The Shih Tzu is a dog that did not gain popularity until the 1930s, mainly because this breed was kept from the outside world.
The Chinese Royals loved and cherished these little dogs, so much that they refused anyone from owning one. The breed was introduced into the US after WWII when soldiers brought back dogs from Europe and Asia in the 1950s. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1969.
Feeding Your Shih Tzu Puppy
Make sure that when you choose a brand of food for your Shih Tzu puppy, you pick one that is free from unwanted fillers and preservatives.
Unwanted fillers offer no nutritional value and often lead to weight gain. Of course, it doesn’t matter what brand you get, if you feed too much, they will gain weight regardless.
These little dogs will weigh between 9 and 16 pounds at maturity and are recommended to have at least 25 percent protein and 10 percent healthy fat in their diet.
Shih Tzu puppies should be fed on a schedule 5-6 times daily as they are prone to hypoglycemia.
Meals According To Age
Check the label on the food bag for the brand’s instructions as to the portion amounts. Each brand varies, consult your veterinarian if you are unsure how much you should feed your puppy.
Take the serving amount and divide it up into smaller portions to be fed throughout the day. This will help to ensure your puppy feels full. This breed is prone to hypoglycemia, so it’s a good idea to feed smaller portions 5-6 times daily. Make sure your puppy always has fresh water.
|8 weeks-4 months||5-6 meals per day|
|4-6 months||5-6 meals per day|
|6-10 months||4-6 meals per day|
|10-12 months||4-6 meals per day|
Growth And Weight Chart
This chart is based on approximate weights. There are different types of Shih Tzus, each varying in weight and size.
|2 Months||2-3 lbs|
|3 Months||3-5 lbs|
|4 Months||4-6 lbs|
|6 Months||6-9 lbs|
|8 Months||8 -10 lbs|
|9 Months||9-12 lbs|
|10 Months||9-16 lbs|
|11 Months||9-16 lbs|
|12 Months||9-16 lbs|
What To Feed Your Shih Tzu Puppy
Deciding what to feed your Shih Tzu puppy can seem frustrating when there are so many brands from which to choose.
Feeding it wet or dry food is a personal preference and there is no concrete evidence stating that one is any better than the other.
Your breeder will advise you what they feel is best, after all, they have been feeding your puppy for a few weeks.
If you decide you would like to change the brand of food; it would be best to mix in a little of the new food while reducing the existing brand.
This will help to lessen the risk of digestive upset. There are a few disadvantages and advantages between wet and dry food which we will list below.
Foods Not To Feed Your Shih Tzu
There’s always a chance that your puppy will get into something forbidden, and we’ve made a list of foods that could cause your Shih Tzu puppy harm.
It’s natural for puppies and dogs to gnaw on bones, especially if there’s still a little meat left on them. Not all bones are safe for chewing, as they can be very brittle and sharp.
Chicken bones are on the no-no list as they can be very sharp and have the potential of cutting a dog’s throat upon swallowing.
Dogs should not ingest wild mushrooms, as most contain toxins. If you take your puppy out for a walk in an area where mushrooms grow and there’s a possibility it may have eaten one, watch for symptoms such as vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, and convulsions.
The sweet taste of peaches and plums can tantalize your puppy’s taste buds. We should leave no fruit containing a stone or pit within reach of a dog.
The stones are very hard and can cause damage to a puppy’s teeth, especially in the early stages. They are also quite large and have the potential to become lodged in the esophagus and intestines.
This artificial sweetener is poisonous to dogs. We can find it in chewing gum, snacks, and other treats.
Although it is a naturally occurring substance found in plants; it can have detrimental effects if consumed by your dog, causing a condition known as hypoglycemia, which this breed is prone to.
Hypoglycemia causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar, which can cause fainting, muscle weakness, and vomiting. Symptoms can develop immediately or within twelve hours of ingesting.
Safe Foods For Your Shih Tzu
Loaded with fiber, and easily digested, sweet potatoes make a healthy snack for your Shih Tzu puppy. Serve this sweet treat cooked and unseasoned.
Oatmeal is a significant source of fiber and protein, but should not be used as a food substitute every day.
There are some beneficial reasons for using it as an occasional meal, such as gluten intolerance, and has reduced problems such as constipation.
Serve cooked, unseasoned, and in small portions no more than twice a week.
Carrots are high in beta carotene and are great treats for reducing plaque on their teeth.
It has been shown that dogs benefit from the antioxidants found in beta carotene, helping to boost their immune system.
If serving raw, chop them up into bite-size pieces to avoid the potential of choking.
Rich in healthy fat and Omega-3, your puppy will love a small piece of cooked salmon.
If you are serving salmon as a treat or thinking of starting a raw food diet, fish is an excellent source of healthy protein.
Freezing raw fish for at least a week will kill any parasites, making it safe for your puppy to consume.
Health Conditions Shih Tzus Are Prone To
This is a condition in which blood sugar levels fall below their normal levels.
Some puppies will outgrow hypoglycemia as they mature, but for others, it can be a lifelong condition. Some symptoms to watch for are:
- Unsteady gait
Proptosis is a condition resulting in the eye-bulging beyond the eyelids. This can occur in certain breeds if the facial skin is pulled too hard.
Any chance of saving the affected eye requires immediate surgical care. In some cases, proptosis can damage the optic nerve resulting in permanent blindness. Symptoms to look for are:
- Swelling around the eye
- Bulging of the eye
Ear infections in Shih Tzus are very common, because of the way their ears lay.
Genetics play a part, but some other factors include excessive ear hair, mites, and hormonal imbalances. Some symptoms are:
- Foul-smelling ears
- Excessive head shaking
- Swelling within the ear
- Discharge from the ear
This condition is genetic and presents with narrow nostrils eventually restricting air to the lungs.
Your veterinarian may suggest surgery or other measures to improve airflows such as oxygen treatments or the use of steroids.
Stenotic nares are present at birth with symptoms showing as:
- Pale-colored gums
Keratitis is a condition in which the cornea becomes cloudy, impairing vision.
This condition can occur because of irritation from long hair, abnormal eyelids, and prominent eyes.
This condition usually affects short-faced dogs compared with other breeds.
Treatment for this condition can sometimes comprise surgery and the use of veterinarian-approved eye drops. Symptoms of this condition are:
- Redness of the affected eye
- Cloudy looking eye
Famous Owners Of Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus are loyal, friendly dogs. Although they are small dogs, they are known for their big personalities and make wonderful companions.
Below is a list of well-known people who have a love for their Shih Tzus.
- Bill Gates- The founder of Microsoft is often seen walking his beloved pooch, Bellmar.
- Nicole Richie- An American fashion designer has a Shih Tzu named Honeychild.
- Rebecca Mader- An English actress has named her Shih Tzu, Bella.
- Mariah Carey- An American singer owning two Shih Tzus, named Bing and Bong.
- Jacinda Barrett- An Australian-American actress owning a Shih Tzu named Legend.
Shih Tzu Fun Facts
- Shih Tzu traditionally means Lion Dog in Chinese
- Classes as a hypoallergenic dog as they shed little
- 19th most popular breed in 2015 according to the American Kennel Club
- The lifespan of a Shih Tzu is 10-16 years
- Bred for companionship
- Born with a single coat, developing a second coat around seven months of age
- Classed as a toy dog breed because of their small size
- Because of their long hair, they need constant grooming
- Referred to as Chrysanthemum dogs because the hair on their face grows in every direction, resembling the petals of the chrysanthemum flower
- Owned by many celebrities
- These dogs have competed and won agility contests
Shih Tzu Feeding FAQS
What’s The Best Puppy Food For My Shih Tzu?
There are many brands of food from which to choose, whether wet or dry. Choose a brand containing protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Steer clear of brands containing preservatives and empty calories, as these brands contain fillers with no nutritional value.
Can I Feed My Shih Tzu A Raw Food Diet?
Feeding your Shih Tzu puppy on a raw food diet is a personal choice. It has advantages such as dental health and better digestion, but a raw food diet also comes with disadvantages.
It’s time-consuming and costly, and all the nutritional requirements of a Shih Tzu may not be met. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian for advice on this type of diet.
How Do I Know If My Shih Tzu Is Allergic to Its Food?
Common allergy causes for this breed are usually due to food. If the hair on their face turns a pinkish color, it could be a sign of an allergy.
Other symptoms of food intolerances or allergies are itchy skin, skin odor, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s best to omit any food you feel may be the cause.
If unsure, try changing your puppy’s food to a natural brand and/or consult your veterinarian if symptoms don’t subside.
How Many Calories Does My Shih Tzu Puppy Need?
Every puppy varies in size and weight. The type of Shih Tzu you have will also play a factor. A smaller puppy will require fewer calories than a larger one.
Space the meals apart to ensure your puppy feels full in between meals. If your Shih Tzu seems to gain weight too quickly, reduce the portion size and vice versa.
What If My Shih Tzu Puppy still Seems Hungry After Eating?
If your puppy appears hungry after feeding, it could be because of the nutritional value of the food. Poor quality food will not satisfy your puppy as much as a high, dense brand, filled with higher nutritional content.
Keeping your Shih Tzu on a schedule will help to ensure your puppy doesn’t feel hungry all the time. Whatever brand you decide on, one with a high nutritional value will be best for the optimal health of your puppy and guarantee its health for many years to come.