Shih Tzu Food To Avoid (Feeding Advice and Toxic Foods for Shih Tzu)

We adore our beloved pooches and want to share everything with them, especially when those heart-melting eyes of your Shih Tzu gaze at you longingly from the dinner table. And you think, what’s the harm in one little morsel? 

Well, DON’T! 

Shih Tzu food to avoid
Shih Tzu Food To Avoid (Feeding Advice and Toxic Foods for Shih Tzu)

We all know that dogs are attracted to the smell of food, even if it isn’t the best for them. Unfortunately, there are some foods that can be toxic for dogs and can make them very sick.

How much a toxic food affects a dog depends on the individual dog based on size, age, weight, and general health. Little dogs like Shih Tzus will be more affected by any poisonous substances and is certainly something you shouldn’t risk. 

If you suspect your dog has eaten any of these foods, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away.

Toxic Food For Dogs 

Some obvious ones like chocolate in every dog parent’s no-fly zone. While vegetables and some fruits are safe and healthy, did you know that there are plenty more common human foods that dogs shouldn’t eat? Let’s have a look at all the foods that are a strict no-no


Who doesn’t like chocolate? Foods that your Shih Tzu can’t eat but you can bet will eat if he has the chance, chocolate is likely to be on top of the list. 

You should keep chocolate way out of the reach of your dog because they simply go crazy for the smell and taste.

Theobromine, a substance similar to caffeine and affecting the nervous system in much the same way as caffeine, is one of the ingredients that make chocolate dangerous to dogs. Theobromine is found in the cocoa beans that are ground to make chocolate.

Compared to milk chocolate and white chocolate, dark chocolate contains a greater amount of cocoa. 

You can make your tiny Shih Tzu dog ill with just an ounce of dark chocolate, but it would take approximately 5 ounces (140 grams) of milk chocolate.

Dogs are poisoned by theobromine because their metabolisms deal with it so slowly in comparison to humans. A high dose of theobromine may lead to shaking, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, dry heaving, and vomiting.

It should also be noted that chocolate can cause pancreatitis in dogs in addition to its high content of theobromine. A Shih Tzu is more likely to contract pancreatitis, but, that would only occur if it consumed a significant amount of chocolate.

Immediately call your emergency vet if you suspect that your dog ate chocolate as severe chocolate poisoning can have disastrous consequences. 

Shih Tzu and chocolates
It’s tempting to give our dogs chocolate as a treat.

Grapes, Currants, and Raisins

The mystery ingredient suspected to be mycotoxin which makes grapes and all of their dried derivatives dangerous for dogs has never been identified despite extensive scientific research, but they are nevertheless dangerous to dogs.

Small dogs take very little to show symptoms of food toxicity compared to larger dogs with more body mass. Shih Tzus may be incapacitated within an hour or two upon consumption of only three or four grapes.

bunch of grapes
Grapes contain a harmful substance that is toxic to dogs.


If you occasionally give your Shih Tzu a bite of ham, it will do him no harm, but if you consistently feed him a lot, it will cause him health problems.

Ham’s fat content and salt content are both high. When consumed in excessive amounts, both can hurt your dog and cause weight gain, hair loss, and other internal damage. 

Pancreatitis can be caused by the ham’s high-fat content. Simply put, lean meats and fish are your dog’s best options when it comes to providing protein.

tasty ham
Can you feed your dog a ham?


Cherries contain cyanide in their pits, stems, and leaves. Your Shih Tzu would not be in danger of death if he ate one or two, but he may get a runny tummy if he ate one or two.

If your Shih Tzu got into a bag of cherries, you’ll need to watch out for cyanide poisoning symptoms like dilated pupils, reddened gums, and labored breathing.

In addition, the pits can cause blockages in the intestines as well as poisoning. Affected pets may experience vomiting, nausea, and constipation.

Shih Tzu looking at cherries
Shih Tzu looks surprised at the cherries.


Coffee, tea, and soda, as well as some medications and diet pills, contain caffeine.

You need not worry about your Shih Tzu ingesting caffeine if he drinks one or two drops of tea or coffee, as he won’t ingest enough to be affected. However, if taken in larger amounts, some of the symptoms include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hypothermia
  • Collapse or coma
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate.

Some of these symptoms may not manifest for up to two hours after consumption. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing symptoms, your veterinarian may give it medication to counteract those symptoms. 

coffee grounds to stop dogs digging
How to use coffee grounds to stop dogs digging? (DIY)


While we would like nothing better than to share our favorite beverage with our canine best friend, we all know that excessive consumption of alcohol can have detrimental effects on humans, if not directly from personal experience, than from observing others. 

This is not the case with dogs, especially with small ones like Shih Tzus. A very small amount of alcohol can cause serious illnesses, especially in the brain and liver, because of their small stomachs and fast metabolisms. Often, when people sit outside of bars, their dogs sip from the glass of beer they’re drinking.

This is definitely not okay! Your dog should never be given any alcohol.

This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of coordination, labored breathing, pleural effusion (fluid in the chest cavity), and even death.

dog with beer
Dog biting a beer bottle on the grass.


While not seriously poisoning, some problems can arise from ingesting cinnamon that will make your Shih Tzu uncomfortable.

As well as irritating the skin, cinnamon oils may also cause irritation to the mouth and digestive system.

When taken in large quantities, cinnamon powder can cause coughing, choking, and breathing challenges.

cinnamon stick and powder
Does cinnamon cause irritations to dogs?

Bread Dough and Yeast

Do you bake bread for yourself on a regular basis? Don’t drop any dough on the floor, which would most certainly be snatched up by a gluttonous Shih Tzu! 

As the dough continued to rise for several hours, it can obstruct and expand his stomach and intestines. It would be dangerous not only because your dog’s expanding organs would cause acute pain to him, but also because they could potentially interfere with other organs within the dog’s body.

In addition, your pooch could also get alcohol poisoning from the yeast in his stomach fermenting, creating ethanol.

kneading dough
The dough can be dangerous to dogs when ingested.


A fungicide called “persin” is found inside the avocado seed that is harmless for humans, but toxic for dogs.

There is a natural survival mechanism where the persin escapes from the seed and leaches into the fruit’s flesh and skin.

Your Shih Tzu won’t be seriously hurt by a small avocado, but the persin in the avocado might cause digestive issues and vomiting.

Avocados may be healthy food, but if your Shih Tzu swallows that big, slippery seed, a big problem arises. It can block his stomach, intestines, or throat, resulting in severe consequences that might require surgery. 

Shih Tzu and avocado
Is avocado good for dogs?

Garlic, Onions, and Leeks 

These come from the allium plant family, and while a little nibble here and there might not seem like a big deal, alliums can actually be poisonous to dogs

The problem is that alliums contain sulfur compounds that are toxic to dogs. When these compounds are digested, they can cause severe anemia and lead to organ damage. In severe cases, ingesting alliums can even be fatal.

is garlic bad for dogs
Is garlic bad for dogs?


The digestive system of a Shih Tzu would have difficulty coping with bacon’s high fat and salt content. Consuming large quantities of the product on a regular basis may result in pancreatitis.

cooking bacon
Feeding bacon to your dogs in large amounts can be harmful.

Cooked Bones

You should not feed your Shih Tzu-cooked bones. This is not because the bones contain poison. Cooked bones can cause choking hazards for dogs due to fragments that can break off, or splintered bones can become lodged in the digestive tract, posing obstruction risks.

In their natural state, the broken-off fragments possess sharp, pointed ends that may cause a severe internal laceration.

The most dangerous bones are those of chickens and fishes. Make sure all bones have been removed from fresh-cooked chicken or fish before giving them to your Shih Tzu for lunch.

chicken bones
It’s dangerous to feed chicken bones to your pet, especially to small dogs.

Feeding Advice For Shih Tzus 

Like any dog, feed only high-quality dog food in quantities that are appropriate to their age and weight. Yes, top-quality food can cost a pretty penny and is significantly more expensive than low-quality food, but Shih Tzus are small dogs whose appetites won’t break the bank

In addition, don’t let your Shih Tzu gobble their food. Fast eating dogs are susceptible to overeating resulting in obesity, and a condition called bloat, where the stomach twists around, trapping the gas and cutting off blood supply to the digestive organs. 

If not treated quickly, bloat can be fatal

If your Shih Tzu is a little gobbler that wolfs down his food, try feeding smaller quantities in multiple sessions, or using a slow feeder bowl that will significantly reduce the eating speed. 

Shih Tzu treat
Holding a treat for the Shih Tzu.

Final Thoughts 

It’s hard to resist puppy dog eyes when they want to enjoy the foods we do. However, we may be doing them more harm than good. When in doubt, it is best to stick to high-quality kibble and tons of yummy dog treats.