If you’re wondering how to choose healthy dog food for your Shih Tzu puppy you’re not alone! With so many different options on the market now a days it can be difficult deciding what your Shih Tzu puppy should eat. After all, we all want to do right by our pets. But, it can be difficult to decide exactly what is right when it comes to dog food options.
Now a days, there are a multitude of different types of dog food on the market. There are fresh food options, frozen food options, canned food options, etc. Let’s not forget that kibble can come in freeze dried raw, baked, dehydrated, air dried, etc. The options can be downright confusing to the first time pet owner.
So where does a pet owner start? I suggest starting by looking for a natural option if possible. Chemicals really have no place in dog food. There is really no reason that dog food needs artificial colors and toxic preservatives in the ingredient list. We love our dogs. They deserve better! I usually ask myself if I would feed the food to myself or my child? If the answer is no, then why would I feed it to my Shih Tzu that is part of my family!
Feeding your Shih Tzu right may cost more but I believe the benefits outweigh the cost. If you feed your dog right, he or she will most likely have less health issues later on in life. Additives in dog food may cause a host of health issues including cancer.
Learning what to feed your Shih Tzu is a process. I myself have been guilty in the past of not always feeding my pets the best food. It has been a learning curve. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Marketing schemes can make almost every dog food on the market look like the best. It’s important to educate ourselves. Our pets deserve the very best, They trust us to feed them right.
Some common additives in dog food may include:
- Propylene Glycol
- Food dye
Let’s dive a little deeper into these common dog food chemicals to see if they pose a danger to our dogs. TBHQ is a fat preservative that is commonly put in dog food to extend the shelf life. But, did you know that Tertiary butylhydroquinone is also an ingredient in resins and varnishes? TBHQ may increase the likelihood of cancer in your furry friend. There are quite a few natural preservatives that can take the place of TBHQ to extend shelf life. There is absolutely no ethical reason that pet food manufactures need to use TBHQ.
BHA is another problematic additive that may be lurking in your dog food. BHA also known as Butylated Hydroxyanisole may reproductive disorders in animals. California has even went as far as to list BHA as a chemical that may cause cancer as well. There are many natural, non-toxic preservative options that are much safer for our dogs to consume besides BHA.
BHT which is also commonly known as Butylated Hyrdoxytoluene is another preservative in dog food. Unfortunately, BHT may increase the risk of cancer for your pet as well. BHT is often put into dog food to prevent spoilage. Once again, there are less toxic options available. Did you know that BHT is commonly found in embalming fluid and jet fuels as well? Furthermore, BHT has been rightfully banned in several countries.
Have you ever heard of Propylene Glycol? Propylene Glycol is a chemical that is often found in antifreeze. Propylene Glycol is useful in dog food because it helps the product retain moisture. Chronic exposure to Propylene Glycol may cause an increase in risk for blood disorders in a certain animals. Small amounts of Propylene Glycol may not cause immediate harm to your dog, but chronic exposure to this harmful additive may put your pet at risk. Many pet parents feed the same food to their dog every day. This could lead to frequent Propylene Glycol exposure.
Food dyes are also often found in dog food. Food dye may cause everything from allergies to cancer. Most of the time dog food manufacturers add food dye to make the kibble appear more pleasing to the eye. The funny thing is that your dog probably could care less what color the food is. If color is necessary for marketing, there are natural alternatives that can produce more enticing colors.
Ethoxyquin is another preservative in dog food. Manufacturers often use Ethoxyquin to make rubber. Ethixyquin is also often used as a pesticide. Ethotoxyquin may lead to liver problems and cancer in dogs. Frequent exposure to this chemical could make your dog very ill. It is best to avoid Ethoxyquin whenever possible.
Now back to the question about what you should feed your Shih Tzu puppy. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if you feed your Shih Tzu fresh food, dry food, frozen food or a combination. What matters most is that you feed your Shih Tzu a diet free of toxic chemicals that may lead to health deterioration.
With that being said, I currently feed all of my Shih Tzu puppies and adults in my responsible breeding program on a rotation diet. I rotate through fresh food options, frozen food options, raw food options, and basic kibble options. I feel a rotation diet allows my dogs to get the benefits from a variety of food options. A rotation diet gives your Shih Tzu the opportunity to obtain nutrients from a variety of sources.
I also work really hard to educate myself in regards to which dog foods are going to promote good health and longevity in my Shih Tzus. I currently stay away from dog food options that contain harmful chemicals whenever possible. I’m not going to lie, it has been trial and error. As I mention above, at one point I did feed my dogs less than ideal options on occasion. It has been a learning process. I never thought that harmful ingredients could be lurking in my dogs food. But, then I realized that dog food can and does contain toxic ingredients just like human food.
Some of my favorite dog food brands to rotate through with my adult dogs and Shih Tzu Puppies include:
- Stella & Chewy’s: https://www.stellaandchewys.com/
- Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw: https://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/
- OpenFarm: https://openfarmpet.com/en-us/
- Honest Kitchen: https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/
- NutriSource: https://nutrisourcepetfoods.com/
To sum things up, it is up to the consumer to weed through products and find the very best for their dog. Not all companies invest equally in your dog’s health. There are unfortunately pet food companies out there that just want your money. Please carefully consider your Shih Tzus health when choosing a dog food. Purchasing high quality food for your dog will be worth it in the end. Furthermore, your dog will hopefully be less likely to succumb to illness. This alone will save you on veterinarian bills down the road. Our dogs aren’t with us for nearly long enough. Let’s try to make each day count by providing them with the healthiest lifestyle possible.