pets with the same care as family, and is regarded as pioneers of the natural pet food industry.

Formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists, the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Chicken Recipe dry dog food is a grain-free recipe, making it particularly great for shih tzu puppies who are intolerant to grains.

It features the company’s exclusive LifeSource Bits formula, which is a meticulous blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.

These ingredients have been diligently selected by holistic animal nutritionists and veterinarians, and are designed to support healthy oxidative balance, various life stage needs, and keep the immune system healthy in your shih tzu.

This puppy food formula by Blue Buffalo can be ordered in a choice of several different sizes ranging from 4.5 lbs to 24 lbs bags.

It contains real chicken, topped with vitamins, minerals and healthy carbohydrates, so your puppy or adult shih tzu gets an optimum dose of protein to boost energy levels with each serving.

And if your shih tzu has skin and coat issues, you’re in for a big win with this formula, owing to its inclusion of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. These antioxidants not only greatly improve skin and coat health, but also prevent dry and itchy skin in your furry-friend. 

This recipe not only makes it a delicious kibble, but works miraculously towards your overall dog’s health.

Specs

  • Formulated with LifeSource Bits – special blend by Blue Buffalo
  • Grain-free recipe
  • For puppies
  • Real chicken, and no artificial flavors

Pros

  • Available in different sizes
  • Contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Helps build and maintain lean muscle
  • Enhanced with healthy carbohydrates including peas and sweet potatoes

Cons

  • Tiny pellets may not appeal to some dogs

Rating – 4.6/5

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5. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey offers nutritious, delicious foods with a blend of simple ingredients your pet will love.

With deboned salmon as its main ingredient, this food recipe is rich in omega-3’s, so your pet experiences little or no mood swings, and enjoys improved brain health.

The other ingredients in this recipe are just as tantalizing as the salmon, and include chickpeas and sweet potatoes, making it hard to resist for your paw-some friend.

This American Journey dry food dog formula is stacked with wholesome fruits and veggies such as dried kelp, blueberries and carrots. 

These ingredients provide your pet with a rich serving of essential fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants with every cup to prevent diseases, and for better longevity.

You also need to maintain your shih tzu’s luscious coat that this small breed is noted for, something that’s taken care off, thanks to the abundance of omega fatty acids, including DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid).

The high chickpeas and sweet potatoes content provide your pet with the right amount of energy needed to fuel their daily adventures.

This American Journey shih tzu formula offers delicious and quality nutrition for your pet, and is grain free, without any corn, wheat or soy, making it a great choice for shih tzus prone to food sensitivities and allergies.

Specs

  • Grain free dog formula
  • Mix of fruits and veggies
  • 390 kcal/cup
  • 32 percent protein

Pros

  • Deboned salmon offers the right amount of protein and amino acids
  • Great amount of omega fatty acids, including DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
  • Does not contain wheat or soy

Cons

  • Limited to one size

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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice

Shih tzus can be fussy eaters, and are prone to upset tummy problems, which are areas the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula aims to resolve.

It features LifeSource Bits –unique, small kibbles, making them easy to for your pooch to chew on, and encourages tartar removal.

Further, this recipe includes brown rice, which is full of fiber, and helps with your dog’s digestion.

Brown rice is also an excellent source of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, so your pet gets a continuous supply of nutrients he needs to maintain great overall health, and a robust immune system.

But the traits of brown rice don’t end there, because this superfood is packed with calcium, iron and riboflavin for improved dog overall health.

The Life Protection Formula has plenty of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to help your pet showcase a healthy skin and coat at all times.

It is infused with glucosamine – a supplement that helps your shih tzu stay active, improves its joint health and mobility by reducing joint inflammation and pain.

What the Life Protection Formula does not contain is corn, wheat, soy, which some leading veterinarians claim cause allergic reactions, and reduce the digestibility of protein.

Instead, this recipe includes real, deboned chicken – an ingredient that is known to boost carbohydrate and protein levels to meet your budding shih tzus higher energy needs.

For a multifaceted dog food that won’t disappoint your pooch, and one that offers a plethora of health benefits, the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is hard to beat!

Specs

  • Unique small kibbles encourage chewing
  • Corn, wheat and soy-free
  • 397 kcal/cup

Pros

  • LifeSource Bits provide right blend of nutrients
  • Plenty of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • Contains glucosamine to help your pet stay active
  • Brown rice provides high amount of fiber for better digestion
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients

Cons

  • Some dogs may have trouble picking up the LifeSource Bits

Rating – 4.7/5

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7. Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food – Best for Increased Mobility and Development

Merrick Pet Care has been a trusted brand by world class veterinarians, breeders and consumers across the globe for the past 30 years.

The company produces the best pet food possible using only premium ingredients with unsurpassed nutrition and delicious taste.

This is exactly what your pet can expect from the Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe.

Available in three different size variants – 4 lbs, 10 lbs and 22 lbs bags, the Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato formula is a blend of several different vitamins and minerals for a complete and balance diet for your shih tzu.

Shih tzus are clever, loyal and active dogs, but can suffer from reduced muscle tolerance, especially when transitioning from adult to senior.

The glucosamine and chondroitin supplements included in this Merrick recipe are designed to stimulate growth of the cartilage cells to help increase mobility, and prevent arthritis, and other ailments.

It features deboned beef as its primary ingredient, which increases the protein level of the food, making it easier for your pooch to digest.

This poultry-free shih tzu dog formula is also a great choice if your pet is allergic to chicken or other types of meats, and contains no artificial, colors, preservatives or gluten ingredients. 

This Merrick dry dog food recipe is infused with high levels and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, to support healthy skin, and help your dog boasts a beautiful coat.

It also contains a high 38 percent protein, but less 380 kcal/cup caloric content, so your dog stays fit and not overweight.

Specs

  • 3 different size variants
  • 380 kcal/cup
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin supplements

Pros

  • Grain-free and gluten-free recipe with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Made with the finest ingredients at the Merrick’s Texas facility
  • Helps with mobility issues
  • Poultry-free dog formula

Cons

  • Packaging may not have Velcro closure

Rating – 4.7/5

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8. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

Natures Recipe has been crafting award worthy pet food recipes for the past 35 years, and the Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin formula is yet another bestselling addition to their massive portfolio of products.

It is available in a choice of three different sizes – 4 lbs, 12 lbs and 24 lbs, and contains nutrient-rich carbohydrate sources to help your dog stay active.

It features salmon as its first ingredient, which in itself is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and keeps your dog’s coat shiny and healthy, and also supports his immune system.

But what makes this recipe a hit for shih tzus of all sizes is the inclusion of pumpkin in its of ingredients, which many pet owners consider a miracle food that works well towards diarrhea and constipation.

This succulent Natures Recipe formula does not contain any wheat, corn, artificial colors, and flavors, but on the flipside is plentiful in essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

It is chock full of high-quality fruits and vegetables, which along with the salmon, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin boost your furry friend’s overall health.

With regards to protein content, the Natures Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin leads the pack with 27 percent protein, which contributes to healthy hair and skin, muscle development and tissue repair, and proper functioning of the body.

It delivers 336 kcal/cup, so your pooch stays fit without overloading the scales.

For a dog food that comes with an excellent list of ingredients, and boasts a taste that will leave your paw-friend in awe, this Natures Recipe formula comes highly recommended.

Specs

  • 29 percent protein
  • Available in three sizes
  • 336 kcal/cup

Pros

  • Rich in carbohydrates
  • Great source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Does not contain any corn, wheat or artificial colors and flavors
  • Promotes healthy immune system with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables

Cons

  • May cause pumpkin allergies in certain breeds

Rating – 4.8/5

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9. Purina ONE SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Adult Formula Dry Dog Food 

Another excellent formulation from the Purina hangar, the ONE SmartBlend recipe contains real lamb – an excellent source of essential amino acids, and high quality protein needed to build, heal and maintain body tissues.

The lamb in this formula also helps support strong muscles, and a healthy heart, making it a great choice for young and senior shih tzus.

It can be ordered in four different size variants, making it easy to get the right size for your needs, and offers a 380-kcal caloric content per serving. It has just the right amount of omega-6, which helps with immune function, skin and coat health.

Additionally, this formula is also rich in vitamins E and A, which along with the zinc and selenium contribute to the overall healthy quotient of this recipe.

Unlike cheap shih tzu dog food, the Purina ONE SmartBlend dog food features natural sources of glucosamine, which helps when your pet is getting a little stiff or achy with arthritis.

The ingredients in the Purina ONE SmartBlend formula work together to support your dog’s whole body health, and offer a 100 percent complete diet.

Even through the feeding amount varies based on your dog’s metabolism and activity level, 1/3 to 1 and 1 to 1½ cups is recommended for shih tzus weighing 3 to 12 pounds and 13 to 20 pounds respectively.

Specs

  • 380 kcal/cup
  • 4 different sizes available
  • 26 percent protein

Pros

  • Contains vitamins A and E, and zinc and selenium
  • Lamb supports strong muscles, and healthy heart
  • Natural sources glucosamine
  • Great source of amino acids and protein
  • 100 percent complete diet

Cons

  • May not keep dogs full for long

Rating – 4.8/5

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Buying Guide For Shih Tzu Dog Food

When it comes to buying the best food for shih tzus, the first important thing to understand is that there is no “one size fits all” design.

Given this fact, there are several important aspects to consider to ensure your dog gets the right dose of nutrients for great digestibility, and longevity.

Common Shih Tzu Health Issues

Shih tzus are healthy dogs for the most part, but do suffer from certain problems common to small breeds.

Keratitis

This is basically inflammation of the cornea, which can gradually lead to an ulcer, and cause blindness if the condition is severe enough.

Apart from getting your dog looked at by your vet, there are several nutritional supplements that may help ease the discomfort such as omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C and E.

Allergies

Shi tzus can be affected by allergies, which are quite similar to those that affect the human anatomy. Even though most of these allergies are food based, and can be resolved by trial and error, there are some shih tzus who can be allergic to certain products such as shampoos and flea powders.

There are several symptoms of allergies in shih tzus to watch out for including itchy ears, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, inflamed skin, sneezing, and itchiness. You can give your dog several different medications to treat his allergies after speaking with your vet of course.

Food containing antioxidants are recommended for allergies and can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Hypothyroidism

Also known as underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones.

Even though this condition is not common to smaller dogs, there are some shit tzu owners who claim otherwise.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include an abnormal appetite, hair loss, fatigue, and weight gain.

Foods alone won’t cure hypothyroidism but can treat the symptoms resulting from the condition such as weight gain.

If your dog tips the scales at a larger number compared to its size, then look for dog food that’s low in calories, and visit your vet to seek medical advice.

What To Look For In Shih Tzu Dog Food

Proteins

Arguably the first thing to look for in shih tzu dog food, proteins contain essential amino acids to help your dog function properly.

Proteins also contribute to healthy hair and skin, tissue repair, and muscle development among other benefits.

In terms of dosage, the amount of protein required depends on the age and level of activity of your dog, but between 22 percent and 25 percent is recommended for adult shih tzus.

Vitamins

Just like humans, shih tzus need a good intake of vitamins too. The best dog food for shih tzus should be infused with vitamins, most notably vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Kibble size

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider, so pay attention. Shih tzus are flat-faced dogs, hence will find it harder to eat large size kibble.

Feeding large kibble to your shih tzu can also result in ingestion, and lead to cuts in his mouth. The solution is simple – buy shih tzu dry dog food that’s small in size.

Supplements

These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can curb your dog’s allergies.

Other supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine can improve bone health, and provide antioxidants for a healthy nervous system.

Final Thoughts

Even though the origin of shih tzus is still a mystery, one thing’s for sure – they are loyal, gentle, and affectionate, and require minimal exercise.

Shih tzus can also suffer from several health conditions, but feeding your dog a well-rounded diet will keep them healthy, build his immune system, and improve his overall health.

One of the biggest reasons we’ve picked the Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food as our top choice is because it contains an exclusive complex of nutrients for healthy skin, and natural sources carbohydrates and fiber to support good digestion, The kibbles in this formula are also designed specially to make it easier for shih tzus to pick up, and chew.

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