Why Bother With Home Cooking For A Dog?
I am writing this post, “Healthy Home Cooking For The Shih Tzu Well Being”, because there is a lot of bad press at the moment for processed and mass produced dog foods available in supermarkets and pet stores. Some of this bad press is deserved. If you have read one of my previous posts, “Best Dog Food For A Shih Tzu? – Find Out Here”, you will know that many well known manufacturers use the unwholesome waste products from cereal and animal processing plants – and even animal shelters – as fillers in their offerings. You will also know that, on the other hand, there are some more scrupulous manufacturers that only use wholesome ingredients in their wares and there is nothing wrong with feeding your shih tzu these products as long as the ingredients are specifically for shih tzu or small breeds.
However, I was advised by my veterinarian to only feed my Bruno freshly cooked meat, fish and vegetables along with Royal Canin Shih Tzu Specific Dry Food; it would probably be detrimental to his health because of his Addison’s Disease to give him any processed or sub-standard food. Bruno is now coming up for twelve years of age, despite now also suffering from a heart murmur and epileptic fits. He is still otherwise fit and eager to chase his favourite ball around the house at every opportunity.
My wife and I believe that Bruno has reached this age because of the home cooked food that we prepare for him. We believe that if we had regularly fed him processed food that we would have lost him some time back. We also feed Charlie the same home cooked food despite his apparent 100% fitness because when in the vet’s waiting room and when out for walkies, we often hear tales of unfortunate dogs that have passed away before their time. The common factor in these cases appears to be that they were fed on cheap, branded, processed dog foods bought from the supermarket. It may be coincidence but we’re not taking any chances with Bruno and Charlie, they’re too precious to us.
Healthy Home Cooking For The Shih Tzu Well Being
If you do decide to give your shih tzu only homemade food you will need to add canine vitamin and mineral supplements to make sure he gets all the nutrition he needs. However, you won’t have to add this if you do the same as us and mix the home cooked food with a good quality dry food as all the essential vitamins and minerals will be contained within.
If you are considering changing your shih tzu’s diet completely, please seek advice from your veterinarian first to make sure it is safe to do so. Further to this, I would advise you to introduce food ingredients new to your shih tzu one at a time so that you can assess how he reacts to it. If he suffers a runny tummy or an allergic reaction, then it may be best not to give it to him again.
Now, I could run through a few shih tzu friendly recipes but I’m not sure there’s much call for Cordon Bleu style cookery for canines. I will just run through a few ingredients that are suitable for a small breed dog’s diet and leave you and your shih tzu to experiment with mixing two or three together to see what clicks. If you really do want to see some shih tzu friendly recipes on this website, then please leave a comment or contact us and if there’s enough demand I promise I will post some.
A Well Balanced Meal
A shih tzu needs protein to maintain muscle bulk and carbohydrates to provide the fuel to stay active. In addition, a shih tzu needs omega fatty acids for skin and coat maintenance and some calcium for healthy teeth. Each meal should contain at least 25% protein but the ideal meal for a shih tzu would consist of 45% protein, 45% carbohydrates and 10% fats.
For portion sizes and how many times a day you should be feeding your shih tzu, it’s all on this post: “How Much Food Should A Shih Tzu Eat?”.
Good sources of protein are lean meats such as turkey breast and chicken breast, beef and lamb with the fat trimmed and offal such as liver or heart. Offal should not take up more than 5% of the total diet. Fish such as salmon and tuna are not only great sources of protein but also rich in omega 3 oil. Try to give your shih tzu fish at least once, perhaps twice a week.
We usually boil our shih tzus’ meat but occasionally we will dry roast it. The fish we tend to bake in the oven. You could also use the grill if that is your preference but I don’t recommend shallow or deep frying,
If you have your shih tzu on a vegetarian diet some beans, pulses and lentils will contribute to his vital protein intake but you will need to mix these with some amino acid supplement to compensate for what he would be getting naturally with meat. Be wary of using soya bean products, including tofu, as the shih tzu breed is prone to allergies from soya.
TIP: To add some extra calcium into a vegetarian diet for a shih tzu, wash some egg shells and then bake them in the oven for five minutes. Then take them out and crush them into a powder which you can then mix into the meal.
Whether your shih tzu is an omnivore or a vegetarian, you can add more protein to his meal with the addition of a little peanut butter, cottage cheese or natural yoghurt. The latter will also provide extra calcium. You can use natural yoghurt even if your shih tzu is lactose intolerant as the live cultures in the yoghurt break down the lactose.
Other protein rich items you might like to try with your shih tzu are some raw, quality, free range eggs mixed in or a little cubed or grated hard cheese. Generally, the harder the cheese the lower the lactose level.
Sweet potato, pumpkin, squashes and boiled white or brown rice are great sources of carbohydrate suited to a shih tzu’s digestive tract. For a traditional “meat and two veg” you could combine one of these ingredients with one of cooked or raw carrots, green beans, peas, calcium rich broccolli or raw bell pepper for variety.
You might also consider introducing some raw fruit into your shih tzu’s meals. Fruits such as bananas, apples, raspberries and blackberries are good choices. If serving apples ensure that you remove the poisonous pits first.
Home Cooking Allows You To Mix It Up
Apart from the health benefits, by home cooking for your shih tzu you know exactly what is passing through his lips and you can add a great variety to his diet by varying the ingredients and the combinations of ingredients. This is much more interesting for your dog than buying prepared dog food where you might just settle for the three varieties he likes and repeat them over and over again.
After all, you wouldn’t like it if you had to eat the same meal day in and day out and neither would your shih tzu. You could create even more variety by adding some ingredient ideas of your own.
Beware though, as there are some ingredients that can either be fatal or malignant that you must never give to your shih tzu. To find out which, take a look at “What Can Shih Tzu Not Eat – Malevolent Morsels Revealed”.
I hope that I’ve given you plenty of ideas of what to cook up for your little one, that you enjoy preparing it as much as I do, and that you shih tzu enjoys eating it as much as mine do!
If you have any questions or remarks about this post, this website or anything shih tzu related, please leave a comment or contact us.
Until next time.