shih tzu blog


A Blog For All Things Shih Tzu

Home | Blog | About | Contact

Food To Avoid Feeding Your Shih Tzu

It can be very tempting as a dog owner to treat our pets to tasty foods that we enjoy as humans. However, many foods are at the very least unhealthy and some are highly toxic.


It’s therefore important to be mindful about what human foods your Shih Tzu is consuming. Human food can look delicious to our dogs, but as mentioned above many of these foods can be toxic or unhealthy.

Understanding the potential consequences of feeding human food to your dog is essential for a happy and healthy pup – not to mention it could save them from a potentially dangerous and expensive trip to the vet!

shih tzu at the vets

Being vigilant about what foods your dog eats will ensure they stay safe, healthy, and content.


IMPORTANT – If your Shih Tzu has eaten any of the foods listed below and is showing any signs of illness you should visit your vet immediately.


Below is a comprehensive list of all the foods that you should never feed your Shih Tzu and an explanation of why they can be unhealthy and in some cases extremely toxic.


While we may enjoy eating chocolate ourselves, it can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that is similar to caffeine and can be extremely toxic.


If ingested by your Shih Tzu in large enough quantities, it can cause serious signs of poisoning such as vomiting, seizures, or even death.


What makes theobromine especially hazardous is that it takes several hours for dogs to digest it, so the effect of consuming chocolate may not be immediately apparent. To help protect your dog from danger, make sure to keep any and all food containing chocolate away from them – this includes table scraps!


Many dog owners are unaware that grapes can be toxic to their dog. This is because of chemicals compounds called furanocoumarins, which are present in both seedless and seeded varieties of grapes.


The chemical can cause gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by pets, as well as more serious problems like kidney failure in extreme cases.


To ensure pups stay safe from any potential harm, owners should make sure to keep grape-based or raisin-based snacks away from curious dogs who might mistake them for treats.

grapes on table


The specific reason why raisins can be toxic for dogs is unknown but regardless, ingestion of raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy and abdominal pain in dogs.


In serious cases, the symptoms may extend to anemia, jaundice, and kidney failure if left untreated by a veterinarian.

To prevent any health risks for your Shih Tzu it’s important to keep them away from this harmful fruit!


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as an artificial sweetener in a variety of food products, but it is especially toxic for dogs.


It can cause their blood sugar to drop rapidly and even lead to liver failure in some cases. Due to its toxicity, pet owners should never allow their dogs to consume this highly poisonous food.


Ingestion of xylitol can also result in seizures, weakness, collapse, or even death depending on how much was consumed.


Anytime your dog consumes something it shouldn’t, you should contact your veterinarian right away as they will be able to advise further treatment if necessary.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are one of the many foods that can be toxic for dogs.


They are among a handful of surprisingly common items that, if ingested, can cause dogs to experience an array of symptoms such as weakness, seizures, vomiting, and lethargy.


It is not yet understood what chemical compounds in Macadamia nuts make them toxic to dogs but this is the reason why they need to be kept away from pets at all costs.


Even just leaving them out on the counter is a risk that should not be taken.

healthy harmful food carrots Shih tzu

Beverages Containing Caffeine

Caffeine is a dangerous stimulant for dogs and can have severe health consequences for them.


A toxic dose of caffeine can cause increased heart rate, bleeding disorders, seizures, tremors, and an inability to move properly.


Even small amounts of caffeine can make a dog very unwell, showing signs such as panting and drooling, restlessness or agitation, vomiting, or diarrhea.


It is best to avoid giving a dog any products containing caffeine out of caution and this also includes tea.

Onions, Garlic & Chives

Onions, garlic, and chives are highly toxic to dogs, and should not be fed to them under any circumstances. The chemical thiosulfate found in these foods can cause oxidative damage to canine red blood cells which could lead to anemia and in extreme cases, death.


Even smaller doses can result in gastrointestinal distress for your Shih Tzu as well as other long-term health complications, so it is important to keep this pungent vegetable away from your dog.


Stick with healthy treats dogs actually enjoy and avoid adding onions into their diets entirely!

onions on table


Alcohol is incredibly toxic for dogs, leading to medical emergencies and even death. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to symptoms such as depression, vomiting, low body temperature and decreased levels of consciousness, while larger amounts can cause seizures and even respiratory failure.


In fact, the ethyl alcohol found in beer, wine, and liquor can be 10 times more toxic for dogs than humans!


This is because a dog’s liver lacks certain enzymes that break down the toxin quickly – so their bodies are unable to cope with the amount of alcohol they consume.


Therefore, it is important to keep alcoholic beverages away from your Shih Tzu as much as possible.

Salty Foods And Drink

Salty foods may seem like a tasty treat that your dog would love, but these types of foods can be very dangerous for animals.


Excessive amounts of salt may lead to health issues like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even kidney disease.


Stick to healthier alternatives like vegetables or dog-friendly treats to ensure your Shih Tzu is properly fed and well taken care of.


Avocados are harmful to dogs because they contain a fungicidal toxic known as persin.


This compound works by blocking the cell membrane pump that regulates the movement of water and electrolytes, which leads to an accumulation of salt and water between cells ultimately causing cell damage and even death if not treated as soon as possible.


Fungicidal persin also induces vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration which can be fatal for dogs that are not provided medical attention.


As this could have serious repercussions for your Shih Tzu, it is important to contact the vet straight away if they consume a lot of avocado.


It is best that you avoid giving your dog any part of an avocado and keep them away from areas where avocados may be growing.


Dairy Products

Dairy products can be especially toxic to dogs. They often contain high levels of lactose, which is difficult for dogs to break down and process due to an underdeveloped digestive system.


The digestion of lactose sugar can lead to abdominal pain, cramps, explosive diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence in dogs.


While other potentially harmful ingredients such as artificial sweeteners or salt may also be present in dairy products, the main offender is lactose.


Dairy products include foods such as milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, and custard.

Seeds And Pits

Many fruits and seeds contain toxic properties that can lead to serious or even fatal health hazards for your dog.


Pits from peaches, avocados, and apples contain persin, a toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. In addition to these fruits, many of the most popular vegetables known to have exceptional health benefits for humans – such as tomatoes – should be kept away from dogs due to their toxic content.


While this seems scary, it can easily be avoided by making sure your dog only consumes the flesh of the fruit or vegetable; this includes the core, leaves, or stems.


It may take a little bit more effort when preparing the fruit for your dog, but it is well worth avoiding scary scenarios such as health complications or even death.


Walnuts can be a common snack food for us humans, but they should always remain off-limits to your dog.


Dogs are susceptible to oxalate poisoning when they consume walnuts, and the reaction can range from stomach discomfort to kidney problems over time.


As palatable as walnuts may be to dogs, their high levels of fat could also lead to pancreatitis if consumed in large quantities.


Aside from these health concerns, the ingestion of walnuts has sometimes resulted in intestinal blockage which may require surgery for removal.


Ultimately, it’s best to keep dogs away from walnuts and opt for safer treats like carrots or apples instead.


Due to certain compounds and chemicals that are found in almonds, they can be extremley toxic for dogs.


Almonds contain cyanide-like substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs if ingested.


Furthermore, almonds have a high concentration of fat and oils which can lead to pancreatitis in the animal if eaten in excess.


Dogs also have difficulty digesting almonds, as their digestive system is not designed to handle them; this can result in severe stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.


It is important to always keep almonds out of reach of your Shih Tzu.


Candy may seem like a delicious and harmless treat to give to your dog, but unfortunately, it is anything but!


While the occasional piece of candy won’t have a huge effect on your pup’s health, giving them candy regularly can pose serious consequences in regard to their overall well-being.


Feeding your dog sugary snacks can not only lead to weight gain but also damage their pancreas and liver functions.


Additionally, certain candies that contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs, can be especially dangerous if ingested by your pet.


If you want to show your dog some love with something special and sweet, try feeding them a healthier alternative such as a slice of apple.

candy in bowls


Mushrooms can be an incredibly dangerous snack for dogs – and for any other animals, for that matter.


While some mushrooms are totally harmless, others contain toxins that can bring about a variety of awful symptoms and even death if ingested by your Dog.


These toxins, called mycotoxins, are unstable compounds that affect the neurological system of animals, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, seizures, and even organ failure if not treated quickly.


Owners should take every precaution to keep their pooch away from mushrooms and contact the veterinarian if they think their dog has consumed any. Clear identification and early treatment are key!

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can be a major health hazard for dogs. During the rising process when baking, the dough expands and increases in volume, creating gas that can cause bloating in the stomach and intestines of dogs.


This can be extremely painful and lead to serious consequences if not treated right away. Additionally, once ingested, yeast can convert sugars into ethanol which is poisonous to animals.


If left untreated, this can cause alcohol poisoning, leading to vomiting and seizures or comas.


Taking the necessary precautions like monitoring your dog while cooking is essential in preventing any potential danger to your dog’s health.

Further Reading

If you would like to dig deeper into all areas of caring for your Shih Tzu we recommend you check out the book bellow.

shih tzu complete guide book cover

Using interviews with 17 top Shih Tzu breeders, author and experienced Shih Tzu owner Molly Weinfurter has created an in-depth look at what it takes to successfully live with, raise, and train a Shih Tzu.


This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 220 reviews.

For more information about what foods are healthy for your Shih Tzu you might like to read our article: Shih Tzu Food List


Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer

As well as being a blog and resource website on all things Shih Tzu, this site also contains links from the Amazon Associate Program – offering you the best Shih Tzu related products from Amazon.