The Shih Tzu is a small breed with a fast metabolism, so their nutritional needs differ from those of larger breeds. It is important to feed them a high-quality, high-nutrient diet. The amount of food a shih tzu needs is usually measured in cups and depends on the calorie content of the food.
1. Puppy vs. Adult: Differences in Feeding
Puppies need more calories per pound of body weight when growing than adult dogs. For shih tzu puppies, the standard is about ½ cup of high-calorie puppy food spread over three to four meals a day. Adults need less, usually about ½ cup of dog food twice a day, depending on their size and activity level.
2. Caloric needs and food measurements
The calorie content of dog food can vary widely. On average, a cup of dog food can contain anywhere from 200 to 500 calories. To determine how much to feed your shih tzu, you need to look at caloric needs, which can be around 35 calories per pound of body weight for an adult. For a 15-pound adult Shih Tzu, that would mean about 525 calories per day.
3. Adjusting the amount of food according to weight and activity
For a shih tzu that is more active, you may need a little more feeding. Conversely, for overweight dogs or those with a low activity level, the amount should be reduced. It is important to regularly assess your dog‘s health and adjust the amount of food accordingly.
4. The influence of snacks and treats
Treats should be given sparingly and make up no more than 10% of the Shih Tzu’s total caloric content. Always subtract the calories of treats from your total daily food intake to prevent overeating.
5. The cost of feeding a shih tzu
The cost depends on the quality of the food and where you live. On average, you can spend between $20 and $60 per month on high-quality dog food to feed your Shih Tzu. This estimate may vary depending on individual needs and local prices.
It is very important to feed your Shih Tzu the right amount of food to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being. Consult your veterinarian to tailor feeding to your dog‘s specific needs.
Frequently asked questions about feeding Shih Tzu
1. How many times a day should I feed my adult Shih Tzu?
Adult Shih Tzus thrive on a routine and should be fed twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. However, puppies need to be fed more often than three to four times a day due to their developmental needs.
2. What is the recommended amount of food per serving for a Shih Tzu?
A typical adult Shih Tzu needs about ½ cup of dry dog food per meal. However, this may vary depending on the dog‘s activity level, age and calorie content of the food. Always refer to the feeding guide on the dog food package and consult your veterinarian for individual advice.
3. Can I feed my Shih Tzu human food?
Although some human foods are safe for dogs in moderation, it is generally not recommended to feed Shih Tzus human food. Frequent feeding of human food can lead to obesity and nutritional imbalances, and some human foods can be toxic to dogs.
4. How do I know if my Shih Tzu is eating enough?
Monitor your shih tzu’s energy level, weight, and overall health. If they are active, maintain a healthy weight and have a shiny coat, they are probably eating the right amount. Check with your vet to make sure their nutritional needs are met.
5. Can shih tzus only be fed dry food, or do they also need wet food?
Shih Tzu can be fed dry food, wet food or a combination of both. Dry food is good for their dental health, while wet food can be more palatable and hydrating. The choice depends on your dog‘s preferences and health needs.
6. What ingredients should I look for in a quality shih tzu dog food?
Look for dog food that has high-quality protein as its first ingredient, such as chicken, lamb or fish. The food should also contain a balanced amount of carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, specially formulated for small breeds such as the Shih Tzu.
7. How much water should a shih tzu drink every day?
Shih Tzu should always have access to fresh, clean water. They usually need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, but this can increase with hot weather or increased activity.
8. Are there any foods I should avoid giving my Shih Tzu?
Yes, avoid foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and anything containing xylitol. Also avoid fatty and fried foods, which can lead to pancreatitis and obesity.
9. How do I transition my shih tzu to a new type of food?
Transition your shih tzu to new food gradually over the course of a week. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food with the old and gradually increase the proportion of the new food to the old each day to prevent indigestion.
10. What should I do if my Shih Tzu is a picky eater?
If your Shih Tzu is a picky eater, try mixing some wet food with dry food, reheating the food slightly, or adding low-sodium broth to improve the flavor. Always make sure the food is fresh and of good quality, and seek advice from your vet if fussiness persists.