Healthy Home Cooking For The Shih Tzu Well Being

Healthy home cooking for the shih tzu well being.

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.

Charlie tucks into a hearty meal.
Charlie tucks into a hearty meal.

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?”.


A selection of shih tzu friendly protein.
ID: 19386693 Robyn Mackenzie | Dreamstime

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.


Vegetables in a shih tzu’s feeding bowl.
ID: 29963295 rrrneumi | Depositphotos

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.

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16 thoughts on “Healthy Home Cooking For The Shih Tzu Well Being

  1. Hello, I have a approximately 14 year old Shih Tzu who has a lot of health issues. She has a very sensitive stomach and skin issues. She deals with fungus and seborrhea. I treat it with medicated shampoos. She suddenly become paralyzed in her back legs, took her to the vet and they suspected a pinched nerve it’s almost been a year and she has improved greatly. I want to make her homemade food so I know exactly what is in her food. However, I have NO idea how to do this and I want to make sure she gets everything she needs. She needs a limited ingredient diet and grain free. I feel like this makes it difficult to make homemade food for her. And I can’t find a quality dog kibble that I trust. I’m always suspicious of what is truly in her food. I just want the best for her. She is the light of my life. She is also deaf. So she is a full time needy typical Shih Tzu LOL. I would appreciate any recipes tailored to her issues if you have any. Thank you so much!

    1. Hello, Ashley.

      First, let me apologize for taking so long to approve your comment and get back to you. I’m afraid that I had to take a short break from the online world recently. Nevertheless, I’m back in business now and ready to answer queries such as yours.

      As I also have an almost 14-year-old with numerous health issues, I, too, am very careful about what I give my Bruno to eat.

      I don’t have any specific recipes, but I do have a pool of ingredients that I choose from. I will mix one of lean beef, chicken or turkey with one or more of carrots, broccoli, peas, pumpkin and green beans. This is roughly in a mix of 60 to 70 per cent meat to 40 to 30 per cent vegetables.

      Occasionally I will give Bruno salmon when I feel he will eat it and sometimes lamb, though I don’t give this to him very often because of its high fat content. I keep it for a special treat.

      I steam or boil the ingredients until they are very tender for two reasons. One, it dissipates much of the fat and, two, Bruno’s teeth aren’t what they were.

      There are things that I have tried to get Bruno to eat, such as tuna, sweet potato and blueberries, but he just isn’t interested. Perhaps you may have success with these foods.

      Bruno will also graze on Royal Canin Shih Tzu kibble during the day, which apparently gives him the canine minerals and vitamins that are absent in home cooked food. If you are not going to give your girl kibble, you will need to find another way to provide her vitamins.

      There are many supplements available such as this one:

      Click on the image for more details and more choices on the Amazon website.

      When I first started this website three years ago, there wasn’t any processed dog food on the market that I would have given Bruno because of his Addison’s disease. However, since then some very good, high quality dog foods packed with nutrients and vitamins have become available.

      My favorite, and Bruno’s, of these is the Butcher’s Choice range:

      I have no reservations about feeding Butcher’s Choice to Bruno. They have several grain-free varieties available.

      I hope that this is of some help.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  2. Hello! My shih tzu was raised with a human food diet and I attempted to switch to kibble but it was a disaster and we are back to human food only. I feed all of the above listed meats, fish, and carbs. But I don’t mix in any kibble. What supplements do you suggest to add in?

    1. Hello, Kelly.

      I apologize for taking so long to reply to your query. I had to take some time out for a couple of months, but now I’m back and catching up with the backlog.

      There are many products aimed at providing canines with the vitamins and minerals that they may be missing through eating only home prepared food.

      Here is a good and typical example:

      Click on the image to be taken to the Amazon product page for more details and further choices.

      Since I first published this article some really good quality prepared wet dog foods that have only the best ingredients have become widely available and I have no reservations about giving this to my two boys. They are particularly fond of the “Butcher’s Choice” brand. If you can find this in your area it might be worth a try.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  3. Hi,
    I’m having a 3 months old shih tzu, male. Currently I’m giving him wet food and dry food. twice a day I’m giving him meal. Is it adviceable for give him his meals three times a day? And could you please suggest me on how to gain weight for him.

    1. Hello Nisha,

      Thank you for your query.

      A 3-month old shih tzu puppy needs proportionately much more food than an adult in order to sustain growth. However, a 3-month old has a much smaller stomach than an adult, so the food must be split into smaller portions but given more often throughout the day. If you feed too much in one meal and your shih tzu eats more than his stomach can hold, then he will probably throw-up the surplus.

      Here is a link to my report “How Much Food Should A Shih Tzu Eat” that will take you straight to my puppy feeding chart:

      Click Here For The Puppy Feeding Chart

      It shows how much a puppy should eat per day relating to its age in months and weight. From here find out how much your puppy should be eating per day, probably around 3.5 ounces (100g) to 7.5 ounces (200g), and divide this between four and five evenly spaced out servings per day.

      This way your shih tzu and his small stomach will have time to digest all of his daily allowance and should start gaining weight in a healthy way.

      I hope this helps,

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  4. I am constantly advised against adding Chicken to my 5 month shih tzu pup’s meal every day. But he won’t touch his food if it doesn’t have enough chicken in it. I want to give him home cooked food, he likes chicken, carrots and other veggies (though in far less quantity). He doesn’t quite like rice or sweet potato. Can you suggest what would be a safe amount of chicken for a pup this age and how frequent, what other carbs options can be tried and what else I can mix in his food to make it more appealing? The chicken I give him is boiled, shredded chicken breast…

    1. Hello Sathya,

      Thank you for your query.

      I don’t think that feeding chicken to your puppy every day would cause him any harm, but to add variety to his diet you could also try other proteins such as turkey breast, lean beef, fish such as Omega-3 rich salmon, and even eggs. You could also consider lamb, but I only give this to my two boys occasionally because of its high fat content.

      As for carbohydrates, dogs are not as dependent upon them as us humans, though they do need glucose to replenish their glycogen stores. My dogs like carrots (both cooked and raw), broccoli florets, peas and green beans, which all contain slow-release carbohydrates. Like you and your puppy, I have tried giving them rice and sweet potatoes but they are not very keen on these. They will eat the odd diced-up slice of pumpkin, though.

      To make the food more appealing, try mixing in some cottage cheese or plain yoghurt, perhaps also some fresh fruit such as blueberries or strawberries.

      Don’t forget that if you are feeding only homemade food to your puppy, that you will also need to provide him with canine vitamin and mineral supplements, such as this:

      Sure Grow 100 Chewable Tablets

      Sure Grow 100 Chewable Tablets

      This is an affiliate link that, when clicked, will take you to for more information.

      I hope that this helps you and your puppy.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  5. Hi! I have a 1 year old shih tzu and she’s a really picky eater. Doesn’t like kibble & only likes to eat boiled chicken and veggies. But sometimes leaves veggies in her bowl. She is active but on the skinny side. She weighs 4.5kg but you can feel her spine & ribs. What can I do to help her gain some weight & muscles? How much cooked food should I give her each feeding?

    1. Hello Aiza,

      Thank you for your query.

      Your shih tzu just falls into the American Kennel Club’s weight limits for the breed which are 4.1kg to 7.3kg. At 4.5kg, I would expect her to be towards the lower height limit of 23cm to the shoulder. If this is the case, I don’t think that you have too much to worry about. However, if she is closer to the upper height limit of 27cm, then I guess you could try feeding her some extra protein to help her increase her muscle mass.

      As well as the traditional fish and lean meat sources of protein, you could also try items such as peanut butter, beans and pulses, natural yogurt, and cottage cheese, to give a few examples. For more information on this plus the size of portions and how many meals to give per day, please see my post:

      How Much Food Should A Shih Tzu Eat?

      If you want your shih tzu to eat more vegetables, have you tried raw carrots? For my two boys, I cut the carrots into bone-sized pieces and they go crazy for them!

      I would just like also to add that if you are feeding your shih tzu only home-cooked food, that you need to add some canine vitamins to each meal to make sure she is getting all of her nutritional requirements, if you are not doing so already. You will need to ask your vet precisely which vitamins to add, as individual requirements can vary from dog to dog.

      I hope this helps.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  6. Hi! I have a 37 day old Shih Tzu puppy, and I want to raise him vegetarian. I am not able to get good advice on what I should include in his diet at such a young age so that he gets all his nutrients. I only got him 5 days ago so right now I am feeding him puppy cerelac and I tried 2-3 small pieces of banana. It would be really helpful if you could please suggest me some things that I can feed him so that he grows healthy :)). Thank you!

    1. Hello Anoushka,

      Thank you for contacting Shihtzuandyou. I apologize for taking longer than usual to reply.

      You are right to be concerned that your puppy is getting all of his nutrients from his food. This is not only because it is vegetarian food but also if you are giving him home cooked recipes you will need to add some canine vitamins.

      You will need to find an alternative source of amino acids that are mostly found in meats. Foods with complete amino acids include eggs, natural yoghurt and cottage cheese. You can also combine green beans (not soya beans) with plain rice to make up a complete amino acid protein.

      Make sure each meal contains at least as much protein as carbohydrate, if not, more. Apart from the previously mentioned protein sources you can use lentils, pulses and peanut butter. Good carbs are sweet potatoes, squashes, broccoli, carrots. Of course, you can carry on with the bananas but try blueberries, blackberries and apple also.

      As for vitamins, your vet will need to advise you on this as each dog has different requirements, but I would imagine that one you need to add is B12.

      To discover how much your puppy should be eating each day, take a look at:

      How Much Food Should A Shih Tzu Eat?

      I hope this helps.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  7. Hii I have 3month old shihtzu.she only eat non veg.onle.plz give me solution for how we can shift on vegetarian diet.ots very difficult task for us.

    1. Hello Coco,

      Thank you for your query.

      Have you tried mixing in some smooth peanut butter with her food? If this doesn’t work, it’s just a case of finding what treat does drive her crazy and mixing that in with her food.

      Don’t forget, you will need to make up the protein content of her meals with items such as beans, pulses, lentils, eggs, cheese and yoghurt. Add to this some carbs such as sweet potato, brown rice, carrots, blueberries, etc.

      The addition of ingredients such as peanut butter, eggs, cheese and yoghurt will also provide vital amino acids that will otherwise be missing on a meat-free diet.

      If your shih tzu is eating exclusively homemade meals you will also have to add some canine vitamins to her food. Exactly which vitamins and how much can only be determined by your vet as this varies with individual dogs.

      Anyway, try mixing in the peanut butter or other treat to see if that will encourage your shih tzu to eat her meals.

      I hope it works! Let me know how you get on.

      Shih Tzu Steve.

  8. Hello, we have a 10 month old shitzhu. She’s a very picky eater. Shes stopped eating kibble. Weve been adding boiled chicken breast and peas to her food. But she has stopped eating unless i hand feed her. She wont tough the kibble. Now this is grain free recommended for the breed. She will also eat carrots. She plays fine, wet nose and hasnt lost weight. My husband insists there is something wrong with her. I think we’ve over spoiled her.
    Any ideas?
    Thank you

    1. Hello, Kristine.

      Thank you for your comment.

      This sort of behavior is quite common with the shih tzu breed, both of mine go through phases where they will not eat what is put down for them, yet they also will happily eat carrots.

      As your shih tzu is not losing weight and, from what you say, sounds fit, I don’t think it is an underlying medical issue. As she will still eat when you hand-feed her I think we can also rule out gastroenteritis and stress as causes. However, if you do suspect a medical problem I recommend a consultation with your vet.

      So, that just really leaves one thing and that is typical shih tzu stubbornness! Here are some things that you may like to try:-

      To make the kibble a little softer and easier to chew, add some hot water to it. Make sure the water is not too hot. Or, make the kibble more appetizing by adding some low salt stock or broth to it, again making sure that it’s not too hot.
      As well as the boiled chicken breast you may also like to try some turkey breast or lean beef with added peas and carrots. If she still refuses to eat it, try also adding some crumbled, cooked egg yolk or a little grated cheese.
      This may be more difficult for you to do but stop hand-feeding her, no matter how much she begs or cries. Get her out of the habit of expecting food from your hand. Even when you give her treats, drop them on the floor in front of her rather than place them in her mouth and also make her do something to earn her treats, such as to sit.
      This one will probably be even harder on your emotions but can be effective. At your shih tzu’s normal feeding time, for instance, early morning, place her filled food bowl in her normal eating place. Call her to come and eat and continue to call her over a period of five minutes. If she doesn’t come, take the food away. Don’t bring the bowl of food back until the next mealtime, say lunchtime and repeat the process. Try again in the evening and, if necessary, try again the next day. She will eat when she is hungry enough! Plus, over time, she will also learn that if she really wants to eat she needs to come and do so when she is called.

      If you try some or all of these suggestions and your shih tzu still refuses to eat her meals by herself, or if you don’t want to try any of them at all, there is a free, email shih tzu training course available at the TrainPetDog website. This course has a section dedicated to getting your dog eating properly and willingly.

      To visit TrainPetDog click here.

      This is an affiliate link but you can sign up for the free, email shih tzu training course without any obligation to purchase anything.

      I hope this helps and that your little girl is eating properly soon.

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