Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu

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Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu

Hello, fellow dog parents! Today, we’re dishing out…well, dishes! But not just any dishes— we’re diving into the world of dog food specifically designed for our tiny, lion-hearted friends, the shih tzu. 

These little warriors can be fussy eaters, and they often have sensitive tummies. So, finding the right chow that balances nutrition, taste, and the shih tzu’s breed-specific needs is crucial. 

We’ve tried to help you do exactly that below, by rounding up 11 of the best dog foods for shih tzu. Just be sure to keep your pup’s specific needs in mind while doing so – the best food for a  9-year-old shih tzu with joint problems won’t be the best food for a 3-month-old pouncing puppy! 

With that said, let’s jump right in! 

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How to Choose a Food for Shih Tzu

shih tzu foods

The first step in finding a good food for your shih tzu is familiarizing yourself with some of the health conditions that are common for the breed and how these issues will influence your choice of food. 

In a nutshell, you’ll want to look for foods that check the following boxes:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Shih tzu often battle orthopedic issues like IVDD, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation. But these joint supporting supplements can help give your furry friend a better shot at staying active and pain free.
  • Antioxidants: Unfortunately, shih tzu are also susceptible to eye problems, ranging from cataracts to glaucoma. Antioxidants won’t cure these problems, but they can help support overall eye health. 
  • Low Sodium: Heart disease and blood clotting disorders are both common in shih tzu, so try to stick to foods that have a reasonable sodium content to keep your pup’s pump working well.  
  • Reasonable Calorie Content: Tracheal collapse is a common problem for shih tzu, so avoid foods that contain absurd amounts of calories (such as “muscle-building” recipes) to help keep your little floof fit and trim – this can help reduce the pressure on his trachea.  
  • Free from Common Allergens: Food allergies can be a source of much woofing discomfort – especially in shih tzu. Beef, chicken, wheat, and soy are some of the most common allergens, so consider sticking to foods made without these ingredients if your pup starts itching up a storm.  
  • Easy to Chew: Shih tzu have small mouths and often struggle from dental problems, so look for foods with small kibblets or opt for wet foods to make mealtimes more enjoyable. 

Try to keep these issues in mind when picking the best food for your shih tzu, but it’s also important to speak with your veterinarian if you are concerned your pet is exhibiting any of these ailments. 

Is Breed-Specific Food Necessary?

Hey, dear readers, let’s have a candid canine chat for a moment.

You might have seen dog foods on the market marketed as “specifically for [insert breed here].” But here’s the real kibble and bits: The idea that one specific dog food is tailor-made for one specific breed is, in many ways, marketing wizardry.

Sure, there are factors and ingredients that may align well with the needs of, say, your shih tzu.

But guess what? That same food could likely be just as fabulous for a bevy of other breeds! The key is to focus on the overall nutritional profile, ingredients, and quality, rather than getting too caught up in breed-specific labels.

The 11 Best Dog Foods for Shih Tzu

foods for shih tzu

Now that you know some of the health problems shih tzu often suffer from and how those issues should affect your food-buying decisions, we can move on to specific product recommendations!

Check out the 11 best dog foods for shih tzu below to find the perfect one for your pooch! 

1. Ollie [Best Overall Dog Food for Shih Tzu]

Best Overall Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Fresh, custom-crafted, human-grade food that most shih tzu will love.
Special Discount: We've cut a deal with Ollie -- new customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review


This is the perfect choice for shih tzu parents who want the absolute best food around – and aren’t afraid to pay for it.

About: Ollie serves up pre-measured servings of fresh, wholesome food, packed with lean animal proteins and minimally processed ingredients. Proudly prepared in the USA, Ollie uses globally-sourced ingredients in the brand’s own USDA kitchens. You’ll receive your doggie’s dinners fresh-frozen at your doorstep, complete with a nifty “leftovers” container to safely stash uneaten servings in the fridge.

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Oats, Chickpeas, Pea Flour, & Chicken Livers


  • Human-Grade Ingredients: Ollie dishes out fresh meats, wholesome grains, scrumptious fruits, and vitamin-rich veggies that are just as safe for your plate as they are for your pup’s.
  • Protein-Packed Plates: The star of the show is always real meat, followed by organ meats, leading these recipes to boast between 35% and 44% protein content (via dry matter analysis).
  • All-Life-Stages Recipes: Each Ollie recipe is vet-approved to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for all life stages, making it a pawfect pick for multi-dog households or those growing up alongside their pooch.
  • Plenty of Protein Options: Ollie provides a variety of recipe options, including beef, turkey, lamb, pork, and chicken.  
  • No Junk Included: Ollie skips on artificial flavors, preservatives, and by-products. The fewer unnecessary ingredients in your dog’s dinner, the less chance of causing any canine complications.
  • Paw-sitive Impact: Ollie donates 1% of the brand’s earnings to rescue organizations and shelters, lending a helping paw to pooches in need.

Ingredients List

Chicken, oats, chickpeas, pea flour, chicken livers, whole dried eggs...,

carrots, sweet potatoes, tricalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, apples, salt, spinach, calcium carbonate, fish oil, sunflower oil, rosemary extract, choline bitartrate, vitamin e supplement, zinc gluconate, potassium iodide, ferrous bisglycinate chelate, copper amino acid chelate, beta carotene (vitamin a), riboflavin (vitamin b2), niacin, cholecalciferol (vitamin d3), cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), calcium pantothenate (vitamin b5), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin b1), potassium citrate, folic acid


  • The quality of human-grade ingredients is tough to beat
  • Most dogs go ga-ga over the taste
  • Customized recipes are always a win
  • The included “leftover” container allows for easy storage 
  • Included fish oil helps keep your shih tzu’s coat healthy
  • Ollie donates 1% of their profits to dog-related charities


  • You need to sign up for a subscription to place an order
  • Like most fresh foods, this one will require some fridge space

Like the fresh stuff?

If fresh dog food is your jam, be sure to check out our list of the best fresh dog food brands — they’re mouth-watering options that will please even the prissiest picky eaters.

2. Blue Buffalo Small Breed [Best Kibble/ Dry Dog Food for Shih Tzu]

Best Kibble/ Dry Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Blue Buffalo Small Breed
A premium, US-made kibble that’s full of Blue Buffalo’s patented antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


Dog moms and dads who want a nice combination of taste, nutrition, convenience, and affordability. 

About: Give your mini mutt a mouthful of flavor and nutrition with Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Adult. This crunchy kibble, with its bite-sized bits, is perfect for petite paws to munch on, helping keep those pearly whites sparkling between brushings. This grain-inclusive chow fuels your fur baby’s next escapade with a hearty mix of rice, oatmeal, and barley. It’s also loaded with prebiotics and probiotics for a smooth digestive ride, plus fatty acids to keep your shih tzu’s skin health tip-top. 

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley


  • Protein-Packed Formula: This food’s ingredient list kicks off with deboned meat, followed by a named meat meal, loading it up with protein for those lean muscles.
  • Vitamin-Enriched Bites: This kibble boasts Blue’s patented LifeSource Bits. These cold-pressed nuggets are brimming with vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Your Choice of Flavors: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed comes in two tasty recipes – Chicken and Brown Rice and Lamb and Brown Rice.
  • Joint-Boosting Chow: With glucosamine added, this food offers joint support to keep your wagger walkin’!
  • Proudly Made in the USA: Blue Buffalo is crafted in America with top-quality ingredients sourced globally.

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Pea Starch, Dried Tomato Pomace, Peas, Pea Protein, Dried Egg Product, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary


  • Its small, crunchy kibble is perfect for little jaws to handle
  • For such high-quality food, the price tag is pretty reasonable
  • Probiotics are included to give your pup’s digestion a leg-up


  • A unique protein option would be great for dogs with meat allergies or sensitivities
  • Fussy fur babies might turn up their noses at the LifeSource Bits

3. Diamond Naturals Beef Dinner [Best Canned/Wet Dog Food for Shih Tzu]


This one is ideal for older shih tzu and those with dental problems or poor drinking habits.

About: Got a shih tzu who prefers wet dog food? Diamond Naturals’ Beef Dinner is likely the best option. A pate-style wet food brimming with flavor, this food also offers supplemental hydration thanks to the included broth. It also includes real organ meat, providing a protein punch along with a boatload of vitamins and minerals.

First Five Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Rice Flour, & Carrots


  • First-Class Meat: Real, clearly labeled meat always reigns supreme as the top ingredient in Diamond Naturals recipes.
  • Variety of Protein Options: In addition to beef, you can also get this formula in chicken and lamb versions. 
  • Grain-Inclusive Recipe: Rice flour not only fuels your furry friend’s next escapade but may also help prevent heart-health problems.
  • Fruit and Veggies Galore: Each Diamond Naturals Canned recipe boasts produce such as cranberries, pumpkin, and blueberries, delivering fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Proudly Made in the USA: Diamond Naturals products are crafted in the United States, utilizing carefully selected and inspected ingredients from around the world.

Ingredients List

Beef, beef broth, beef liver, rice flour, carrots, dried egg product...,

lamb meal, fish meal, tricalcium phosphate, guar gum, salt, sunflower oil, potassium chloride, agar-agar, pumpkin, cranberries, quinoa, blueberries, inulin, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, sodium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract


  • This is one of the few canned dog foods that includes grains
  • Packed with a diverse mix of real fruits and vegetables
  • The taste gets a big paw’s up from most pups
  • It’s more affordable than many other canned options


  • Additional protein options like salmon or venison would be a welcome addition
  • The inclusion of eggs makes this a mixed-protein recipe, which may cause problems for dogs with food allergies.

Like Canned Dog Foods?

Like canned foods but don’t like Diamond Naturals for some reason? Never fear! There are tons of other options out there. Check out our guide to the best wet dog foods to see more!

4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy [Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Puppies]

Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu Puppies
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy
This high-quality dog food is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of your growing shih tzu puppy.
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon


This is a great puppy food for most healthy young shih tzu, who’re less than 1 year of age.

About: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Formula packs a punch of grain-inclusive goodness for your sprightly pup, offering lean proteins, palatable produce, and hearty (and heart-healthy) carbohydrates. This kibble is designed to foster lifelong wellness, thanks to extras like the brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, it’s sprinkled with Blue’s signature LifeSource Bits for an antioxidant kick to support immune function.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley


  • Protein-Packed: Real meat takes the top spot in the ingredient list, supplying your shih tzu puppy with the necessary protein for muscle development.
  • Tummy-Friendly Formula: The recipe includes a blend of probiotics to aid in healthy digestion.
  • Free From Troublesome Ingredients: You won’t find corn, soy, wheat, or poultry by-product meals in this kibble, making it a better choice for sensitive pups.
  • Bounty of Fruits and Veggies: Expect a colorful mix of carrots, blueberries, and cranberries in this puppy food, offering natural vitamins, fiber, and a burst of flavor.
  • Proudly American: Blue Buffalo manufactures this puppy food in the USA, using globally-sourced ingredients.

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA- Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary


  • Most puppies can’t resist the flavors in this food
  • It’s enhanced with probiotics for gut health
  • The petite kibble size is just right for shih tzu puppy mouths


  • The combination of proteins can be a problem for pups with allergies
  • Picky eaters might pick around the LifeSource Bits

5. Merrick Healthy Grains Senior [Best Dog Food for Senior Shih Tzu]

Best Dog Food for Senior Shih Tzu
Merrick Healthy Grains Senior
Full of joint-supporting compounds, this grain-inclusive, omega-3-rich kibble is made in the USA and fortified with probiotics..
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon


This kibble is the best dog food for shih tzu who are 8 years of age or older and still have healthy teeth.

About: Merrick Healthy Grains Senior is more than just dog food — it’s a ticket to vitality for your aging pooch! This protein-laden recipe supports your furry friend in his sunset years, packing in plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and mobility. Plus, it’s chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids for a glossy coat, healthy skin, and potentially enhanced brain function.

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, & Barley


  • Meaty Meal for Your Mutt: The star of this dish is a named protein, backed by supplemental meat meals, ensuring your dog gets a protein-packed dinner.
  • Grainy Goodness: The menu includes everyday grains like brown rice and oatmeal, jazzed up with a touch of quinoa — a grain-like seed.
  • No Legumes Included: This senior dog food skips lentils and peas to potentially avoid DCM issues.
  • Packed with Omega-3s: Made with flaxseed and salmon oil, this recipe contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to promote skin health and a gleaming coat.
  • Joint Support Two-for-One: Made with glucosamine and chondroitin, this food ensures your oldie’s joints will stay healthy.
  • Digestive Aids Included: A medley of balanced probiotics ensures a smooth digestive process.
  • Proudly American: This pup-friendly feast is crafted in the USA, using ingredients sourced worldwide.

Ingredients List

Deboned chicken, Chicken meal, Brown rice, Oatmeal, Barley...,

Turkey meal, Chicken fat, Quinoa, Natural flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon oil, Potassium chloride, Salt, Apples, Carrots, Sunflower oil, Organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, Choline chloride, Iron amino acid complex, Zinc amino acid complex, Zinc sulfate, Sodium selenite, Manganese amino acid complex, Copper amino acid complex, Potassium iodide, Cobalt proteinate, Cobalt carbonate, Taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, Mixed tocopherols, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, Vitamin A acetate, d-Calcium pantothenate, Thiamine mononitrate, Folic acid, Niacin, Biotin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 supplement, Citric acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product


  • Contains above average protein content
  • Grain-inclusive recipes may help prevent some heart issues
  • Many dog owners noticed their pet’s coat health visibly improve after switching to this recipe
  • Features a mix of probiotics to promote problem-free digestion


  • It has a higher fat content than many other foods
  • We’d prefer if it included more fruits and veggies

6. A Pup Above [Best Dog Food for Picky Shih Tzu]

Best Dog Food for Picky Shih Tzu
A Pup Above
Prepared using fanch-schmancy sous-vide cooking techniques, this is one of the best-tasting dog foods available anywhere.
Special Discount: Get $50 off with code K950 at checkout!
Buy Now Read Our Review


A wonderful option for picky shih tzu pups who need something tastier than traditional kibble or canned food.

About: A Pup Above offers American-made dog food that boasts completely traceable US-sourced ingredients, identifiable by an exclusive lot-tracing number on every bag. Made with a hearty blend of proteins, nutritious veggies, and a tasty carb source (including both grain-free and grain-inclusive options), these foods are crafted from first-rate ingredients. Best of all, A Pup Above’s recipes are slow-cooked using sous vide methods to provide maximum tail-wagging taste.

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Bone Broth, & Rice


  • Veterinarian-Crafted Recipes: To ensure your furry friend is getting a balanced diet, all A Pup Above recipes are expertly formulated by veterinarians.
  • Top-Quality Ingredients: A Pup Above stands out from the pack by using only human-grade ingredients, including USDA-approved meat.
  • Made with Beneficial Bone Broth: Tasty and hydrating bone broth, rich in collagen, adds not only flavor but also offers potential health benefits for your dog’s bones and digestion.
  • Variety of Protein Choices: A Pup Above offers chicken, beef, pork, and turkey recipes, or you can choose a sampler pack to mix things up for your pup.
  • Earth-Friendly Practices: A Pup Above is committed to being a green company by donating 1% of revenue to sustainable agricultural practices, using 100% recyclable packaging, and reducing waste by utilizing “ugly” produce.

Ingredients List

Chicken, chicken liver, sweet potatoes, chicken bone broth, rice...,

apples, spinach, kale, turmeric, thyme, parsley, minerals [dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium oxide. zine amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, potassium iodide,sodium selenite], vitamins [vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement]


  • Included bone broth is tasty and nutritious
  • Ingredient tracker on each bag provides full transparency
  • No subscription needed to order
  • Includes delicious and nutritious organ meats


  • Packaging may make mealtime a bit messy
  • Lacks the personalization found in other fresh food options

Trying to feed a picky shih tzu?

Few things are as frustrating as a dog who won’t eat one food after another. Don’t worry — there are plenty of lip smackin’ choices out there. Check out our guide to the best dog foods for picky eaters and find something your pet will love!

7. Nutro Small Breed [Best Small Breed Dog Food for Shih Tzu]

Best Small Breed Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Nutro Small Breed
This premium, US-made kibble is specifically designed to suit the nutritional needs (and mouths) of small-breed doggos.
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon


This is a great option for shih tzu who want dry food but can’t or won’t eat regular-sized kibble.

About: Packed to the brim with protein and proudly crafted in the USA, Nutro Small Breed is an excellent dog food choice for your small or toy breed fur-baby. This recipe boasts whole grains and a medley of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, all designed to keep your little one healthy for the long haul. Plus, its tiny kibble size is perfect for petite pooches who find standard kibble a bit of a mouthful. 

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas, & Brewers Rice


  • Protein-Packed Recipe: Chicken and chicken meal take the top spots on the ingredient list, making this kibble a protein powerhouse. 
  • Tummy-Friendly: The inclusion of fiber-rich grains and produce helps support digestive health, making it a potential winner for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 
  • Promotes Skin and Coat Health: Thanks to healthy fats from flaxseed and chia seed, this kibble works magic on your dog’s coat and skin from the inside out.
  • Avoids Potential Problem Ingredients: You won’t find any corn, wheat, or soy in this kibble – ingredients that can be trouble for some pups.
  • Proudly Made in the USA: Nutro dog food is crafted in the USA, using ingredients sourced globally.

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Split Peas, Brewers Rice...,

Whole Grain Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, DL-Methionine, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract


  • Tailored especially for small-breed dogs in both size and nutritional content
  • The price tag is fair for such a premium kibble
  • Includes fantastic extras like antioxidant-rich “superfoods” and omega-3 fatty acids


  • Some pet parents reported a less-than-pleasant odor from the food
  • The recipe doesn’t include probiotics

8. JustFoodForDogs [Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu with Food Allergies]


This food is perfect for shih tzu who have food allergies, food intolerances, or simply itchy skin.

About: JustFoodForDogs has carved a niche for itself with a smorgasbord of freshly-cooked canine meals that would make any tail wag. Their menu boasts a variety of pre-formulated dishes and a special line of veterinary support formulas to tackle health concerns like food allergies and itchy skin conditions. 

First Five Ingredients: Water, Chicken, Rice, Carrots, & Spinach


  • Real Meat: Every recipe is packed with human-grade protein and nutrient-rich organ meat to keep your dog’s tail wagging.
  • Protein Variety: Pick from 6 mouthwatering recipes, including beef, venison, and chicken-based meals. They also offer vet-specialty diets for things like skin support.
  • All-Natural: Each JustFoodForDogs recipe is free from artificial nasties and hormones, because your dog deserves the best.
  • Tasty Texture: JustFoodForDogs dishes come in a lip-smacking meat mash that’s easy for your pup to gobble up.
  • US-Made: JustFoodForDogs is proudly made in the USA, in kitchens you can actually visit! How’s that for transparency?

Ingredients List

Water, Chicken, Rice, Carrots, Spinach, Apples, Saower Oil...,

Salt, Rice Starch, Dicalcium Phosphate, Cod Liver Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Bitartrate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Taurine, Ferrous Fumarate, Magnesium Oxide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Selenium Yeast, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Carbonate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid


  • JFFD makes it a breeze to dodge your dog’s allergies or intolerances 
  • Even the pickiest of pups find their meals drool-worthy
  • Convenience is key – you can order online or pick up in-store at select CA locations or certain Petco stores across the US.


  • As with most fresh foods, you’ll need to make some fridge or freezer space  
  • These meals are definitely on the pricier side

9. Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice [Most Affordable Dog Food for Shih Tzu]

Most Affordable Dog Food for Shih Tzu
Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice
An affordable yet high-quality kibble that checks off most boxes owners want and features premium proteins.
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon


Cost-conscious shih tzu parents who want an affordable yet high-quality dog food.

About: Diamond Naturals‘ dry dog food offers an awesome blend of affordability and quality. Packed with top-notch proteins, wholesome carbs, and fresh produce, this kibble holds its own against other foods costing twice as much. Plus, it’s loaded with joint-friendly glucosamine, giving your pup a joint-health boost with each crunch. 

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, & Chicken Fat


  • Plenty of Protein: This kibble is a protein lover’s dream! It has whole chicken and chicken meal, providing a double punch of protein to keep your pup’s muscles sturdy and his tail in constant motion.
  • It’s All in on Antioxidants: Boosted with added antioxidant-rich ingredients, this dog food helps your dog’s immune system function at its best.
  • Crafted with Love in the USA: Proudly made in the USA by a family-owned company, this food is made with plenty of love and care!
  • Skin and Coat Health Benefits: Omega-3s are included to promote healthy skin and a glossy coat, so that your pup can flaunt that fabulous fur!
  • No Artificial Ingredients: This food is made only with real, natural ingredients and is free from unnecessary artificial colors or flavors.
  • Packed with Probiotics: This recipe is loaded with probiotics, ensuring your pup’s digestive system works as it should. 

Ingredients List

Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley...,

chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), grain sorghum, dried yeast, dried beet pulp, egg product, natural flavor, flaxseed, salmon oil (source of DHA), potassium chloride, salt, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, dried chicory root, kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, quinoa, dried kelp, coconut, spinach, carrots, papaya, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, beta carotene, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid. Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms


  • This nutritious food is surprisingly affordable
  • It’s loaded with joint-supporting supplements
  • It contains probiotics and fiber-rich ingredients for trouble-free digestion


  • It’s often out of stock due to high demand
  • Might be less palatable to some pups compared to pricier brands

Want more budget-friendly options?

Buying a nutritious dog food doesn’t necessitate breaking the bank. Check out some of the other great budget dog foods to see more options!

10. Nutro Ultra Weight Management [Best Food for Overweight Shih Tzu]

Best Food for Overweight Shih Tzu
Nutro Ultra Weight Management
A low-cal but tasty dog food that’s packed with fiber to keep your floof feeling full.
Buy on Chewy Buy on Amazon


Pet parents of shih tzu who need to drop a few pounds.

About: Nutro Ultra Weight Management Recipe brings together a trifecta of proteins (salmon, lamb, and chicken), creating a wholesome weight-loss formula that can help your pooch shed those pesky pounds. Despite being a low-calorie food, it’s packed with mouth-watering ingredients to ensure it tickles your dog’s taste buds while delivering the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your pet needs. Best of all, this food also includes omega-3 fatty acids for your pup’s skin and coat health, plus glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.

First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, & Rice Bran


  • Protein Powerhouse: Real, nutritious chicken takes the lead in this recipe, closely followed by chicken meal, guaranteeing your pup gets the protein punch needed for robust muscles.
  • Grain-Inclusive Goodness: This grain-inclusive food is designed to satiate and energize your pup with rice and oatmeal, ensuring full bellies and happy wags.
  • All-Natural Nutrition: Nutro uses non-GMO ingredients, aligning perfectly with pet parents who prefer to keep things as natural as possible.
  • Full of Fruits & Veggies: This food features a delightful mix of dried spinach, dried blueberries, and dried apples – ingredients that are as yummy as they are nutritious.
  • Homegrown Goodness: Proudly made in the USA, this food guarantees top-tier quality and safety.

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate)...,

Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Lamb Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Salmon Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Whole Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Egg Product, Tomato Pomace, Dried Kale, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Spinach, Dried Blueberries, Dried Apples, Dried Carrots, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.


  • Most dogs love this food’s flavor 
  • The protein-rich recipe keeps your dog satiated while he loses weight 
  • Packed with “superfoods” to keep your canine’s immune system in tip-top shape
  • Small kibble is perfect for little shih tzu


  • We wish it included probiotics
  • Multiple proteins aren’t ideal for dogs with food allergies

11. Merrick Salmon + Healthy Grains [Best Food for Shih Tzu with Joint Problems]


Shih tzu who suffer from arthritis or dysplasia and are having trouble getting around easily.  

About: Merrick Classic Healthy Grains is a masterfully formulated recipe that’s great for shih tzu who suffer from joint issues. This premium pet food is anchored by tasty and nutritious salmon, which not only fortifies muscular health but also bestows a lustrous shine to the skin and coat, courtesy of its abundant omega-rich profile. The recipe is accentuated by the inclusion of wholesome brown rice, offering a reliable and nutritious source of carbohydrates. Additionally, this recipe is made without any legumes – ingredients which give many pet owners pause in light of their potential correlation with DCM. 

First Five Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, & Oatmeal


  • Protein-Packed Recipe: Featuring real salmon at the top of the ingredient list and 25% protein content, this food provides plenty of protein for your pooch. 
  • Nutrient-Dense Grains: Brown rice, complemented by barley and oatmeal, supports holistic nutrition and digestive wellness across life stages.
  • All-Natural Goodness: Made without artificial additives, colors, or flavors, this food contains only natural ingredients for your pet. 
  • Joint-Supporting Compounds: This recipe is enhanced with glucosamine and chondroitin to bolster joint health and foster good mobility.
  • American Craftsmanship: Crafted within Merrick’s US-based kitchens, pet parents can rest easy knowing their dog’s food is safe and nutritious.
  • Probiotics FTW!: This food features four different probiotic strains to help promote digestive health. 

Ingredients List

Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal...,

Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat, Flaxseed, Quinoa, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Apples, Carrots, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Niacin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Citric Acid for freshness, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product. 2A32000


  • This recipe is packed with joint-supporting omega-3s, chondroitin, and glucosamine
  • Its grain-inclusive composition may help prevent some heart problems
  • It’s omega-3 fatty acids will also bolster skin and coat health
  • It is fortified with probiotics to promote proper digestive function


  • It contains multiple proteins, which may be a problem for dogs with food allergies
  • It’s a bit pricey, but that’s to be expected of a premium food

General Advice for Picking a Dog Food

picking dog food

Whether you have a shih tzu, a Sheltie, or a shepherd, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when picking the best food for your pooch

To start, always select a food that meets the following three criteria:

  1. It must meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Nutritional Guidelines for your pet’s life stage. These guidelines ensure that the food contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your dog needs for his age. This will ensure your dog’s health and well-being are supported as he grows and ages.
  2. The recipe should address any specific health conditions your pet has. If your shih tzu has any specific health conditions or concerns, it’s important to choose a dog food that caters to these needs. Dog food manufacturers often offer special formulas designed for a range of health issues, from joint problems to sensitive stomachs. By selecting a food tailored to your dog’s health condition, you can help manage their symptoms and improve their overall health.
  3. It should get the green light from your veterinarian. Prior to deciding on a particular dog food, consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can provide expert advice based on their knowledge of your dog’s health history, breed-specific nutritional needs, and any potential dietary restrictions. Your vet can also help you understand the complexities of dog food labels and guide you towards choosing the best possible option.

If you select a food that satisfies these three criteria, you’ll be all-but-guaranteed to end up with a good choice. However, you can elevate that “good” choice to a “great” one by also picking a food that checks off the following boxes:

  • Does the brand have a canine nutritionist on staff? A canine nutritionist is a professional who understands the unique dietary needs of dogs and can help formulate balanced and nutritious meals for dogs. It is important to know if such a specialist is part of the brand’s team to ensure that the dog food created is indeed nutritionally balanced and suitable for dogs. 
  • Does the manufacturer conduct regular safety inspections? Regular safety inspections are crucial to ensure that the manufacturing process is up to the standards of hygiene and safety. It also ensures that the ingredients used are fresh and free from any harmful substances.
  • Is the protein used by the brand cooked or pasteurized to eliminate pathogens? Cooking or pasteurizing proteins is vital to kill any harmful pathogens that might be present. Raw or undercooked proteins can pose a health risk to dogs.
  • Is the dog food produced in a Western country? The location of the production facility can sometimes indicate the quality of the food produced. Western countries often have strict regulations and quality control standards for pet food production.
  • Is a whole protein listed as the first ingredient in the dog food? The first ingredient listed on the packaging is the one that makes up the largest part of the food. A whole protein being listed first indicates a high-protein diet which is beneficial for dogs.
  • Are meat meals and by-products clearly identified in the ingredient list? Transparency in ingredient labeling allows pet owners to know exactly what they are feeding their furry friends.
  • Does the food incorporate whole, minimally processed grains? Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other nutrients. Minimally processed grains retain more of these nutrients compared to heavily processed ones.
  • Does the dog food include ingredients rich in antioxidants and omega-3s? Antioxidants help support a dog’s immune system, while omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and contribute to a healthy skin and coat. The former are often found in colorful fruits and veggies, while the latter are most commonly found in fish oil.

Lastly, ask yourself one final – but critically important – question: Does your dog seem to enjoy the taste of the food? Your dog doesn’t only need a nutritious food, he also needs one that he enjoys eating! 

If the tables were turned, you can bet your little wagger would want you to enjoy your food, so be sure that you pick one that he likes too. This may require a little bit of trial and error (particularly with potentially picky shih tzu), but you’ll almost certainly be able to find one if you try a few different options. 

Pet-Care Pro Tip: Change Foods Gradually

It is crucial to change your dog’s food gradually to avoid any potential digestive upset or tummy trouble.

To transition your dog to a new food, start by mixing a small amount of the new food with your dog’s current food. Gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of the old food over a period of 7 to 10 days.

This slow transition will allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new food comfortably and healthily.

Best Dog Food for Shih Tzu: FAQ

Shih tzu food questions

Still have questions about feeding your shih tzu? We can help! We’ve rounded up some of the most common questions and answers regarding shih tzu food below!

What dog food is best for shih tzu?

The best dog food for a shih tzu depends on his age and nutritional needs. Some of the best dog foods for shih tzu include Ollie, Blue Buffalo Small Breed, and Diamond Naturals Beef Dinner.

Do shih tzu need special food?

Not really. Shih tzu will often thrive on typical dog foods; you just need to pick one that’s appropriate for your dog’s life stage, gets your vet’s seal of approval, and addresses any health concerns your specific pet has. That said, you can take your choice from “good” to “great” by also investigating the brand’s manufacturing practices and the recipe’s ingredient list.

What foods are shih tzu allergic to?

Some of the most common foods that can trigger allergies in shih tzu (or any other breed) include beef, chicken, lamb, soy, wheat, corn, and dairy products, as well as artificial additives

Is wet food or dry food better for shih tzu?

Both wet and dry dog foods have their advantages and disadvantages. Dry dog food is more economical and may help clean your dog’s teeth. Wet dog food has a higher moisture content than dry dog food, which helps keep your dog hydrated and may help prevent issues such as urinary tract infections.

Is Royal Canin good for shih tzu?

We generally recommend a number of other dog food brands – including Ollie, Blue Buffalo, and Diamond Naturals – more than Royal Canin. That said, plenty of shih tzu thrive on Royal Canin diets

Is Hill’s Science Diet good for shih tzu?

As with Royal Canin, we generally recommend owners opt for other dog food brands instead


We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you towards selecting the best dog food for your shih tzu. Remember, a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for your furry friend’s health and well-being.

If you have any experiences or thoughts to share about feeding your shih tzu, please feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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K9 of Mine Staff

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