Owning a Shih Tzu brings a bundle of joy and fluffiness to your life. However, as a responsible Shih Tzu parent, it is crucial to be aware of their dietary needs and restrictions to ensure their health and longevity. While they might give you the “puppy eyes” for a bite of your food, not everything we consume is safe for our furry friends. In this guide, we will explore the foods that should be strictly avoided in a Shih Tzu’s diet to keep them healthy and happy.

Chocolate and Caffeine

It’s commonly known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and this holds true for Shih Tzus as well. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be harmful and even deadly to your pet. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and seizures. Therefore, always keep chocolate and caffeinated products out of your dog’s reach.

Grapes and Raisins

Though the exact substance that makes grapes and raisins toxic to dogs is unknown, they have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Even a small amount can make a Shih Tzu sick, causing vomiting, lethargy, and depression. It’s best to avoid giving them as a treat altogether.


Found in Many Products

Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many products, including sugar-free gum, candies, and some peanut butters. It can cause insulin release in most species, which leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). In dogs, xylitol ingestion can also lead to liver failure and seizures.

The Dangers of Hypoglycemia

If your Shih Tzu ingests xylitol, symptoms can include vomiting, loss of coordination, and lethargy. These symptoms can progress to seizures and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Onions and Garlic

Thiosulfate Toxicity

Onions, garlic, and related vegetables contain thiosulfate, which can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells in dogs, leading to anemia. This condition can result in weakness, lethargy, and breathlessness. Both raw and cooked forms are harmful.

Quantity Matters

While a small, one-time ingestion might not cause much harm, repeated exposure or large quantities can be dangerous. It’s best to avoid feeding foods containing these ingredients to your Shih Tzu.

Fatty Foods

Pancreatitis Risk

High-fat foods can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, a condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Foods like bacon, fatty meats, and greasy snacks should be avoided.

Obesity Concerns

Besides pancreatitis, regular consumption of fatty foods can also lead to obesity in Shih Tzus, putting them at risk for other health issues like heart disease and diabetes.

Bones and Pit Fruits

Choking Hazards

Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter and cause choking or severe damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines. Similarly, fruits with pits, like peaches and plums, pose a choking hazard and the pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs.

Intestinal Blockages

Even if successfully swallowed, bones and pits can cause intestinal blockages that might require surgical intervention. It’s safer to keep these items away from your Shih Tzu.

Alcohol and Yeast Dough

Alcohol is highly toxic to dogs, and even small amounts can lead to alcohol poisoning, characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even death. Yeast dough can also be harmful as it can rise in your dog’s stomach, causing bloating and potentially life-threatening stomach torsion.

Dairy Products

While some dogs can tolerate small amounts of dairy, many are lactose intolerant. Consuming milk, cheese, or other dairy products can lead to gastrointestinal upset in Shih Tzus, including diarrhea and vomiting. It’s best to avoid or limit their dairy intake.

Looking for more information on Shih Tzu care? Check out our articles on best food options for Shih Tzus to look out for, various food options for Shih Tzus, feeding tips for Shih Tzus, benefits of brushing a Shih Tzu’s coat, and the importance of exercise for Shih Tzus. Explore our articles for a comprehensive guide on caring for your Shih Tzu!


Feeding your Shih Tzu a balanced and appropriate diet is crucial for their health and well-being. While it might be tempting to share your snacks with your furry friend, it’s important to be aware of the foods that can be harmful to them. Always consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure about certain foods or if your Shih Tzu has ingested something potentially toxic. By being cautious and informed, you can ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long, healthy, and happy life by your side.

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Dog Care Hacks