How Much and How Often Does a Shih Tzu Eat?
by Anonymous Reader
How Much Does a Shih Tzu Eat?
Karen Answers: It depends on the size and age of your shihtzu. I free feed my dogs, which means I just leave food down and they graze.
Anonymous Answers: Puppy stage 3 months up to 1 year – 3 times a day puppy dog food give some milk too. 1 year up you can start feeding your shih with maintenance dog food or adult dog food. You can give also some potatoes or rice for carbo intake.
There is no one simple answer to the question of how much to feed a Shih Tzu. As our readers have already pointed out it depends on the age and size of your dog, but it also depends on your dog’s level of activity and, most importantly, the type of food you feed. Some brands are higher in calories than others and in each case you should follow the recommendations on the bag or can.
Shih Tzus are notorious for having food allergies and sensitivities so the quality of food is just as important as the quantity.
What constitutes a “good quality” food? If you don’t understand what the ingredients are, and if you aren’t willing to eat it yourself you probably shouldn’t feed it to your Shih Tzu.
As a general guide a puppy under three months old should have access to food all the time. From three to 12 months they should receive three scheduled meals a day and adults should receive one scheduled meal per day. A dog less than one year old should eat one ounce of food (including treats) for every pound she weighs. An adult should eat ½ ounce for every pound of weight. Determining the Proper Weight of a Dog
Even though it is generally not recommended I admit that along with our reader Karen I free-feed my dogs. I fill their small dishes (which probably hold about a cup) and let them nibble until the bowl is empty, which usually takes about two days. This works at our house because none of our dogs are gorgers or possessive of their food and none of them have a weight problem.
Weight control is the reason free-feeding is often frowned upon; older Shih Tzus are especially prone to excess weight gain.
Free-feeding can also make housetraining harder and isn’t recommended if your dog is having a difficult time learning to go the bathroom outside. By feeding on a schedule you can better understand your dog’s habits and determine when they need to go out.
Because of all their beautiful long hair a Shih Tzu can gain or lose weight without notice. For that reason it’s a good idea to check your dog’s waistline when you groom him to make sure he's maintaining a healthy weight.
To do this simply feel the rib cage. If it seems the ribs are riding against the skin without a layer of fat and muscle to cover them, your dog is underweight. If there’s such a thick layer of fat riding over the ribs that you can’t even feel the ribs, your dog is overweight.
If your Shih Tzu has a weight problem (either too much or too little) consult your vet for a healthy eating plan. Likewise, if he seems hungry in spite of a regular feeding schedule or seems uninterested in food, speak with your vet. Even a two- or three-pound weight fluctuation can be a big problem for a small dog.
Just like with humans, the sooner a weight problem is dealt with the easier it is to fix.