How To Get Picky Shih Tzu To Eat: The Ultimate Guide

How to get picky Shih Tzu to eat?
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Shih Tzus are generally considered healthy and hardy dogs, but like all dogs, they can sometimes be picky eaters. If your Shih Tzu is refusing to eat or is only interested in certain types of food, it can be frustrating and worrying for you as a pet owner.

Picky eating can be caused by various factors, including dental problems, health issues, or simply a preference for certain types of food. Whatever the cause, it is important to address picky eating to ensure your Shih Tzu gets the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to get picky Shih Tzu to eat. We will discuss the potential causes of picky eating in Shih Tzus and offer a range of tips and strategies for encouraging your dog to eat a varied and nutritious diet. Whether you are dealing with a picky puppy or an older, more set-in-their-ways Shih Tzu, our ultimate guide will help you to get your picky Shih Tzu to eat and enjoy a healthy diet.

What are the Reasons that your Shih Tzu is Picky Eater?

Your Shih Tzu may be a picky eater for a variety of reasons:

1. Lack of Appetite

One of the most common reasons for a picky eater is simply a lack of appetite. It can be due to a number of factors, including stress, illness, or medications. If your Shih Tzu has a sudden decrease in appetite, it is important to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

2. Poor Digestion

Another common reason for picky eating is poor digestion. Several factors, including food allergies, intolerance, or parasites, can cause this. If your Shih Tzu has digestive issues, working with your vet to identify the cause and find a suitable diet is important.

3. Picky Eating habits

Some Shih Tzus have picky eating habits and need to be more interested in trying new foods. If this is the case with your dog, offering various foods and flavors is important to see what they will eat. Avoiding human food as much as possible is important, as this can often lead to picky eating habits.

4. Fear of Change

Another common reason for picky eating is fear of change. Many dogs hesitate to try new foods or flavors, especially if they have been eating the same thing for a long time. If this is the case with your Shih Tzu, it is important to introduce new foods slowly and in small amounts.

5. Lack of Nutrients

Picky eaters often do not get the nutrients they need from their food. It can be due to several factors, including an inadequate diet or poor absorption of nutrients from the food they eat. If your Shih Tzu is not getting enough nutrients, it is important to work with your vet to find a diet that will meet their needs.

Related: The Dangers Of Poor Nutrition For Shih Tzus

6. Food Allergies

Food allergies are another common reason for picky eating. Many dogs are allergic to certain ingredients in their food, which can cause digestive problems or other health issues. If you think your Shih Tzu may have a food allergy, it is important to work with your vet to identify the allergen and find a suitable diet.

Related: What Shih Tzu Can’t Eat: 20 Toxic Foods To Avoid

How long Shih Tzus can go without food?

Shih Tzus are relatively small dogs, so they do not require a lot of food. Shih Tzus can go without food for up to 24 hours without experiencing any ill effects. However, it is important to note that this only applies to healthy adult dogs who are not picky eaters. If your Shih Tzu is fussy about food, it is best to consult a veterinarian to get them to eat.

Additionally, puppies and senior dogs may only be able to go with food for as long as adult dogs, so it is important to consider their age when making decisions about how often to feed them. Ultimately, every dog is different, so it is important to consult a veterinarian about how often to feed your Shih Tzu.

Here is a general guideline for meal frequency for Shih Tzus at different life stages:

Puppies (0-12 months):

Shih Tzu puppies need to be fed three to four times per day.
Image credit: JI-jukrachai / Shutterstock
  • Puppies have small stomachs and require more frequent meals to meet their high-energy needs.
  • It is generally recommended to feed puppies three to four times a day.
  • As your puppy grows and becomes more active, you may need to increase the frequency of feeding to meet its increased caloric needs.

Adults (1-7 years):

  • Adult Shih Tzus typically do well on two meals per day.
  • Some adult Shih Tzus may do well on one large meal per day, while others may prefer smaller meals spread out throughout the day.

Seniors (7+ years):

  • As your Shih Tzu ages, their metabolism may slow down and they may become less active, which can lead to weight gain.
  • It is generally recommended to feed senior dogs one or two meals per day to help prevent weight gain.

It’s important to remember that every dog is different, and their nutritional needs may vary. It’s always best to consult a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to determine the appropriate meal frequency for your Shih Tzu.

How to get picky Shih Tzu to eat?

How to get picky Shih Tzu to eat
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If you own a picky Shih Tzu, you know how frustrating it can be to get them to eat. Getting them to eat can be challenging, whether fussy or sick. Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Understand why your Shih Tzu is picky

There are a few reasons why your Shih Tzu may be picky about their food. They may be bored with their food, need more nutrients, or have a sensitive stomach. If you can figure out why your Shih Tzu is picky, it will be easier to find a solution.

2. Slow transition to other food

Many owners of this breed struggle to get their dogs to eat anything other than their favorite food. However, it is important to slowly transition your Shih Tzu to different foods to help them stay healthy and avoid developing digestive issues.

The best way to do this is to mix a small amount of the new food with the old food, gradually increasing the new food over time. You may also want to try different types of food, such as wet or raw food, to see what your Shih Tzu prefers.

With a little patience, you should be able to find food that your dog enjoys, and that is nutritious for them.

3. Add some supplements

If your Shih Tzu needs to get more of the nutrients they need from its food, you may need to add some supplements to its diet. Many different types of supplements are available for dogs, so talk to your veterinarian about which would be best for your Shih Tzu.

4. Try a different feeding schedule

If your Shih Tzu has a sensitive stomach, they may do better if you feed them smaller meals more often throughout the day instead of one large meal. It will help to prevent them from becoming overly full or bloated, which can cause stomach discomfort.

5. Make sure they’re getting enough exercise

A lack of exercise can also lead to picky eating in dogs. Ensure that your Shih Tzu is getting plenty of exercise daily to have an appetite for eating.

6. Skip one mealtime

If your Shih Tzu is picky about food, one way to get them to eat is to skip meal time. Go without feeding them for 12 hours, then offer them their food. They will be so hungry that they will be more likely to eat it.

7. No food no treats

If your Shih Tzu is being picky about its food, ensure you give your dog only a few treats. They may be less hungry at mealtimes if filled with treats. After finishing the food, you can also surprise your Shih Tzu with its favorite treat; make sure not to overeat.

8. Serve the food on the floor

One way to get a picky Shih Tzu to eat is to serve the food on the floor instead of in a bowl. The dog will have to work harder to eat, but the extra physical activity may make him more likely to eat.

Additionally, the food will be at nose level, making it more enticing. If the bowl is raised, the dog may have to crane its neck to eat, which can be uncomfortable. By serving the food on the floor, you’ll make mealtime more enjoyable for your Shih Tzu and increase the chances that he’ll eat his food.

9. Pretend to eat the food

If you have a picky Shih Tzu, you may have noticed that they sometimes refuse to eat their food. While this can be frustrating, one approach is to pretend to eat the food yourself. It will give your dog the idea that the food is worth eating.

10. Use Puzzle Toys

Try serving their food in a puzzle feeder or slow-feed bowl. It will allow them to use their natural foraging instincts while eating a bit more slowly, which can help prevent indigestion.

11. Try some food topper

One way to get a picky Shih Tzu to eat is to try a food topper. Food toppers are a great way to add variety and excitement to your dog’s diet. They can also be a good way to add extra nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Toppers come in various flavors, so you can find one your dog will love. You can also find toppers high in protein or fiber, which can be beneficial for dogs who need to lose weight or have digestive issues.

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12. Give some privacy during mealtime

It can be frustrating when your Shih Tzu turns up its nose at mealtime, especially when you know it needs to eat to stay healthy. Make sure that mealtimes are calm and relaxed. Avoid fussing over your dog or trying to force it to eat. Instead, set out the food and let your dog decide when and how much to eat.

When to call the vet if Shih Tzu is a picky eater?

While it’s normal for dogs to be picky eaters occasionally, it can be a sign of an underlying health issue if the behavior persists. If your Shih Tzu has been a picky eater for more than a few days, it’s a good idea to call your vet. They may recommend changing your dog’s food or adding supplements to its diet. Sometimes, picky eating can indicate an infection or other medical condition.

By calling the vet, you can get peace of mind and ensure your Shih Tzu is healthy and happy.


Shih Tzus are notoriously picky eaters, but that doesn’t mean you must put up with a dog who won’t eat. You can do several things to get your picky Shih Tzu to open their mouth and chow down. If your Shih Tzu is losing weight or going more than 24 hours without eating, it’s time to call the vet for help. But in most cases, simple solutions will get your pup back on track. Have you had success getting your picky Shih Tzu to eat? Let us know in the comments below!

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