The Shih Tzu is a toy breed that used to be favored by Chinese royalty. And as far as their diet is concerned, their needs are very specific, as if they themselves were royalty.
As the owner of one of these adorable puppies, you need to know how much to feed a Shih Tzu puppy because it is a critical issue for these dogs.
You can consult our Shih Tzu feeding chart for this purpose. Shih Tzu puppies should be fed a quality diet specifically formulated for toy breed puppies.
The puppy stage is critical for this breed as the wrong diet at this stage can have many adverse consequences.
How Much Should A Shih Tzu Puppy Eat?
This is one of the most common concerns of new Shih Tzu puppy owners. It is understandable since these dogs are very small and have special feeding needs.
Also, these puppies seem to, either have an exaggerated, or small appetite, making it difficult for owners to know how much and how often to feed their Shih Tzu.
Many factors come into play when deciding how much to feed these puppies. These include their age, weight, activity level, and each dog’s individual metabolism.
Shih Tzu Feeding Chart
Shih Tzu puppies have very fast digestion and these dogs can’t tolerate any artificial flavorings or colorings. To top it all, these puppies can be picky eaters. So, feeding a Shih Tzu is tricky.
Fortunately, commercial dog food comes with a growth chart based on a dog’s weight.
So, if you know the weight of your puppy, you can simply follow the indications on the package, provided of course that you are feeding your puppy top-quality dog food appropriate for its age.
If you decide to feed your dog homemade food, you need to calculate the dog’s resting energy requirement (RER).
The best way to know your Shih Tzu puppy’s RER is to use any of the interactive dog food calculators available online designed to help pet owners with their pet’s nutritional needs.
6 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
By 5 to 6 weeks old, a Shih Tzu puppy will weigh ½ lb. to 1 ½ lbs. Your puppy will start needing solid food because its mother is now losing interest in feeding her puppies.
Start introducing solid foods gradually by creating a soft mash with high-quality wet puppy food and a few pieces of kibble softened with water. It may take a while for your puppy to take to this new food. Keep presenting it.
As the puppy gets used to the food, you can slowly increase the dry kibble.
8 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
By this time, your puppy should be eating only dry kibble. You can feed it a small amount of dry puppy kibble four times a day. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to know how much to give your dog.
Always have ample fresh water within easy reach for your puppy. Refrain from giving it snacks between meals.
10 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
Like many toy dog breeds, the Shih Tzu grows very fast. They stop growing at around ten months when they reach maturity.
By this time, you should have established a feeding routine, and under the guidance of your veterinarian, you can gradually move your puppy onto dog food formula for an adult dog.
Always keep in mind that dogs are individuals and some eat more than others. Instead of trying to keep to a feeding chart, just monitor your dog to ensure it’s healthy.
Its genetics, more than the amount of food you give it will determine how it eats and its eventual size.
12 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
Just like other small dogs, Shih Tzus have a fast metabolism, so they need to be fed small amounts regularly.
In the case of growing puppies, the general guideline is to give a puppy ⅛ cup of dog food per pound of its body weight.
For example, if a puppy weighs 4 pounds, it needs around half a cup of dog food per day. This amount is enough to ensure the dog gets all the nutrients it needs and doesn’t go hungry.
14 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
In terms of food, your dog is now firmly established as an adult dog. It has a set feeding routine and you can keep feeding it according to the above calculation.
A 14-week-old Shih Tzu puppy should eat 1 to 1.25 cups of high-quality puppy food divided across three to four meals a day.
Keep in mind that these are just rough recommendations. The exact amount will depend on factors like the puppy’s weight, activity level, and overall health.
16 Week Old Shih Tzu Puppy
You should not make any changes to your puppy’s mealtimes or food at this stage. Keep on weighing your dog and consult the feeding chart on the dog food package to be sure that you are feeding your puppy the correct amount of food.
Remember to take your puppy for regular walks otherwise, it will put on weight. Also, keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.
6 Months – 12 Months Old Shih Tzu Puppy
When your puppy is six months old, you can continue feeding as before. Unlike other dogs that start feeding less frequently, Shih Zhu puppies at this age still have three meals a day.
Make sure you feed your puppy a high-quality diet. This breed is highly sensitive to heavily-processed dog foods that contain fillers that do not feed your dog but only fill it up, causing endless harm in terms of digestive and general health.
12 Months & Older Shih Tzus
By 12 months of age, your Shih Tzu puppy should eat three meals a day at regular times in the morning afternoon, and evening.
Unlike most other dogs, it’s not advisable to feed these dogs only twice a day, as they need a constant source of energy to combat their tendency for low blood sugar.
Dogs are individuals and will gain weight at different rates, so don’t be concerned if your dog’s weight differs slightly from the mentioned parameters.
Make sure you feed your dog at regular mealtimes and limit treats between meals to ensure your dog doesn’t pick up unnecessary weight that may cause it health problems at a later stage.
Understanding Shih Tzu Puppy Nutritional Needs
Shih Zhu puppies need dog food with ingredients like high-quality proteins, minerals such as calcium, fatty acids, omega 3, DHA, healthy sources of carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes or rice, and antioxidants like blueberries.
Their food should not contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives as these ingredients are very harmful to this breed.
Since these dogs are prone to obesity, their food should not contain too many carbohydrates. When your dog reaches one year of age, it should get between 80 – 140 calories per pound of body weight.
A Shih Tzu should be fed four times a day for the first six months. After six months, three meals a day work well for most of these dogs.
How Many Times A Day To Feed A Shih Tzu Puppy?
When your Shih Tzu is still a puppy, it will need frequent meals, about four a day, depending on the puppy. Keep a careful watch over your pup, it might need up to six meals a day in the first few weeks.
When your pup reaches adult age, around eight to ten months, you can reduce its meals to three times a day.
Shih Tzus need to feed frequently because they tend to suffer from hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar that drains a dog’s energy.
Like other small breeds, Shih Tzus have a fast metabolism. When their meals are spread out throughout the day, they can sustain constant blood sugar levels.
In this regard, you will want a consistent schedule for your dog. Make sure to feed it at the same time every morning, afternoon, and evening.
Kibble Vs Wet Food For Shih Tzu Puppies
Both kibble and wet food are suitable for this breed. The kibble is good for a dog’s teeth, and on the whole, it’s digestible and affordable.
However, many of these dogs are picky eaters and if you have one of them, wet food will probably be the better choice because picky eaters are more easily appeased with tasty wet food. Wet food can cause stomach issues, though.
Wet food takes time to prepare and you must know how to combine different food ingredients so it is balanced and nutritious for a toy dog.
On the other hand, some Shih Zhu owners mix wet food and kibble to great success. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong choice. It will depend on your own and your dog’s preference.
Switching From Puppy Food To Adult Food
It is generally recommended to switch from puppy food to adult food when your dog is about one year old.
The reason for the change is the high calorie content of puppy food, which they need to grow. Once they become adult dogs, they don’t need so many calories.
It’s best to confirm with your veterinarian if your puppy is ready to start on adult food. When you are both sure it’s time, you can gradually transition your puppy to adult dog food over a four-week period.
You can start by mixing a small amount of adult food with your puppy’s current puppy food. Let the dog eat this mixture for about a week.
Monitor the situation, and if your dog seems fine on the mixture, add some more the following week.
Gradually increase the amount of adult food until your dog eats only adult food by the end of the fourth week.
What If My Shih Tzu Puppy Won’t Eat?
Shih Tzus are notorious for being picky eaters. It can take some trial and error to find food that your dog will enjoy and eat with gusto.
Here are a few tips to help you and your dog out.
- Introduce only a small amount when you are introducing new food. And don’t give up after the first try. Mix a small amount of the new food with food your puppy is used to and gradually add more until the pup accepts the new food.
- Don’t give any treats between meals, so your pup is really hungry at mealtimes.
- Pour some sauce over dry kibble to make it more palatable.
- Try hand-feeding your dog. Some Shih Tzu owners offer a few pieces of kibble as a snack between meals of other food before introducing the kibble as a new food.
Can You Free-feed A Shih Tzu Puppy?
You can free-feed certain Shih Tzu puppies. Some puppies have an enormous appetite and it’s not wise to leave food for them to eat any time they please. Such a pup will put on too much weight and sit with health problems at some later point.
A puppy that is a ‘grazer’ and doesn’t gobble all the food down as soon as it’s put in front of it can be free-fed. Also, a picky eater won’t eat constantly, so you can safely leave kibble out for your dog to eat whenever it wants.
If you decide to free-feed, monitor the amount your pup eats to ensure it eats enough or not too much.
Best Puppy Dog Food for Shih Tzu
1. Royal Canin Health Nutrition Shih Tzu Puppy Food
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Shih Tzus 8 weeks to 10 months old. It is specially formulated to help small dogs thrive.
This dry puppy food comes in a specialized kibble shape designed for small breed Shih Tzu’s short muzzle and underbite, to help them easily pick up the kibble and chew.
The food contains EPA, DHA, and vitamin A to promote healthy skin and coat. The food also features high-quality proteins and prebiotics to support your puppy’s digestive system.
Once your Shih Tzu puppy reaches 10 months old, you can transition it to Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dog Food.
2. Wellness Small Breed Puppy Turkey
Wellness Complete Health Turkey, Salmon & Oatmeal is a natural dry food for small breed puppies. It comes in small kibbles ideal for easy eating.
This puppy food is made from carefully chosen, natural ingredients perfectly balanced to ensure small puppies thrive while they are growing into adult dogs.
Fresh meat is always the first ingredient, for this dog food. Furthermore, it contains berries for antioxidants, carrots and spinach for vitamins, and wholesome grains for minerals. It is fortified with omega fatty acids and probiotics.
It contains no meat by-products, fillers or artificial preservatives.
3. Blue Buffalo Life Small Breed Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula contains real meat, whole grains, garden veggies and fruit, enriched with added LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients.
The food contains high-quality protein from deboned turkey and turkey meal for strong muscles, and calcium, phosphorus and essential vitamins for strong bones.
The added omega-3 and 6 fatty acids support a shiny coat and healthy skin, and added essential vitamins, chelated minerals and antioxidants help support immunity.
The special blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
4. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Real Chicken & Brown Rice
The Rachael Ray Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food contains real chicken and brown rice. Chicken is the number one ingredient in this food for the support of healthy organs and lean muscles.
The food is formulated to support healthy digestion and provide energy for small puppies.
This dry puppy food also contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to ensure a healthy coat and skin.
The food contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, poultry meal, or byproducts. It also contains fillers or added wheat, but it does contain vitamins, minerals, and taurine for optimal health.
5. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
This is a balance puppy food created from buffalo and bison protein combined with peas and sweet potatoes with added natural antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion.
The added essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to increase their absorption. The food is grain-free, with energy provided by complex carbs from sweet potatoes and legumes.
These highly digestible proteins and fiber-rich carbohydrates are chosen for their nutrient value and ability to keep a small dog satisfied and feeling full throughout the day.
Is A Raw Diet Healthy For A Shih Tzu Puppy?
There are many proponents of a raw food diet for dogs of all sizes. A raw food diet consists of raw and fresh ingredients like raw meat, fruit, and vegetables.
These people feel that a raw diet is the healthiest option for dogs.
It would indeed be the best option, provided the person preparing the dog’s food is familiar with the specific nutritional needs of the Shih Tzu and can combine ingredients so that every meal provides the full complement of nutrients.
It is unlikely that the average dog owner has this knowledge or the time to put in the effort to prepare balance meals on a daily basis.
So, a raw diet can be healthy for a Shih Tzu, but it takes time, money, and knowledge.
How Much Do Shih Tzu Puppies Grow Each Week?
The amount a Shih Tzu puppy grows each week depends on its age, size at birth, gender, diet, and activity levels.
An added element is the puppy’s genetics. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to grow faster than most dogs of their kind.
All in all, there isn’t a set standard for how much a Shih Tzu puppy grows every week – there are too many variables to develop a weekly growth standard for puppies.
How Much Water Should A Shih Tzu Puppy Drink?
A puppy should drink fresh water throughout the day, so always provide ample fresh water within easy reach for your puppy.
According to the American Kennel Club, young puppies need about a half cup of water every two hours.
Older puppies that don’t drink from their mothers anymore need between a half ounce and one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.
So, if your puppy weighs 20 pounds, you must make sure it gets between 10 and 20 ounces of water every day.
If you live in a hot climate or your puppy is very active, it will need more water. Monitor your puppy’s water intake to ensure it is drinking enough.