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Raw Food Diet For A Shih Tzu

There are many different brands of dog food in the world. Some are wet and some are dry, but there is also another option when it comes to dog food. Domestic dogs are descended from wolves, which hunt their prey in the wild and eat it raw, which is where the raw food diet comes from.


Some people might balk at the idea of feeding raw meat to their dogs, but it is actually one of the most natural diets a dog could have.


Over the last few years, the raw food diet has grown in popularity and you can read on to find out more about the raw food diet and the benefits associated with it.


IMPORTANT – Always consult your vet when adding new foods to your Shih Tzu’s regular diet.

raw food diet for Shih tzu

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

The raw food diet is exactly what it sounds like. It is a diet made up of raw ingredients that are given to your Shih Tzu instead of the traditionally cooked food that comes in biscuit form.


These raw diets can include a wide variety of ingredients such as:

This raw meat is often paired with vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or carrots, as well as fruit such as apples.


Some people even decide to mix some yogurt into the food to give their dogs dairy.


Including these healthy ingredients helps to add balance to the raw food diet and allows dogs to have the nutrients they might not get from a dog biscuit diet.


With raw food, what you see is what you get. This isn’t always the case with kibble or traditional dog food, which can contain a lot of starch or filler ingredients that provide no nutritional benefits.


The process of cooking to create biscuits or kibble often destroys nutrients, as opposed to raw food where they remain intact.

Benefits of A Raw Food Diet Compared to Commercial Pet Food

People often decide to put their dogs on a raw food diet because they see it as a more natural option than the traditional food sold in pet stores. In fact, some breeds such as racing greyhounds and sled dogs have eaten raw food for generations. This led pet owners to adopt the raw food diet for their dogs.


There are many benefits to your Shih Tzu eating raw food, some of which are more noticeable than others.

Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Food

Condition Of Your Dog’s Coat


One of the top benefits of a raw food diet is that your Shih Tzu’s coat will become shinier and healthier over time.


It will feel softer when you stroke them and the reason for this is that raw food contains nutrients such as zinc, which aren’t in dry pet food.


Another thing that traditional pet food lacks is fresh fat, which will have oils that can improve the condition of a dog’s coat.


Protein itself is often hailed as something that can improve a dog’s coat, as hair is made up of protein. 30% of the protein that your dog consumes in a day goes towards maintaining their skin and coat.


However, when a dog eats a dry food diet that has less protein in it, it won’t get the nutrients they need. This is why a raw food diet is preferred to help dogs have the best coat and skin, often ridding them of any skin conditions they have too.

Better Dental Hygiene


Ever noticed that your Shih Tzu has bad breath? Sometimes that is caused by gum disease and other times they can develop dental problems because of the food they eat.


If a dog is fed raw meat on the bone, it will help their teeth to stay strong. Their mouth also won’t be in contact with ingredients that shouldn’t be in food such as sugars, which can cause tooth loss.


Eating raw meat will help to keep their teeth clean and give them something to chew on as well.


Better Muscle Tone


It is a well-known fact that a lean dog will live longer than one that carries extra weight. They will suffer less from inflammation and arthritis and be able to run for longer distances.


Eating a raw food diet will give them everything they need to keep their form lean and their muscles strong. If you look at canines in the wild, they are never overweight and survive on a raw diet.


There is no need for your Shih Tzu to have carbohydrates in their diet, which are often included in traditional dog food. A high protein, lean diet will keep your dog at a healthy weight and improve their muscle tone.

Other Benefits And Potential Risks Of Feeding Your Shih Tzu Raw Food

As with most things, there are also some risks associated with the raw food diet. There can potentially be bones in some meat that an animal could choke on.


There is also the risk that their teeth might break if they crunch down on a bone too hard. However, this can be avoided by making sure the meat you feed your dog is bone free.


It is important to make sure the raw diet is balanced with a mixture of fruit and vegetables. That way the diet isn’t unbalanced as too much meat could make your dog gain weight.


There is also the risk of certain bacteria being present in the raw meat, just as there is a risk for humans sometimes. It is important that you get quality meat for your dog to eat.

Health Risks Of Commercial Dog Food

Are you considering switching to a raw food diet for your dog? Are you still on the fence about whether you should stick with commercial dog food?


Some people compare bagged dog food such as kibble to the fast food that humans eat.


Commercial dog food is often cheaper to buy and easier to give to dogs. Just a single scoop into their bowl and they are ready to eat.


However, the dog food seen in the pet store is often made from by-products, meaning it isn’t fresh or healthy. The meat in the product can even come from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals.

Grain or corn can feature in commercial dog food as well, which isn’t healthy for dogs.


They don’t need to eat carbohydrates and it can even contribute to weight gain in the long run. While some brands will say their food offers a balanced diet and contains nutrients, not all dog food is created equal.


It is important to always look at the packaging to check the ingredients.


Dogs enjoy food and they know what tastes good to them. Some will outright refuse to eat commercial dog food if they think it smells bad.


On the other hand, some dog food can smell good and cause them to overeat if they are able to get into the food supply.

Best Raw Dog Food

Raw food is an excellent choice of nutrition to feed your Shih Tzu. It’s not only full of fresh ingredients and vitamins, but it also specifically caters to a healthier digestive system.


For the best nutritionally-balanced diet, pet owners should feed their canine companions options with high-quality sources of fat, protein, and other nutrients.

raw food for shih tzu

Items like freshly ground meat, offal, tripe, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and eggs should all be included in equal parts for maximum health benefits.


Natural supplements such as turmeric or fish oil can also be added to create a more complete menu for your pup.


While building a raw food diet isn’t always straightforward, always remember that you’re providing the very best nourishment available for your Shih Tzu.

The Barf Diet

BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding. It is about giving your dog food that is right for its species.


The diet is based on what wolves would have eaten, which are the predecessors of the domestic dogs we know and love today.


The BARF diet features food that is easy for dogs to digest and will benefit them in a number of ways.


Some people have compared the BARF diet to the 80:10:10 diet. The latter involves giving dogs 80% meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% bones.


However, the BARF diet involves giving dogs more than just this to help them thrive.


There is also the fact that newer breeds may not be able to eat a high quantity of bones, such as the French Bulldog.

Most people wouldn’t think of giving vegetables to their dogs, but they can benefit from the addition of vegetables to their diet.


There is even some evidence to show that people believe dogs will live longer when they eat their greens. This is because of three main reasons and they are:

Most people wouldn’t think of giving vegetables to their dogs, but they can benefit from the addition of vegetables to their diet.


There is even some evidence to show that people believe dogs will live longer when they eat their greens. This is because of three main reasons and they are:

Vegetables help to give extra nutrients to dogs that aren’t found in meat or bones. The fibre in food is a good kind and can help to aid with digestion so dogs don’t have to struggle when going to the toilet.


The antioxidants work in a dog the same way they do in humans. They help to slow the aging process and help dogs become more resistant to diseases and illnesses.


Soluble fibre is present in vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and kale.


They help maintain regular bowel movements and escort unwanted toxins from the body.


Finally, the microbiome is bacteria that live in the intestinal tract of your dog. They protect it from pathogens such as fungi, bad bacteria, and mold.

Making the Switch from Commercial to Raw

If you are wanting to switch your dog from commercial food to raw food, there is no time like the present. Most dogs find the transition to be easy and hassle-free.


Sometimes the swap can even be made straight away without having to slowly introduce the raw dog food diet.


A straight swap can keep things simple and easy for you. Simply give your dog the last meal of their old food at night and in the morning, you can make the swap to raw food. They will hardly notice the difference.


The other way to make the switch is to phase it in. Some dogs find it hard to adjust to change straight away. By phasing the raw food in slowly and mixing it with the kibble, you are making it easier. After a few days increase the raw food and decrease the commercial food while monitoring how your dog reacts to it.


Below is a useful chart showing what to include and in what quantities.

As you can see, there are many benefits for your dog when they eat a raw food diet.


Not only is it more natural and similar to what their ancestors ate, but it is also healthier for them. There are more pros than cons to the raw food diet and your dog is sure to love it.

For a comprehensive guide on what raw fruits you can and can’t feed your Shih Tzu you might like to read our article: Can A Shih Eat Fruit?

Raw Dog Treats

It’s perfectly fine to feed your dog fresh raw ingredients but some dog owners prefer to opt for dried treats instead. They are less messy and can be beneficial when training your dog.


If you do opt for dried treats make sure you check they are a healthy option with no added sugar, preservatives, or additives.


There are many options available on Amazon that can be delivered straight to your door.

Raw Food Recipes For A Shih Tzu

Raw Meat Loaf




  1. Vegetables – 3 quarter cups (grated or pureed). You can include a variety of vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, turnip, swedes, etc).
  2. Beef – 2 lbs of minced beef preferably organic and sourced from a reputable butcher.
  3. Oatmeal – 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Cottage Cheese – 1/2 cup.
  5. Flax seeds.




Thoroughly mix all the ingredients into a bowl and then separate them into appropriate size balls.


One of the great things about this simple recipe is that you can freeze the balls and take a few out each day. That way you can prepare meals many days in advance.


To calculate how large the balls should be use this simple formula:


Weight of your dog x 16 oz = ?


Use that number and multiply by .02 for the minimum daily amount or multiply by .03 to find the maximum daily amount.


If your Shih Tzu’s weight was 11 pounds:

11 x 16 oz = 176.

176 x .02 = 3.52 oz min daily.

176 x .03 = 5.28 oz max daily.


IMPORTANT – Always consult your vet when introducing new foods to your Shih Tzu’s diet. Your vet will be able to give you the correct amount based on your dog’s specific needs.


Raw Beef Meal

Ground Beef & Vegetables


Feeding your Shih Tzu a raw diet has numerous benefits. It allows your dog to consume food that is more nutrient-dense and closer to what their ancestors ate.


Raw diets are often composed of ingredients like muscle meat, organ meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and bones which can provide necessary vitamins and minerals that are hard to come by in other diets.


Raw diets typically contain fewer allergens than kibble which can be beneficial for dogs suffering from sensitivities or food allergies.


Additionally, some dog owners have noticed improved appetites and shinier coats in their dogs after switching them to a raw diet.


Given the lack of processing and preservatives involved in raw foods, many pet owners feel good about changing to this kind of diet.

Further Reading

If you would like to dig deeper into the topic of feeding your Shih Tzu a raw diet then we would recommend starting with the books listed below.

raw diet book cover

Raw And Natural Nutrition For Dogs By Lew Olson is a great book to learn more about feeding your dog a natural diet. It provides a road map for the essentials of canine nutrition and is written in an easy-to-understand style.


This book has a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 600 reviews.

dr beckers natural dog food book cover

Based on the ancestral diets of dogs and cats, Dr. Becker’s book provides a rotation plan and recipes for a meat-based diet that includes appropriate levels of vegetables, fruits and supplements to complete the diet, analyzed to make sure that nutrition needs are met.


This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 750 reviews.

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

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