With that tiny snout forcing him to plunge his entire fluffy face into a food bowl, half the canned pumpkin you offer your Shih Tzu will wind up on his face and ears rather than in his tummy. The best fruit and vegetable treats for your Shih Tzu are small, tidy and easy to eat.
Berries, particularly blueberries, make good treats to neatly hand-feed your Shih Tzu. Plus they're rich in antioxidants, believed to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Some banana slices or pieces of melon are also good choices. A few chunks of apple or pear make a tasty and healthy treat for your Tzu, but watch that he doesn't eat the seeds of either fruit. Apple and pear seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can be toxic. As long as you play it safe and remove the seeds, though, apples and pears are good sources of vitamins and fiber.
Other healthy (and tidy) fruit treats your Tzu might enjoy include a few pieces of grapefruit or a couple of orange slices. Grapefruit provides your pup with vitamin C and folic acid, and oranges supply him with potassium and thiamin, along with a bit of calcium and magnesium.
Several vegetables make fine snacks for a Shih Tzu. Some raw veggies he might enjoy include zucchini slices, frozen peas, alfalfa sprouts, bell peppers and romaine lettuce. A few cooked vegetables your little fur-friend might like are steamed green beans, cauliflower or broccoli, which is rich in vitamin C and calcium. He might also be partial to a bit of baked squash or potato. But avoid the mess that would result from giving him either one in mashed form. Instead, offer them in bite-size pieces.
Carrots, too, make a great choice and can be offered cooked or raw. Some people like to freeze the carrot before offering it to their Tzu, making a healthy dog chew and snack in one. Teething puppies will especially appreciate this cold, soothing treat. Be aware, however, that this option is not one of the tidier choices, since the melting moisture, carrot juices and puppy drool can cause the facial hair and paws to get quite damp and temporarily stained a slight orange color.
Dangerous Fruits and Vegetables
While a number of fruits and vegetables make tasty snacks for your Shih Tzu, some are dangerous or even deadly. Never give your dog grapes or raisins, for example, because they can cause kidney failure. Avoid onions, garlic and chives. They can give your little Tzu gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage, particularly when eaten in large quantities. Never give any part of an avocado to your furry friend. The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin, a compound that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
While your Shih Tzu should do fine eating any of the recommended fruits and vegetables listed here, it's best to do your research and speak with your vet before you supplement your dog's diet with any new items. You'll want to be certain such treats are appropriate -- not only for the species, but also for your specific dog. If, for instance, your Tzu has or is prone to calcium oxalate urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract), your vet may advise you to not give him treats that are high in oxalate. These include potato, carrots, green beans, blueberries, oranges and many other fruits and vegetables. Also keep in mind that some Shih Tzus may be more sensitive than others, so be watchful; should you see any indication of gastrointestinal upset, stop giving him the fruit or vegetable that caused it.
- The Whole Dog Journal: 5 Steps to Upgrading Your Dog's Commercial Dog Food Diet
- BARF World: The BARF Diet -- Getting Down to Natural Ingredient Specifics and Benefits ...
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Cyanide Poisoning: Introduction
- ASPCA: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants
- ASPCA: Fruits and Veggies for Pets
Based in Southern California, Lynette Arceneaux has worked as a writer and editor since 1995. Her works have appeared in anthologies, such as "From the Trenches" and "Black Box," in the magazine "Neo-opsis," and on numerous websites. Arceneaux, who holds a Master of Arts degree, currently focuses on the topics of health and wellness, lifestyle, family and pets.