Shih Tzu dog with long groomed hair

Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus 2021 – Top 10 Reviewed

Shih Tzu owners often wonder, “What’s the best food for my Shih Tzu?”

Like other breeds, the Shih Tzu needs high-quality protein from an animal source – not the leftovers after all the best bits have been sent off for human consumption, but real cuts, cartilage, and organ meat to give them the nutrients they need to grow and function well. 

While Shih Tzus are rarely among those affected by diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy, they are prone to other health issues such as progressive renal atrophy, ear & eye infections, and hip dysplasia, the effects of which can be reduced with the right diet. 

Shih Tzu puppies are small and need less protein, but they need complete carbs to keep their energy levels up. Senior dogs need more nutrients to prevent the onset of health problems as they age. Without the right food, your pooch could face digestive issues, reduced activity levels, or poor coat health, or other negative outcomes.

We’ve compiled a list of the highest quality dog foods for Shih Tzus of any age whether they have food allergies, sensitive stomachs, or they’re just picky eaters!

Note: Want to treat your dog to the very best? Get 50% off your first box of human-grade dog food when you try Ollie. Paws down, Ollie is the easiest way to feed your pup fresh, nutritious food. Learn how it works here!

Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus 2021 – Top 10 Reviewed – Overview

Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and picks 6-10).

Overview
BEST OVERALL
Raised Right Beef Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food, Low Carb “Home Cooked Style” Whole Food Diet - 2 lb. Bag, 8 Count
LOWEST PRICE
Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small-Bite Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains - 4 lb. Bag
NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 5 lb. Bag
Title
Raised Right Human-Grade Low-Carb
Royal Canin Shih Tzu Breed-Specific Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Bite Chicken
Merrick Healthy Grains Small Breed Beef Flavor
Nutro Natural Choice Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Price
Price not available
$69.23
$55.98
$19.99
$12.40
Rating
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BEST OVERALL
Overview
Raised Right Beef Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food, Low Carb “Home Cooked Style” Whole Food Diet - 2 lb. Bag, 8 Count
Title
Raised Right Human-Grade Low-Carb
Price
Price not available
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
LOWEST PRICE
Overview
Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag
Title
Royal Canin Shih Tzu Breed-Specific Dog Food
Price
$69.23
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small-Bite Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
Title
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Bite Chicken
Price
$55.98
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains - 4 lb. Bag
Title
Merrick Healthy Grains Small Breed Beef Flavor
Price
$19.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 5 lb. Bag
Title
Nutro Natural Choice Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Price
$12.40
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Overall
1. Raised Right Human-Grade Low-Carb

Raised Right Beef Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food, Low Carb “Home Cooked Style” Whole Food Diet - 2 lb. Bag, 8 Count
27 Reviews
Raised Right Beef Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food, Low Carb “Home Cooked Style” Whole Food Diet - 2 lb. Bag, 8 Count
  • HUMAN-GRADE DOG FOOD – All our frozen dog food is lightly cooked in a USDA inspected human-grade facility and every ingredient has passed the same standards necessary for human consumption, making...

This frozen whole-food product is the ideal way to get your Shih Tzu pooch all the nutrients it needs without processed additives or carbohydrate-heavy fillers like potatoes, wheat, soy, corn, grain, or rice. All the ingredients in this low-carb beef formula are human-grade and cooked slightly and slowly to preserve their nutritional content.

  • First 5 Ingredients: beef, beef heart, carrots, beef liver, cranberries
  • Grain-Free!
  • Best for Shih Tzus at any life stage, with or without food allergies.

Sample Buyer Review:

“The order came in 2 days when it was scheduled for a week later. Everything was still frozen, not an ounce of defrost took place in the package. And the quality was outstanding. My 12-year-old dog has been a finicky eater for a few months now.

She has devoured her food with the Raised Right mixed in and has a bounce to her step again. I can not tell you how much this food changed her for the better.”

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Lowest Price
2. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Breed-Specific Dog Food

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag
1,326 Reviews
Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag
  • Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult dry dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Shih Tzus 10 months and older

Royal Canin is one of the only dog food brands to design a product specifically for the nutritional needs and overall well-being of the Shih Tzu breed. Although the first ingredient isn’t an animal protein source, it does contain chicken alongside healthy carbs and nutrients like chondroitin sulfate, which helps promote bone health and prevent canine osteoporosis. 

  • First 5 Ingredients: brewers rice, brown rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, oat groats
  • Contains rice, oats, and wheat gluten
  • Best for Shih Tzus older than 10 months without food allergies or other health conditions

Sample Buyer Review:

“My Shih Tzu is 10 months old and has picked her way through a large variety of dry and canned food, and then hamburger and chicken I would cook for her. She always ate sporadically and not well until I took a chance and bought a 2.5-pound bag of this food.

She tasted it and walked away and lo and behold came back and ate the whole bowl. This is a week later now and she is eating every day!! I can’t believe my problem is solved!”

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3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Bite Chicken

Sale
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small-Bite Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
768 Reviews
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small-Bite Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your dog’s natural love for meat, this high protein dog food features real chicken to help build and maintain lean muscle mass

Blue Buffalo made the kibble in this chicken recipe the perfect size for the Shih Tzu’s small mouth. It also has taurine for heart health, calcium for strong bones, glucosamine to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia, omega fatty acids including omega 3 DHA for eye and brain development, and essential antioxidants to boost the immune system.

  • First 5 Ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, tapioca starch
  • Grain-Free!
  • Best for adult Shih Tzus with a grain allergy who can tolerate chicken

Sample Buyer Review:

“My Shih Tzu had skin irritation (sensitive to food). After I switched to use this dry food – irritation has gone away”

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4. Merrick Healthy Grains Small Breed Beef Flavor

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains - 4 lb. Bag
2,823 Reviews
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains - 4 lb. Bag
  • One (1) 4 lb Bag - Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Real Beef + Brown Rice Recipe with Ancient Grains

Not only does this dry dog food from Merrick give small dogs all the glucosamine, omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids, chondroitin, and antioxidants they need, but it also does so without fillers like peas, lentils, potatoes, or sweet potatoes that many grain-free dog food products have come to rely on.

Whole wheat products provide an appropriate level of healthy carbs and Merrick has also made this pet food a small kibble size so Shih Tzus can eat it comfortably.

  • First 5 Ingredients: deboned beef, pork meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
  • Contains brown rice, barley, flaxseed, oatmeal, and quinoa
  • Best for any age Shih Tzus with chicken allergies

Sample Buyer Review:

“I’m a dog food snob. It’s very hard to find a good dog food, one that doesn’t have artificial colors, chemicals, and preservatives. And then add to that no peas, potatoes, and lentils. And if your dog has a chicken allergy, like many do, it’s very hard to find dog food without chicken in the ingredients.

No matter if the bag says beef, there’s chicken in the ingredients. It’s nearly impossible to find good simple dog food with no chemicals, preservatives, peas, potatoes, lentils, and chicken. Whew! I just got my first bag of Merrick after a lot of research. I’m impressed with the ingredients.

The beef flavor does not have chicken. And it also doesn’t have any of the bad stuff I listed above. It does have probiotics for digestion. I opened the bag, filled the dog bowls, and my dogs just love this food. I haven’t seen them so happy with their dog food in years.”

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5. Nutro Natural Choice Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Sale
NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 5 lb. Bag
4,366 Reviews
NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 5 lb. Bag
  • Contains one (1) 5 lb. bag of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe for small breed dogs ages 1 year and older; real chicken is the #1 ingredient

Boasting real chicken as its first ingredient, this Nutro food is a great way for adult dogs to boost their immune systems with antioxidants, strengthen their digestive systems with complete fibers, and build stronger teeth with crunchier kibble. The ingredients are non-GMO and everything is made in the USA, which is great news for dog owners who want to feed their pooch only the highest-quality food.

  • First 5 Ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, brewers rice
  • Contains whole grains, rice, oatmeal, and rice bran
  • Best for Shih Tzus over one year of age who do not have chicken or grain allergies

Sample Buyer Review:

“My dog is 13 and I’ve been feeding him Nutro since he was 6 weeks old. It is by far the BEST dog food on the market. I tried one or two other top brands, but very quickly came back to Nutro and gave the other food to a local shelter. 

My Vet always comments on how healthy and solid my pup is, and says that whatever we’re doing has been essential to his healthy life. I love my dog more than words… it’s a great feeling to know I’m giving him a healthy and good life, and this food has helped me do that. 

We have never given our dog people food, only Nutro, special treats, and lots of love. And it works. I highly, highly recommend Nutro…I truly believe this food has helped us to have many, many healthy years with our dog, and hopefully, several more to come. Buy Nutro, you won’t regret it.”

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6. Wellness CORE Natural Wet Canned Food

Sale
Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food, Whitefish, Salmon & Herring, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12) (7945)
1,050 Reviews
Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food, Whitefish, Salmon & Herring, 12.5-Ounce Can (Pack of 12) (7945)
  • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR DOGS BEST LIFE: Premium protein expertly balanced with nutrient rich superfoods for a complete and balanced dog food, with the nutrients your dog needs to...

If you want to give your Shih Tzu a break from dry food or just need something to mix in with kibble to entice them to eat more food, this fish-based formula from Wellness CORE is the perfect addition to your pup’s nutritional routine. Any dog breed will benefit from the omega fatty acids and various animal protein sources in this wet food, but Shih Tzus will especially see a huge boost in their fur health.

  • First 5 Ingredients: chicken, salmon broth, whitefish, chicken liver, salmon
  • Grain-Free!
  • Best for adult Shih Tzus with grain allergies but without chicken allergies

Sample Buyer Review:

“I didn’t taste it, but the dog did, and she LOVED the taste… She was a rescue that came to us with skin sucked in between her boney ribs… very carefully, we weaned her off the feed from the shelter and rescue onto Wellness Core Hearty Cuts and Wellness Core dry dog feed. She quickly gained a shiny smooth coat and gained weight, and became a much more relaxed feeder.

In September, when animal control finally caught her after living on the streets for nearly a year, she weighed 43 pounds. We have been vetting her regularly and feeding the vet’s suggested diet and amounts and this week she is 65 pounds and very healthy.”

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7. Dr. Harvey’s Specialty Human-Grade Turkey Recipe

Dr. Harvey’s Specialty Diet Allergy Turkey Recipe, Human Grade Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitivities and Allergies (5 Pounds)
55 Reviews
Dr. Harvey’s Specialty Diet Allergy Turkey Recipe, Human Grade Dog Food for Dogs with Sensitivities and Allergies (5 Pounds)
  • Created for dogs with skin, stomach, and environmental sensitivities--our human-grade dog food for dogs with allergies combats canine vulnerabilities from the inside out with premium and balanced...

Another human-grade option, this product from Dr. Harvey’s is meant to be paired with their company’s fish oil product to give Shih Tzus an organic and natural load of nutrients and rid them of skin conditions without triggering their sensitive stomachs. It’s an alternative to kibble that you have to add water to before feeding time, and it’s also free of soy, dairy, eggs, grain, and wheat. 

  • First 5 Ingredients: turkey, flaxseed, carrots, broccoli, green beans
  • Grain-Free!
  • Best for Shih Tzus of all ages, especially those with food allergies or sensitive stomachs

Sample Buyer Review:

“This bag may only be 5 pounds but it makes a lot of dog food. The food is dehydrated but it has such good ingredients that it smells like human food. You just add hot water and let it set and it expands into great food.

My German shepherd is obsessed with it. He never had any stomach problems when eating it and it helped with some allergy symptoms he had.”

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8. Hill’s Science Diet Chicken & Veggie Loaf

Manage your Shih Tzu’s body weight and prevent them from going into energy overload with the reduced carbs in this formula. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and it also has plenty of organ meat to boost the amount of taurine, L-carnitine, and beta-carotene in your pup’s diet.

  • First 5 Ingredients: chicken broth, chicken, turkey giblets, green beans, carrots
  • Contains oat fiber
  • Best for Shih Tzus of any life stage who need to watch their weight

Sample Buyer Review:

“You can actually see all the vegetables in this dog food. My dogs go crazy when I add it to their dry food. They love it! and because it’s weight management they have lost the extra weight and have kept it off!”

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9. Dr. Jeff’s Optimum Freeze-Dried Raw Food

Dr. Jeff’s Optimum - Wholesome Freeze-Dried Food for Dogs - Vet-Formulated Nutrient-Rich Raw Diet with Omega-3s, Protein, and Human-Grade Fruits and Vegetables - 1 LB. Bag
97 Reviews
Dr. Jeff’s Optimum - Wholesome Freeze-Dried Food for Dogs - Vet-Formulated Nutrient-Rich Raw Diet with Omega-3s, Protein, and Human-Grade Fruits and Vegetables - 1 LB. Bag
  • DR. JEFF’S OPTIMUM is loaded with all the raw nutrients your dog needs to thrive: all-natural beef, turkey, duck and organ meat; wild-caught salmon, krill and whitefish; non-GMO fruits, vegetables...

Many dog owners prefer a raw diet to give their Shih Tzu dogs the best possible nutrition without all the fillers and preservatives that can cause health problems like diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy. Dr. Jeff’s is one of the most convenient ways to give your Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog raw food without having to spend tons of time shopping for ingredients and preparing them before each meal. 

  • First 5 Ingredients: beef, turkey, duck, flax, tapioca
  • Contains ancient grain (flax & sorghum)
  • Best for Shih Tzus with food allergies

Sample Buyer Review:

“Love the high-quality ingredients! You get what you pay for! I use close to equal measures of Dr. Jeff’s Optimum and my dog’s dry food. Using it as a food topper is helpful for a picky eater. My dog LOVES this food.

I’ve been using this food for 2 months now. My 5-year old’s joint issues have improved immensely. His coat is much shinier.”

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10. “I and Love and You” Naked Essentials Wet Dog Food

Sale
I and love and you Naked Essentials Wet Dog Food - Grain Free and Canned, Turkey, 13-Ounce, Pack of 12 Cans
1,812 Reviews
I and love and you Naked Essentials Wet Dog Food - Grain Free and Canned, Turkey, 13-Ounce, Pack of 12 Cans
  • ALWAYS GRAIN FREE: No, no, no grains, you’re not invited to this dinner party.We’re serving nutrient-rich pumpkin, cranberries, and spinach instead of grains.

One of the better grain-free wet foods on the market, this oddly-named product packs omega fatty acids, real animal protein, and tons of nutrients into a preservative-free formula that doesn’t include any fillers like corn, wheat, rice, or soy.

The manufacturers pride themselves on using real meat as the first ingredient, which should make this an ideal meal or topper for your Shih Tzu’s food.

  • First 5 Ingredients: turkey, turkey broth, vegetable broth, turkey liver, dried egg whites
  • Grain-Free!
  • Best for Shih Tzus of all ages with grain allergies

Sample buyer Review:

“We give our fur baby 1/4 cup of wet food every day, along with 3/4 cup of his kibble. He chowed it right down!! No tummy upset at all! I love how you can see the pieces of meat and veggies in this food.

More healthy AND cheaper overall than store-bought brands! He loves his “I and love and you” food and treats!”

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Final Thoughts:

They aren’t as miniature as teacup dogs but Shih Tzus are certainly smaller than other common breeds like labrador retrievers or boxers. Use some of the top choices in this dog food guide to make sure your Shih Tzu pup has all the nutrients they need in a flavorful meal they’ll love to eat.

Note: Want to treat your dog to the very best? Get 50% off your first box of human-grade dog food when you try Ollie. Paws down, Ollie is the easiest way to feed your pup fresh, nutritious food. Learn how it works here!

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.