For many of us, we knew the pet owner of Shih Tzu before the dog itself. In other words, this popular toy breed has been a favorite of various celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, Beyoncé, and Mariah Carey.
Shih Tzu is a small and gorgeous dog breed that was highly prized among the Chinese royal families. The Chinese strictly refused to trade or give away any of these beautiful pups. This means this hairy breed is over 1000 years old.
Originally from Tibet, the name Shih Tzu means ‘Little Lion.’ Often purchased for their rich history, glamor, and affectionate temperament, these dogs are precious and unique. This applies to their dietary requirements as well.
If you own a Shih Tzu pup or plan to get one home soon, there are some important things to remember about their diet. In this article, we will discuss the unique dietary needs of these playful lap dogs. Keep them in mind the next time you visit the pet store.
Feeding That Lovely Coat
If there is one dog breed renowned for its show-stopping hair, it’s the Shih Tzu. You will often find these pups’ hair tied in a flowing ponytail (with beautiful bows and ribbons that take their look up a notch).
The outer coat of these dogs is generally long and silky, whereas their undercoat is feathery and soft to the touch. The interesting thing is that Shih Tzu’s diet will directly impact their coat’s shine, texture, and strength.
According to PetCareRx, Shih Tzu’s coat requires Omega 3 and 6 oils to maintain a glossy look and healthy shine. Also, their dog treats must have certain vitamins and minerals to keep the coat’s luster and thick hair from frequently falling out.
Whether you choose to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat long or short, poor brittle hair not only steals away their glamorous look but also points towards underlying health issues. The best dog food for your pup would be items rich in protein and healthy fats. Remember, your pet needs at least 50% protein to keep their coat in the best shape.
The Shih Tzu’s Brachycephalic Status
If you already own a Shih Tzu, you may have heard that it makes noises that resemble snorting or snoring. This is essentially a syndrome called brachycephalic ocular syndrome mainly affecting dogs with short upper jaws and noses.
The facial features of this breed (with a lack of muzzle and large prominent eyes) make them highly prone to developing this syndrome. Such dogs are at risk of developing breathing issues (hence the aforementioned noises).
When suffering from this problem, your Shih Tzu’s eating may be affected. This is because your dog will be trying to breathe and eat at the same time (ingesting extra air along with pet food). This is why your pup needs food that is chewy and easy to digest.
Chewy dog food (even in the form of kibble) appeals to the under-bite that most Shih Tzu dogs have. This will remove eating discomfort and ensure they eat sufficient food (without ingesting too much air).
For A Faster Metabolic Rate
This is one thing many new Shih Tzu owners are shocked to discover. Though small in size and fairly relaxed and unfazed, Shih Tzu dogs have a high metabolic rate. Being a toy breed, they need dog food made to accommodate their fast metabolism.
For example – small dogs do not consume as much food as their larger counterparts. However, they use up more calories per pound of their body weight. Dry or wet dog food comprising chicory, fish oils, and other sources of antioxidants will support Shih Tzu’s metabolic needs.
Chronic Stomach Upset, Skin Allergies, and Dental Problems
The Shih Tzu breed is known to have frequent issues with their stomach, skin, and teeth. These house dogs are vulnerable to allergic reactions, loose stools, and dental problems like periodontal disease. Such issues may be addressed through a high-quality diet consisting of primal dog food.
What do we mean by that? Many pet owners do not know that Shih Tzu dogs were originally pretty wild and untamed. This means you must not let their lap dog tendencies fool you. Being a native to the Gobi Desert, these dogs do crave a taste of the wild.
The million-dollar question is how to give your Shih Tzu a taste of wild dog food without impacting their health. The best way to go about this is to feed raw dog food like Stella and Chewy’s freeze-dried chicken patties.
With these, you have nothing to worry about. It is dry dog food but the freeze-drying process ensures all essential nutrients and enzymes remain intact. Such raw food is good for your Shih Tzu’s digestive health, weight, and skin and dental health.
Rundown of Your Shih Tzu’s Dietary Essentials
The food you feed your Shih Tzu can keep upset stomach, parasites, dental disease, and skin allergies at bay. There are certain restrictions and requirements regarding food that you must strictly follow. That way, your family pet can enjoy a long, healthy, and active life.
Single-Source High-Quality Protein
If your dog has a specific type of protein allergy, feed them a single source of protein. Different sources of pet protein include chewy chicken, beef, lamb, and fish.
Suppose you observe that your dog develops a skin allergy after consuming beef. Replace their protein source with chicken and, if they respond well, stick to a single protein source. Some common signs of protein allergy would include itchiness, inflamed ears, and redness in paws.
Shih Tzu pups are often susceptible to suffering from ear and eye infections that result from allergens present in grains. Indeed, ancient grains do not have a high degree of such allergens or gluten. For instance – einkorn wheat is an ancient, wild variety when compared to regular modern wheat.
However, grain-free dog food will offer your Shih Tzu the natural diet they need to stay healthy. It is best to stick to a grain-free diet.
Since Shih Tzu dogs are prone to digestive issues, adding healthy gut flora through probiotics can reduce the occurrences of bloating and stomach upset. You can easily add these as a supplement to their regular puppy food.
This way, you will have a clear idea of how much probiotics they consume. Too much can also cause side effects like gas, diarrhea, or constipation.
Besides those mentioned in this article, you can give your Shih Tzu some superfoods like salmon, sweet potatoes, and berries. These foods have high levels of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and maintain cardiovascular health.
Just ensure your Shih Tzu’s diet is balanced with wholesome dog food and supplements for their unique needs. Then, your beloved fur baby will enjoy long and healthy years of life.