Not every dog owner cares enough to seek out the best quality dog food for their dog, but that dog owner isn’t you. You didn’t spend all that time picking out the perfect little Shih Tzu for your family just to feed them the first food you come across in the grocery store. Follow some of these guidelines to ensure you’re providing the optimal nutrition for your dog.
Nutrients Your Shih Tzu Needs from Dog Food
Shih Tzu Protein Requirements
Shih Tzus are still carnivores regardless of how cute and little they are, and carnivores need protein to thrive. Your lap dog doesn’t need the same amount of protein as a hunting dog does, for example, but they do best with a 25 percent protein content in their food.
Any kind of protein is fine for Shih Tzus. Chicken is what you’ll find in most commercial dog foods, and while it’s gotten a lot of grief over the years about being subpar to other protein sources, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it if that’s what you want to feed your dog.
Shih Tzu Carbohydrates Requirements
Lower-end brands of dog food use simple carbohydrates to bulk the recipe up and add nutrition that’s required by law. Simple carbs provide energy, but they are followed up by an energy crash. They’re also empty calories, so the corn found in cheaper dog foods aren’t adding anything except the possibility of weight gain.
Search for a food that uses complex carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, or quinoa. These actually add nutrients to the food and provide quality energy.
Shih Tzu Fat Requirements
Shih Tzus have long, lustrous coats. They already require a fair amount of grooming, but if they have a dry, rough coat, it becomes harder to upkeep. Fats are the path to a healthy coat, keeping it long, soft, and shiny. Most dog foods have some form of fat added, but whether it’s an appropriate amount for your dog is another question. Run the amount by your vet, and they can help you decide if you should add fish or flaxseed oil to your dog’s diet.
Fighting the Battle of the Bulge
Little dogs are more prone to weight gain. Since Shih Tzus are brachiocephalic (smoosh faced), they automatically have a natural distaste for rigorous exercise. Add all of their hair to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a dog who’d rather lounge on the couch than go for a walk.
It’s tempting to sneak your cute little friend scraps from the table or treats every time they do anything remotely adorable, but you’re really just packing on calories they don’t need, and unused calories turn to fat.
If your Shih Tzu seems to be in a constant battle with their weight, you might consider putting them on a low-fat, high-fiber food to help them feel full without the unnecessary calories. Fish is always appropriate, and make sure the food doesn’t include simple carbs, high protein, or a lot of fat.
Prevent Dental Problems in Shih Tzus by Selecting the Right Dog Food
Cram a bunch of teeth into a tiny mouth, and you’ve got the perfect environment for breeding bacteria. Small dogs are just expected to have bad teeth, but the shape of a Shih Tzu’s mouth results in crowded teeth which leads to tons of plaque, tartar, and rotten teeth.
Wet food is the worst possible form of food to feed your Shih Tzu. Dry food provides some abrasion as they eat to dislodge tartar that’s starting to turn to plaque, but wet food adds more moisture to a bacteria-ridden environment.
If you’re worried about the size of their mouth, there are plenty of quality dog food brands that have tiny kibbles that are easy for your dog to chew. Just because they wear a bow in their hair doesn’t mean they can’t handle some dry kibble twice a day!
Shih Tzus are cuddly, loyal, and have hilarious personalities. There isn’t much you need to do to keep them healthy. A nutritious diet, regular grooming, and exercise make up the perfect combination for a healthy, happy little friend.