It must be mentioned again that before you take steps to help your Shih Tzu lose weight, do be sure that this is not a matter of having a larger than expected body structure, and that there are no health issues.
You goal will be to decrease calories (without decreasing the amount of food that you give to your Shih Tzu), while increasing his activity level.
#1 Change his diet to a both a quality food & a low calorie formula.
If your Shih Tzu has been eating a less-than-ideal dog food, it will be time to make a switch to a better one. If he is already on a 4 or 5 star food, that brand should offer a healthy-weight variety.
If you will be making a change in brands, do this over the course of 3 weeks to avoid upset stomach. Week one do 3/4 old to 1/4 new, week two do 1/2 and 1/2, and week three do 1/4 old to 3/4 new. By week four, your Shih Tzu will be fully transitioned over.
This is a very high quality food that is great for toy breed dogs. The 'healthy weight' formula's top ingredient is turkey, which is a low-calorie, filling protein.
It also has chicken, oatmeal (easy on the tummy), salmon and flaxseed (both very good for skin and coat health), carrots, spinach, blueberries, apple, and sweet potaotes.
There are zero chemical additives, and no wheat, corn, soy or by-products. And, this is made in the USA.
#2 Only offer low-calorie snacks for treats and rewards.
Anywhere from 10 to 30% of a dog's daily intake can come from his snacks. And it is not recommended to stop giving these.
Snacks are an important part of a dog's diet, to keep him satiated between meals, and to reward good behavior. Both praise and reward plays a big role in everything from reinforcing housebreaking, to command training, and such things as walking nicely beside you or not barking at a trigger.
And no dog wants to stop receiving goodies from his humans. So, the key is to offer something that will be well-received, but has a lot fewer calories than regular dog treats.
You can offer some wholesome foods
such as raw baby carrots. And low calorie options like peas, cucumbers, and even some fruits like blueberries and raspberries can be added to meals.
If you are looking for really great store-bought treats
, we are very happy with Fruitables Skinny Mini Apple Bacon Dog Treats
. These also come in other great flavors like pumpkin & berry, pumpkin & mango, and even bison (a great low-fat meat).
These have zero additives, and actually have very few ingredients; just real food and natural preservatives. The best part is that each small treat has just 3.5 calories. Even a small handful of 4 or 5 will keep counts down low. And, of course, these are made in the USA.