Best Dog Food For Shih Tzu with Allergies (Top 8 Picks in 2021)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Quick Picks

Best Overall for Shih TzuDiamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula Dry Dog Food
“This dog food is perfect for Shih Tzu parents on a budget. It’s complete with the essential nutrients your pooch needs to grow into a healthy adult Shih Tzu and loaded with additional supplements to support other functions.”

Best Immune BoosterNulo Freestyle Limited+ Dry Dog Food
“This highly nutritious dog food is packed with antioxidants and ascorbic acid to keep your dog’s immune system at its best. And it comes in an exciting flavor that your Shih Tzu will surely love.”

Best for Muscle DevelopmentMerrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
“High-protein dog food, loaded with highly concentrated amino acids that help build your dog’s muscles while providing them the proper nourishment they need.”

The Shih Tzu is a fluffball of a toy breed, with flowing hair and a spunky temperament. Their coats come in a variety of colors, and they make amazing show dogs if you have the time to groom them!

Unfortunately, these little furballs are prone to some health issues and allergies, so making sure they’re eating the best dog food for Shih Tzu adults, puppies, or seniors is essential to keep them as healthy as possible.

Product Name
Best Food for Shih Tzu Overall
Best for Muscle Development
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 30lb
Nulo All Natural Dog Food: Freestyle Limited Plus Grain Free Puppy & Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food - Limited Ingredient Diet for Digestive Health - Allergy Sensitive Non GMO Turkey Recipe - 4 lb Bag
Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 12-Pound, Chicken
Pro 1
Budget friendly food with Contains DHA for brain and eye development
Rich in Ascorbic Acid and antioxidants
Added probiotics for healthy digestion
Pro 2
Superfood ingredients rich in antioxidants
Added probiotics for easy digestion
High in protein, great for active dogs
Best Food for Shih Tzu Overall
Ranked #1
Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 30lb
Pro 1
Budget friendly food with Contains DHA for brain and eye development
Pro 2
Superfood ingredients rich in antioxidants
Custom Button
Best Immune Booster
Ranked #2
Nulo All Natural Dog Food: Freestyle Limited Plus Grain Free Puppy & Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food - Limited Ingredient Diet for Digestive Health - Allergy Sensitive Non GMO Turkey Recipe - 4 lb Bag
Pro 1
Rich in Ascorbic Acid and antioxidants
Pro 2
Added probiotics for easy digestion
Custom Button
Best for Muscle Development
Ranked #3
Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 12-Pound, Chicken
Pro 1
Added probiotics for healthy digestion
Pro 2
High in protein, great for active dogs
Custom Button
Sources researched
Sources researched
Customer reviews
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
Hours spent testing
Products tested
Products tested

Common Health Concerns Shih Tzus Suffer From

These pretty little show dogs are unfortunately prone to certain conditions. Keep an eye out for symptoms indicating: 


Allergies can manifest themselves in digestive issues or skin and coat issues. Your pooch may have dry patches on their skin, scratch excessively, lick their paws obsessively, or shed more than usual. 

Their pooping habits may also change. Any signs of diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain could be a symptom of food allergies or intolerances.

Changing their food is a good first step to fixing the issue. Go for dog food with a different protein, as the protein is often the culprit when it comes to allergies. 


This condition is when the thyroid gland isn’t producing the hormones it should be in order to keep your pup healthy. 

Common symptoms include: 

  • Unexplained weight gain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weakness & lethargy 
  • Intolerance of the cold 
  • Skin and coat problems 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Thickening of facial skin 

Hypothyroidism needs to be diagnosed and treated by a vet. You can help your dog by switching them to a dog food that will help alleviate their symptoms. You’d still need to see a vet though! 

Brachycephalic Syndrome 

Short-nosed dogs are at risk of developing a set of conditions known as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. This is a set of health problems mainly to do with breathing. 

Shih Tzus are particularly prone to breathing issues in warmer weather. Not all of them will have these problems, but it’s definitely something Shih Tzu parents should be on the lookout for. 

Some problems can be managed with just a little effort, while others may be severe enough to need surgery. 

Eye Problems 

Shih Tzus of all ages are prone to eye problems like cherry eye, inverted eyelids, ingrown eyelashes, and cataracts. The shape of their face lends itself to an eye injury, unfortunately. 

Another thing they’re prone to, which isn’t really a health problem, are tear stains. These reddish-brown marks on your Shih Tzu’s face aren’t dangerous to their health, but don’t look pretty! 


Shih Tzu dogs seem to be more susceptible to this autoimmune disease than other dogs. It will need to be diagnosed by a vet and treated, but changing their diet can help with the symptoms. 

Joint Dysplasia 

Yes, even tiny dogs can have joint problems! A dose of glucosamine and chondroitin can help keep their joints tough and strong. This is more often a problem with overweight Shih Tzus!

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus

Protein Count & Quality

These little guys and girls may be toy breeds, but they still need a good dollop of protein in order for their tiny muscles to stay tough and strong.

The minimum protein your Shih Tzu should be getting in their food is 22%. More is totally fine – in fact, most of the foods we’ve reviewed have upwards of 25%.

We’ve also made sure the protein comes from healthy sources. We don’t promote dog foods that use animal by-products or stick to vegetable proteins only.

Every dog food on this list has a decent amount of protein that comes from superior sources. Animal proteins only!

Fat Count & Quality

Although Shih Tzu’s are toy breeds, they have plenty of energy! Dogs get their energy from the fat in their kibble. 

Also, don’t assume that because they’re little, they need a tiny amount of fat in their diet. Fat eaten does not equate to fat stored! Rather, it’s used to fuel their everyday activities

An adult Shih Tzu will need around 13 or 14% fat in their kibble to be able to power them through their days adequately. 

Again, healthy animal fat is first prize. You want to see a named fat, like chicken fat or pork fat. Vegetable oil or flaxseed oil also contributes a little, but animal fat should be the main source. 

We’ve chosen dog foods with 10% or more fat. Less active Shih Tzu’s may need less, especially those who are on a weight loss quest. Very energetic pups may need more, but all the foods we’ve reviewed contain an appropriate number sourced from wholesome, real foods.

Probiotics & Prebiotics

Shih Tzus are known to have allergies, both of the skin and of the stomach. Probiotics and prebiotics are microorganisms added to dog food to soothe a sensitive stomach. 

Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your dog’s digestive tract and help with the digestive process. Prebiotics are the fibers that feed the probiotics and keep them healthy! 

You don’t need to know what to look for in dog food. We’ve done the research for you! We’ve let you know in each review if the dog food contains these healthy bacteria and their fertilizer or not.

Omega Fatty Acids

These pups have lovely long hair, and that needs to be nourished. Omega fatty acids are super nourishers! 

Omegas are different to the normal fat that your dog will use for energy. These fats will help with digestion and keep skin and fur moisturized

Every dog food contains Omegas on their guaranteed analysis list and we’ve taken note of them when reviewing these dog foods. 

If they’re a little low, we’ve made a note for you. But generally, most dog foods contain good levels, with some being above average.


As always, we consider not only the health of the fluffs involved but also the health of the pet parents’ wallets! 

Affordability is always a consideration, and the good news is that you can get premium quality dog food for a very friendly price if you know where to look. 

Our Best Value for Money option is aimed specifically at those dog parents who are looking for something that won’t cost an arm and a paw but will still nourish their pup and keep them as healthy as possible. 

It contains everything your dog may need and even has some advantages over the common top-of-the-range dog foods (aside from its price!).

What is the Best Food for Shih Tzu Dogs?

  1. Best Food for Shih Tzu Overall: Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Dry Dog Food
  2. Best Immune Booster: Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Dry Dog Food
  3. Best for Muscle Development: Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Cardiovascular Health: Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food
  5. Best for Hip and Joint Support: CANIDAE PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
  6. Best for Eyes and Brain Development: Solid Gold Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  7. Best Weight Management Food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  8. Best Breed-Specific Food: Royal Canin Shih Tzu Dog Food

1. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula Dry Dog Food

Best Food for Shih Tzu Overall: Budget-friendly, highly-nutritious dog food for extra sensitive Shih Tzus


  • Very affordable for its great quality 
  • Superfood ingredients rich in antioxidants 
  • Perfect protein and fat levels 
  • Contains DHA for brain and eye development


  • Contains potatoes, which some Shih Tzus may be sensitive to

This dog food is ideal for pet parents on a budget who want to provide their Shih Tzu a complete and balanced meal without spending a fortune on their dog food.

It’s a grain-free dog food that comes in several exciting flavor combinations. We think it’s the best dog food for Shih Tzu with food allergies because it has everything your pooch could possibly need to stay healthy and protected from common health risks that they are prone to.

You can find Vitamin A and E in this dog food, plus a good amount of taurine, L-carnitine, DHA, and Zinc.

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Just a quick glance at the ingredient list is an indication of the quality meal your dog will be getting when you feed them this kibble. It begins with salmon and fish meal, two super protein sources that aren’t typically allergens. They’re fairly high in protein, fat, and fiber.

Superfood ingredients pack an antioxidant punch. Blueberries, kale, chia seeds, kelp, and coconut are just some of the superfoods this dog food is made up of. These are all rich in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

That in itself is a value-packed dog food. The cherry on top is the addition of DHA, which is an excellent supplement especially in shih tzu puppy food. This amino acid helps eyes and brain cells to develop properly. It’s fantastic to see in an adult dog food, especially for dogs who are prone to eye disease.

2. Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Dry Dog Food

Best Immune Booster: Packed with Ascorbic Acid that helps protect your dog from infections and other diseases


  • High in protein, fat, and omega fatty acids
  • Rich in Ascorbic Acid and antioxidants
  • Available in four flavors 
  • Added probiotics for easy digestion


  • Slightly pricey

Nulo Freestyle Limited+ Dry Dog Food is a premium dog food to feed your shih tzu. It’s a limited ingredient formula, which means your dog can avoid ingredients that your shih tzu with food allergies may be sensitive to while still getting a great, wholesome meal. 

It’s specially high in Ascorbic Acid which strengthens your dog’s immune system and keeps him protected from any disease or infection. The calcium/phosphorus ratio and addition of DHA make this food suitable for shih tzu puppies and adults!

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High Protein & Fat 

With 30% protein and 17/18% fat, this dog food is best for Shih Tzu dogs who get enough exercise during their day. 

Each recipe contains a single protein, which makes it easy for shih tsus with food allergies to have a variety of flavors to choose from while also avoiding the protein that upsets their tummy. It’s also packed with healthy sources of starch and carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and lima beans.

They also state on their packaging that they’re free from common allergens including eggs, chicken, potatoes, tapioca, peas and pea protein, corn, wheat, and soy. This dog food also scores points for containing GanedenBC30 probiotics, which promotes healthy digestion in dogs.

It’s also exceptionally high in Omega fatty acids which enhanced the overall health of your shih tzu’s skin and coat.

It does lack joint-fortifying supplements which may be extra needed if your pet is starting to get older.

3. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best for Muscle Development: Highest protein content in the list, great for building muscle and extra energy


  • High in protein, great for active dogs 
  • Very high in Omega fatty acids 
  • Contains joint supplements 
  • Added probiotics for healthy digestion


  • Not suitable for less active dogs

Shih Tzus can be active when given the opportunity to exercise. If you’re the parent of an energetic one who gets plenty of exercise every day, they need a dog food to help build their muscle and support their active lifestyle. 

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is our top choice for active dogs. It’s high in protein to keep their muscles strong and supple, as well as being fairly high in fat to power them through their active day.

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Small but Mighty Kibble 

Merrick small-bite kibble is the perfect size for little mouths. It’s packed with high-quality ingredients, yielding a whopping 38% protein and 17% fat. The Omegas are above average, which will keep their coat and skin healthy and happy. 

You’ll also find joint supplements in this dog food to keep them strong and flexible, and probiotics to keep their tummies as they should be.

4. Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food

Best for Cardiovascular Health: Great amount of Taurine which helps make your dog’s heart strong and healthy


  • Human grade dog food
  • Three flavors, each with different nutrients
  • Rich in taurine which is good for the heart
  • Minimally processed formula


  • High in calories

If you have a senior Shih Tzu who struggles to crunch hard kibble, Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food could be a game-changer. It’s dehydrated, which means all you need to do is add water to give your dog a soft, tasty meal. 

This dog food is great for adding some extra moisture to your older pup’s diet. It also helps dogs with dental issues to get enough food without hurting themselves.

The best part is it contains a good amount of taurine – an amino acid that improves cardiovascular health and keeps your shih tzu’s heart strong and healthy.

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This dog food is minimally processed, so it retains all its healthy nutrients. Something we like is that each recipe is nutritionally different. 

If your senior dog needs weight management food or is quite inactive, the beef flavor has 8.5% fat, which would be perfect. 

The other two (turkey and chicken) have 15% and 14% fat, which would be great for seniors who are still fairly active.

5. CANIDAE PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best for Hip and Joint Support: Loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin which strengthens your dog’s joints


  • Variety of recipes with exciting flavors
  • Options for puppies, seniors, and overweight dogs
  • Probiotics added for gentle digestion
  • Highest glucosamine and chondroitin content on the list


  • Somewhat pricey
  • Contains peas and potatoes

If your pup’s allergies are bad, trying a limited ingredient diet could be the key to improving their health. CANIDAE PURE Real Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food allows your pup some choice without having to deal with potential allergy ingredients. 

Aside from providing you shih tzu a complete and balanced meal, this dog food comes loaded with joint-fortifying minerals. In fact, it has the highest amount of glucosamine and chondroitin on our list. This is especially helpful for breeds like shih tzu who are prone to hip and joint dysplasia.

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With 8 recipes for adults and options for puppies, seniors, and weight management, this is a comprehensive dog food recipe range. Each formula contains fewer than 10 ingredients, and make it easy to avoid ones that your pooch is allergic to. 

Fewer ingredients do not mean less nutrients, though. In fact, ingredients such as Salmon, sweet potatoes, and Menhaden fish meal make up an interesting flavor profile while providing the nourishment your shih tzu needs.

It does, however, contain peas and potatoes which some shih tzus may be allergic to.

6. Solid Gold Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best for Eyes and Brain Development: Has a good amount of DHA and Omega Fatty Acids for proper development of your dog’s vision and brain


  • Great non-allergy protein sources 
  • Decent amount of Omega fatty acids 
  • Contains DHA and Vitamin E
  • Probiotic support


  • May have a fishy smell

If you have a shih tzu puppy, a dog food with DHA will help in the proper development of his eyes and brain. Solid Gold Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains the recommended amounts of protein, fat, and fiber and includes added minerals like DHA to help your pup’s development.

It also contains decent amount of good Omegas which take care of your shih tzu’s skin and coat health.

This dog food is one of the premium products on the market which means it may be a bit more costly but the nutrition it offers is worth every penny.

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For shih tzus with food allergies and sensitive tummies, salmon, fish meal, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich fruit are great ingredients. Add to that vitamin E for skin and coat health and 90-million probiotics per pound, and you’ve got a super healthy and tasty food!

7. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Weight Management Food: Packed with L-carnitine which helps metabolize fat and maintain a healthy weight for you Shih Tzu


  • Fortified with LifeSource Bits 
  • Reduced calories, lower in fat 
  • Contains L-carnitine for improved metabolism
  • Contain glucosamine for healthy joints


  • No flavor variations

If your Shih Tzu is carrying a few too many pounds, a weight management food like Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Dog Food is the first step towards getting them back to the weight they should be. 

Overweight shih tzus are much more at risk for health problems and medical conditions, so it’s in both your dog’s and your best interests to get them back down to their ideal weight as soon as possible.

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Weight management dog foods work by reducing the amount of fat, and therefore lowering the calories in each cup of food. 

Fat is what dogs use for energy. If the fat count is lowered, your dog’s body is forced to use its own fat for fuel. In this way, your pup loses weight quite effectively! 

It’s important to note that weight management food should be used in conjunction with exercise! 

This dog food not only has fewer calories in it, but it also features a couple of things that assist in fat loss. L-carnitine is a wonderful addition that helps regulate a dog’s metabolism and use energy efficiently. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are great supplements that will strengthen your Shih Tzu’s joints. 

Lastly, Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits are cold-formed nuggets loaded with ingredients like sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help your pooch lose weight safely and healthily.

8. Royal Canin Shih Tzu Dog Food

Best Breed-Specific Food: Specially formulated for Shih Tzus that is rich in Biotin for improved skin and coat health


  • Specially designed kibble for Shih Tzu with food allergies 
  • Stool odor reduction properties 
  • Contains DHA and EPA 
  • High levels of Omegas


  • Low-quality ingredients 
  • Somewhat pricey

This breed-specific dog food is specially formulated for shih tzu with food allergies. It is rich in biotin which metabolizes protein and fats to provide easily accessible energy and amino acids that help support multiple functions in your shih tzu’s body.

Biotin also supports healthy skin and coat, which makes this a great food for shih tzu with food allergies who gets terrible rashes on their skin.

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This dog food contains DHA and EPA which are helpful amino acids that promote proper brain and vision development. It’s also packed with joint-fortifying supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.

Questions & Answers

Q: How much should I feed my Shih Tzu?

A: Generally, healthy adult Shih Tzus will need about 35 calories per pound of body weight

This isn’t set in stone, though! If your Tzu is older, more relaxed, or simply a little lazy, it’s more likely they’ll need about 30 calories per pound. 

If they’re a little fireball and burn plenty of calories from lots of exercises during the day, 40 calories per pound may work better for them. 

Start with 35 calories, and monitor your pup for a few weeks to see how he or she deals with it. If they seem hungry all the time or start to look a little scrawny, that’s a sign they need a few more calories per day. 

If, however, they begin to look a little pudgy, you may need to either decrease their calories or increase their exercise.

Q: My Shih Tzu is overweight, how do I help them to lose weight?

A: There are two ways to help your dog lose weight: increase their daily exercise and decrease the amount of calories they’re eating. 

Increasing exercise is always preferable! Just a short walk every day and a bit of play can burn a significant amount of calories. 

Choosing a weight loss kibble can also have a good effect. These are usually formulated with a lower fat count, so your pup will have to burn their own fat instead of what they’re getting in their dog food.

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.