Shih Tzu New Puppy Owner FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

     by Janice Jones        Published  09-02-2019       Updated: 02-07-2022

Two Shih Tzu puppies, one prapso and one normal are sitting on the side of their bed in an exercise pen enclosure.Shih Tzu Puppies Frequently Asked Questions

This page is totally devoted to new puppy owner FAQ or frequently asked questions. All new Shih Tzu owners always have questions about the best way to take care of their new furbaby.

  • Should I train my puppy to use pads or go outside?
  • Should I let my new puppy sleep in my bed?
  • Should I purchase one puppy or two so they won't be lonely?
  • What's the best food to give a puppy?
  • When should my puppy visit the veterinarian?  the groomer?  start training classes?

You get the idea, new owners always have questions, and I was the same way when I got my very first Shih Tzu baby.  That was a very long time ago, and since then, I've raised quite a few puppies and have picked up some tips that make the process much easier so hopefully I will have the answers you need. 

We've been raising puppies for a very long time now and know what works and what doesn't.

This page is devoted to you, the new Shih Tzu puppy owner. Please feel free to contribute to this page by using this contact form to ask your question. If I don't have an immediate answer for you, I will find one and your question will be added to this page of questions and answers.  

Scroll down to review the questions and and answers that have already been submitted.  If your question has not been addressed, please use the form at the end of this page to ask and you will receive an answer. Or, go there now.

New Puppy Owner FAQ

Here is just a few of our new puppy owner faq but I'm betting you have some of your own.  Review the list below and if your question has not been answered, please contact me so I can help find an answer for you.

New Puppy Owner FAQ 1: 

What is the Best Puppy Food to Give to My New Puppy?

Not to disappoint you, but there isn't one best food to give a new puppy.  But there are probably tens if not hundreds of foods from which to choose.  Puppies as well as adults thrive on a high quality diet, but what does that even mean?

First, dog food comes in a variety of forms these days from dry kibble and wet can food, to dehydrated, frozen, freeze-dried, and semi-moist. 

Further, there is quite a selection of formulas for nearly any type of dog imaginable such as puppy, adult, overweight, nursing mom, or senior dog.  You can purchase organic, grain-free, limited ingredient, raw, or you can choose to make your own.

With so many choices, how does one choose?  Most of the time, new puppy buyers will pick the type of food that the breeder or rescue recommended and then only change if it becomes a problem.  That is sound advice, if the food is of high quality.  Some breeders, though will cut corners and purchase very cheap, unhealthy food.

Here are 10 tips to help you find a good quality food:

  1. Choose a food marked for "puppy" or "all-life-stages."

  2. Find a food where the first ingredient is a named protein source that is either a meat or fish not something such as corn.

  3. If the first ingredient is something such as turkey or chicken, look for a food whose second ingredient is a named meat or fish meal such as turkey meal.

  4. Avoid any food that contains artificial flavorings, preservatives (butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin) or colors ((Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE).

  5. All listed ingredients before you get to the fat source (such as chicken fat), are those in the most quantity of the food. Avoid foods that list different forms of essentially the same ingredient (i.e. whole grain corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, corn syrup, corn brand)

  6. Look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E often listed as mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), citric acid (vitamin C), and rosemary extract.

  7. Avoid any meat or poultry byproducts.  First, you don't know what type of meat or poultry is in the food.  Second, these by-products can be anything not fit for human consumption such as feet, beaks, or feathers.

  8. Avoid foods that contain sweeteners such as corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, or fructose.

  9. Take as much care choosing dog treats as you would dog food.

  10. Don't feel as though you must choose a dog food and stay on that food for the entire life span of the dog.  

Read more about Dog Food and Canine Nutrition

New Puppy Owner FAQ 2:

While Housebreaking my Puppy, How often should I take my puppy outside?

Puppies have little bladders and will need to eliminate more frequently than older dogs.  About 2 hours is a rough estimate for an 8 week old puppy and then you can gradually increase the time as the dog gets older.  

Since small dogs tend to be more difficult to housebreak than larger breeds, expect to spend more time (an patience) during the process.  

Puppies will want to eliminate shortly after they wake up, after play sessions, about 10 to 15 minutes after they eat, before bedtime and then about every two hours throughout the day.

You may need to take a puppy under four months of age outside at least once during the night.

Read more about housebreaking a Shih Tzu puppy.

New Puppy Owner FAQ 3:

How big will my Shih Tzu be when he is an adult?

This is likely the first new puppy owner FAQ I get when potential puppy buyers first contact me. There is no magic formula that can predict precisely how big a puppy will get as an adult but we can provide a good estimate. 

In most cases, puppies resemble their parents as adults so knowing how big the parents are will help you make an educated guess.  Sometimes, though, you may need to go back as far as the grandparents or even great grandparents.  

Lifestyle also needs to be taken into consideration.  There's no denying that a dog that loves to eat and hates to exercise is going to become an overweight adult regardless of how big his parents were.  Keep that in mind, especially after the puppy is spayed or neutered and as they age.  

Just like people, aging dogs tend to reduce their activity, become more sedentary but still like to eat.

Here's a good chart that will help you figure out your puppy's adult weight.

New Puppy Owner FAQ 4:

Why did my Shih Tzu puppy change colors?

Shih Tzu dogs are known to be little chameleons when it comes to changing coat colors.  Sometimes the changes are a result of genetics, but often, there is a simpler explanation. 

As the puppy's hair grows in, you are often able to see the roots of the hair shaft which may not be like the ends.  The hair at the roots is a better indication of the actual coat color. So a puppy that looks like she is black, but has light colored roots may end up being gold rather than black.

Here is a more thorough explanation to Shih Tzu coat color changes.

New Puppy Owner FAQ  5:

What is the best treats to use for training my Shih Tzu Puppy?

No doubt you will want to start training your puppy soon after she arrives in your home.  There is almost universal agreement that positive training methods produce the best results meaning that you reward good behavior and avoid negative punitive tactics that tend to scare and produce fear reactions in your dog.

Training treats are used to reward good or appropriate behaviors, but just what makes a good dog training treat ideal?

Dog training treats have 3 things in common:

1.  They can be consumed quickly and easily.

2.  They are soft enough to be broken down into tiny tidbit sizes that puppies can manage easily.

3.  They are very tasty.  There are treats and then there are TREATS.  These high end treats will get results quickly because they are such sought after commodities that are worth working for.

Since dog training treats are used in between meals to illicit appropriate behaviors, you need to take into consideration their nutrition value and caloric content.  If they take over normal mealtimes, you may create a puppy that is a finicky eater.  

If they are not tasty or considered to be high level rewards, you won't be able to get your puppy to perform.  After all, would you do something when the reward is lack-luster at best?


You want your treats to be just as nutritional as the dog's food, only tastier.  You also want to assure that the treats are not tainted with some untoward chemical that can harm your dog. Finally, you want to be sure that your puppy will love and devour them with gusto between commands and tricks.


  • If you have found a dog food you trust, purchase training treats from the same company.
  • Make your own.  Extremely high quality valuable treats include tiny bits of chicken, turkey, beef or salmon.  Chop them up into tiny pieces that can be chewed and digested within seconds. 
  • Choose a non-dog training treat such as Cheerios™ that can be provided only during training sessions.  Tiny bits of human cereal can be kept in zip lock containers and placed in various locations within your home for easy reach.  
  • A bag of cereal by the back door is within easy reach when your puppy eliminates successfully outdoors.  A small bag on a small table where you engage in hobbies or television watching is a perfect location for spontaneous dog command or trick training.

Learn more about Shih Tzu Puppy Training

New Puppy Owner FAQ 6:

Can I leave my Shih Tzu puppy alone while I work?

A small red Shih Tzu puppy is staring out the window.New Puppy Owner FAQ: Can I leave my puppy alone?

Shih Tzu puppies and adult dogs have been bred for centuries to be companion dogs and as such do not do well if left for long hours without the companionship of people.  

If you find your work schedule keeps you away from your Shih Tzu puppy for long periods of time, it would be advisable to make arrangements for your puppy to have some interactions with others while you work.

You can accomplish this by working with friends to visit the puppy several times a day, to provide a meal, a short walk or play session, or just to love and interact while you work. 

If you don't have a friend or friends that can help provide these services, there are professionals that can fulfill these roles.  Hiring a dog sitter or dog walker can break up your puppy's day and provide stimulation, care, and exercise while you work.

With all this said, Shih Tzu dogs are prone to Separation Anxiety.

New Puppy Owner FAQ 7: 

What Kinds of Bowls Do You Recommend for Shih Tzu Dogs?

A young Shih Tzu puppy is eating out of a stainless steel bowl.

When I was a kid (and I'm dating myself now) I doubt anyone would even think to ask this question.  You either bought the style of bowl that was available in stores or you used an old miss-matched bowl from your kitchen.  

Now, the question, what kind of bowls is a valid one because there are so many choices on the marketplace.  Do you buy ceramic, glass, stainless steel, plastic, silicon, raised, automatic, weighted, well, you get the idea...there's just too many options.

Puppies here mainly eat out of ceramic or stainless bowls that are relatively small.  There's no need to purchase cat size bowls unless you are getting a super small size puppy. Both ceramic and stainless are easy to clean and work well.  Ceramic bowls are heavier and can't be knocked over easily.  I wouldn't recommend raised bowls at this stage.  

Plastic bowls are concerning because they can be scratched or chewed leaving little crevices for bacteria to reside.  

Water bottles are another option and most Shih Tzu adapt to them easily.  Your dog will lick the nozzle while keeping his face dry.  Definitely worth a try.

Your Turn... What Questions do You Have About Your Shih Tzu Puppy?  New Puppy Owner FAQ

If you have any questions about your Shih Tzu puppy, here is the place to get answers.  Use the form below to ask your question.  Please  be sure to provide as much information as possible to help me answer your question. 

For example, please provide your puppy's name, age, when you adopted or purchased your puppy, and what your question is about.  Provide an email address so I can contact you with additional questions if necessary.   

If your question requires immediate veterinary attention, please call your vet.  This free service is not meant to replace the services of a professional  veterinarian.

Ask Your New Puppy Owner FAQ below.

Are You a new Shih Tzu Puppy Owner and Have a Question?

I'd love to help you with your questions about your new Shih Tzu Puppy, whether it has to do with diet and nutrition, training, care or unusually behaviors that you had not anticipated. Please know that there is no question that is so simple or stupid. All questions are valid and important. Please use this form to ask your questions.

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Thank you so much for your help and advice! 
Hi Janice, We emailed back and forth a few times, I was going to get a rescue Shih Tzu who only had one eye and was on Optimmune for the other eye. …

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