Home Dogs Shih Tzu Weight: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Shih Tzu Weight: What’s Normal and What’s Not

by Pawsome Tips
Shih Tzu weight

Bark out loud if you’re ready to dive into the fluffy world of Shih Tzus! These little bundles of joy have a lot to teach us about living life to the fullest. But wait, did you know weight management is key to unlocking their boundless happiness?

Yup, it’s true! Whether you’re already the proud parent of a Shih Tzu or dreaming of getting one, you won’t want to miss this tail-wagging guide. 

In this extensive article, we discuss what constitutes a normal Shih Tzu weight range, factors affecting fluctuation, and practical tips on maintaining an ideal body weight for your pup – so sit back while we reveal all the secrets for creating a well-balanced Shih Tzu physique, so your four-legged friend receives optimal care – let’s dive right in!

The ideal weight of a Shih Tzu dog

Understanding the ideal weight for a Shih Tzu requires considering each dog as an individual; however, an acceptable range is considered healthy for this breed. Adult Shih Tzus typically weigh 9-16 pounds (4-7 kilograms). Individual results may vary due to genetics, gender, or body structure factors; for accurate advice regarding what would work best with your Shih Tzu, seek professional advice from your veterinarian regarding their ideal weight range.

Maintaining a healthy weight for your Shih Tzu is paramount to their overall wellness and should always be prioritized. Being underweight or overweight can lead to health complications like joint issues, heart disease, and diabetes – understanding their ideal weight range will ensure they stay in tip-top shape while avoiding potential problems later. Making time for daily walks will create this equilibrium for an active and contented Shih Tzu!

Factors that influence a Shih Tzu’s weight include environmental elements and the genetic makeup of their breed.

Factors that affect a Shih Tzu weight

As many factors can affect a Shih Tzu’s weight, closely tracking their diet and exercise regimen is vital to managing their weight effectively. Genetics is also an influential factor. Certain Shih Tzus may naturally have faster or slower metabolisms which could alter weight management strategies. Therefore, owners must familiarize themselves with their pet’s genetic predispositions before working with their veterinarian to create an individualized weight management plan tailored specifically for them.

Shih Tzu’s weight depends heavily on their age; puppies tend to weigh less initially before gradually increasing as they reach adult sizes. Nutrition and monitoring weight gain become even more crucial as the older dogs adapt to life more slowly; obesity becomes an increased threat in later years.

Diet and exercise for your Shih Tzu can enormously affect their weight. Overfeeding, unhealthy treats, or insufficient physical activity could all worsen weight issues. Finding an equilibrium between nutrition and physical activity will ensure they reach a healthy weight.

Weight issues among Shih Tzus can result from poor diet and lifestyle decisions, including bad choices regarding feeding and exercise.

Overweight Shih Tzu
Lost Mountain Studio / Shutterstock

Common reasons for weight gain in Shih Tzus

Weight issues among Shih Tzus may arise for various reasons, so we must quickly recognize and address them to avoid health complications. One possible source may be overfeeding; given their smaller caloric requirements compared to larger breeds, overfeeding could easily result in excessive weight gain that strains joints and organs.

Shih Tzus require a balanced diet consisting of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in their daily food regimen. Excessive treats or human food could cause weight gain or nutritional imbalances. Therefore, they must receive an individualized plan tailored to their needs.

Health risks associated with overweight Shih Tzus

Lack of exercise contributes to Shih Tzu’s weight issues, even though they’re relatively small dogs. Regular physical activity should still be provided so their energy expenditure matches calorie consumption to prevent weight gain. Walks, playtime, and mental stimulation will keep these pups active and help avoid potential issues with their weight.

Overfeeding Shih Tzus can pose health risks directly related to too frequent feedings.

Carrying excess weight poses serious health risks to Shih Tzus. This includes joint problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia that cause discomfort and mobility issues; having too much weight exacerbates them further. Furthermore, obese Shih Tzus may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and decreased lifespan due to their poor health status.

Maintaining an ideal weight for your Shih Tzu is vital to their well-being, and regular visits with their veterinarian can assist in the early identification and resolution of any weight-related issues. They’ll enjoy longer lives by keeping them within an acceptable weight range.

Shih Tzu Weight Management Tips 

Shih Tzu can maintain a healthy weight with proper nutrition and exercise. Here are some tips for staying on track:

  1. Measure Their Food

To avoid overfeeding and ensure an accurate account of their caloric intake, use a measuring cup to dispense their meals correctly. Consult your veterinarian on the optimal portion size based on your Shih Tzu’s age, weight, and activity level.

  1. Establish a Balanced Diet

For optimal health in Shih Tzus, invest in high-quality dog food for small breeds such as Shih Tzus. Look for products containing lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats while limiting carbohydrates – and be wary of products containing fillers!

  1. Limit Treats

While indulging your Shih Tzu with treats can be tempting, it is best to do it responsibly and within reason. At most, 10% of their daily caloric intake should come from treats; look for healthier options such as small fruit and vegetable pieces or specially-designed dog biscuits whenever possible.

Shih Tzu weight management; less treats
Orawan Pattarawimonchai / Shutterstock
  1. Maintain a Daily Exercise Routine 

Shih Tzus need daily physical activity to lose weight and stay at an ideal weight. Plan walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation activities when creating their exercise schedule; it is also important to consider age restrictions and overall health when making these plans.

  1. Monitor Their Weight 

To help ensure that your Shih Tzu remains at an ideal weight, weigh him periodically and use an interactive chart to track their progress. Seek advice from your vet if significant fluctuations arise – early intervention could save time and money!

Maintaining the optimal weight for Shih Tzu requires commitment and consistency; following these tips can ensure optimal care, prolonging their lives as much as possible.

How Can I Tell If My Shih Tzu Is Overweight?

Assessing whether your Shih Tzu is overweight is critical to their health and well-being. Certain indicators could suggest excess weight being carried – including:

  1. Failure to Easily Feel Ribs 

Tracing your fingers along their ribcage should allow for effortless detection of their ribs; however, if this becomes difficult or there is an accumulation of fat covering their ribs, this could indicate they are overweight and may need medical intervention.

  1. Waist Definition 

Shih Tzu should display an easily discernible waist when seen from above for optimal health. If your Shih Tzu appears round without any discernable waistline, this could signal weight gain, which should be closely monitored as its growth continues.

  1. Trouble Moving or Decreasing Activity

Overweight Shih Tzus may experience difficulty moving freely and become easily tired or lose interest in physical activities, which should prompt immediate consultation with their veterinarian. If this change in their activity levels has significantly altered them, seek veterinary advice immediately.

  1. Labored breathing or panting:

Carrying excess weight puts pressure on a Shih Tzu’s respiratory system, leading to heavy breathing or excessive panting. Weight issues must be addressed if this sign occurs to avoid further complications.

If your Shih Tzu is showing any of these symptoms, it would be prudent to contact their veterinarian. They can assess their weight before guiding weight management strategies.

Shih Tzu Feeding Guidelines

Feeding your Shih Tzu an appropriate diet is essential to their well-being and weight management. Here are some general feeding guidelines you can follow:

  1. Establish the Appropriate Portion Sizes

When setting appropriate portions for your Shih Tzu based on age, weight, and activity level, consult your veterinarian to establish accurate feedings using a measuring cup and set exact portion sizes for their diets.

  1. Purchase High-Quality Dog Food

When selecting food tailored to Shih Tzus specifically, look for products designed to meet their nutritional requirements for protein, carbohydrates, and fats – this should help ensure an ideal nutrition balance.

Hill’s Science Diet Shih Tzu Food

Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe

  • Minerals for heart
  • Omega-6s & Vitamin E
  • Fiber for digestion
  • High-quality protein
  1. Divide meals into multiple feedings

For optimal digestion and less overeating, divide each daily portion into smaller servings throughout the day to prevent overeating while supporting overall digestive wellness. This strategy will both avoid cramming as well as promote overall digestive health.

  1. Avoid Free Feeding

Avoid leaving food out for your Shih Tzu to snack on all day; this could lead to overeating and weight gain. Instead, maintain a consistent feeding schedule.

  1. Avoid Giving Shih Tzu Table Scraps 

While feeding table scraps to your Shih Tzu may seem tempting, it would be wiser not to, as humans often contain too many calories that could damage their health and well-being.

Consult a veterinarian when providing personalized feeding recommendations for your Shih Tzu.

Exercise guidelines for Shih Tzus

Regular physical exercise is vital in maintaining a healthy weight and overall wellness for Shih Tzus. Here are some activities for your furry pal:

  1. Take Daily Walks

Make time each day to take at least one or two brisk walks with your Shih Tzu, depending on their energy level and physical capabilities. A fast walk helps burn calories while simultaneously improving joint and muscle health.

  1. Playtime

Engage your Shih Tzu in interactive sessions to stimulate them mentally and physically, such as selecting puzzle games or fetching toys matching their size and breed.

  1. Mental Stimulation Activities

Shih Tzus are highly intelligent dogs who love mental challenges. Puzzle toys, obedience training, or scent games can provide mental stimulation while preventing boredom-induced weight gain.

  1. Doggy Playdates

If your Shih Tzu enjoys being around other canines, consider organizing playdates between friendly dogs of similar temperament to allow them to socialize while engaging in physical activities. This will enable them to bond while having fun together!

  1. Agility Exercises

Agility Exercises for Shih Tzus can provide mental and physical stimulation while remaining active! Weaving through poles or jumping over low hurdles provides motivation and activity – this keeps their minds active while keeping their bodies busy!

Before designing an exercise regimen for your Shih Tzu, please consider their age, physical limitations, and health status before gradually increasing duration and intensity.

When should I consult my veterinarian regarding my Shih Tzu’s weight?

If your Shih Tzu is overweight, seeing a veterinarian can provide valuable assistance by developing an appropriate weight management plan and overall assessment for each dog. Any noticeable increases or decreases may indicate health concerns that require further investigation.

Consulting a vet for Shih Tzu weight management
Orawan Pattarawimonchai / Shutterstock

Regular visits to the veterinarian are essential in managing a Shih Tzu’s weight and well-being. With assistance from their vet in terms of nutrition, exercise, or any medical interventions that might help your pet achieve ideal weight, regular check-ins can ensure their weight remains healthy.


Shih Tzu dogs’ weight control is vital to their well-being and happiness. By understanding their ideal weight range and providing tailored nutrition and exercise plans that promote long and healthy lives, we can foster an environment where their lives can flourish fully. Consult your veterinarian for tailored recommendations regarding Shih Tzu weight management – together, you can help your Shih Tzu enjoy optimal physical conditions that lead to enhanced quality of life!


How often should I weigh my Shih Tzu?

It’s a good idea to weigh your Shih Tzu regularly, especially during its growth stages or when implementing weight management strategies. For adult Shih Tzus, once every month or two is sufficient. However, if you notice any sudden changes in their weight or health, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian.

Can Shih Tzus be underweight, and how do I handle it?

Yes, Shih Tzus can be underweight, just like any other dog. If you feel that your Shih Tzu is too skinny or is not gaining weight despite a healthy diet, consult your vet to rule out any underlying health issues. They may recommend a specific diet or conduct further examinations to address the problem.

Are certain human foods safe to share with my Shih Tzu?

While sharing our food with furry friends is tempting, not all human foods are safe for Shih Tzus. Some human foods can be toxic or harmful to dogs. Safe options include lean meats (cooked without seasoning), plain cooked vegetables, and small portions of fruits like apples and bananas. However, it’s always best to consult your vet before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.

What are the best exercises for a senior Shih Tzu?

As Shih Tzu’s age, their exercise needs may change. Gentle exercises like short walks or indoor play sessions are usually suitable for senior Shih Tzus. Listen to your dog’s cues and adjust the exercise routine accordingly. Regular exercise helps maintain joint mobility and keeps them mentally stimulated.

Should I be concerned if my Shih Tzu suddenly gains or loses weight rapidly?

Rapid weight changes can be concerning and may indicate underlying health issues. If your Shih Tzu experiences sudden weight gain or loss, seeking veterinary advice promptly is crucial. Your vet will thoroughly examine the cause and recommend appropriate measures to address the issue.

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