When is the best time to feed your Shih Tzu? Too close to going for a walk could cause issues and too soon after a walk can as well. But what about when you’re house training your dog? That can change the equation too. So, if you’ve been wondering, “Should I feed my Shih Tzu before or after a walk,” here’s what you need to know.
Should I Feed My Shih Tzu Before or After a Walk?
There is a little debate on this issue.
Some say you should feed your dog before you take them for a walk and others say you
should feed them after a walk.
So, what’s the right answer?
Shih Tzu Puppies – Feeding and Walking
When you have a new Shih Tzu puppy, the best advice is to feed your puppy and then take them outside to play in the yard or for a short walk.
Puppies tend to need to go to the bathroom about 20 to 30 minutes after they eat.
If you take your puppy outside after they eat their meal, it will help with housebreaking and reducing inside accidents.
Granted a little puppy isn’t going to walk very far, so it isn’t as if you are going on a 30-minute hike.
It’s doubtful they could keep up that long anyway.
So, when it comes to Shih Tzu puppies, feed them first and then take them outside.
But what about adult Shih Tzus?
That becomes a little bigger issue.
Adult Shih Tzus – Feeding and Walking
Most experts say that there should be at least 30 minutes between feeding and walking your dog.
Even longer, such as an hour or more is better.
This means you can take your Shih Tzu for a walk before they eat or after they eat.
I have always left dry food out for my Shih Tzus to eat when they feel like it, so this has never been a real issue in my household.
Of course, both of my dogs tend to eat a few bites of food in the morning and then again in the evening, so any walks would naturally fall between those times.
I take them out to go potty first thing when we get up, but I don’t take them for a walk until later in the day.
Your personal schedule might be such that you don’t have this option.
I work from home, so I have a lot of freedom when it comes to walking my dogs.
But what are the pros and cons of when you feed and walk your Shih Tzu?
Does it really make any difference?
Yes, it can…
Walking After Eating
If you take your Shih Tzu for a walk after they eat, they will have more energy for the walk.
You’ll notice a pep in their step and they will be able and willing to walk a bit further than they would if they haven’t eaten
Also, just like walking after a big meal helps aid your digestion, walking after eating does the same for your Shih Tzu.
Good digestion is a key to good health.
And daily exercise and a good activity level will support a healthy digestive tract and help manage your dog’s weight as well as increase their blood circulation.
As pet parents, it is your job to help your Shih Tzu maintain optimal body weight.
Since your dog will have a higher energy level after eating, meal schedules that include eating before walking, are certainly beneficial.
Even so, there are a few possible negative side effects that can come with walking your Shih Tzu after they have eaten.
These include vomiting, stomach pain, and bloating
Just think about it.
If you’ve got a full stomach and then had to run a mile or two, you might start to feel poorly.
It’s no different for your pup.
All that food moving around in their stomach can lead to stomach pain or even vomiting.
In more serious cases, it can turn into bloat and your Shih Tzu will not be feeling well at all.
So, that’s why if you’re going to feed your dog before walking, do wait at least 30 minutes after eating.
That way digestion will have started and you won’t have to worry about them getting sick.
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Walking Before Eating
Of course, there are some benefits to taking your Shih Tzu for a walk before eating as well.
If your dog is a little overweight, then walking on an empty stomach can help burn off some of the excess weight.
They won’t have the food in their system to use as fuel, so it will have to come from somewhere else such as their fat stores.
Even if your Shih Tzu is at a good weight, walking before eating will help them maintain that weight.
There is a downside to walking your Shih Tzu before eating.
They won’t have as much energy as they would if they had been fed first.
Also, if they are super hungry, such as walking first thing in the morning after not eating all night, you might notice that your dog seems lethargic.
I know that after I take my two Shih Tzus out in the morning to go potty, the first thing they want to do is to get a drink of water and a bite of food.
If yours haven’t had the opportunity to do this before you go for a walk, they might suffer.
Even if you don’t want to feed them before walking, be sure they get a good drink of water before you head out the door.
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To Sum it All Up:
Pet owners may wonder when is the best time to walk their Shih Tzu, before meals or after. Either is fine as long as you wait at least 30 minutes in between. As long as your Shih Tzu doesn’t have any health issues, you should be okay, but if you’re worried, always contact your vet and get their advice.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.