The Ultimate Guide to What Shih Tzus Can (And Can’t) Eat

The Ultimate Guide to What Shih Tzus Can (And Can't) Eat

What to eat and what not to eat is a major concern among dog owners, especially as it affects your dog’s health. One minute your dog is happily yapping away somewhere, and the next minute it is down because of something it ate and you just cannot tell what might have caused it. 

The solution for this is finding out exactly what your dog’s diet should consist of and what should never be found as a part of its diet; this will help you remove every food that could be harmful to it.

Your Shi Tzu might need a closer watch, especially as it is always around the house and could pick up a meal or two from your kids or kitchen. Let’s take a look into what our beloved pet should and shouldn’t eat. 

Foods Shih Tzus can’t eat include:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea and other sources of caffeine
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Cinnamon
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Cooked bones and fat trimmings
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Yeast dough
  • Ice cream
  • Other things such as alcohol, avocado, sweets, peppers and spices, unpasteurized raw meat and eggs, and seeds.

Foods Shih Tzus can eat include:

  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Fruits
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole yogurt
  • Bread
  • Cashews
  • Cheese
  • Honey
  • Unsalted, unbuttered, air-popped popcorn
  • Wheat

Before we start explaining each of the foods in detail, let’s have a look at this lovely, playful breed.

What’s Not to Love About Shi Tzus?

Shih Tzu Name Ideas

Those soulful dark eyes, cute smile, playful nature, and depth of affection are things you could never find amongst all of the best breeds except you own a Shih Tzu.

This dog breed is the very definition of homely, well-groomed, and adorable. Shih Tzus feel right at home in your family and can be the best possible companion and cuddle buddies for your kids, and they are just so charming you can’t help but love them. 

What’s more? Shih Tzus are as affectionate and friendly as small breeds get. They are friendly to strangers and can bond with their owner s very quickly. With their easygoing and intelligent personality, Shih Tzus are your best choice for family dogs.

Now it’s time to talk about some of the foods your Shih Tzu can and can’t eat.

Foods Shih Tzus Can’t Eat

One very common mistake dog owners make is assuming that dogs can eat everything a human can eat. Another mistake is assuming that all dogs can eat the same meals.

Both assumptions are wrong mainly because every breed is different, and they digest meals differently than humans. While there are some human meals that dogs can eat, every breed should be fed based on their nature and personal health requirements. The following are the foods that Shih Tzu can’t and shouldn’t eat.


One thing your pet should not eat but would love to eat is chocolate. No matter how cute they look and how much they dance while you’re having that bar of chocolate, don’t make the mistake of feeding it to them or things could get bad quickly. 

Chocolate contains ‘theobromine’ which makes it harmful to dogs and negatively affects their nervous system. Intake of theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and even death. 

Once you notice your dog has eaten chocolate especially in large quantities, you must as a matter of urgency call in a vet or take your pet to see one especially once side effects start to show

Coffee, Tea and Other Sources of Caffeine

Large doses of caffeine, which can be found in energy drinks, tea, coffee, and sodas can be fatally harmful to your pet. Due to its small nature, a large intake of coffee or tea could lead to hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, and even coma. 

If you suspect your pet has taken in anything containing caffeine and you notice any of these symptoms, you would need the help of your vet to get it out of your dog’s system and provide medication to prevent further complications 


Due to a large amount of fat contained in bacon, it is not advisable to feed it to your Shih Tzu as its digestive system might not be complex enough to handle the breakdown of such fat.

The high salt content in bacon is also another risk for your pet. Large and constant consumption of bacon could see your pet develop pancreatitis, which could be fatal.


Similar to bacon, Ham has a high salt and fat content that is unhealthy for your Shih Tzu. Excessive salt intake will lead to excessive thirst resulting in excessive urination. The excessive fat intake, on the other hand, could lead to pancreatitis. 

Undesirable side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, kidney failure and in fatal situations, death can result from constantly feeding your Shih Tzu with Ham.


This is one food intake that might be safe for many other dogs but might pose a problem for Shih Tzus in particular. 

Cinnamon can irritate your pet including skin, digestive tract, and mouth especially when consumed in large quantities. Small quantities might just cause a bit of discomfort without further effects, but large intake will be followed by coughing, choking and breathing problems

Grapes and Raisins

Vets have linked grapes and raisins to renal failures in dogs who consume them in large quantities. They might not seem dangerous to the health and your dog might not have reacted upon intake. But they could be a really big deal and lead to fatigue, nausea, kidney failure, and eventually death. 

The tiniest amount of grapes and raisings can cause the onset of sickness for the healthiest dogs. The symptoms can start showing a few hours upon intake or over 24 hours later and should be taken seriously. 

Milk and Other Dairy Products

One thing you might not know is that most dogs are usually lactose intolerant and cannot break down the lactose found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. If they cannot process these meals properly, it then leaves them stuck with an upset stomach and lots of gas.

However, a lactose intolerant dog might be able to consume plain yogurt and simple cheese as well as goat milk. Just make sure that it is safe for your Shih Tzu before you let them have it.


It is best practice to keep your dog away from all kinds of nuts because they are home to quite a few health hazards for your dog. Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Hickory nuts, and Macadamia nuts are a few nuts that are harmful to your pet.

While there might be one or two nuts that don’t pose a health risk for your Shih Tzu, it is best safe than sorry; and being safe means keeping your pet away from every type of nut.

Choking is one hazard common with nuts when your dog swallows them without chewing. Whole nuts, when swallowed, can also block the digestive tracts.

Pecans, Walnuts, and Hickory nuts contain molds that cause stomach aches, seizures, and muscle tremors when ingested. 

On the other hand, the large amount of fat and oils found in nuts is harmful to your pet and can result in gastrointestinal upsets and eventual pancreatitis. 


Onions are very bad for Shih Tzus and nearly every other dog breed. It is one of the most toxic foods for dogs and should not come near your Shih Tzus diet for any reason. 

Onions are capable of destroying all the red blood cells your pet possesses and is a major cause of Hemolytic anemia in dogs. Whether raw, cooked, or raw, the effect is the same and it can be pretty serious when consumed in quantities over a while. 

Although the effects might not be much or dangerous if your dog consumes it from time to time, cumulative amounts can be poisonous for your pet. So the best bet is to stay away from feeding onions to your dog.

Look out for powdered onions as an ingredient when buying food for your Shih Tzu and avoid buying such meals if you can. 

Some symptoms and reactions to onions you should look out for include breathing difficulties, vomiting, weakness, dull coat, loss of appetite, and in worse cases, kidney damages. 

Cooked Bones and Fat Trimmings 

Dogs love bones; we all know that, but your pet’s love for bones can turn problematic if you don’t watch out for a few things. First of all, fish bones are a hazardous zone for dogs as they can break apart and choke your dog, which can be very problematic. 

Cooked bones, on the other hand, are dangerous because they are prone to break or fall apart and can create lacerations and obstructions in the digestive tract of your pet. Rawbone is the best option for any dog because it is free of all of these problems.

For Fat Trimmings, the major health challenge is pancreatitis, which is caused by the intake of too much fat, especially fat that dogs cannot break down. When you trim the fat out of your meat, don’t give it to your dog as a treat; trash it. 

Wild Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms are unsafe for consumption, whether for humans or dogs, but your pet does not know that and they can be quite curious. They say curiosity killed the cat but in this situation, it can cause complications in the kidney, liver, and even the brain. 

Ensure to take out every wild mushroom growing behind or around your house and save your pet from something potentially harmful to them.

The health effects of consuming Wild mushrooms can be quite severe and they range from vomiting, seizure, coma to death.

Yeast Dough

When baking, it is common to find your dog up and about looking for something to munch on. Whatever you might give your pet, ensure that it is not yeast dough because things can get bad quickly once your dog eats that.

So, ensure to properly dispose of any leftover when you are done and keep it far away from your pet’s reach when it is rising.

The dangerous thing about letting your dog come in contact with rising yeast dough is that it continues to rise in your pet’s stomach after he eats it. And it stretches out your dog’s stomach causing significant discomfort. 

Also, when the yeast ferments, it can cause alcohol poisoning for your pet, and alcohol is one thing your pet should not come in contact with because it harms your dog’s brain and liver. 

Alcohol intake in even small quantities can cause depression, diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems, lack of coordination, coma, and even death. 


Some other things your Shih Tzu should not consume include ice creams, salted popcorn, alcohol, avocado, sweets, garlic, peppers and spices, unpasteurized raw meat and eggs, and seeds.

Foods Shuh Tzus Can Eat

I am pretty sure you have discovered quite several meals you thought were okay for your pet to it but are not, and you are probably wondering what then is safe for your dog. Well, here are a few of the foods that your dog can and should eat. 


While most vegetables are suitable for Shih Tzus and all dogs in general, there are also some which are not. However, we will focus on those vegetables your pet can eat.

Carrots are generally a healthy meal for dogs because of their nutritional values; they are a good source of vitamins and fiber. They are also helpful in improving teeth health of your pet as it munches on them. However, it is crucial to cut them into little pieces to prevent choking hazards. 

Celery and Cucumbers are also healthy for your pet as they contain some essential vitamins and minerals. 

Pumpkin is another vegetable that works due to its high fiber content and its ability to aid digestive functions.     

While corn is also a healthy option for your pet, it has a high tendency to choke, so you must ensure that you take it out of the cob and supervise your dog when eating.

Some other vegetables your Shih Tzu can eat include cooked sweet potatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, peas, and broccoli.   


Nearly every type of meat is okay for your Shih Tzu to eat and is also quite healthy. Chicken, Turkey, beef, lamb, duck, and liver are very much the major dog meals. This is mainly because dogs require a high protein diet, which can be found in all of these meats. 

Although some Vets advise that dogs should be given raw meat, there are a few technicalities involved, so you should be certain the food is safe before feeding your pet with raw meat. Better still, cook or bake the meat before feeding it to your pet.

Liver, gizzards, kidney, and other organ meats also offer a few nutritional benefits for your pets and you can feed it to them in small quantities from time to time.

Another source of protein for your dog is eggs. But remember to only feed them cooked eggs rather than raw eggs. Raw eggs may contain some types of dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning to your dog.


Salmon is healthy and great for dogs because of the nutrient it contains. It should be cooked as raw fish could contain listeria and salmonella, which is unhealthy for your pet. You should also take special care to remove all the bones because it might choke and injure your pet.

It is also important to pay attention to the fatty content of salmon and endeavor not to feed your pet with it too often.


Blueberries and Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that protect your pet’s cells from free radicals. A few slices of orange, bananas, and pieces of melon are also good for your pet and can make not only a tasty treat but also a healthy one. 

Always ensure to look out for seeds and take them out of any fruit you are feeding your pet with because they are harmful to its health. 

Some other fruits your pet can eat include apples. Apricots, peaches, and pears as long as you watch out for seeds and pits. 

Peanut Butter

Naturally made peanut butter without additives or artificial sweetener is okay for your pet and is a healthy source of protein and fats. Always look out for xylitol and ensure it is not contained in the peanut butter you feed your dog with, as it can lead to serious health complications.

Whole Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in protein, helps maintain the digestive system and is also a good source of calcium for your pet. Although yogurt is healthy, you must ensure your pet is being fed with natural yogurt. 


Some other things you can feed your Shih Tzu include fish, shrimp, tuna, bread, cashews, cheese, honey, unsalted, unbuttered, air-popped popcorn, and wheat.

My Final Thoughts

When it comes to feeding your Shih Tzu, no length is too extreme to go just to ensure that your pet is eating the right thing. 

While this recommended list should be good for your pet, it is also advisable to study your dog and carry out personal research. Because sometimes, what might be okay for the general breed might not be suitable for your dog due to one unique health situation, personal sensitivity, or dietary difference. 

Ensure you visit your vet frequently and get advice on how your dog is responding to the meals it is being fed with. And lookout for any unexpected reaction or side effect.

Also, avoid overfeeding your pet because it does more harm than good, especially when your pet suffers cases of indigestion or bloating. Get measurement cups or bowls when feeding your pet and take away the food as soon as your pet seems full.

A happy dog is a healthy and cheerful dog. See to it that your Shih Tzu is living the healthiest and happiest life possible and this starts from what it eats and what it doesn’t eat.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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