Homemade Dog Food For Shih Tzu: Best Recipes, Tips & More

Canine Bible is reader-supported. We receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Learn more.

This is the definitive guide to learning all about homemade dog food for Shih Tzu.

Cooking for your Shih Tzu may sound easy, but there are vital nutritional guidelines you need to follow; otherwise, you run the risk of dog malnutrition, among other issues.

Follow these tips and expert advice to learn about the intricacies of making home-cooked meals for your Shih Tzu, and we are sure your dog will love your homemade meals and treats almost as much as they love you. We also share our favorite homemade Shih Tzu food recipes. Let’s get started!

Chapter 1

Ch 2

Benefits, risks & nutritional guidelines

Benefits of Homemade Dog Food For Shih Tzu

Preparing home-cooked meals has many benefits.

Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, say some of the benefits you can expect when you start feeding your dog homemade dog food include:

  • Diet management (a healthy body weight has been linked to a 20% longer lifespan in dogs)
  • Appeasing picky dog eaters
  • Combatting food intolerance and allergy issues
  • Avoid concern over food recalls
  • Bond-building

Homemade food promotes healthier digestion and can prevent many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity. Economically, it’s also better for your wallet.

Additionally, commercial dog food is highly processed, which results in low nutritional value, whereas cooking at home for your Shih Tzu is generally the healthiest alternative because these meals are free of additives and preservatives, unlike traditional kibble.

It is not uncommon for Shih Tzus to be allergic to specific proteins in their food (chicken or beef), chemical additives, and preservatives. However, some dogs also develop allergies to other sources like corn, grains, fat, eggs, and milk.

In fact, Shih Tzu is known for having a sensitive stomach. A Shih-Tzu experiencing an adverse reaction to a food item will often experience symptoms like gas, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling and inflammation, and coughing and sneezing. Shih-Tzus often react to food preservatives, colorants, corn, and soy, all found in kibble.1

Obesity can be another significant health problem in Shih Tzus due to the extra weight since this breed is already prone to hip and knee issues.

Shih Tzus are also more likely than other dogs to have a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt (liver shunt).2 Dogs with liver shunt deprive the liver of the blood flow and increase bile acid concentrations in the blood because the liver does not get a chance to remove and store these chemicals after they are reabsorbed.3 Dog liver problems can be caused by various factors, including obesity, bad nutrition, genetics, and ingestion of a toxic substance, among other reasons.

This breed is particularly at risk of hypoglycemia, a condition where the dog experiences a dangerously low drop in blood sugar. In the Shih Tzu, this can be caused by a missed meal, but health conditions such as diabetes may also be a potential cause.4 Furthermore, according to Johnson Animal Clinic, Shih Tzu is more likely than other dogs to have teeth problems. Dental disease in dogs starts with bad nutrition and poor dental hygiene.

Can A Homemade Diet Help Your Shih Tzu With These Health Problems?

As you can see, a Shih Tzu is prone to several food-related health conditions that may require a change in diet.

But can homemade food help prevent or manage these issues? In short, yes.

Home cooking for your dog gives you complete control over what your dog does or doesn’t eat, allowing you to pick only those ingredients that won’t trigger an allergic reaction. The best way to identify food allergens is to perform At Home Dog Allergy Test. This test will identify which foods your Shih Tzu is allergic to so you can avoid them in their next meal. Feeding fresh food is easier to digest than store-bought kibble due to its unprocessed nature. Easy digestion means more efficient nutrient absorption, which means your dog’s body processes a lot faster minerals, vitamins, amino acids fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) — all of which play a role in decreasing inflammatory responses caused by allergens — a lot faster.

Because Shih Tzus are prone to develop obesity and liver shunt, an appropriately formulated fresh diet can help prevent and/or treat these two conditions. Both issues can be stabilized with homemade special diets, although liver shunts may require medication in some cases. If your Shih Tzy has been diagnosed with a liver shunt, you will need to make a diet with just enough protein for the dog but no “extra,” which reduces the byproducts of protein digestion (e.g., ammonia) that can make a dog’s symptoms worse. Dry food is a big ‘NO’ in liver disease.

Fresher and more bioavailable proteins like those found in homemade foods are more effective as the liver doesn’t have to work as hard. Dr. Karen Tobias, professor of small animal soft tissue surgery and a board-certified surgeon at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, says one-third (33%) of dogs with liver shunts can be successfully managed with dietary changes and medications.

If your Shih Tzy suffers from hypoglycemia, you can help manage its symptoms through your specialized homemade dog diet designed by your vet. If your pet shows signs of hypoglycemia and can eat, feed him a meal. If he is not alert, hand-feed him corn syrup or honey until he is alert enough to eat his normal food. At that time, feed a meal of his normal food. Because Shih Tzu may have a fast metabolism and are prone to hypoglycemia, they lack the ability to hold much of an energy reserve. Therefore, spreading their meals throughout the day helps keep their energy and sugar levels stable.

Even if your Shih Tzu is completely healthy, it’s advised to follow strict nutritional guidelines to help prevent these issues in the future.

You should ensure your Shih Tzu is getting the proper nutrition and discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian. Always talk to your veterinarian before making any dietary change in your dog’s diet.

Shih Tzu Homemade Dog Food Risks

DIY homemade dog food for Shih Tzu isn’t that simple. You need to be mindful of some of the risks involved.

  • Using inadequate or dangerous recipes
  • Not preparing a balanced meal
  • Using unsafe or harmful ingredients
  • Not understanding the impact of food and dietary changes
  • Not understanding the nutritional needs of your Shih Tzu

A study by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary found that most homemade meals lack key essential nutrients that dogs need to thrive and develop properly. Further research published in The Journal of Nutritional Science concluded that 48% of homemade dog diets had an imprecise determination of ingredients and quantities and that 71.3 % of dog owners did know how much food to serve per meal.

Even more alerting is a study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Association that showed that more than 90% of homemade dog food recipes found online may be bad [unbalanced] for your dog

It’s essential you check with a veterinary nutritionist before cooking for your pet for all these reasons. Your vet can provide you with trusted recipes or recommend a homemade dog food delivery service. This can help avoid nutrition-related health problems in your Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu Nutritional Guidelines to Follow

What are the nutritional requirements for Shih Tzu?

When cooking for your dog, you need to consider your dog’s health conditions, activity level, size, weight, and the six essential nutrients recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO).

AFFCO is the entity regulating dog food nutritional value in commercial dog food.

Protein Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggsBuilds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
Carbohydrates Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat Source of energy for dogs and supplies glucose needed by the brain, nervous system and other critical organs for normal function.
Fat From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
Minerals Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
WaterWaterHydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water (10% to 15% of the water in his body) can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
VitaminsA, B, C, D, E, and K Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.

It’s common for homemade dog meals to lack one or more of these essential nutrients. To avoid this, you can supplement your dog’s meals with a multivitamin supplement like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews.

To help you cook for your Shih Tzu at home, check out Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D. He’s an expert in veterinary medicine, and many pet nutritionists consider his book the Bible of healthy homemade dog nutrition.

These guidelines may vary need, mainly depending on your Shih Tzu health status. We advise you to speak to your veterinarian for more information on a specific diet for your dog.

Healthy Dietary Changes In Shih Tzu

Here are some dietary changes you can implement to your Shih Tzu’s diet to fight allergies and promote a luscious coat and skin.

ConditionDietary Needs & Adjustments

Coat Color Changes

Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)
Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial
Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels

Many Shih Tzus also struggle with skin and coat issues. Their hair becomes dull and thin, and some Shih Tzus are constantly scratching or biting at their skin due to allergies. The solution, add a couple of squirts of dog-specific fish oil to his food to provide relief and nourishment to affected areas.

Dog food containing high-quality fish oil (a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) has been suggested to improve skin, coat, and digestive health.

Shih Tzu Calorie Requirements

The number of calories required by an adult Shih Tzu will vary depending on their weight. According to the AKC, a full-grown Shih Tzu can weigh between 9-16 pounds. So, most Shih Tzu would need to eat between 320 and 500 calories a day based on their weight.

If you are giving treats, follow the 10% rule where food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats 10%.

For instance, if your pet weighs 14 lbs, he would need 451 calories per day. If you give him treats, feed 406 calories in food (90%) and 45 calories in treats (10%).

Usually, adult dogs eat two meals per day, so split 406 calories into two meals of 203 calories each. But because these dogs have a high metabolism spread, feed your Shih Tzu at least three times a day when they are of adult age. You can use this calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your pet.

Homemade Dog Food For Shih Tzu Puppies

Shih Tzu puppies have different dietary needs than full-grown Shih Tzus.

According to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), puppies need about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult dog of the same breed.

Shih Tzu puppies should eat 3 to 4 times a day. When your puppy is a bit older (6 – 12 months), you can switch to 2 to 3 meals daily at scheduled intervals.

For proper growth and development, it is not advised to skip meals while your puppy is growing and developing. As our nutritional guidelines previously outlined, a puppy’s diet needs to include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, water, and vitamins.

Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service

Do you wish your Shih Tzu could eat whole, fresh homemade foods more often, but you don’t have the time to cook, or are unsure how to cook nutritionally balanced meals for dogs?

Consider a homemade dog food delivery service like The Farmer’s Dog. All their recipes are developed by board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition experts. Their meal plans are grain-free and customized for your dog’s unique qualities, dietary needs, goals, breed, and lifestyle.

These are vet-designed, fresh-prepared homemade meals delivered to your doorstep within days of cooking and never deep-frozen or stored on a shelf for months. This ensures your Shih-Tzu gets the most out of it.

Everything is made from real, human-grade, all-natural ingredients (meats, veggies, grains, etc.) Meals are pre-made and pre-portioned to your dog’s calorie needs based on the profile you create. They comply with AAFCO’s nutritional guidelines.

Let the experts do the cooking for you, so you never have to worry about using the wrong ingredients, counting nutrients, portion sizes, and more.

It’s worth the cost after you add up the prices of all the ingredients you’ll need to cook a recipe. It’s a huge time-saver and you can spend your time on more important things.

Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code is needed, just use this link and the discount will be applied!

Read Our Full The Farmer’s Dog Review

Chapter 2

Ch 1

Recipes, cooking tips & FAQs

Shih Tzu Homemade Dog Tips

Before sharing our favorite Shih Tzu homemade food recipes, keep these recommendations in mind when preparing your dog’s next meal.

  1. Set a consistent feeding schedule.
  2. Feed your Shih Tzu 3 times a day (puppies under 5 months, 4 to 5 times a day. But always check with your veterinarian).
  3. Meal prep weekly or monthly.
  4. Measure and control portion sizes depending on your dog’s calorie needs.
  5. Keep meals frozen for 2 to 3 months or refrigerated for about 5 days.
  6. Make a new batch when the food supply is getting low.
  7. If you want to feed different recipes, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the different meals.
  8. Prepare the food in bulk and portion it into containers (one container per meal makes it extra-easy).
  9. Increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows.
  10. Monitor weight to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories.

Cooking Homemade Dog Food For Shih Tzu (Video)

Never made food for your canine companion? Watch this video on how to make a tasty homemade meal for Shih Tzu.

Best Shih Tzu Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Is you Shih Tzu a picky eater? This list of the best Shih Tzu food recipes will have your pup begging for homemade males.

As a bonus, we’ve also added a tasty homemade treat recipe packed with incredible health benefits. This recipe can do a lot for your pup’s health and wellness. It has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil.

Note: Please consult with your pet’s veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portion sizes will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and the health of your dog. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.

CBD-Infused Dog Treats

CBD dog oil can help with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness, and many other health problems.

Spoil your Shih Tzu with these nutritious, delicious and therapeutic CBD pumpkin dog treats. You can also buy CBD dog treats so your pup can experience all the benefits of CBD without the cooking.

Don’t forget to talk to your vet before giving CBD to your dog and make sure you are giving the right dosage.


  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash of sea salt
  • 120 mg CBD oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
  5. Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion out the dog biscuits and press into the dog treat baking pan. Bake, 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden-brown on the outside.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe from: Truth Theory

Turkey & Fresh Veggies Chockfull

Veggies never looked so good. Provide your Shih Tzy with a balance of 50% protein, 25% veggies, and 25% grains, but the ratios can easily be adjusted to suit your pup’s breed and/or needs.


  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen


  1. In a large saucepan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
  3. Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas, and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely.

Source: DamnDelicious

Fiber Filled For Fido

Get more fiber in your Shih Tzu’s diet with these healthy recipes that curb cravings and have heart-helping benefits. This recipe can help Fido maintain a healthy weight and improve digestive function.

Filled with vitamins and beneficial minerals. Adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, so only feed fiber-based food twice a week as they.


  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1 lb. Shredded Chicken
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Lentils
  • 2 tbsp. Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup Chopped Spinach
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil


  • Boil turkey and chicken in 3 cups of water over medium heat for 20 minutes
  • Remove the meat from the water and set it aside
  • Add rice, lentils, and sweet potato to the water and return to a boil – Cook for 15 minutes
  • Add remaining ingredients and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Mix in the cooked meat and serve warm
  • Freeze unused portions and feed as directed by your vet

Source: WithaSplashofColor

Turkey & Vegetable Dinner

This turkey and vegetable recipe is an easy weeknight dinner that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less. Your Shih Tzu will love the lean ground turkey, green beans, carrots, and brown rice. It’s high in protein and provides the perfect amount of carbs your pup needs to stay active and energized during the day.

It also includes fish oil to ensure your pet gets his Omega-3 fats, great for the immune system.


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 2 cups of brown rice
  • 1 cup of carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of green beans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fish oil


  • Cook the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until the meat is cooked through
  • Add the brown rice, turkey, and water to a large pot and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the rice is soft and tender
  • Add the carrots and green beans and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender
  • Allow cooling before serving
  • Store extra dinners in the fridge for up to five days

Pro tip: Avoid using heavy oil to brown the turkey. Its high-fat content may upset your dog’s stomach.

Recipe from: Moneycrashers

Frozen Strawberry & Banana Smoothie Dog Treat

Surprise your pooch with a strawberry smoothie with a frozen strawberry and banana smoothie. It includes milk, honey, and yogurt for a nutrition punch.

It’s a refreshing, simple treat that offers protein and nutrients and a fruity flavor that your Shih Tzu will enjoy. It’s healthy, cool, and creamy.


  • 2 cups of Sliced Strawberries or a 16-ounce bag of Frozen Strawberries
  • 1½ cups Plain Greek Low Fat Yogurt
  • 1 sliced banana (if you have two…use them both)
  • ¼ cup of Skim Milk
  • 3 tablespoons of Honey


  • Place all the ingredients in your blender
  • Turn on the blender to a medium speed
  • Blend for approximately 2 minutes
  • Pour into the molds of your choice or use ice cube trays
  • Freeze for 4 hours or more
  • Pop-out of the molds
  • Ready to enjoy!

NOTE: For storage use Zip Lock Bags or use some sort of Tupperware. Keep them in the freezer.

Recipe from: The Cottage Market

For even more Shih Tzu homemade food recipes and cooking options, be sure to check out Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.

Best Homemade Dog Food Cooking Practices

Here are some general guidelines to follow when cooking homemade dog food for Shih Tzus.

  • Never use unsafe or toxic ingredients for your dog
  • Cook all animal products thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
  • Cook all grains, beans, and starchy vegetables to make them easier to digest
  • Research every ingredient before using it for safety
  • Follow the recipe as instructed
  • Add supplements to their diet as needed
  • Understand the impact of dietary changes
  • Run any questions by a veterinary nutritionist

What Foods Should Your Shih Tzus Never Eat?

Be sure to avoid the following lists of ingredients. Some foods are toxic for dogs.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

Check out this handy list for a comprehensive list of all foods to avoid. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.

What Do Shih Tzus Like to Eat?

Most Shih Tzu and dogs in general love to eat these foods the most

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Pumpkin. Pumpkin is another easy dog treat that you can use to make your own dog treats. …
  3. White Rice
  4. Baby Carrots
  5. Salmon
  6. Chicken
  7. Eggs
  8. Cheese

If you want to learn all about raising a Shih Tzu, this book is a great resource to learn the ins and outs of this breed, including nutrition.

Monitor Weight & Health

Shih Tzus tend to be picky eaters. Sudden changes to their diet can shock their system. They are at an increased risk of experiencing food allergies. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s reaction to homemade meals. If you notice symptoms such as lack of energy, skin or coat disorders, malnutrition, or obesity, you will need to immediately revise your dog’s and contact your vet.

Should I Feed Shih Tzus Homemade Food? Alternatives

Can I feed homemade fog food to my Shih Tzu?

Yes, feeding homemade dog food to Shih Tzu is okay as long as your pet is getting the proper nutrition levels they need to live a healthy, allergy-free life. The best diet for Shih Tzu should consider all of the discussed factors above, starting from your dog’s health status to providing the right portions, calories per meal.

Remember, switching your Shih Tuz’s food from kibble to homemade is a slow process and should be done progressively. Before starting a new diet, you need to consider factors like your dog’s eating history, weight, and overall health.

Want more options? Vegan dog food and raw dog food are gaining popularity, especially for dogs who suffer from food intolerance, allergies, digestive issues, or other food health-related condition? If you are curious about who can benefit your Shih Tzu, check out our vegan dog food guide and raw dog food guide.

Like It? Subscribe & Share!

* indicates required

[1] Nom Nom, [2] PetMD, [3] VCA Hospitals, [4] Pet Plate, [5] UC Davis

Similar Posts