If you’ve got your mind set on getting a Shihpoo, there are a few things to be aware of about these cute-as-a-button canines. While you likely know all about the different sizes these darling doods come in and their potentially tricky coat care, nutrition is something else you’ll need to pay close attention to.
Luckily, the Shihpoo’s nutritional requirements don’t differ much from your everyday small dog. However, unlike most others who will happily gulp down food (and non-food items) with relish, they tend to be a little pickier. That’s why you’ll want the best-tasting as well as the most nutritious food to tempt your regal pooch. Luckily we’ve done all the work, reading through numerous reviews to come up with these six best foods for Shihpoos.
Table of Contents
- Shihpoo Nutritional Needs: A Quick Overview
- Common Shihpoo Health Issues and How Food Can Help
- Best Foods for Shihpoos: Buyer’s Guide
- Best Foods for Shihpoos: Reviews
- The Homemade Food Option
- Shihpoo Feeding Guide
- Shihpoo Nutrition: Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top 6 Foods for Shihpoos That Pet Parents Love
If you’re in the mood to click and go, here are our top picks with links to where you can buy them. If you have a little more time, why not check out details on a Shihpoo’s nutritional needs and more in-depth reviews of the recommended products below?
- Pick #1:
Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Small Breed Dry Dog Food. Rich in top-quality protein coupled with skin-and-coat-hydration-boosting omega oils, probiotics, and vitamins to support immune health, Halo’s Holistic food is our top choice.
- Pick #2:
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food. Designed for dogs who love to lounge, this low-cal formula contains a variety of excellent nutrients, including carnitine which breaks down fat while retaining lean muscle mass.
- Pick #3:
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. For pups who are getting a little up there in age, this Blue Buffalo blend has a lot to offer with its healthful, all-natural ingredients and unique antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits.
- Pick #4:
Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula Dry Dog Food. Formulated for more delicate dogs with ingredient sensitivities, Purina’s Skin and Stomach kibble is fortified with live probiotics that boost digestive and immune health.
- Pick #5:
Merrick Lil’ Plates Healthy Grains Real Lamb + Brown Rice Recipe Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. Delicious and nutritious, Merrick’s small breeds formula offers something a little different from the standard chicken or beef, plus it packs in a plentiful supply of nutrients.
- Pick #6:
Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Turkey, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food. Perfect for your little dood, Wellness Complete’s food contains turkey, chicken, and salmon for a great taste and all a puppy needs for healthy growth and development.
Shihpoo Nutritional Needs: A Quick Overview
If you’re new to the dog ownership game, many myths can lead you astray when picking the perfect food for your pet. Likely at the top of the pile is the idea that dogs only need protein in their food, and anything else is simply a cheap filler ingredient. While it’s true that meat plays a vital part in your pup’s diet, much like us, canines have evolved to benefit from other foodstuffs. As such, their kibble should include:
Sitting somewhere between carnivores and omnivores, dogs depend more on animal proteins than we do. That’s why these should always be the number one ingredient in any food, treats, or anything else you give your pup. In terms of kibble, it should make up at least 18% of the content. The amino acids in protein help with muscle development, cell regeneration, and effective organ functioning, among other things.
While fats have become a bad word for us humans, dogs get most of the energy they need to do all the doggy things they do from them. Omega fatty acids are also great for boosting skin and coat health. As with protein, animal sources are best here, although plant sources provide other health benefits. Around 10-15% is good, with tubbier pups doing well with a little less than their more active counterparts.
While not required in the same quantity as we need them, carbs still have a lot to offer our canine friends. While it’s generally best to avoid the simple kind, complex carbohydrates (starches and fibers) such as those found in whole grains and veggies provide slow-release energy, aid digestion, and regulate metabolism. They also help keep your pet feeling fuller for longer. Less than 10% is best in kibble, if possible.
Alongside these three key components, modern foods add various nutrients that support your pup based on their size and life stage. Many people aren’t aware that there are different types of foods for small and larger dogs. Ones for the former are more calorie-dense to support their speedier metabolism.
Beyond that, puppy foods have, among other things, calcium for bone and teeth growth, while senior blends have more omega fatty acids that help ease aging joints. Details of who the formula is best for will be right there on the label. All the foods listed here are for smaller dogs like Shihpoos but might better suit one life stage over another.
Common Shihpoo Health Issues and How Food Can Help
Overall, health and well-being are heavily tied to nutrition. The food you give your dog can not only prevent them from developing illnesses based on deficiencies in their diet, but it can also help ease preexisting conditions. In looking at the problems Shihpoos are susceptible to, we need to consider the two breeds involved: the Shih Tzu and the Poodle.
From their Poodle side, Doodles can sometimes inherit intolerances to certain ingredients, making it tough for you to find a food that agrees with your pooch. Opt for a blend with a limited number of recognizable ingredients. Lists of long words tend to indicate the presence of preservatives that likely won’t be doing your dog and their gastrointestinal system too much good.
Another way dietary intolerances make themselves known is through skin issues. Itchy, dry, flaky skin shows something wrong with the formula you are feeding your pal. If this is the case for you, look for skin and stomach-sensitive food types. These often contain highly digestible ingredients and large concentrations of omega acids that help skin retain vital moisture making it less itchy.
While less common in smaller dogs, joint issues can still manifest as your pup starts to get a little older. You might notice them having issues getting about or simply looker a little stiffer in the limbs. Arthritis is as much a problem for pups as it can be for people. However, specific nutrients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, found in foods developed for senior dogs, can help relieve joint pain.
Again, more of a problem with larger canines, but still relevant for littler ones – and very serious indeed, bloat is a condition where the stomach twists in on itself, blocking both the entrance and the exit. Intolerances can play a part here, but the biggest risk is your dog guzzling down their food much too fast. Feed your pup little and often if you can. If not, there are various bowls designed to slow down their eating.
Best Foods for Shihpoos: Buyer’s Guide
With so many dog food options on the market today, things can get pretty confusing. The good news is that when you find a brand that you (and your pet) like, they’ll likely offer a variety of types and flavors. Short of any intolerances or other issues, you should be able to stick with them.
Getting to this point, though, can be a little tricky, with many different things to think about. For instance, will you go for wet or dry food? If you were to ask your dog, they would go for wet food every time. It smells more strongly like meat and is more similar to what they would be eating out in the wild.
However, kibble is just better in so many ways. First off, it’s much more nutrient dense. This means that you can feed your pup much less, saving you $$$. It’s also less package heavy, making it more environmentally friendly and better for storage as it stays fresher for longer.
Another emerging trend in the canine market is grain-free foods. While this can be a good thing as a lot of lower-end brands tend to pack their products with too many of these to save money, dogs do okay on good-quality whole grains. Very few pups are intolerant to them. For more on this and associated DCM, risk check out Is Grain-Free Good for Dogs? The Long Debate.
Best Foods for Shihpoos: Reviews
Best for Happy Hounds
We love Halo’s excellent small-breed food for its high-quality ingredients that provide optimal nutrition and digestive support for all pups, like the darling Shihpoo. Certified cage-free chicken is the very first ingredient. It’s supported by whole grains and a healthy mix of non-GMO vegetables for a good dose of fiber and a host of vital vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and prebiotics for a well-balanced canine diet.
Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Reviewers are super into the humane angle of this food as well as the holistic health part. Plus, it contains no corn, wheat, soy, or by-products. The kibble size is great for little mouths, and even finicky eaters seem to enjoy the flavor. It’s even suitable for dogs who have had issues with other, similar foods. With 94% of buyers saying they would recommend this product to a friend, it’s a great all-around for your Shihpoo.
In our opinion, this food has it all, great ingredients, great taste, and it’s perfect for smaller dogs too.
There are no issues aside from a very small number of pups turning up their noses. If this happens with you, use a food topper to encourage your pet to give it a go.
Best for Plump Pups
A common issue with smaller breeds is obesity. This is often due to a combination of overfeeding and under-exercising. Rather than reducing the food amount (below the manufacturer’s guidelines), a diet food formula such as this is recommended. The great thing about Hill’s Science Diet blend is that it contains fewer calories by cup than other kinds and has ingredients that boost metabolism.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food
This food is recommended by vets, which is always the sign of a great brand. In terms of reviews, pet parents rate the formula well. Best of all, dogs seem to love it. Loss of flavor is always a worry when it comes to a diet kibble, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The biscuits are also nice and small, which makes them perfect even for tiny pups.
A great food for helping your pooch avoid all the issues that come with being overweight. Reduced calories, not reduced flavor!
Very few dogs have had some problems with this food. This might be related to the chicken, which some pups are sensitive to.
Best for Mature Mutts
When your pet hits their golden years, a few modifications to their diet will keep them happy and fit for longer. Luckily this is not something you’ll have to worry too much about. You can simply trade in your current food for a senior blend like Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula. Not only is this food less calorie dense to avoid weight gain, but it contains omega acids and glucosamine to keep joints functioning well.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Blue Buffalo is a popular pet brand, and this food is no exception. Reviewers appreciate the softer, varied kibble biscuits for pups with more delicate teeth. Above that, the food is high quality and packed with antioxidants to keep immune health high. Plus, it tastes good, which means it’s as popular with canine customers as it is with their owners – on the whole, the reviews are all excellent.
This food has many nutrients dedicated both to general dog health and that can also support the aging process of older pups.
Not all dogs are so fond of the littler life bites even while the regular kibble goes down a storm.
Best for Sensitive Souls
As covered above, allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances are all issues for pups with Poodles genes. So you might have problems finding a food that agrees with your Shihpoo. If that’s the case, you might want to give Purina’s Sensitive Skin and Stomach blend a whirl. This excellent dry food has salmon as the first ingredient, making it both highly digestible and packed with essential omegas.
Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula Dry Dog Food
Owners note that this food is great for doing just what it says on the pack – protecting against issues with stomach and skin. In large part, that’s down to the abundance of omega 6, which is super hydrating, and the lack of any chicken products, which some dogs can have a real hard time with. The bites are nicely small, and the flavor also seems to work for most dogs.
A protein-rich, healthy kibble that is suitable for most dogs that struggle with digesting other foods. Great for skin and coat health too.
This food is slightly higher in calories than other versions, so it might not be great for more sedentary pups.
Best for Fussy Fidos
Many foods are chicken flavored for various reasons, including that it is often cheaper than other meats and a great source of lean protein. However, not all dogs love the taste. Merrick Lil’ Plates food is a great option for picky eaters or simply for pups needing a change. It’s got an excellent list of ingredients that dogs seem to love.
Merrick Lil’ Plates Healthy Grains Real Lamb + Brown Rice Recipe Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Pet parents feel happy about feeding this kibble to their pup because of all the fantastic health benefits it offers. It has an optimal blend of proteins, fats, and fibers and contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and other joints, making it a top choice for older pooches. The biscuits are a good mix of small and crumbly, making them easy for little dogs to chew.
It a well made with prime-quality ingredients and a different kind of flavor that makes it more likely to appeal to discerning dogs.
Some reviewers commented that they thought the price was a little high, but that can’t be helped with a higher cost of the ingredients.
Best For Puppies
If your puppy is still growing, choose a food that will support this. We like the Wellness Complete Health kibble with its more-calorie-dense formula for extra energy and with extra protein and fats as well. This excellent blend is fortified with numerous other nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and probiotics that all play an essential role in a dog’s brain, bone, and muscle development.
Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Turkey, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe
The reviews say it all here, with most purchasers rating this product as excellent and 93% saying they would recommend it to a friend. As you scroll through, you see repeatedly, “puppy loves it!” so the brand is doing something right in terms of flavors too. The kibble size and texture seem great even for teeny tiny tots, and it’s also excellent for skin and coat health.
A great all-rounder for fur babies. Only good stuff in this food is scientifically crafted to provide balanced nutrition for this particular life stage.
Some comment that the kibble was a bit tough for their pal. No worries, add a little water to make it nice and soft for little teeth to get through.
The Homemade Food Option
If you have the time and the know-how, you may decide to make your pet’s food yourself. While this is possible, you do need to have a good understanding of your dog’s specific nutritional needs (based on their size and life stage) and the kind of foods that will provide them with precisely what they require. Expert canine sites such as the American Kennel Club can provide further advice.
Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid:
- Onions, garlic, and chives
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and Raisins
Shihpoo Feeding Guide
Many canines tend to be a little on the larger side, mainly because their owners are overfeeding them. The problem is that kibble is so nutrient-dense that you need so very little of it that it feels like you may not be feeding your pet enough. Especially when the food is gone, and your baby looks up at you with those sad, chocolate eyes.
Pay no attention. As long as you feed your dog the recommended amount per the manufacturer’s guidelines, they will be absolutely fine. Try not to overdo the snacks, either. Opt for low-cal training treats or even veggies, which, weirdly, many Doodles seem to love. Double-check that you are getting it right with our handy calculator.
Here’s a dog feeding chart for adults:
And here’s a puppy daily feeding chart:
Shihpoo Nutrition: Frequently Asked Questions
The exact amount to feed your Shihpoo will depend on several factors, including their size and weight and their particular life stage. Younger pups need more calories and older ones fewer, for instance. It will also vary based on brand. Some foods are naturally more nutrient dense. Check the feeding guidelines provided with the food. It will usually be no more than a cup per day.
While puppies, with their teeny tiny stomachs, will need to be fed little and often throughout the day, adult Shihpoos do pretty well on being fed just twice or three times. Spread the times apart, so your pet is not going hungry for long stretches, and always have fresh water on hand for them. It’s also good to keep meal times reasonably consistent so your dog knows they are getting fed and when.
There are many different parts to looking after your Shihpoo. Feeding them a balanced diet is just one. You’ll also need to take them on regular walks – two a day for around 15 to 30 minutes. Alongside this, you’ll need to wash and brush their coat frequently to keep it clean and tangle-free and also spend lots of time giving your pooch the love and attention that these little lapdogs crave.
Owning a dog can be complicated, with many different things to figure out. Food can be one of the toughest challenges of all. You don’t want to buy something that will either make your hound sick or that they won’t even go near. That’s why it pays to check the reviews to see which brands are good and which ones have found favor with other, similar dogs. We have done in coming up with our top picks for this list. We hope the information here helps you find the right food for your Shihpoo.
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