The Shih Tzu has become a popular breed in the last few years, and with so many new Shih Tzu owners, it’s possible some owners may be unaware of their pets’ sensitive stomachs.

Truth be told, Shih Tzus are known for being stomach-sick after eating certain foods that other dog breeds can eat without a problem.

So, what can’t Shih Tzus eat and why? Some of these foods are just toxic, while some are lethal. Either way, they should be avoided at all costs.

1. Chocolate

It’s pretty much common knowledge that dogs can’t eat chocolate, and Shih Tzus are no exception.

The reason Shih Tzus (and dogs in general) can’t eat chocolate is that it contains theobromine, a substance very toxic to dogs.

Even small doses of chocolate are particularly bad for Shih Tzus, and bigger doses can lead to tremors, seizures, or even death.

2. Raisins, Grapes, and Currants

It’s not widely known, but raisins, grapes, and currants are toxic to Shih Tzus. They can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and even kidney damage.

Scientists have yet to determine exactly which substance in these fruits causes a negative reaction, but it’s bad for them.

3. Onions

Onions are bad for Shih Tzus because they contain a toxin that affects their red blood cells and causes anemia.

Onions probably aren’t something many people would even think of feeding their dog, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

4. Gum and Candy

Gum and candies contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, one of the most toxic things a Shih Tzu could eat.

According to research, xylitol is approximately 100 times more toxic than chocolate is for dogs because their bodies mistake xylitol for glucose, causing the pancreas to produce insulin.

Their consumption could lead to liver failure and even death.

5. Milk and Other Dairy Products

While milk is not lethal in small doses, most Shih Tzus are lactose intolerant, so most dairy products will make them sick.

Shih Tzus have a hard time digesting dairy, and it will cause them to have an upset stomach and diarrhea.

6. Nuts and Walnuts

The main reason nuts and walnuts should be avoided is because they’re a choking hazard for Shih Tzus, given that they’re a small breed.

Macadamia nuts specifically are also really poisonous for Shih Tzus. The poisoning could lead to tremors, vomiting, and lethargy.

7. Coffee, Caffeine, and Tea

These drinks are terrible for Shih Tzus because they contain methylxanthines, chemicals that have a negative effect similar to chocolate in dogs.

A lick or two of coffee usually isn’t dangerous, but any more than that could be a problem, and they should be monitored for signs of toxicity.

8. Avocado

Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that’s dangerous to most animals. While dogs are more resistant to it, it’s still not 100% safe.

Shih Tzus in particular have a hard time digesting it, and eating it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage.

9. Food High in Salt

Food high in sodium (salt) could potentially be poisonous to Shih Tzus, but unless it has excessive quantities of salt, this is not very common.

Most of the time, eating food with some salt in it will only lead to them getting extremely thirsty.

10. Cherries

The main issue with cherries is that their pits, stems, and leaves contain cyanide, which is poisonous and potentially lethal to dogs if consumed in high enough quantities.

Cherry pits can also get lodged in a Shih Tzu’s small digestive tract and cause intestinal blockages.

11. Coconuts

While in small quantities it’s usually harmless to Shih Tzus, the white flesh and the milk of the coconut can cause Shih Tzus a really bad stomach upset.

Bigger breeds of dogs don’t have a problem eating coconut, but the stomach of a Shih Tzu is more delicate, and this food is not recommended for them.

12. Some Peanut Butter Brands

Shih Tzus adore peanut butter, and some brands are safe for them, but not all of them.

Some peanut butter brands contain xylitol, the artificial sweetener that’s also in most gum and candy, and that’s extremely toxic to them.

13. Burgers and Fried Food

It can be tempting to give your Shih Tzu a small taste of your burger or fries, but this is not always a good idea.

Burgers can cause an upset stomach in Shih Tzus, and if they eat this type of food regularly, it could also result in pancreatitis.

14. Leftover Bones

It might seem like a common thing to give dogs the leftovers after a meal, but it’s a bad idea to give Shih Tzus cooked bones because they’re a choking hazard.

The fact that they’re a small breed only increases this risk, which is why it's something that needs to be avoided.

15. Raw Eggs

Uncooked eggs are something some owners consider giving to their Shih Tzus, but it’s not a good idea to do so, because there’s a chance they will give the dog food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella.

Keeping Them Away From All These Things

Dogs are curious animals, and they may come across any of these foods and eat them without their owners realizing.

This is why it’s important to store your food in places that they can’t reach, but if they happen to eat any of them, call your vet! They will tell you what to do to ensure your fluffy friend’s wellbeing.