The Shih Tzu is a gorgeous toy breed that catches the eye of any onlooker. Its beautiful Shih Tzu colors and charm are impossible for any person to resist, which is why you have probably purchased this beloved pooch from a Shih Tzu breeder in the first place.
But, now that your adorable Shih Tzu companion is at home, you are wondering how you will feed it so that it can thrive (and hopefully, still keep that beautiful coat). You might have a variety of food questions regarding your Shih Tzu when it comes to food.
However, there is no need to fret. We have prepared everything you need to know about your Shih Tzu’s eating habits, along with additional information that will tell you everything you need to know about dog food as well as pros and cons to look out for.
We have also prepared an easy-to-use Shih Tzu feeding chart that will benefit you on the go.
All you need to do is read and relax!
How Much Should A Shih Tzu Eat A Day? An Overview
Before we get into the minute details of Shih Tzu food habits that you should know about, we have prepared a Shih Tzu feeding chart for you that is easy to use.
You might be uncertain about the amount of food your dog can eat every day. That is why this Shih Tzu feeding chart is an invaluable tool for you to use.
When it comes to a puppy that is still growing, you will be safe by feeding it an ounce of dog food per pound of body weight. However, once it reaches adult age, it is better to feed your dog half an ounce per pound of body weight.
To see how big your Shih Tzu should be in every developmental stage, check the Shih Tzu growth chart.
|Age||Feeding Amount||Total Calories per Day||Ideal Weight|
|0 – 1 Years (Puppy)||1.0oz – 2.0oz per day||40 – 55 per pound of body weight||2lb – 16lb|
|1 – 9 Years (Adult)||2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day||80 – 140 per pound of body weight||9lb – 16lb|
|9+ Years (Senior)||2.0-oz – 3.4oz per day||80 – 140 per pound of body weight||9lb – 16lb|
There are many factors that affect the amount of food this toy breed should be eating every day, which is why you must take them into account when it comes to how you will feed your small dog.
Such factors include weight (you don’t want your dog to be obese or underweight!), age (younger dogs need more energy per body ratio than older dogs), activity level, and different health issues that your Shih Tzu might have.
A high-quality diet is also very important for every Shih Tzu (and dogs in general). We all know that heavily-processed dog foods become a nuisance in the long run. Such foods usually contain fillers that do not add anything to your dog’s diet, but end up doing harm instead.
Fillers are ingredients that — you guessed it — fill up or replace the nutritional content, offering no benefits of their own. Unfortunately, such a diet is often related to obesity or weight gain issues that could have been easily avoided by purchasing better food for your Shih Tzu puppy.
However, even if you do feed your dog pet food that is laden with great nutritional content, you still have to make sure you are not overfeeding it so you can be certain that your Shih Tzu grows up to be a healthy dog.
If it’s your first time having a pup, it can be confusing trying to figure out if you are feeding it correctly.
A great way to check whether or not your dog is being fed correctly (whether it is an adult Shih Tzu or a puppy) is by checking its abdomen. The belly of your dog should be tucked in its body. If it is hanging, your dog is most likely overweight.
How Much Should My Shih Tzu Puppy Eat?
Everything might be easy to figure out if you have an adult, but we know that having a puppy is always much more complicated than what first meets the eye. Additionally, there is not a hard and fast answer to this question.
We understand that there is a lot of worry about how much you should be feeding your puppy when you first get it — what your dog eats and how much it exercises can all aid or impair its health, and we want to make sure that Rex is as healthy as possible, thank you very much!
However, how much you should be feeding your dog does not need to get more complicated than it is.
The amount of food you give your dog is determined mostly by how old your pup is and the type of food you decide that you want to feed it.
The reason for the latter is because different foods have different caloric value, and how many calories you give your dog depends on what your dog’s nutritional needs are at the moment.
Roughly speaking, you should be feeding your pup around three-fourths cup to one cup of the dog food of your choice per day, per ten pounds of weight. However, since Shih Tzu puppies are a small-dog breed, they might need even less than that.
Here is a more detailed overview of how much you should be feeding your dog depending on its current age.
The Detailed Shih Tzu Feeding Chart
The most important thing to consider when you are trying to figure out how much to feed your pup is your Shih Tzu’s RER, which basically stands for resting energy requirement.
It is a measure that considers how many calories your pup’s body needs in order to function appropriately.
The way you measure the RER is by taking your dog’s weight (in kgs) and multiplying the value to the three-fourths power by seventy.
The formula would look something like this: x kg^(3/4) x 70
Let’s pretend that Rex weighs around four pounds (which is around 1.81 kgs). The three-fourths power of 1.81 is 1.56. If you multiply 1.56 by seventy, you approximate 109 calories.
You can use this formula to calculate how many calories your dog should be getting depending on its weight.
Let’s get more into what is expected of you in terms of food when it comes to your puppy’s age.
2-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
You will only need to worry about what to do with a two-week-old Shih Tzu puppy if you happen to be a breeder (lucky you), or if you somehow ended up with a litter of pups and their mother.
During this age, you should not attempt to feed the puppies anything at all, as the pups at this age are completely reliant on their mother for nutrition provided to them through her milk. They will not have much awareness of their environment yet.
Please do not give the pups any kibble or wet food at all (not to mention human food) — their body cannot process these foods yet.
The only thing you need to worry about during this time period is if the mother is doing her part. A mother Shih Tzu should not reject any of her pups. If this does occur, you might want to consider other feeding options, such as a puppy formula.
Discuss with your vet about what to do if the mother rejects one of her pups.
4-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
At this age, the pups will still mostly rely on their mother, but not to the extent as they used to. The mother will also take more frequent breaks from her pups to do her own business, which is completely normal.
The puppies will also still get their nutrition mostly from their mother.
What you might want to do at this age is try to interest your puppies in puppy food.
You can usher them to try and taste a spoon or so of kibble. If the puppies reject it, that’s completely fine. It might just not be the correct time for them to eat dog food just yet.
6-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
During this time period, your puppies will drastically benefit from being introduced to a variety of puppy foods.
The mother will be less interested in feeding her pups, which is why you should be focused on having your pups get used to kibble as their main food.
What you might want to try is free-feeding your pups by having three quarters of a cup of puppy food a day for each Shih Tzu puppy that you own.
If the food is out for them to explore, there is a greater likelihood that they will want to try it and be interested in eating it.
Perhaps before flat out giving your puppy kibble, you might want to try softer food variants at first, and gradually make way to your desired food source for your pups.
8-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
If you are a breeder, this is usually the period that you will be giving your Shih Tzu puppies away to their new home, and away from their litter and mom. If you are a dog owner, this is the exciting period when you should be adopting your pup!
If you are getting your new puppy from a breeder, you want to make note of the dog food the breeder fed the puppies so that your puppy can more easily transition to its new home.
If you are not satisfied with the brand of dog food, make sure you take your time to gradually have your pup transition to its main food source. Sudden changes in your dog’s diet is a very stressful endeavor for the pup.
During this age, your puppy should be completely independent from its mom in terms of food, and eating kibble as its main food source.
The puppy should not have a fixed feeding schedule yet at this point; free-feeding is definitely the best way to go. When your pup is hungry, it will eat at will. You still need to measure how much food you are feeding it, though — don’t end up dumping out too much or too little!
At the end of the day, make sure that you keep track of how much food your puppy has eaten.
10-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
During this time period, you can still free-feed your pup so that it still has food on the go whenever it is feeling hungry.
You will notice that your dog will need to have a greater caloric intake than previously, but considering the small size of this dog breed, you shouldn’t be worried if you realize there isn’t much of a need to change the amount of food you serve your puppy.
You might be concerned if you realize that your puppy still has a bit of a belly at this point — you might start worrying if your dog is overweight.
This is why we warmly advise you to consult with the RER feeding calculation. This works as an excellent feeding guide for your puppy so you don’t have to worry.
12-week-old Shih Tzu puppy
This is usually the time period when some dog owners stop free-feeding their Shih Tzu puppy, but you can still free-feed your pup if you feel like there is a need. You might want to change that as your dog gets older, though.
Just make sure that you keep measuring the amount of food your dog is eating throughout the day.
You will realize that your dog should have a more pronounced waist at this point. Looking at the size of your pup’s waist can help you figure out if it is a healthy weight.
If you realize that your pup does not have a defined waist, it might be overweight. However, if you can see your dog’s ribs from afar, it might be emaciated, which is never good.
Make sure that you check with your vet if your dog is following its natural growth curve. Determining whether your dog is following its natural growth can prevent a lot of health issues in the long run.
How Much Should A Shih Tzu Eat A Day?
After we have broken down the caloric intake of your dog based on its age, you might be wondering about the frequency of feeding your pup.
When your Shih Tzu is still a puppy, you will have to feed it more frequently — perhaps even four or six times a day. If your pup is an adult, you might want to reduce the times you feed it to three times a day.
The reason for this is that Shih Tzus are prone to a disease called hypoglycemia, which is just another word for low blood-sugar.
Because Shih Tzus are a smaller breed, they are more prone to having a fast metabolism. When they eat spread-out meals during the day, it helps them sustain their energy levels.
You will want to have a consistent schedule for your dog. Make sure to feed it at the same time every morning, afternoon, and evening.
If you are away at work, you can purchase an automated dispenser for your dog, and set it at the same time every afternoon to feed your dog.
When it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu in the evening, make sure you feed it just before bedtime so that it does not get hungry during the night.
What Should I Feed My Shih Tzu?
It is quite understandable that anyone would become confused after they go through the long aisle at the supermarket with a huge amount of options of what to feed their Shih Tzu. What could possibly be the best food for Shih Tzu dogs?
You might be surprised to learn that there is more than one best dog food for a Shih Tzu, which is both relieving and curious — there are more food options out there than the famous Royal Canin Shih Tzu dog food… trust us!
The most important thing to figure out when you are trying to find the right food brand for you and your Shih Tzu is the kind of nutritional needs your dog has.
This is best solved in tandem with your vet. However, there are a few key things that we think everyone should have in mind when they want to purchase their dog food.
You should definitely check that the dog food you purchase is of high quality. It also should have natural preservatives instead of added ones, which can cause trouble for your dog in the long run, even if he or she is an adult dog and not a puppy.
You also want to make sure that it doesn’t have by-products, artificial colors, fillers, or additives, which can all be harmful to your dog.
Some dog owners even prefer a grain-free diet for their dogs because of the benefits to their health, though some grains, like white and brown rice, are better tolerated than others.
Good dog food will have ingredients such as human-grade meats (high-quality proteins), minerals such as calcium, fatty acids, omega 3, DHA, healthy sources of carbohydrates, and antioxidants (hello, blueberries and sweet potatoes!).
Of course, it is possible to find dog food with some but not all of these incredible nutritional ingredients for your pup. Your best bet is discussing with your vet which dog food is the best for your dog’s health needs.
Should I Feed My Dog Dry Food Or Wet Food?
Ah, the famous question, isn’t it? It is always much more complicated than first meets the eye.
The truth is, there are positives and negatives to both food options.
Dry dog food (also known as kibble) is an excellent option for your dog’s teeth. It is also much more easily digestible, it is not known to cause stomach-related issues, and it is… well, cheap.
Wet food, on the other hand, is what your dog (especially picky eaters) will most likely prefer because of its appetizing smell and taste. It is also a great option for dogs that have issues staying hydrated.
However, it is not as good for their teeth, and it is generally more expensive. It also has the potential of causing diarrhea for some pups that have sensitive stomachs.
You might want to blend both kibble and wet food for the benefits of both, or even explore other options. Some dog owners even try to figure out how to boil chicken for dogs for added benefits to their health.
The truth of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all for dogs. You will have to figure out what works best for you and your beloved pooch! Just make sure that what you feed your pup is quality food! This small breed will definitely appreciate that.
When Do I Switch From Puppy Food To Adult Food?
You can make that transition when your pup is from nine months of age up to its first birthday. However, you want to make sure you do this transition gradually because if you do this too abruptly, it can seriously disrupt your dog’s digestive system.
You might want to start by adding adult dog food and removing the exact amount of its old food step by step until you have completely switched to adult food.
What If My Shih Tzu Won’t Eat?
It is always difficult and concerning if you notice that your dog isn’t finishing all of its food. However, that doesn’t always have to be a cause for alarm.
Have you changed your puppy’s food recently? If you have, it might have not gotten used to it yet. You might want to gradually mix its new food with its old food until you are only feeding it the new food. Maybe you can even add wet food to complement the taste.
However, if you have not made any changes to your pup’s food, you will have to talk to a vet to see if there are any health issues that you don’t know about.
Can You Free-feed A Shih Tzu?
It is perfectly fine to free-feed your Shih Tzu if it is under three months of age. Free-feeding means that you have food available for your dog at all times.
Toy-breed puppies, such as the Shih Tzu, are prone to having lower blood sugar, which means that they should have food available when they feel like they need energy.
However, when your pup is over three months of age, you can start having a fixed feeding schedule for your pup (three meals a day should do the trick until its first birthday). You can use the Shih Tzu feeding chart to figure out how much your pup should be eating a day.
Should I Give My Shih Tzu Supplements?
Supplementation is always a matter of question for new dog owners. Everybody wants to make sure that their pup isn’t missing out on any nutrients that are essential for its development.
However, you should know that you should only give your dog supplements if there is something that it needs that cannot be provided with the diet that you are feeding it.
If you give your Shih Tzu supplements that it doesn’t need, it can very easily become overdosed and sick.
The best thing you can do is ask your doctor about possible supplements that your pup needs — don’t give your dog anything on your own without consulting your vet! You don’t want to risk doing anything that might negatively affect your Shih Tzu ’s lifespan.
How Much Water Should My Shih Tzu Drink A Day?
This toy breed requires around eight ounces of water with every five pounds of weight per day. If your pup hypothetically weighs around 7.5 pounds, it will need around twelve ounces of water a day.
You need to make sure your dog takes in enough water as it can help with digestion and so many other health issues.
However, your pup should always have access to water, unlike food. You might want to remove the bowl if you are still house-training your pup, but otherwise, water should always be around so your dog doesn’t face dehydration.
How Much Exercise Does A Shih Tzu Puppy Need A Day?
You might be wondering how much exercise your dog needs in relation to the food it is ingesting. We all know that we need to account for exercise when we want to measure how many calories your dog needs to ingest.
The truth of the matter is that pups that are still growing can actually face dire consequences from exercising too much. You have to make sure to pay attention to the signs that your dog is getting too much exercise.
Overexertion can cause a lot of strain on developing bones and joints — and we want to make sure your pup is developing properly!
However, pups still need to exercise in order to have a healthy, working metabolism. A safe bet is to take your dog out for around twenty minutes at a time, twice a day. You can also manage fifteen minutes or ten per walk.
Conclusion: Shih Tzu Feeding Chart
We understand that having a Shih Tzu puppy can be stressful if you aren’t informed, but don’t worry — it’s something that all new dog owners face. As long as you are doing your research and doing the best for your dog, it will definitely appreciate it!
We hope that we have answered all of your questions, and that the Shih Tzu feeding chart that we have prepared is beneficial to you and your new furry friend!
The Shih Tzu feeding chart is here to help you track progress and find what you need in terms of feeding your dog. Utilize it as much as you can — we have made it just for you!