Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Puppy Foods for Shih Tzus in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Dean Eby

Last Updated on June 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

8 Best Puppy Foods for Shih Tzus in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

shih tzu puppy eatingMany dogs are fine eating whatever food you offer them, though that is rarely the path to peak health. However, Shih Tzus are a different story. They can be difficult to feed for several reasons. They’re known for being picky eaters, and some have sensitive tummies. Chemicals, colorings, additives, and other ingredients can cause health issues for Shih Tzus, including skin, coat, and digestive health problems.

Naturally, you want to help your Shih Tzu avoid these problems. The best way to do that is with high-quality food formulated specifically for a small breed like the Shih Tzu. Below, we have reviews of the eight best puppy foods for your beloved Shih Tzu.

divider-dog paw

A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • No meat by-products or fillers
  • Formulated for small breed health
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Made just for small breeds
  • The first listed ingredient is chicken
  • 3/5 top ingredients are animal-based
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Aids digestive health
  • Easy to chew kibble shape
  • Loaded with EPA, DHA, and vitamin A
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Loaded with essential fatty acids
  • Deboned chicken is the top ingredient
  • 3/5 primary ingredients are animal-based
  • Solid Gold Mighty Mini Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Solid Gold Mighty Mini Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Rich in nutrients
  • Improves gut health
  • The 8 Best Puppy Foods for Shih Tzus

    1. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

    There are many formulas on the market that are great for Shih Tzus, but our favorite is the Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food. This blend is formulated specifically for small-breed health. It contains the nutrients that small dogs need, such as essential fatty acids, of which this blend has plenty.

    What it’s lacking is meat by-products or fillers. Instead, you’ll find only high-quality ingredients in this formula, including many animal-based ingredients. Three of the first five ingredients are animal products, and the first is deboned turkey. With such a high-quality animal-based protein listed as the primary ingredient, you can be sure that Wellness provides top-notch nutrition for your Shih Tzu.

    Though it’s loaded with vital nutrients, such as vitamins A and E, this formula isn’t as high in taurine as others that we like. Still, it’s not low in taurine.

    Pros
    • Formulated for small-breed health
    • Contains essential fatty acids
    • No meat by-products or fillers
    • Deboned turkey is the first ingredient
    • 3/5 main ingredients are animal proteins
    Cons
    • Other blends contain more taurine

    2. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Are you looking for the best puppy food for Shih Tzus for the money? We think it’s the Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food. It’s loaded with essential nutrients to boost the health of small-breed dogs but is still priced affordably for any budget. You can get an 18-pound bag of this food for little more than the cost of a four-pound bag of competing brands.

    Don’t let the low price fool you; Diamond Naturals is made with high-quality ingredients. Three of the top five ingredients are animal-based, including chicken, which is the primary ingredient in this blend. You’ll notice that it’s chicken and not a by-product or meal.

    Diamond Naturals is packed with precisely the nutrients that small breeds need. The only problem is that some small-breed dogs don’t like the flavor. Apparently, it’s not the greatest choice for picky eaters. Still, it’s a nutritious dry food that’s perfect for Shih Tzus.

    Pros
    • Made just for small breeds
    • It’s very affordable compared to competitors
    • 3/5 top ingredients are animal-based
    • The first listed ingredient is chicken
    • Packed with essential small-breed nutrients
    Cons
    • Despite the nutrition, not all dogs are interested

    3. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Let’s get it out of the way first: Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy Dry Dog Food is prohibitively expensive. It’s pricier than other blends, and a 2.5-pound bag costs more than 10 pounds of many other small-breed dog foods. Very few dog foods are formulated specifically for Shih Tzus, but this one is breed-specific.

    With perfect Shih-Tzu health in mind, Royal Canine contains all the nutrients that a small-breed canine requires. For instance, it’s packed with EPA and DHA. You’ll also find plenty of vitamins A and E, which are vital for proper canine health. Additionally, the kibble is shaped so that it’s easy for small breeds to chew.

    While it’s meant to aid in digestive health and improve the overall health of Shih Tzu puppies, we have a hard time getting over the first ingredient, which is brewer’s rice. Brewer’s rice isn’t a whole grain, and it’s not an ingredient we generally try to feed our dogs.

    Pros
    • Specifically formulated for Shih Tzus
    • Loaded with EPA, DHA, and vitamin A
    • Easy to chew kibble shape
    • Aids digestive health
    Cons
    • Prohibitively expensive pricing
    • The first ingredient is brewer’s rice

    4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Marketed as a premium, health-conscious pet food but priced more affordably than many other premium brands, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food is a great choice for Shih Tzus. It’s loaded with ingredients that contain exactly the nutrients that small dogs like Shih Tzus require. For example, this blend contains DHA and ARA to promote healthy eye and brain development.

    Protein is essential for dogs, and this blend is 29% crude protein. It accomplishes this by using quality animal-based ingredients. The first ingredient listed is deboned chicken, a top-quality ingredient that provides plenty of protein and other essential nutrients. Also listed in the first five ingredients are chicken meal and menhaden fish meal, so this formula contains a diverse array of animal-based proteins.

    On top of all the protein, Blue Buffalo contains other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids. We just wish the ingredients list was a bit shorter. It’s much longer than many other brands, and we’re not fans of long ingredient lists filled with supplements instead of whole-food ingredients.

    Pros
    • Priced more reasonably than competitors
    • 3/5 primary ingredients are animal-based
    • Deboned chicken is the top ingredient
    • Formulated with DHA and ARA
    • Loaded with essential fatty acids
    Cons
    • The ingredients list is quite long

    5. Solid Gold Mighty Mini Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Solid Gold Mighty Mini Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Though it’s pretty expensive, we still think there’s a lot to like about the Solid Gold Mighty Mini Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. For starters, the grain-free formula makes it easier to digest, so it’s great for sensitive stomachs. Plus, it’s intended to improve gut health, making it doubly beneficial for those with digestive issues.

    Since it’s designed specifically with small breeds in mind, Solid Gold provides precisely the nutrients that a dog like a Shih Tzu needs. To that end, you’ll find 20 superfoods that are rich in nutrients on the ingredients list. But achieving that requires using quite a few carbohydrate ingredients, which we’re not big fans of.

    Dogs, even little ones like Shih Tzus, must consume substantial amounts of protein with diverse amino acids from multiple sources. However, Solid Gold contains protein from just one meat source. While that might be beneficial for a dog with a sensitive digestive system, it’s not as ideal for a healthy dog, which is why this food didn’t rank higher on our list.

    Pros
    • Grain-free recipe is easy to digest
    • Made for small breeds
    • Formulated to improve gut health
    • Contains 20 superfoods that are rich in nutrients
    Cons
    • Contains protein from just one meat source
    • There are quite a few carbohydrate ingredients

    6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

    Made just for breeds under 10 pounds, such as toy breeds like Shih Tzus, the Purina Pro Plan Focus Toy Breed Dry Dog Food is an ideal Shih Tzu food. It contains live probiotics for improved digestion. Additionally, it’s high in essential nutrients for little dogs, including vitamins A and E. You’ll also find DHA and omega-6 fatty acids.

    Looking just at the nutritional content of this food gives you the idea that it’s a great choice. It’s packed with protein at 34% and contains plenty of beneficial nutrients. However, looking at the ingredients list gives a slightly different impression. It’s very long, and we generally prefer short ingredient lists. We can get over that, but some ingredients are second-rate, such as the animal by-product meals or the many carbohydrate ingredients.

    This is a good food, and we wouldn’t mind using it as a backup if our top choices were out of stock. However, it’s certainly not one of our favorites, thanks to low-grade ingredients that make us think Pro Plan is lower quality than the alternatives that we’ve recommended.

    Pros
    • Designed for small breeds under 10 pounds
    • Contains live probiotics for improved digestion
    • High in essential nutrients like vitamins A and E
    Cons
    • Contains animal by-product meals
    • There are many carbohydrate ingredients

    7. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Puppy Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe

    We’ve had great luck with many Merrick dog foods in the past, but this time, we weren’t so impressed. This was the only dog food that wasn’t specifically made for smaller breeds, but it still had all the makings of a good Shih Tzu food at first glance. The nutritional content shows 28% protein with just 15% fat, a great breakdown for our dogs. Plus, the formula is high in essential fatty acids and even contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

    Merrick’s puppy recipe is grain-free, making it easier to digest than some alternatives made with grains. It’s also loaded with prebiotics and probiotics to aid in digestive health, making it a great option for sensitive stomachs.

    But the ingredients list is lackluster at best. Only two of the top five ingredients are animal-based, and the other three are carbohydrates. Looking at the ingredients list closer, you’ll find many supplements added rather than nutritious whole foods. While we appreciate the attempt to provide vital nutrients, we prefer recipes that manage to do so with mainly whole-food ingredients instead of supplemental fortification.

    Pros
    • Grain-free recipe
    • Contains supplements for joint health
    • Loaded with prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health
    Cons
    • Only 2 of 5 main ingredients are animal products
    • The ingredients list is long
    • Many carbohydrates listed in the ingredients

    8. Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Eukanuba is a more commercialized brand than some of the other names further up this list. You can find Eukanuba foods in big box stores, and it’s generally more affordable than many of the other brands. Despite that, it’s loaded with DHA to support healthy brain development. Of the first five ingredients, three are animal products, so things are off to a good start, or at least that’s how it seems.

    The first ingredient is chicken, and it’s followed by a chicken by-product meal. There’s also corn and wheat in this blend, which are nutritious but not ideal for all dogs. Some customers mentioned that Eukanuba gave their pups watery stools, and dogs don’t like the flavor as much as the other brands we discussed.

     

    Pros
    • Contains DHA for healthy brain development
    • 3/5 leading ingredients are animal products
    Cons
    • Utilizes chicken by-product meal
    • Contains corn and wheat
    • Made many dogs’ stools watery

    divider-dog

    Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Puppy Foods for Shih Tzus

    After reading our reviews, you can choose a food based on our recommendations and be done with the work. But if you’re frustrated at comparing different dog foods and want to learn more about how we did it, this short buyer’s guide is for you. In it, we’re going to discuss the important aspects to know when picking food for a Shih Tzu, helping you to make a more informed decision.

    Finding the Best Food for a Shih Tzu

    Shih Tzus are a breed with a few specific needs. Knowing what to look for can help you compare options that look good on the surface and tell which is ideal for your best friend.

    Feeding a Brachycephalic Breed

    Many Shih Tzu owners have heard their dogs snorting, snoring, and breathing noisily. However, it’s a phenomenon that’s not limited to Shih Tzus. It’s a regular occurrence with brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus, including Pugs and Boston Terriers.

    Brachycephalic syndrome can also cause problems when it comes to breathing and eating. Because of that, the kibble size is more important for Shih Tzus and similar breeds than for other dogs. If you feed your Shih Tzu kibble that’s too large, it could pose a choking hazard.

    Healthy and Vibrant Coat

    One of the trademarks of the Shih Tzu is their long, luscious coat. But if you don’t care for your dog’s coat through a healthy diet, it won’t be as luxurious as you might hope. To keep their coat in top shape, Shih Tzus require additional fat and protein. Additionally, essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 are vital.

    feeding shih tzu puppy
    Image Credit: Chartchamart Manonuek, Shutterstock

    Picky Puppy Problems

    A common issue when feeding Shih Tzus is that they’re often picky eaters. This can make finding a brand your dog will agree with challenging. You can guess all you like, but at the end of the day, the only way to know if your Shih Tzu will eat a particular brand is to offer it to your pup and see what happens.

    Allergies and Itchiness

    Allergies and skin problems are common in Shih Tzus. They experience inflammation, redness, dry skin, infections, hair loss, severe scratching, and more. For many of these dogs, the culprit is the food they’re eating. You’ll have to be careful not to feed your Shih Tzu anything that could cause an allergic reaction.

    Chemicals, Colorings, and Additives

    More so than most dogs, Shih Tzus are sensitive to additives in their food, including chemicals, colorings, preservatives, and more. We prefer to feed our Shih Tzus formulas entirely free of artificial additives. Even natural additives can be difficult for a Shih Tzu to digest, so pay attention to what’s on the ingredients label of your dog’s food.

    divider-paw

    Conclusion

    Shih Tzus are some of the most popular dogs, but keeping them in peak health requires special considerations. After preparing for our reviews, we settled on three formulas we feel confident recommending.

    Our top choice overall was the Wellness Small Breed Complete Healthy Puppy Dry Dog Food. It contains essential nutrients for small-breed dogs, including fatty acids and vitamins. Three of the five main ingredients are animal-based, but none of the ingredients are meat by-products or fillers.

    For the best value, we recommend the Diamond Naturals Small Breed Formula Dry Dog Food. Made just for small breeds, it’s intended to boost their health with essential nutrients like fatty acids, DHA, and vitamins A and E. It’s made with quality animal ingredients, including chicken, which is listed as the top ingredient.

    If money is of no concern, you might try the Royal Canin Shih Tzu Dry Dog Food. It’s one of the only recipes formulated for Shih Tzus, and it’s loaded with EPA, DHA, and other essential nutrients.

    Related read:


    Featured Image Credit: STEVEPHILCOPHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

    PangoVet Image Speak With A Vet Online

    Get Dogster in your inbox!

    Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
    Dogster Editors Choice Badge
    Shopping Cart

    Pangolia

    © Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.