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Shih Tzu Food To Avoid: 30 Foods Not To Feed Your Dog

Shih Tzu Food To Avoid: 30 Foods Not To Feed Your Dog

With so many dog food brands on the market, Shih Tzu dog owners often have difficulty choosing between the best and the worst.

Even though some dog food brands are better than others, that does not mean all of them have the right amount of nutrients and calories for a small dog such as the Shih Tzu.

You may be surprised, but there is quite a lot of Shih Tzu food to avoid incorporating into the dog’s diet.

Food such as chocolate, poppy seeds, cooked bones, artificial sweeteners, and table scraps should never be on the menu for the Shih Tzu dog. But, other human foods are not as toxic to Shih Tzus if given in small amounts.

So, without further ado, let’s get straight into the art of Shih Tzu food to avoid!

A List Of Shih Tzu Food To Avoid

Whether your Shih Tzu is a picky eater or not, there are some foods that it should not consume at any cost. But, even if your Shih Tzu eats any of the foods on this list, there is no reason to panic, as long as it does not consume large amounts of them.

As a responsible Shih Tzu owner, you must ensure your dog does not eat any of these foods again.

If your Shih Tzu is a picky eater, then it will not want to get close to any of the following foods! In that case, you are one lucky owner!

Here are a bunch of human foods that are described as toxic foods for Shih Tzu puppies and adult dogs. Disclaimer — This Shih Tzu food to avoid list is not written in any specific order, all foods on the list are considered toxic to Shih Tzu dogs.

1. Avocado

avocado slices on slate plate

Oh, avocados! Who doesn’t love them? A little bit of guac never hurt anyone, right? Well, research shows that avocados can indeed hurt our dog’s digestive systems.

Just like any other toxic food for Shih Tzu dogs, avocados cause vomiting and/or diarrhea if ingested in large amounts. Are you wondering why?

Avocado pits and skin contain a very toxic substance that is called persin. While persin is safe for humans to consume, it is not safe for our furry friends.

It is considered relatively safe if your Shih Tzu eats the fleshy part of the avocado. However, it is best to avoid giving avocado to your Shih Tzu dog.

2. Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are a huge no-no for Shih Tzu, and all other dogs. I mean, alcohol is bad for humans too!

So, giving such small dog alcohol will not only cause an upset stomach and vomiting, but it will also cause liver problems or kidney failure.

Again, if your Shih Tzu happens to lick some beer or wine that spilled on the floor, you don’t have to raise panic immediately.

Your beloved pup will be okay, just make sure that it does not consume any alcohol again.

Large amounts of alcohol can be lethal to the Shih Tzu (and any other dog).

Do you know those little pralines that have a certain percentage of alcohol inside them? Yeah, those are also very dangerous for the Shih Tzu dog.

Not only do they contain alcohol, but they also contain chocolate and xylitol which is another enormous no-no that we will get to later in this article.

3. Bagels

Bagels are fun to eat, for us humans that is. I noticed that a lot of dog owners often ask if dogs can eat bagels and other pastries, so I guess it is time to give a proper answer to this question.

To start, bagels are full of salt, and too much salt is bad for Shih Tzus. Moving on to other toppings, bagels are sprinkled with poppy seeds, onion powder, and sesame seeds which do not sit well with Shih Tzu’s sensitive stomach.

Moreover, bagels may contain a high amount of sugar which can cause your Shih Tzu’s blood sugar to reach high levels.

4. Cabbage

cutted cabbage on wodden table

Cabbage is good for Shih Tzu dogs if it is cooked thoroughly. And it has its benefits if it is given in small amounts. You don’t want to give your Shih Tzu dog a whole meal that is made out of cabbage alone.

Although cabbage can cause your Shih Tzu dog to fart a lot and trust me, the smell is going to be putrid. In addition to causing frequent farts, cabbage may cause an upset stomach in your Shih Tzu dog.

Other green veggies that may cause excessive farting in Shih Tzu dogs include brussels sprouts and broccoli.

5. Cereal

I don’t know about you, but I love a good bowl of cereal in the morning. But I get sad when my dog is watching me eat it because cereal is pretty bad for dogs.

Shih Tzu already has a sensitive stomach and processed food like cereal will not provide it with any nutritional value.

On the contrary, cereal often contains large amounts of sugar, artificial colors, and carbs which may cause an upset stomach in your Shih Tzu dog.

So, if you think about giving cheerios to your dog, think again!

However, cereal is not as toxic as other foods on this list — a tiny amount of cereal will not have any adverse effects on Shih Tzu’s health.

6. Chocolate

You are probably already aware that chocolate should be given to any pet, let alone a small dog such as the Shih Tzu.

While there is zero nutritional value in chocolate, this common human food is very toxic to Shih Tzu dogs.

The ingredient in chocolate that is called theobromine can cause cardiac arrest because dogs in general can not metabolize this compound.

Chocolate is especially dangerous for small dogs like the Shih Tzu because it can cause seizures and heart problems when it is ingested in small amounts.

Even though milk chocolate is considered less toxic to Shih Tzu dogs than dark chocolate, it is still toxic!

Chocolate poisoning is a serious health issue in Shih Tzu dogs so please be careful not to leave a bar of chocolate laying on the table where your Shih Tzu can reach it.

7. Citrus Fruits

citrus fruits in basket on table

When you think about it, you have probably never seen a dog eat citrus fruits. Generally speaking, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are not common ingredients found in the dog’s diet.

Just like other dogs, Shih Tzus are not used to eating citrus fruit and they don’t like the sour taste.

Additionally, citruses don’t have much nutritional value for this small dog. Citrus fruit can be found in many human foods such as hummus.

While Shih Tzu dogs can eat hummus, it is considered toxic if it has citrus fruit, a high amount of salt, onion, or paprika spices.

8. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often recommended to put on Shih Tzu’s coat to make it shiny and healthy. But, is it good if the Shih Tzu eats it? Not really. Here’s why.

Generally speaking, coconut oil is safe for Shih Tzu dogs but only if it is consumed in very small amounts. Because of this, it is better to completely avoid it so you don’t have to think about the adverse health effects it can cause to your Shih Tzu dog.

Coconut oil has a very high fat content which can be dangerous if small dogs such as the Shih Tzu consume it in large amounts.

It is especially dangerous if the Shih Tzu dog suffers from pancreatitis — it can make this health issue even worse.

9. Coffee

Coffee beans or tea that contain caffeine are marked as toxic for the Shih Tzu dog breed. Do you know how coffee makes you wide awake and sometimes causes a faster heartbeat?

Well, that can happen to the Shih Tzu dog too! But, in contrast to humans, Shih Tzus are small and their bodies do not tolerate caffeine like ours.

If your Shih Tzu dog ingests raw coffee beans or drinks regular coffee, it may be at risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and problems with the nervous system.

Moreover, coffee simply does not sit well in the Shih Tzus stomach and it may result in diarrhea and vomiting.

10. Cooked Bones

cooked bones in a plate

For the love of Shih Tzu dogs, do not give them cooked bones! Cooked bones are horrible for all dog breeds because they break easily and cause blockage of the digestive tract.

Just think about it, when Shih Tzu dogs chew cooked bones they break and form pointy ends that can easily pierce through delicate gastrointestinal tissue.

Be careful when you boil chicken for your dogtake out the bones!

More often than not, beloved pets are admitted to the emergency room because they have eaten cooked bones.

11. Dairy Products

Many Shih Tzu owners are not sure if they can give their pooch a puppuccino once in a while. Well, the good news is that you can occasionally give your small Shih Tzu a small puppuccino.

Processed dairy products such as whipped cream and sour cream are not as dangerous to Shih Tzus as plain milk is.

While Shih Tzus can metabolize lactose to some extent, their bodies are still not used to digesting this compound and the majority of dogs are lactose-intolerant.

The Shih Tzu dog can have a sip or two of goat or cow milk, but should now have a full bowl of it. When it comes to other dairy products such as cheese, they are considered safe. Blue cheese, however, may not be safe for Shih Tzus to eat.

12. Fried Food

fried food in a metal basket

Fried food is pretty unhealthy for all of us, don’t you agree? It is high in fat percentage and it has minimal nutritional value for us and our Shih Tzu dogs.

Fried food like fish sticks, potato fries, onion rings, and fried calamari are bad for Shih Tzus and they should not be given to them at all, not even in small amounts.

Fried meat (pork, beef, poultry) should also be avoided because your Shih Tzu puppy may develop diarrhea and start vomiting immediately after a meal.

13. Grapes And Raisins

Please be extra cautious around grapes and raising — they should never be given to a Shih Tzu dog, not even a single one!

Both grapes and raisins have seeds that are linked to causing severe liver and kidney failure in Shih Tzu dogs. Because the Shih Tzu is such a small dog, even one grape can cause major health issues.

14. Leek

Believe it or not, leeks are very poisonous to Shih Tzu dogs, and every other dog. Shih Tzus like to nibble on lots of food and non-food items and if they happen to nibble on leek then they can become severely ill.

Leek ingestion causes the Shih Tzu’s red blood cells to break which results in severe anemia.

Moreover, leek intoxication causes your Shih Tzu dog stomach pain and diarrhea that is accompanied by vomiting and nausea.

15. Macadamia Nuts

macadamia nuts on a table

While ingestion of macadamia nuts is usually mild and not lethal to Shih Tzu dogs, if consumed in large amounts it can make them severely ill. This can leave long-term effects on their overall health.

Macadamia nut intoxication is very dangerous because it causes weakness in the Shih Tzu’s hind limbs, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

But, as I said, macadamia nut intoxication is mild which means that you will be able to cure your Shih Tzu dog with a little help from your veterinarian.

16. Mustard Seeds

If you’re thinking about giving your Shih Tzu dog a taste of that hot dog you have just bought, it’s probably not a good idea — especially if it has mustard in it.

Whether it is white, black, or yellow, mustard should not be given to Shih Tzu dogs because it contains seeds that are very toxic to these little fellas.

Shih Tzus that eat mustard seeds often have an upset stomach and can develop chronic gastroenteritis. Additionally eating mustard leads to your Shih Tzu vomiting yellow or pooping yellow stool!

17. Onions And Garlic

Where do I start with these toxic foods for Shih Tzu dogs… Okay, onions, garlic, leek, chives, spring onions, and so on, should never ever be given to Shih Tzu dogs (or any other dog).

These are highly toxic human foods that are never present in dog food and they should never be given in any form — cooked, fried, or raw.

Onion and/or garlic intoxication in Shih Tzu dogs results in the rupture of red blood cells which causes severe anemia.

Symptoms such as heavy breathing, pale gum color, weakness, lethargy, change in urine color, and inappetence are shown in Shih Tzu dogs in the first 24 hours upon ingesting onion/garlic/leek/chives.

18. Poppy Seeds

poppy seeds in a bowl

Now, I don’t know how many Shih Tzu owners actually thought about poppy seeds, but I know that they are very toxic to dogs.

Perhaps out of all these toxic foods, poppy seeds are the only ones that can get your Shih Tzu dog into a coma, that is, if they are ingested in large quantities.

Large quantities or small, there is no need for your Shih Tzu dog to eat poppy seeds and you don’t want to risk health problems that derive from poppy seed intoxication.

19. Pretzels

Similar to bagels, pretzels are pretty bad for your Shih Tzu dog. They are high in salt and carbohydrates which can cause your Shih Tzu to gain weight not in a healthy way.

So, to the infamous question “can dogs eat pretzels” the answer is “no”.

There is simply little to no nutritional value in pretzels and Shih Tzu dogs will do just fine without eating them!

20. Processed Snacks

Processed human food such as crisps are tasty for us and our dogs but they are not healthy for either of us!

The majority of crisps are made out of potatoes which are not recommended for Shih Tzu dogs, plus they are fried, and we know that fried food is bad too. Stick to sweet potatoes instead!

Just because you enjoy eating your crisps, the Shih Tzu should not eat Doritos, Takis, Cheez, or any other similar snack.

These snacks are salty, seasoned, fried, and downright unhealthy for Shih Tzu dogs. Consuming such snacks in large quantities can cause excessive weight gain in Shih Tzu dogs.

It may also cause problems with the liver, pancreas, and whole digestive tract.

21. Processed Meat Products

processed meat products on the table

Of course, meat is good for Shih Tzu dogs, but processed meat such as vienna sausages, salami, and spam should not be eaten by any dog.

Not only are processed meat products full of unhealthy fats, but they also contain fillers, artificial colorings, preservatives, and meat by-products.

Such ingredients are harmful to Shih Tzu’s digestive tract and may cause many health problems, one of them being pancreatitis.

22. Prunes

Fresh or dried plums (prunes) should not be given to Shih Tzu dogs because of their high toxicity. You see, fruit that contains big pits should always be avoided in the Shih Tzu dog diet.

Plum’s pit contains cyanide that can cause your Shih Tzu dog to develop cyanide poisoning which requires immediate veterinary care.

Moreover, these pits may cause blockage of the digestive tract if your Shih Tzu happens to ingest them.

23. Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are pretty bland if you ask me. While rice cakes are considered safe for your Shih Tzu dog, they do not have any nutritional value and there is no need to give them to your dog.

Additionally, rice cakes contain a hefty amount of carbohydrates which can lead to an unhealthy weight gain in your Shih Tzu dog.

They are made out of white rice which is considered less healthy than giving your dog brown rice.

24. Soy Beans

soy beans in a wooden bowl

Soybeans are most commonly linked to food allergies in Shih Tzu dogs. While they are not necessarily considered toxic foods, soybeans such as edamame beans should not be given to Shih Tzu dogs in large quantities.

Your Shih Tzu can safely munch on one soybean or two if it is not allergic to it.

If however, the Shih Tzu is allergic to soybeans, it will develop itchy skin rashes that are a common sign of food allergies.

25. Spices

Sugar, spice, and everything nice? Well, not for the Shih Tzu dog breed. Shih Tzu dogs should not eat any powdery spices like onion, oregano, paprika, garlic, estragon, and so on.

Salt and pepper should also be avoided in Shih Tzu’s diet. If you’re wondering if your Shih Tzu dog should eat paprika, in fresh or dried form — no, it should not.

26. Spicy Food

Different spices have brought us to spicy food and I believe that you know the answer to this one. Shih Tzu dogs should never eat spicy food.

So, if you are eating sushi and you happen to have wasabi nearby, do not let your Shih Tzu dog eat wasabi!

Not only does it feel weird to it, but it can cause gastroenteritis, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Even though your Shih Tzu dog may find them interesting, it should not eat jalapenos either. You don’t want your beloved Shih Tzu to have an upset stomach now, do you?

27. Table Scraps

table scraps on dishes

Table scraps are like a cocktail of disaster for Shih Tzu dogs. They’re full of human food that you have just eaten — from fatty foods to cooked bones.

That said, table scraps contain everything bad for your Shih Tzu dog. Even if you have the healthiest diet, your Shih Tzu dog should not eat your leftovers.

28. Vegetable Oil

Plain vegetable oil is not healthy for Shih Tzu dogs because it is high in fat content and low in nutrients. Shih Tzu dogs can eat a small amount of vegetable oil, but large amounts will cause loose stools and diarrhea.

In some cases, Shih Tzu dogs may vomit after ingesting a lot of vegetable oil.

29. Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener)

Xylitol is an ingredient that is found in everything that is processed and sweet — from candy, and soda drinks, to cookies. It is simply an artificial sweetener that no Shih Tzu dog should ever ingest.

And I mean it — xylitol is very toxic to all dogs, especially to small dogs such as the Shih Tzu breed.

Ingesting a small amount of xylitol can cause your Shih Tzu dog’s blood sugar levels to drop, and it can also lead to seizures or even death.

30. Yeast Dough

Yeast dough tends to rise when you leave it for a while, right? Well, that’s what it continues to do in the Shih Tzu’s stomach.
Because this is a small dog, yeast dough can make its stomach expand.

But the major problem isn’t stomach bloating because of yeast dough. It is the release of ethanol alcohol that is very toxic to Shih Tzu’s digestive tract. It may move from the digestive tract into the bloodstream and cause alcohol toxicosis.

What Is Good Food For Shih Tzu?

shih tzu dog getting food from owner

Now that we are aware of what foods a Shih Tzu dog should avoid, I think it is time we say what food is good for this small breed.

The best dog food for Shih Tzus contains healthy protein and fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 (often found in fish oils).

Additionally, Shih Tzu food should contain healthy amino acids, human-grade ingredients, and a wide variety of vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, K, C, and B12.

Shih Tzu owners should search for high-quality dry food (kibble) and consider putting their lovely dogs on a grain-free diet.

While the best commercial dog food for Shih Tzus is dry food, owners can occasionally incorporate wet food into their dog’s diet.

But, the Shih Tzu dog should not be fed only wet food because it may form plaque on its little teeth and lead to periodontal disease.

Supplements are great for Shih Tzus that are recovering from an illness or that need a little boost to their diet. Such supplements contain calcium, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that help strengthen the Shih Tzu’s immune system.

What Is The Best Human Food For Shih Tzu?

shih tzu with carrot outdoors

When it comes to healthy human food, Shih Tzus can be fed poultry, beef, fish, and/or pork. These products give them enough protein and help maintain their muscle mass.

Moreover, the Shih Tzu needs antioxidants in its diet, so you may feed it foods such as blueberries, chia seeds, raspberries, squash, carrots, and so on.

It is up to you and your Shih Tzu dog if you are going to cook these ingredients or serve them raw.

Remember to consult your veterinarian on what kind of diet is the best for your Shih Tzu puppy.


If you are new to owning this wonderful small breed, I hope that this Shih Tzu food to avoid list has helped you figure out what kind of food is bad for your pup and why.

As a responsible owner, you should never feed your Shih Tzu puppy human foods that will cause an upset stomach, gastritis, obesity, high blood sugar levels, and pancreatitis.

Even when transitioning to a new food you should keep an eye out on your Shih Tzu puppy and its poop color.

If you notice any changes in your Shih Tzu dog’s behavior and appearance, then you may want to take it to your vet to check its health.

You may be surprised, but toxic food can play a huge role in Shih Tzu’s health.

There’s no need to buy Shih Tzu Food that is high in fat and calories. The healthy, nutritious, and high-quality foods you can buy will keep your Shih Tzu happy and healthy.

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