Shih Tzu Feeding Guide

Shih Tzus are adorable; they’re a friendly, sweet-natured breed that make for a wonderful companion. So to ensure they’re always healthy and at their best, it’s important that their eating habits meet their unique requirements as a toy dog.

We know that looking after a pet is hard work - there can be a lot to remember! So we’ve compiled all the information you need about feeding your furry friend in this Shih Tzu feeding guide.

Shih Tzu Feeding Guide


A Brief History of the Shih Tzu




For such a small dog, the Shih Tzu has a rather extensive and interesting history - but not without dispute.

Their recorded history starts in Tibet and is thought to go back more than 1,000 years, making them one of the oldest breeds in the world. Many have suggested they were kept in Buddhist monasteries throughout Tibet and turned prayer wheels during rituals, although Tibetan Monks have dispelled this as just an amusing myth.

From Tibet, it is presumed Shih Tzus were gifted to Chinese emperors and became royal court dogs. The name ‘Shih Tzu’ actually translates to ‘lion son’ in Chinese, perhaps linking their fuzzy features to the lions’ important symbolism within the Buddhist belief system.

It’s believed that this beloved breed was brought to the UK in the 1930s and was bred into what is now the UK’s 14th most popular dog breed!

Average Size and Life Expectancy


Unlike many breeds, both male and female Shih Tzu dogs have the same average size and life expectancy figures.

The average weight for these small dogs can vary between 4-7kg depending on their build. In general, you should expect for your dog to grow to around 8-11 inches up to the shoulders.

It’s a well known fact that the smaller the dog, the longer the lifespan tends to be. The Shih Tzu is no exception as its life expectancy ranges from 10-16 years, averaging at around 13 years.

Celebrity Shih Tzus


Marnie the shih tzu is one of Instagram’s most popular pets. Queen Elizabeth II also has a Shih Tzu who goes by the name Choo Choo, and a certain Queen B of pop, Beyonce, has been spotted with her white and liver pup named Munchie.

It seems that a thousand years later, Shih Tzus are still charming their way into royal courts and important celebrity roles!

Lazy Shih Tzus

Source: Oscar Rohena


A Shih Tzu Diet


Preferred Food for Shih Tzus


Luckily there aren’t any outlandish requirements when it comes to the Shih Tzu diet, but there are a couple of things you should keep an out for when choosing their food.

Much like other toy dogs, the best food for the Shih Tzu is one that’s high in protein. This is because they burn calories faster, but as their stomachs are small, the food has to be low volume but calorie rich. You can easily identify if your dog’s food is suitable by looking at the ingredients: if it’s 25% protein (fish or meat), it’s good-quality and high-protein.

The Shih Tzus’ defining luscious locks require care and attention, especially by including fat in their diets. Because their hair grows so rapidly, it’s important to ensure they’re getting all the good fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6) and Vitamin A to keep their skin moisturised and hair healthy. You can do this by checking the levels of Omega in the ingredients list, but don’t worry - dogs can’t get high cholesterol like us humans!


Dry Food or Wet?


A much disputed topic is whether to feed dogs dry or wet food. Many suggest that you should feed dogs dry food because it’s healthier for the teeth and wet food may cause dental issues. However, this has been dispelled as a very common myth. In reality, the texture of your Shih Tzu’s food has little impact on tartar build up. Whether you feed your pet wet or dry food is up to you, but what is important to your dog’s dental health is brushing their teeth and giving them chew toys or treats.

Our experts at Lovejoys recommend a hypoallergenic diet for puppies as this will make it easier to determine if your pup is allergic to any flavours. For adults, we recommend a mixture of grain free or hypoallergenic dog food.


Shih Tzu Feeding Chart


How much your Shih Tzu should be fed can differ depending on two key factors: age and level of activity. This Shih Tzu feeding chart can help you figure out how this applies to your pet and whether you need to adjust portion sizes accordingly.

We’d advise you break up the portion into two or three feedings per day - usually morning and evening is easiest.

shih tzu feeding chart


Feeding a Shih Tzu Puppy


Whether it’s your first dog or not, getting to grips with looking after a puppy can be overwhelming.

We recommend that you feed your puppy hypoallergenic food to begin with. This makes it really easy to identify what your Shih Tzu is reacting to if they develop an allergy to something - it will be something you’ve recently introduced.

Because puppies grow so rapidly and use up loads of energy, their calorie intake should be higher than adults. We’d recommend feeding your puppy this amount over four different meals throughout the day to make sure the volume isn’t too much for their tiny stomachs to handle! After nine months, you should switch to the adult portions.

shih tzu puppy feeding chart


Obesity in Shih Tzus


No one can deny that a little chubby puppy is cute, but piling on those pounds can be very dangerous for dogs.

Shih Tzus in particular have a tendency to overeat and become obese if an eye isn’t kept on their eating habits. Excessive weight gain can lead to a host of health issues: breathing and heart issues, strain on the muscles and joints, and an increase in the chance of other serious diseases developing. Despite their proneness to obesity, there are always things you can do to keep them at a healthy weight.

We know those puppy eyes can be really hard to resist, but try not to give into your pup begging at the table. Even if it’s infrequent, their curiosity is indulged and human foods become a familiar smell to them, creating a tricky habit for them to break. Sometimes they’ll be so eager for more human food they’ll go as far as rummaging through the bin, and that definitely doesn’t fit into the Shih Tzu diet! It’s not just those extra calories which can be harmful to their health: the human food could actually be toxic to your pet.

If you’ve found that your dog always seems to be hungry and tends to overeat, it could be worth checking the ingredients of their current food. Sometimes cheaper dog foods can be full of byproducts and filler that don’t actually fill them up. As mentioned before, food with a high percentage of protein will be more effective at satisfying your Shih Tzu’s hunger and kerbing their overeating habits.


Shih Tzu Food Allergies


As touched upon before, some foods that humans can consume without thinking twice can actually be extremely harmful to our pets. Even some vegetables, which can easily be assumed to be good for them, can have adverse effects.

Although these vegetables are easily avoided in your Shih Tzu’s diet, there are some allergies that could be caused by your dog’s normal food. A common but lesser known allergy that dogs suffer from are some types of protein and carbohydrates such as wheat, wheat gluten, dairy, pork, beef and soya. This type of allergy can provoke a wide range of symptoms. From ear and skin infections that can cause irritation around the face, eyes, paws, legs and anal area to intestinal symptoms such as gas, vomiting and diarrhea.

The best way to combat this is to ensure that what you’re buying is a complete, hypoallergenic dog food that excludes common allergens. These hypoallergenic dog foods are specially formulated to stop these symptoms and most are suitable for all dog breeds, including Shih Tzus.

Here at Lovejoys we want to make sure you’re informed with all the right information when it comes to your pet. We hope this Shih Tzu feeding guide helps put your mind at ease and find what’s best for your dog’s diet. Whatever you end up choosing to feed your dog, remember that if you make a change, this should be introduced to your Shih Tzu in gradual stages rather than all at once. Happy feeding!

If you wish to use our tailored Shih Tzu Feeding Chart, please feel free to use this code:

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And if you're in the US, please feel free to use this chart in pounds and ounces:

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36 thoughts on “Shih Tzu Feeding Guide”

  • Lola

    My wee shihtzu only will eat ham she loosing weight i have had her to vet and she was in pyhomt pregancy have you any ideas

    • Lovejoys

      We are sorry to hear that. If you have any concerns for your dog, we would recommend contacting your local vet for assistance and further advice.

  • Wanda Ford

    I do not understand your feeding chart..Please tell me in ounces or table spoons how much kibble I should feed my 3 pound Shih Tzu a day.

    • Lovejoys

      Please see link for how to convert grams to ounces Alternatively please refer to an online converter.


    I just got a male 8 week old Shih Tzu, do I feed him very soft puppy food or puppy Chow with milk or water ? If milk what kind.

    • Lovejoys

      We would recommend speaking with your local vet for further guidance so that the advice can be tailored to the needs and requirements for your dog.

  • Elaine

    My shitzu is 6 weeks old. Im having trouble feeding him because i dont know what food to give him in the first place. I tried giving him bits of chicken strips but he wont eat in his bowl. He will tho if i hand feed him. I dont know what to do. I also want to feed him dog food. But i dont know what type of dog food. I need help, i want him to eat more

    • Lovejoys

      Please speak with your local vet for further guidance so that the advice can be tailored to the needs and requirements for your dog.

  • Graeme Clarke

    Hi I have a11y old smallFox Terrier and over the last 2 years have put her on a grain free food Origen but for some time approx once a month she gets like a bad intergestion and takes a sniff of her food and will not eat for a day( it has a strong fish smell) so I am at a lose as to what to feed her she will eat the Nutri plus type biscuit before her other when she is like that is it the fish content can you suggest anything more suitable
    Regard Graeme Clarke

    • Lovejoys

      Unfortunately we cannot comment regarding an alternative manufacturer brand of product. If you have any concerns for your dog, we would recommend contacting your local vet for further advice or guidance.

  • Andrea

    hello my puppy is 4kg and she is 14weeks... she is eating about 180g is this too much.. thank you

    • Lovejoys

      We would suggest looking for the feeding recommendations for the manufacturer of the food you are currently providing for your dog or if in any doubt, please contact your local vet for further guidance.

  • ROSE

    I have 2 months old shitzu its my first time to have a dog how to feed shitzu twice a day or once aday

    • Lovejoys

      We would recommend feeding your puppys allocation over four different meals throughout the day to make sure the volume isn’t too much for their tiny stomachs to handle! After nine months, you should switch to the adult portions.

  • Jamie M

    Hello ,
    I've recently just got a 6 year old male whom was pooping a soft poop .I very now put him on a raw food diet of minced pork, beef , steak and chopped chicken drumsticks as well as adding raw carrot , raw green beens , fresh apple , pear, banana added to natural yoghurt . His stools are now solid and seems full of life . My reasons for posting this message is to ask the opinions of others here in regards to the raw food diet !?

  • Barbara

    Can you please provide a chart that uses pound d ounces instead of grams. I can't convert these amounts into pounds and ounces from grams. Thank you.

  • Patricia Hull

    In have adopted a Male Shih Tzu . He was 3 yrs old 10.11.2018. He originally came over from Poland, and I am his 4th owner. He was rather neglected by his last owner who surrendered him to the rescue center. He is a beautiful boy and loves being groomed and petted. His only vice is his reaction to food, he eats it so quickly as if it is his last meal ! and if I go near his dish he growls. He weighs 8kg and the rescue center told me they fed him 70grms of Arden Grange divided into 2 meals. I have had him just 8 weeks now and have gradually moved him over to Royal Canine - Shih Tzu food, but he is always starving. He is fully wormed, and my vet gave him a clean bill of health. 35grms per meal looks hardly anything and I am unsure if he is getting enough to eat. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.
    Many Thanks
    Tricia Hull

    • Lovejoys

      Hi Patricia,

      Your vet is the best person to discuss this with, and we can't comment on other foods as we don't have experience with them. You can purchase anti-gulp bowls from brands such as Nobby which help slow down the speed in which the food is eaten.

  • Benjamin

    My Shih Tzu is 12 weeks old and he is loosing his hair, has did have worms, vet said that they are gone now, but why is this happening

    • Lovejoys

      Hi Benjamin,

      Unfortunately we cannot advise with issues such as this. A vet is the best person to ask about such problems.

  • Pat mcnee

    Hi I'm currently feeding my 12 month shih Tzu 2 small pouches of food daily I'm I giving enough I'm scared to give little tidbits should I be.

    • Lovejoys

      Hi Pat,

      Small tidbits or treats every now and again is fine for a healthy, active dog. However do keep an eye on your dogs weight. If in doubt, chat with your vet about feeding habits.

  • Carmen Ramirez

    Your article on the Origen and feeding of Shih Tzu has been very helpful thank you

  • james

    Hi, I have adopted a 1yr old shih Tzu cross bichon. He is a lovely boy and it is still very early days but he whimpers at his food and moves the dish with the side of his head. I have changed the dish to a ceramic side plate and this is better but he still whispers and I have to turn the plate as he eats from the front and seems not to know how to eat at the back of the plate. Is this normal for this breed?

    Thanks James

  • Carol

    Hi I have an 11 year old Shih Tzu and am considering changing her to Lovejoys grain free because she constantly itching. I am also wondering if the kibble is suitable size for her she weighs about 6kg

    • Lovejoys

      Hi Carol,

      The kibble is no bigger than a 1p piece, so should be ok for your dog to eat. Let us know how you get on with the food and whether it helps with the itching!

  • June Aldrich

    My 4 yr old Shih tzus is getting a little heavy but healthy. I will check her food to make sure it is 25% rich in protein as you suggest. I give her 1/4 cup of dry food, some green beans and about a quarter cup of canned food twice a day. She gets some crackers and cheese for our “happy hour”. Too much?

    • Lovejoys

      Hi June,

      I would advise against feeding your dog crackers and cheese as high in fat and salt content. Dog specific treats, such as Moments, or other natural treats, would be better suited.

  • marilou moral

    How many tablesppons of kibble should i give to my 3 kg shi tzu

  • Donna

    My 6 month 9ld Shih Tuz puppy id being stubborn with his food. He wont eat his dry food is he just being stubborn or is he teething

  • deb emery

    I have a 9 week old Shitzu puppy. She will only eat wet food (Little Ceasars) as this is what breeders gave her.
    She is eating 2 cans a day now though. Is this too much?

    • Lovejoys

      Hi Deb,

      Whilst we can't comment on the feeding guides for other brands, it should advise on the packaging how much you should feed for the weight of dog. You can check this to ensure you aren't feeding too much, or too little.

  • June Vernon

    My 10 month old Shih Tzu will not eat his food out of his bowl. He just tips it over and feeds off the floor. Also he tips his water over. We have tried every type of bowl. When he wants a drink he goes into the kitchen, looks up to the sink and gives one bark. This is a problem when we have to leave him alone.

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