Discover the Shocking Reason Why Your Shih Tzu Refuses to Eat!

Ever found yourself scratching your head, utterly bewildered as your Shih Tzu adamantly turns its nose up at dinner? Trust me, I can empathize with the sense of concern this behavior stirs up.

In fact, navigating through this very issue with my own four-legged companion sparked an intensive research journey for me. As it turns out, there’s a wide range of factors that could be curbing our fur babies’ appetite.

So buckle in because this blog will illuminate why your dog might be declining mealtime invites and offer hopeful solutions to these food feuds. Plus, I’ll guide you on discerning when to seek professional help – after all, caring fiercely for our Shih Tzus often means understanding how to respond when they’re simply not interested in their kibble!

Key Takeaways

  • Possible reasons why a Shih Tzu may refuse to eat include illness, dental issues, underlying health problems, changes in their environment, or emotional distress.
  • If your Shih Tzu is not eating due to illness, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dental problems can also cause a Shih Tzu to refuse food; taking them to the vet for examination and appropriate treatment is crucial.
  • Changes in environment or emotional distress can affect a Shih Tzu’s appetite; creating a calm eating space and spending quality time with them can help alleviate these issues.

Possible Reasons Why Your Shih Tzu is Not Eating

There could be several reasons why your Shih Tzu is refusing to eat, including illness, dental issues, underlying health problems, changes in their environment, or emotional distress.


Your Shih Tzu might be sick if they refuse to eat. Illness can range from a minor upset stomach to more serious conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. Dogs often lose their appetite when they’re feeling unwell, just like humans do.

Common symptoms of illness in dogs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in behavior. If your once food-loving pooch suddenly turns up its nose at mealtime, it’s possible that illness is the reason for their new picky attitude towards food.

It’s crucial to take any sudden change in eating habits seriously and consult with a veterinarian immediately. They can conduct tests to determine whether illness is the cause of your Shih Tzu’s refusal to eat and guide you on the appropriate course of action.

Dental issues

Dental issues can be a common reason why your Shih Tzu is refusing to eat. Just like humans, dogs can experience dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease, which can make chewing painful or uncomfortable.

If your Shih Tzu has loose teeth, cavities, or other dental issues, they may avoid eating altogether or only eat soft foods that require less chewing. It’s important to take your furry friend to the veterinarian for a check-up if you suspect dental problems so that appropriate treatment can be given and their appetite restored.

Another potential dental issue that could affect your Shih Tzu’s eating habits is the presence of oral obstructions. These obstructions may include objects stuck between teeth or even growths in the mouth that hinder normal chewing and swallowing.

Underlying health problems

When your Shih Tzu is refusing to eat, it could be a sign of underlying health problems. Issues such as internal parasites, dental problems, or even internal obstructions can cause appetite loss in dogs.

It’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment if your Shih Tzu’s refusal to eat persists. They will be able to determine the root cause of the problem and provide appropriate solutions.

Remember, addressing these underlying health issues is crucial in order to ensure your Shih Tzu’s overall well-being and happiness.

Changes in environment

Moving to a new house or experiencing significant changes in the household can greatly affect your Shih Tzu’s appetite. Dogs are creatures of habit, and sudden disruptions in their environment can result in stress and anxiety, leading to a loss of appetite.

It’s important to give your furry friend time to adjust and create a calm and familiar eating space for them.

Emotional distress

Emotional distress can be a common reason why your Shih Tzu is refusing to eat. Just like humans, dogs can also experience anxiety and stress, which can affect their appetite. Changes in the environment, such as moving to a new home or the absence of a family member, can trigger emotional distress in your furry friend.

It’s important to create a calm and soothing atmosphere for your Shih Tzu to help them feel more secure and relaxed during mealtime. Additionally, spending quality time with your dog through play or exercise can also help alleviate any emotional distress they may be experiencing.

Solutions for Encouraging Your Shih Tzu to Eat

To encourage your Shih Tzu to eat, you can try different food options, offer chicken and rice or baby food, rub Karo syrup or raw honey on their gums, and consult with a veterinarian if refusal to eat persists.

Try different food options

I experiment with different food options to entice my Shih Tzu to eat. Sometimes dogs can become bored with their regular meals, so offering a variety of flavors and textures can help spark their interest.

I try switching between wet and dry dog food, or even offer homemade options like boiled chicken or rice. It’s important to introduce new foods gradually to avoid upsetting their stomachs, but trying out different options might just be the trick to get them excited about eating again.

Offer chicken and rice or baby food

To encourage your Shih Tzu to eat, try offering them chicken and rice or baby food. These options can be tasty and easier for them to eat, especially if they have dental issues or are feeling unwell.

Chicken and rice provide a balanced meal with protein and carbohydrates, while baby food can be easily digestible. By providing these alternatives, you may entice your Shih Tzu to start eating again.

Rub Karo syrup or raw honey on their gums

To help encourage your Shih Tzu to eat, try rubbing some Karo syrup or raw honey on their gums. The sweet taste can stimulate their appetite and make mealtime more appealing. This simple trick may entice them to eat and ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Consult with a veterinarian if refusal to eat persists

If your Shih Tzu continues to refuse to eat despite trying various solutions, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian. A persistent refusal to eat may indicate an underlying health issue that needs professional attention.

A vet will be able to thoroughly examine your dog and conduct any necessary tests or diagnostics to determine the root cause of the appetite loss. They can provide expert guidance on how best to address the issue and develop a specific treatment plan tailored to your Shih Tzu’s needs.

Remember, seeking veterinary advice is essential for ensuring your pet’s overall well-being.

How to Determine if Your Shih Tzu is Just a Picky Eater

Is your Shih Tzu being picky with their food? Find out how to determine if it’s just a matter of preference or something more serious! Read on to learn more.

Consider food preferences

Understanding your Shih Tzu’s food preferences can play a significant role in their refusal to eat. Like humans, dogs have different tastes and preferences when it comes to food. Some may prefer certain flavors or textures over others.

If your Shih Tzu refuses to eat their regular food, it might be worth trying out different options to see what they enjoy more. Experiment with various flavors or brands of dog food that align with their nutritional needs to entice them to eat.

Keep track of what they do and don’t like so you can make adjustments accordingly.

Keep track of eating habits and times

I closely monitor my Shih Tzu’s eating habits and times. This helps me identify any patterns or changes in their appetite. By keeping track of when they eat, how much they eat, and any fluctuations in their behavior during mealtime, I can better understand if there are any underlying issues contributing to their refusal to eat.

It also allows me to provide accurate information to the veterinarian if the problem persists.

Observe for other symptoms or behaviors

Pay attention to any other symptoms or behaviors your Shih Tzu may be exhibiting alongside their refusal to eat. Look out for signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or lethargy.

These symptoms could indicate an underlying health issue that needs prompt veterinary attention. Additionally, observe their overall behavior and mood. If they seem unusually anxious, depressed, or are avoiding social interaction, it could be a sign of emotional distress affecting their appetite.

It’s important to take note of these symptoms and behaviors in order to provide the most accurate information when consulting with your veterinarian about your Shih Tzu’s eating habits.

When to Seek Help If Your Shih Tzu Continues to Refuse to Eat

If your Shih Tzu continues to refuse to eat, it is important to seek help from a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Tips for dealing with a sick or elderly dog

When dealing with a sick or elderly dog, it’s important to prioritize their comfort and well-being. First and foremost, consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

They can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Ensure that your dog has a quiet and cozy space where they can rest undisturbed. Provide them with plenty of fresh water and offer small, easily digestible meals throughout the day.

Monitor their eating habits closely and keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or appetite. Additionally, administer their prescribed medications as directed by the vet, following the appropriate dosage instructions.

Possible causes for loss of appetite in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus can experience a loss of appetite for various reasons. Illness, such as an upset stomach or infection, can cause them to refuse food. Dental problems like tooth decay or loose teeth may also affect their eating habits.

Underlying health issues, like digestive problems or internal obstructions, could be to blame as well. Changes in their environment, including a new home or travel, might make them lose interest in eating.

Lastly, emotional distress and anxiety can contribute to a Shih Tzu’s unwillingness to eat.

Importance of consulting a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment

Consulting a veterinarian is crucial when your Shih Tzu refuses to eat. A vet can provide the expertise needed to accurately diagnose and treat any underlying health issues that may be causing appetite loss.

They will conduct thorough examinations, run necessary tests, and recommend appropriate treatment options to address the root cause. By seeking professional help, you can ensure that your furry friend receives proper care and the best chance at recovering their appetite and overall well-being.


In conclusion, understanding why your Shih Tzu refuses to eat is important for their well-being. By considering possible reasons such as illness, dental issues, or changes in environment, you can find solutions to encourage them to eat.

If the refusal persists or if your dog appears sick or elderly, it’s crucial to seek help from a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember that a healthy appetite is key to keeping your Shih Tzu happy and thriving.


1. Why does my Shih Tzu refuse to eat?

Your Shih Tzu may refuse to eat due to several reasons like picky eating, dental problems such as a loose tooth, illness, allergies causing eating problems or adverse reactions to drugs.

2. Can changes in the dog’s environment affect its appetite?

Yes, a sudden change in your Shih Tzu’s environment can lead them to experience food aversion and become a picky eater.

3. What signs should I look for if my dog is not eating but drinking and vomiting?

Loss of appetite coupled with vomiting could indicate serious health issues like internal obstructions or digestive issues in dogs which needs immediate veterinary attention.

4. Could stale food be the reason why my Shih Tzu refuses to eat?

Yes, always check for expiration dates on canned pet foods as stale or expired food can cause feeding problems and even make your puppy anorexic.

5. How does body condition relate to my Shih Tzu refusing to eat?

If your dog has poor body condition due to lack of proper canine diet nutrition,it might develop loss of appetite over time hence why it may refuse food.