Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Is My Shih Tzu Overweight Or Obese?

| Published on May 2, 2017

Overweight Shih Tzus are prone to many health issues, even some that can lead to an early death. Being overweight puts stress on their joints and internal organs, including their heart. It increases the risk of many health issues including many forms of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and urinary bladder stones. So, to help keep your pup as healthy as possible, it’s good to watch and make sure yours is not getting too pudgy. The following are three signs that your Shih Tzu is overweight.

How Much Should Shih Tzu Weigh?

9 to 16 Lbs

#1 – No Definition

Looking at your dog’s body shape is a quick way to tell if they are getting to fat. If you keep your Shih Tzu’s hair long, be sure to push into the fur to feel their actual body lines, or check them out when wet from a bath. Shih Tzus are one of the few breeds that do not have a “tuck up” from the rib cage to the loins. However, they should still have definition. You should be able to feel a rib or two easily under that coat (not all the ribs!). And while they have a semi-deep rib cage, it should not be rounded. Dr. Sophia Yin’s website has a great, easy to follow guide for checking this.

#2 – Unable To Reach That Itch

Does your Shih Tzu try to scratch her ear and just can’t reach? Maybe she has no chance of reaching around to bite herself on her side or back. She should be able to groom herself without a struggle. If they are overly round, grooming becomes impossible. If that’s the case, then it’s time to diet.

#3 – Easily Overexerted

Do you walk a few steps and your Shih Tzu is already panting and wanting to stop? Barring hot weather or any pre-existing breathing issues due to their face shape, this is a sign that he is out of shape and probably overweight. It’s time to talk to the vet about a diet and exercise regimen that will slowly get him back on track. Be careful about pushing your Shih Tzu to exercise more than their body or respiratory system can handle – that can cause other issues.


Frequently Ask Questions

Because of their thick mane, Shih Tzus have been referred to as “Lion Dogs” for centuries. All of the different coats require a ton of maintenance and may obscure your dog’s weight. Learn how to determine if your tiny dog has a weight problem or if they are healthy and being fed the right amount of food for their stature. 

Is My Shih Tzu Fat?

Despite the fact that all Shih Tzu appear to have the same anatomy, the majority of people are unable to tell the difference between a normal and an overweight Shih Tzu. Because of their thick coats, Shih Tzus may be difficult to recognize at first glance if their bellies are protruding more than they should. 

This emphasizes the significance of frequent physical examinations of Shih Tzus by their owners. If you run your hands along the back of a Shih Tzu, you should be able to readily feel the ribs. If you cannot feel their ribs, it is safe to assume the dog is overweight. But the ribs should not be protruding, either. If so, the Shih Tzu might benefit from a pound or two of weight growth. 

Like other breeds of dogs, Shih Tzus require the freedom to move about to fulfill needs like scratching that are intrinsic to their physiology. Typical dog activities, such as scratching and leaping up on furniture, may be difficult for overweight Shih Tzus. Also, as small and compact puppers, even a minor increase in weight can make life much more challenging for them.

Extreme obesity places extra strain on a dog’s vital organs. As a result, the effort required to do daily tasks and exercise increases. The fact that Shih Tzus are brachycephalic puts them at a severe disadvantage. Finally, Shih Tzu tends to pant after moderate exertion. If a Shih Tzu starts to fatigue during walks too quickly or too often, it is a sign that it is not getting enough exercise. 

Shih Tzu Weight & Size Chart By Age

Puppy Age Estimated Weight
Birth Less than 1 pound
4 weeks 1.25 pounds
8 weeks 2 – 2.5 pounds
3 months 4 pounds
4 months 6 pounds
5 months 8 pounds
6 months 10 pounds
7 months 12 pounds
8 months 12.5 pounds
9 months 12.5 pounds
10 months 12.5 pounds
11 months 12.5 pounds
12 months 12.5 pounds

How Much Does The Average Shih Tzu Weigh?

When fully grown, Shih Tzu dogs can weigh anything from 7–8 pounds on the small end to 20 pounds or more on the large end. However, show dogs tend to weigh more and have constant monitoring too.

How Can I Help My Overweight Shih Tzu?

It takes more than just changing a dog’s diet to get them back to its ideal weight. Once the right changes are made, overweight dogs quickly lose the weight. Begin by decreasing their caloric intake and increasing their physical activity levels. 

Before making any changes to their diet or exercise, you should take your Shih Tzu to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems like hypothyroidism or diabetes. Next, focus on the quality of food instead of the quantity choosing food high in protein and not in carbs or filler ingredients. Wet food can help hydrate your dog and give them a protein-rich meal that is easier on their digestive tract. 

According to popular belief, pets tend to take on the owner’s physical traits, including their appearance and even their height. It is hardly shocking that dog weight problems have increased alongside human ones. If a Shih Tzu’s owner is overweight due to a sedentary lifestyle, the dog will likely share its owner’s weight and lead a similarly sedentary existence. The only way for a Shih Tzu to maintain an active lifestyle is if you, the owner is also active.

Treats should not be added to the daily quota but rather deducted. Stop feeding your dog scraps from the table if you want to ensure it gets enough food. In most cases, vegetables pose no danger to pets. Never allow them to eat as much as they want out of the bowl; instead, take it away after thirty minutes. 

Lastly, use of non-food reinforcement as a last resort is recommended. If you pay them more attention, rub their bellies, and play with them, you may be able to strengthen your relationship with them without turning to treats. Increase the frequency of your dog’s walks and extend them to 20 minutes at least once a day.

What Is The Ideal Healthy Weight For A Shih Tzu?

According to the AKC’s breed standards, an adult Shih Tzu should be between 9 and 16 pounds and 9 to 10.5 inches in height. In its adult form, the ideal Shih Tzu will have a tail that curls over its back, giving it the appearance of being longer than tall. Remember, it is tough to detect if a Shih Tzu is gaining weight due to its thick double coat. To keep a closer watch on your Shih Tzu’s weight, take them for regular check up and feel their body beneath their coat frequently.

How Much Should A Shih Tzu Eat A Day?

The vast majority of Shih Tzu pups should only eat between half a cup to an entire cup’s worth of food daily. Due to the fact that this is such a small amount, it may be difficult for us humans to comprehend the fact that this is all a small dog needs. The same can be said about adult Shih Tzu, who, on a daily basis, takes anywhere from three-quarters to two cups of food on average.

Are Shih Tzu Prone To Obesity?

No, Shih Tzus are one of the breeds not prone toward obesity, a list that also includes German Shepherds and Yorkshire terriers. Even though there is a possibility that these dogs will still end up being overweight, the likelihood of this occurring is far smaller in contrast to that of other types of dogs.

How Do I Know If My Shih Tzu Is Too Fat?

Place your four-legged friend in a standing stance and move your hands over their sides while you pet them. Your dog has an unhealthy amount of body fat if you cannot feel his or her ribs or if you can only do so with great effort. An underweight dog can be identified by the presence of an excessive amount of ribs and a small amount of space between the skin of the dog and its ribs. Check with your vet if you have any issues either way. 

How Do I Get My Shih Tzu To Gain Weight?

When trying to gain weight, it is best to feed your dog foods high in protein and fat. If you feed your dog a diet that is higher in fat and protein, it will be much simpler for your dog to gradually put on weight over the course of time. You should see a difference in a few weeks with more fat and protein. 

However, do not feed your Shih Tzu more food long term, nor should you feed them cheap filler food as it’s unhealthy. Do not give your dog human food with more than one ingredient. For example, giving your dog carrots or chicken is safe, but do not give your pet pasta or granola bars. This will allow your dog to put on weight in a manner that is not only controllable but also healthy. 

In addition, if he needs some aid in taking in more calories, a decent supplement that is heavy in calories can work exceptionally well for him. This is because calories are the units of energy that our bodies use to fuel our daily activities. A healthy dog needs both quality food and exercise. 

What Should The Max Weight Of A Shih Tzu Be?

Your Shih Tzu’s weight is important as a healthy weight can increase life expectancy. The average female should weigh between 11.5 and 17.6 pounds for females, and the average male weighs between 11.9 and 17.6 pounds.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog