Tips For Shih Tzu Food To Avoid: Helps & Guide

shih tzu food to avoid

Tips For Shih Tzu Food To Avoid: Helps & Guide

As devoted pet owners, ensuring the health and well-being of our beloved Shih Tzus is paramount. Central to their care is providing a balanced and nutritious diet. However, in our quest to nourish them, we must be vigilant about the foods that can harm these affectionate companions.

From everyday items found in our kitchens to treats we might innocently offer, certain foods pose significant risks to Shih Tzus’ health. In this guide, we’ll explore the foods that should be strictly avoided in their diet, understanding the potential dangers they present and how to safeguard our furry friends from harm.

Foods Harmful to Shih Tzus

1. Chocolate and Caffeine:

  • Theobromine Toxicity: Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound toxic to dogs. Even tiny doses can cause symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting, convulsions, and in extreme situations, even death.
  • Caffeine Sensitivity: Similar to theobromine, caffeine found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks can be harmful to Shih Tzus, causing restlessness, rapid breathing, and even cardiac arrhythmias.

2. Grapes and Raisins:

  • Kidney Damage: Despite their health benefits for humans, grapes and raisins can be toxic to Shih Tzus, leading to kidney failure. Even a small amount can trigger vomiting, lethargy, and decreased urine production.

3. Onions and Garlic:

  • Hemolytic Anemia Risk: Onions and garlic, whether raw, cooked, or powdered, contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, pale gums, and breathlessness.

4. Xylitol:

  • Toxicity: Xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free gum, candies, and some peanut butter brands, can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and potentially liver failure.
shih tzu food to avoid

Other Foods to Avoid

1. High-Fat Foods:

  • Pancreatitis Risk: Shih Tzus are prone to pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Foods high in fat, such as fatty meats, fried foods, and rich sauces, can trigger pancreatitis episodes, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

2. Bones:

  • Choking Hazards: Despite the stereotype of dogs enjoying bones, they can pose serious risks to Shih Tzus. Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter and cause choking, intestinal blockages, or even perforations of the digestive tract.
  • Safer Alternatives: Opt for safer alternatives like dental chews or specially formulated treats designed to promote dental health without the risks associated with bones.

3. Dairy Products:

  • Lactose Intolerance: Many Shih Tzus are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. Feeding dairy can result in gastrointestinal upset, including gas, diarrhea, and bloating.

Tips for Safeguarding Your Shih Tzu’s Diet

1. Read Ingredient Labels Carefully:

  • Always examine the ingredients of any food or treats you plan to give your Shih Tzu. Avoid products containing harmful substances like chocolate, xylitol, grapes, onions, garlic, and excessive fats.

2. Consult with a Veterinarian for Dietary Advice:

  • Your veterinarian is your best resource for personalized dietary guidance tailored to your Shih Tzu’s specific needs and health conditions. Regular check-ups can help ensure your dog’s diet remains optimal.

3. Be Cautious with Table Scraps and Treats:

  • While it can be tempting to share human food with your Shih Tzu, resist the urge to offer table scraps indiscriminately. Stick to dog-safe treats and snacks, or prepare homemade treats using vet-approved recipes.

4. Make Sure There’s Always Access to Fresh Water:

  • Hydration is crucial for your Shih Tzu’s health, especially since they are prone to heat intolerance. Always provide access to clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration and promote overall well-being.


1. Can I give my Shih Tzu chocolate occasionally as a treat?

  • While it might seem like a special indulgence, chocolate is strictly off-limits for Shih Tzus due to its toxicity. Serious health issues might arise from even tiny amounts. Opt for safer, dog-friendly treats instead.

2. Are there any human foods I can safely share with my Shih Tzu?

  • Some human foods, like plain cooked chicken or carrots, can be offered in moderation as occasional treats. However, always double-check with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your Shih Tzu’s diet.

3. What should I do if my Shih Tzu accidentally ingests a harmful food?

  • If your Shih Tzu consumes a toxic substance like chocolate or grapes, contact your veterinarian immediately or seek emergency veterinary care. Time is of the essence in such situations, and prompt action can save your dog’s life.

4. How can I ensure my Shih Tzu’s diet is balanced and nutritious?

  • Work closely with your veterinarian to develop a well-rounded diet plan tailored to your Shih Tzu’s age, weight, activity level, and any health concerns. Choose high-quality commercial dog food or prepare homemade meals using vet-approved recipes to ensure optimal nutrition.

Also Read: Best Food For A Shih Tzu Dog: Helps & Guide


In the journey of caring for our Shih Tzu companions, dietary choices play a pivotal role in their health and longevity. By understanding and avoiding harmful foods like chocolate, grapes, onions, and high-fat treats, we demonstrate our commitment to their well-being. Consulting with veterinarians, reading labels diligently, and providing ample fresh water further solidifies our dedication to their care.

Let’s pledge to be mindful guardians, ensuring that every morsel they consume contributes to their vitality and happiness. With these precautions in place, we can cherish many more years of joy-filled moments with our beloved Shih Tzus.

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