Your dog may be small, since it is a toy dog, but they definitely eat a lot more dog food than an actual toy dog. When it comes to choosing the right dog food, there are a lot of options out there. It can make it difficult to actually choose food that is healthy for your dog and tastes good. Here are some things to consider when you are looking to buy food for your dog.
Decide whether you want wet or dry food, or a mixture:
If your dog has issues with noisy breathing and snorting while they eat, a softer food or a wet food may be a better choice for you, so that they ingest less air while they eat. Ingesting air is often the reason that toy breed dogs have upset stomachs, so it’s best to try and avoid it as much as possible
Some experts say that dry food, because it is harder, is better for your dogs teeth than wet food because it helps clean up tartar build up. That hasn’t been proven, and can be combatted with chew toys and dental hygiene treats. You can even have your dogs teeth brushed if you’re worried about tartar build up. Wet food can also help bring moisture to the dog’s skin, which can be helpful if your dog has dry skin to start with.
If you want to do a mixture of wet and dry food for your dog’s meals, you can. However, I recommend that you use the same brand and flavor of each, in order to avoid food allergies and reactions. Here is a useful guide to finding best dog food for Shih Tzu and other small dogs, from Shih Tzu expert.
High in Protein & Fats:
Protein should be the first ingredient on the ingredients list, and it should be whole meats, not meal or by-products. While meal and by-products do you have protein, they aren’t as good for your dog in the long run
High protein, low volume foods are great because allows your dog to fill their small stomachs, and get the amount of calories they need to do all of that running around. 25 percent protein is about what you want to aim for – preferably with Fish or meat as the main source of protein. While fruits, vegetables and whole grains can bring in protein, meat should be the main source of protein.
While you don’t want your dog to eat too much in the way of fats, the long coats that are common in many toy breed dogs requires some of the good fats to make sure that their hair is as healthy as it can be. You’ll want to look in the ingredients list for Omega 3, Omega 6 and Vitamin A to keep your dog’s coat as luscious as can be! The ideal fat ratio for fat to protein is 1 gram of fat to 2 grams of protein.
Designed for Small Breeds:
Small dogs like your Shih Tzu have small mouths. This means that you need to choose the dog food that is not too large for their mouth or for their throats. If the kibble in your chosen dry food is too large, they can choke on the food. Make sure you choose a kibble that won’t cause problems for your animal.
Avoid Human Food:
You may be tempted to give your dog just a little nibble off of your plate at dinner. You should avoid doing this at all costs. Most human foods contain way too much salt and fat to be healthy for your animal. You should also keep them out of your drinks – sodas, teas, coffee and any other drink with caffeine can cause serious health issues.
Other foods that can cause major health problems include fruit pits and seeds, macadamia nuts, onions, chocolate, raisins and grapes.
Watch for Allergies:
If your dog has sensitive skin or gets upset stomachs regularly, there are some easy things to watch for.
Sensitive skin is often a sign that your dog is getting too much in the way of carbohydrates. If you notice dry skin or regular itching, try going gluten- or grain-free with their foods, and maybe add an Omega 3 or Omega 6 supplement to their daily routine. These are great for helping with sensitive skin on dogs and humans.
If you change foods and your dog’s habits change, they could be allergic to that food. It could be food coloring issue, or it could be the protein in that food.
If your dog has food allergies, talk to your veterinarian to help you figure out what you can do to avoid that allergen for your furry friend. Bison and Venison can be hypo-allergenic, but you need to double check that with a professional.
Buy Healthy Treats:
We all like to give our animals treats every once in a while, especially when they’ve done something good or we’re trying to train them into a new behavior. Giving an animal a treat is fine in small doses. You want to avoid giving your dog enough treats to constitute a third meal, and you want to make sure that those treats our as good for the dog as their regular food is.
Use these same rules to pick the best treats possible while also making it delicious. If you want to introduce new flavors of food, this is the best place to do it. This way, you aren’t buying a gigantic bag of food that you are not sure if they will be able to eat.
Last but not least, pick something that looks appetizing to you. If it’s something that you think sounds disgusting, chances are that your dog will also find it disgusting. Unless, of course, you have the palate of a four-year-old that doesn’t like vegetables. Dogs love vegetables, and they’re actually good for them, for the most part. If your dog isn’t excited about the food that you bought them, try mixing in something that you know they like or combining it with wet food.
Your dog needs to be getting the nutrients they need.