Just like we never know what our own children are going to like or hate at dinnertime, every Shihpoo puppy may have his or her own favorite foods or treats. At one time, our older Shihpoo only wanted to eat his younger brother’s puppy food while the younger Shihpoo only wanted to eat the adult dog food. You never know!
We used to list six or seven different types of dog food, including dry and wet foods for puppies, adult dogs, and even deniors. I’ve found over the past couple of years that the only food we’ve purchased on the list and that our visitors purchased was just the IAMS ProActive. Here’s the link, followed by some insightful information about the pet food industry:
IAMS ProActive Dry Food for Puppy Shihpoos (from Chewy)
Any more, it seems dog owners feel guilted into buying only natural, organic and/or grain-free food for their puppy. While $30 for a small bag of such feed won’t hit some households too hard in the wallet, it would ours if we’re going through two a month.
Here is the reality. The dog food industry realized years ago that they had “conquered” the market. While there are still a few hold outs here and there feeding raw foods (or, too often, human foods) to their puppies, most dog owners who would buy dog food for their dog already are. In many countries, this is not the case, so dog food makers are still making in-roads in those countries.
In the US, the only noticeable growth taking place in the dog food industry since 2010 is in the premium dog food market. Marketers have needed to refocus their efforts from convincing dog owners to get dog food for their canine companions to getting the best, healthiest and highest quality dog foods for their pups.
Is this all marketing or is it all about the best quality at the highest price? I believe it is a bit of both. That said, the FDA has even issued warnings, based on research by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, about potential links between some heart diseases in dogs and specific grain-free diets for dogs, even in breeds not predisposed to such diseases. It may still not be clear if the rise in heart disease is linked to the grain-alternative ingredients in the foods or to the types of meats often complimenting these foods that dogs don’t usually consume.
Until the jury is in for sure, here are a few foods we know our Shihpoos love, plus others we believe would be a good option:
Wet or Dry
I don’t think anyone would argue that most dogs prefer wet food. Our two Shihpoos sure do. However, wet or even semi-wet foods are far more expensive than dried foods. We regularly feed our puppies dry food, offering cans of wet food as we find them on sale and as special rewards or treats (or just because we love our pups).
We were initially Pedigree family. After bringing home our second puppy, we had a 36-lb bag of Pedigree Puppy. It lasted for about four or five months before ants got into it and we had to throw it away. We checked with our veterinarian before we bought it and she felt it was a good choice, if not her first. You can buy it at your local pet store or online at Chewy.com.
Whatever brand you decide to go with, I would probably recommend getting a smaller bag than the 36 pounder we did. It will last, but it won’t be as fresh by the time we are done with it in a year. Over the two years you feed your new Shihpoo puppy food, you could go through four of these 16-lb bags (for us, overly expensive is paying much more than $1/lb), keeping your puppy’s food supply fresher.
Doing it over, we would go with IAMS ProActive Puppy that you could get on Amazon.. It’s affordable but also has meat as the first ingredient and whole grain as the second, two of my priorities for a healthy puppy food.
Adult Dog Food
Like our puppy, our 3-year old Shihpoo got Pedigree for quite a while, but this bag was for adults. We found a bonus bag on sale, so we bought 55-lbs of Pedigree dog food, which would last our little Shihpoo probably two years. It actually went stale before we used it all up.
Besides, storing that big ol’ bag is no simple matter. We have no room in the house, so it goes in the garage. Unfortunately, ants can find it there, turning it unusable as well. As with the puppy food, regardless of the brand, go for reasonable size bags, even if you find a great deal on a massive one. The exception would be if you and a neighbor are going in together, or if you have two or more dogs in the house eating adult dog food.
Growing up, I remember feeding my Alaska Eskimo dog original Milk-Bone treats. He loved them. We have tried Milk-Bone for small dogs, and neither of our Shihpoos care for them. They do, however, go bonkers for Ceaser Chews. Our puppies’ favorite is the Filet Mignon, of course. You can get them on Chewy.com.
For Training Treats, we have tried these two, and, not surprisingly, both our Shihpoos have loved them:
Pet Botanics Training Reward. The bag is cheaper online than it was in the local pet store by about $2. Here is a link to it on Amazon and Chewy.com. As with any treat, these will get hard and go stale after a couple of months, making it impossible to break them in half (which works great for our dogs). They worked great for our first Shihpoo puppy, though.
America’s VetDogs 10-ounce bag. What we like most about these training treats is their star shape. This shape makes it very easy to break the treats into halves, thirds or even small pieces to extend the puppy’s attention. You can get them at Amazon or Chewy.com.
- Pedigree’s DentaStix: Both of our puppies get one DentaStix chew at bedtime. As our veterinarian reminded us, this is NOT a substitute for brushing. Our puppies both get more excited at bedtime than at any other time of day (except when they catch us saying, “walk”) and make a run for their crates. It is the dog’s equivalent to catnip for cats. DentaStix comes in its original flavor in addition to bacon and beef flavors, but our puppies go bonkers for the Fresh mint, that you can get at Amazon or Chewy.com. If you order online and it comes stale, please let me know so I can adjust any recommendations. We usually order from Amazon and all but once they have been fine.
Slow Feeder Dog Food Bowl
If you have a hurried eater on your hands, you might worry about him or her throwing up on your carpet or, worse, bed, or you might be concerned about her or him choking on the unchewed food. Try a slow feeder. It worked immediately like a charm for our second puppy.
Automatic Dog Food Feeder
For timed meals, we would recommend a rotating bowl over one that “drops” food into a bowl. The rotating bowl trains your puppy to eat on a routine. Here’s one we would like to try:
Natural, Organic and Homemade Foods and Treats
There are plenty of natural and organic foods and treats available online and at your local pet store. Expect to spend 50% to even 200% more for such premium products.
If you are among the ambitious Shihpoo owners who want to provide only homemade food to your puppy, the one caution I would offer is to do your research. Shihpoos – and dogs generally – are not meant to eat people food. They have their own dietary needs, so do your research. Resulting malnutrition can lead to easily-broken bones and seizures, among other symptoms.
Here is an easy-to-read article about homemade dog food from Tufts University.