The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed, weighing between 9 and 16 pounds and standing at 8 to 11 inches. Bred to spend most of their days in palaces, Shih Tzus are still popular for apartments and small homes.
Because Shih Tzus are prone to obesity, which can exacerbate existing health problems, such as hip dysplasia and slipped kneecaps, it’s important to feed them appropriately. Find out everything you need to know about how to feed your Shih Tzu1.
How Much Should a Shih Tzu Eat Each Day?
Shih Tzus, like all dog breeds, need different food for each life stage. Puppies and pregnant or lactating females should have a high-quality puppy food, but adults do well on an adult maintenance formula.
The general guideline for feeding dogs goes by body weight. For a small breed like a Shih Tzu, adults should have ¾ of a cup for 10 pounds and 1 cup for 15 pounds. This should be fed in two or three separate meals without exceeding the daily total.
Puppies may require two or three times this amount until they reach adulthood. Puppies will need to eat three or more times a day to keep up with their energy needs.
Always check the feeding recommendations on your dog food’s label and speak with your vet about your dog’s nutrition.
Adjusting Your Dog’s Food
The guidelines are a good start to ensure you’re feeding your dog enough food, but you may need to adjust based on several factors:
The best way to track your dog’s weight change is with a diary. You can weigh your dog every two or three weeks, recording the results. Small fluctuations are normal, but you should see a general trend toward gaining, losing, or maintaining.
Remember, a few pounds for a human may not be a big deal, but that can be a lot for a dog—especially a small dog. A 10-pound dog gaining a pound would be like a human gaining about 15 or 20 pounds.
If your dog is gaining or losing weight and that’s not the goal, adjust your dog’s intake and speak with your veterinarian to ensure there aren’t any underlying conditions.
Armed with your dog food label and knowledge of your dog’s lifestyle and eating habits, you have general guidelines to ensure you’re feeding your Shih Tzu appropriately. If you have doubts, your vet is your best resource to assess your dog’s health or diet needs.