Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus 2024

Written by Wag! Staff

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 07/31/2023, edited: 03/15/2024

Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

The adorable Shih Tzu is a small dog with a big heart. This cute and cuddly canine has an affectionate and mischievous temperament, and always has plenty of love to share with their family. 

And if you’re welcoming a Shih Tzu into your home, it’s essential to provide them with the right nutrition to grow into a healthy and happy dog. Shih Tzus need a premium-quality dog food that’s appropriate for their size and life stage. Look for a food that provides the right blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals your dog needs for optimum health.

A tip from one of Wag!'s veterinary consultants, Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS: “Opt for the best quality diet you can afford. It should be minimally processed and rich in plenty of meat or fish as well as grains, veggies, and fruits. The best foods will also contain supplements such as probiotics.”

To help make feeding a Shih Tzu easier, we’ve put together this guide to the best dog food for Shih Tzus. No matter whether your dog is a pup or a senior, or prefers dry, wet, or even fresh food, you’ll find something in this list to suit their needs.


Nom Nom

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Best overall dog food for Shih Tzus

We think Nom Nom is the best overall food for Shih Tzus for a number of reasons. 

This fresh food delivery service offers 4 vet-formulated recipes for hungry pups: 

  • Beef Mash
  • Chicken Cuisine
  • Pork Potluck
  • Turkey Fare

The meats and vegetables in each recipe are cooked individually before being combined in batches. Then, your dog's food is delivered to your door in pre-portioned meals.

Nom Nom fresh food is prepared in the USA, and each meal plan is customized based on your pet’s nutritional requirements. 

So regardless of your pet’s age, activity level, or weight management needs, Nom Nom can provide the goodness they need each day.

For a closer look at this furrific fresh food brand, dig into our Nom Nom dog food review.

Nom Nom dog food

Nom Nom dog food

Why Wag! loves Nom Nom

  • Human-grade ingredients.
  • Slow-cooked and minimally processed.
  • Each recipe meets the nutritional levels established by AAFCO food nutrient profiles.
  • Feeding plan tailored to suit your dog’s needs.
  • Meals prepared in USA kitchens.

Considerations & concerns 

  • There are cheaper ways to feed your Shih Tzu.
  • No fish recipe.
  • Some customers report that the packaging of meals could be better.

What pet parents say about Nom Nom 

“My dog doesn't have any formulation preference because they give me the ability to choose a variety of all their flavors, and that's what I do. And since I've been using it, my dog literally dances every time I pull one of those packets out of their fridge and she sees it. So, to me, that's the proof in the pudding. And I love the fact that Nom Nom is using fresh ingredients. And when I look at that dog food, I can actually see the meat and the vegetable, and I can tell what the ingredients are just visually looking at it. And also, it doesn't smell too bad.”

“Nom Nom is the closest thing to dog food that my dog will eat. She is VERY picky and will often go 2 or 3 days without eating-even the Nom Nom. I have tried all the tips, but the tips are written by people not a persnickety 8 pound Chihuahua with a mind of her own. With all that said Nom Nom is a life saver in that at least she is eating something good and good for her.”

Read more reviews on Consumer Affairs.

Product image sourced from the Nom Nom website. Copyright NomNomNow, Inc.

Open Farm Grain-Free Senior Turkey & Chicken Recipe

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Best vet recommended for senior dogs

Open Farm’s senior recipe is designed to provide all the goodness your dog needs to stay in tip-top shape in their older years. This grain-free formula features humanely raised turkey and chicken, plus green lipped mussel to help support mobility.

Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, one of Wag!’s veterinary consultants, says there’s a lot to like about Open Farm food. “Open Farm dog food is formulated with high-quality ingredients and does not contain any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors,” she says. “The company also prioritizes the use of ethically sourced and humanely raised ingredients.”

Each ingredient in Open Farm food is also 100% traceable, giving pet parents the peace of mind knowing they're doing the right thing by their dog and the planet.

For the lowdown on Open Farm's products, brand history, and more, check out our Open Farm dog food review.

Open Farm Senior Grain-free Turkey & Chicken Recipe

Open Farm Senior Grain-free Turkey & Chicken Recipe

Why Wag! loves Open Farm

  • You can trace every ingredient in each bag of food right back to its source.
  • All ingredients are humanely raised and ethically sourced.
  • Features pumpkin to provide fiber for healthy digestion.

Considerations & concerns 

  • Grain-free diets may not be suitable for all dogs.
  • There are cheaper foods available.
  • Some fussy eaters don’t like it.

What pet parents say about Open Farm Grain-Free Senior Turkey & Chicken Recipe

“My dog Eddie loves the senior grain-free dog food so much I'm thinking of switching all my dogs to Open Farm. I really appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having traceable, organic, human-grade food. Thanks again!”

“Usually my Maltese wouln't eat dry food itself unless I add some yummy toppers. Somehow she likes OpenFarm dry food. She eats it all without any toppings, and also steals her sister's food after. My two dogs love this food. It is expensive, but you get what you paid for. I also like the size of the food that is perfect for my 12-year-old dog who has lost [the] majority of her teeth.”

Read more reviews on Open Farm.

Product image sourced from the Open Farm website. Copyright Open Farm.

Nutro Ultra Small Breed

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Best dry food

If you’re searching for a convenient dry food that provides all the balanced nutrition your Shih Tzu needs, we recommend checking out Nutro Ultra Small Breed. 

Featuring chicken, lamb, and salmon as protein sources, this small breed-specific food is available in high-protein and weight management formulas.

It’s also loaded with superfoods like coconut, chia, and blueberries to provide wholesome nutrition for your dog. Plus, it's free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. 

Available in 4-, 8-, and 15-pound bags, this high-quality food is designed to support skin and coat health, strong teeth and bones, lean muscle mass, and healthy digestion.

Add it to your shopping list the next time you stock up on food for your fur-baby.

For more information about Nutro's product range, check out our full Nutro dog food review.

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Nutro

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Loaded with superfoods.
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients.

Considerations & concerns 

  • There are plenty of cheaper foods available from other brands.
  • Some pet parents might prefer a single protein source.
  • Some complaints about this food causing upset stomachs.
  • Only 2 recipes available.

What pet parents say about Nutro Ultra Small Breed 

“Denali and Meilina love breakfast and dinner time because they know that they are going to get their Nutro Ultra small breed food. I mix it in with their moist food [and] it’s a very clean food with lots of protein. My girls’ hair is healthy-looking and shiny. Thanks so much for making such a good pet food!”

“My dog has been eating this line of food for over 11 years, and he has a beautiful shiny coat. When we adopted him in 2011, we didn't know what brand to choose for our puppy. A pet store employee recommended the puppy version of this product, and we've used it ever since. Our dog is officially a senior, and it's time for us to switch to Small Breed Senior."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Mars Petcare, Inc.

Merrick Lil’ Plates

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Best wet food

Searching for the best wet dog food for your Shih Tzu? Merrick Lil’ Plates could be just what your dog needs. 

Designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of small-breed dogs, the Lil’ Plates range offers more than a dozen flavors to choose from. And with names like Itsy Bitsy Beef Stew and Dainty Duck Medley, they’re sure to have your dog licking their lips.

Dr. Georgia Jeremiah personally recommends Merrick dog food to her clients.

“Merrick products are made with high-quality, whole food ingredients, and they use no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors,” she says.

And with each high-protein recipe made using premium ingredients, you can rest assured that your dog will get top-quality nutrition from Merrick.

Check out our full Merrick dog food review to find out more about Merrick's complete food range.

Merrick Lil' Plates Tiny Thanksgiving Dinner

Merrick Lil' Plates Tiny Thanksgiving Dinner

Why Wag! loves Merrick

  • Recommended by Dr. Georgia Jeremiah
  • Wide range of flavors to choose from.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Dry recipes also available if you like to feed a combination of wet and dry food.

Considerations & concerns 

  • Grain-free recipes are controversial in the eyes of some pet parents.
  • Not all flavors are a hit with some picky eaters.
  • Some buyers complain about the smell of some recipes.

What pet parents say about Merrick Lil’ Plates 

“I love all the Lil’ Plates. My 4 pups love them too! Makes it so easy to feed with just enough for them without having to store any leftovers in [the fridge].”

“I used to feed my Pug just kibble, then I started home-making all his food. But when that got to be too much work/time, and I tried to switch back to just kibble, he wasn't having it. This Merrick Lil' Plates stew (and the other flavors) are a game-changer. He loves it (and eats all the kibble mixed in too). I split one of these per day over his Merrick kibble (morning and night) so it doesn't get too expensive. You can see the real food (peas, meat, etc.) in it, which is awesome!”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Merrick Pet Care.

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy

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Best for puppies

If you want to give your Shih Tzu pup the best start to life, there are plenty of good reasons why you should check out Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy. 

This dry dog food features turkey, oatmeal, and salmon meal, plus a host of other whole foods to provide complete and balanced nutrition for your growing pup.

The formula includes calcium and phosphorus for strong bones, vitamins and minerals to support the immune system, and omega fatty acids to ensure skin and coat health. 

It also includes carrots for beta-carotene and salmon oil to support brain development, so Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy has lots to offer for any Shih Tzu pup.

Still not sure if Wellness is the best food for your Shih Tzu? Read our full Wellness dog food review to learn about the brand's recall history, products, and more.

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Recipe

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Recipe

Why Wag! loves Wellness

  • Features DHA to support brain development.
  • Turkey is a high-quality, lean protein source.
  • Designed to provide all the energy your pup needs.

Considerations & concerns 

  • Not a popular choice with some picky eaters. 
  • Only available in 4-pound bags.
  • Only 1 recipe available.

What pet parents say about Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy 

“This food made for a very easy transition from the brand they originally were eating. No stomach upset and they seem to really love the taste!”

“I always start my puppies out on Wellness Small Breed Puppy food. I found this to be the best puppy food for my Shih Tzu puppies. Their fur is so soft. They love the taste of it!”

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Wellness Pet Company.


Which food is best for a Shih Tzu?


Should a Shih Tzu eat dry or wet food?


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