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0 In Lifestyle/ Wellness

Keepin’ Your Pup Healthy + Safe

Notes and Photos from the April Social. Thanks to Iman of Lola & Baxter for being our guest expert! We had a great time!

The first three photos in the slide show are by Houston photographer,


Watch Pet Fooled. It’s a short hour long documentary on Netflix that will give you a ton of info about making better choices for your pup when it comes to what you are feeding them

Add real food to your current pet food to make it instantly healthier. You can add a raw egg to the food, steamed veggies, fish oil, fruits like blueberries, cranberries, and apples. Carrots help their eyes, and green veggies instantly gives their meal an upgrade.

Is your pet food from the USA or Canada? Canadian pet food standards are way higher than the USA. If you want to know more about the food you are feeding, check online. I use and You can sign up to get pet food recall alerts on Dog Food Advisor. I get them and unfortunately I get them way too often. It’s good to stay on top of these things.

Find out what is the main protein source in your pet food. What is the difference between Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken by-product? Stay away from anything that has by-product after it. And if they don’t name the meat. For example, some say Meat, or Bone Meal. No one knows what that really is. If they knew they would prob tell us. Amiright? You can bet it is low quality.

If it says, Chicken Meal that’s a good sign, it means that it has more condensed protein. It was weighed after it was dehydrated. AND if it just says ‘Chicken’, they are weighing it before its dehydrated and added to dry food. So that is a little misleading. Not to be confused with Fish Meal, which is suspect and poor quality.

Look to see what ingredients are on the package of your pet food. What ingredients should I watch out for? When looking at the label, I look at the first 5 ingredients. This is what the food is mostly made up of. But some of the ingredients that are bad and cause food allergies are wheat, corn gluten meal, canola oil, sugar, soy, there are more but these are the ones that I def stay away from.

Be aware when buying pet food. When they say Natural, Artisan, Holsitic it can sometimes mean the opposite. Brand marketing is confusing. Hallo Marketing! Because the standards are loosy goosy, you really have to be mindful and not just pick up a new food because the packaging looks healthy.

AAFCO standards can be suspect too. They have the basic standards in place. But just because they say it’s balanced, they don’t know what is making up those percentages. What type of protein is in there? Is it real chicken, or is it from corn gluten?

Have you considered home cooking or trying some of the real food companies that deliver? Real food can help keep pets healthier longer and help them heal. Lots of pet foods have chemical and toxic ingredients. 50% of dogs get cancer. If real food helps us hoomans feel better and heal, then it makes sense that it can do the same for our pets.

In my last blog post I talk about what foods Akasha has recently tried and how we deal with her being a picky eater.

This checklist and info is based on my research, Iman of Lola and Baxter,  and my opinion. Do your own research too, ok? I follow Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker on Facebook. They are excellent advocates.

We are proud to be the first to join Lola & Baxter’s Health Ambassador Program for Pet Info and Education. I’m a HAPPIE Ambassador! Stay tuned for more from Lola & Baxter!

2 In Lifestyle/ Wellness

Living With A Picky Eater

Hello, my name is Akasha, and I’m a picky eater!

Mom goes crazy trying to get me to be motivated to eat. The only thing I eat without a doubt is organic turkey breast, dry-roasted duck treats and Ark Naturals dental treats. Mom tells me I must live to reach at least 20 years old in hooman years. So we take this very seriously.

We have been through so MANY brands. The few listed below are just our most recent ones. We were doing Petcurean Now Fresh Small Breed. According to the and this Petcurean kibble has 4 paws out of 5. Though there are a couple of questionable ingredients. So we have moved away from serving this.

Visit one of those websites I linked to and see how your current food rates. I also signed up to the Dog Food Advisor Recall alerts. It’s the easiest way to stay on top of the latest pet food recalls.

Until mom starts cooking for me (hint hint), we are trying some of the real food and delivered dog food services.

What pet food as a picky eater have I recently tried and how did that go?

All of these foods listed below are Love Akasha Approved. Because the ingredients and nutrients in them are legit. I may be the pickiest eater out there but mom does her research and only chooses the very best for me to try.

The first one I tried was The Farmer’s Dog turkey recipe. We love the personalization that comes on their packaging. (Akasha’s Turkey Recipe) I did good on it for a while. Then I stopped eating it. So mom sprinkled in some organic turkey breast. That got me motivated again to eat it. So if you are picky like me, we suggest adding in another kind of food to get interest. But just make sure it’s not something that has a lot of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Minimal ingredients.  My friend Kimchee has a 50% discount code off your first order for you to try if you’re curious. (Delivery nation-wide.)

Next I tried Grocery Pup’s, Turkey Pawella recipe. We like this one because it has big chunks of turkey and is Texas-based. As it goes I needed a little motivation, so mom sprinkled it with my organic turkey and then I ate it. Why am I so particular? Halp! For some reason that turkey that mom buys at Whole Foods gets me going. Use code GP713 to get 25% off your first month of Grocery Pup. (Delivery in Texas only for now.)

The latest taste test has been with Lola + Baxter. (Delivery only in Houston, Texas for now.) The turkey recipe one I REALLY liked. Mom hand-fed me the first 4 bites to get me going, and then I ate the rest on my own. The good thing is that I didn’t need to sprinkle in any additional organic turkey breast. I’m trying the beef recipe right now (and I actually did request for the organic turkey to be added to this recipe). My next test will be their egg recipe. Stay tuned. We love supporting local so if you’re in Houston, follow their insta and visit them at one of their farmers market appearances.

The Simple Food Project makes real food for dogs. No soy, wheat or corn which we def approve of. Their ingredients all look legit. You can feed dry or add water. If you like the texture of freeze-dried and dry-roasted, this is for you. Their process seals in all the nutrients and we are still trying different ways of serving it. I’ve eaten some of it with my organic turkey sprinkled on top. (Do you see a pattern?)

If sprinkling in some organic turkey breast gets me to eat then that’s what mom will do for now. As long as the main course is any one of these she is ok with it. 

I eat real food pet treats by Herbsmith. The Smiling dog Dry Roasted Duck and the Dry Roasted Turkey treats are my faves. Minimal ingredients. The duck treat has duck and lemon juice. That’s it. The package says “Picky Eater Approved” and I have to say this is 100% correct. So if you’re looking for a healthy dog treat, this one is definitelyLove Akasha Approved.

If you are a picky eater…tell me what you do. Have you tried any of those toppers? Do those work?

If you are not motivated to eat maybe you need a change, or ask your mom to try adding something that will get you interested. Try adding some veggies! That automatically bumps up the nutrients. I’ve also heard adding chicken or beef broth helps. It’s become an experiment. Mom is grateful that I don’t eat everything because then she would have to watch me even more closely. 

And if you haven’t already, watch Pet Fooled on Netflix, mmkay? It will give you some ideas on different foods to try that will benefit their health.

We love our pups, let’s do them a favor and watch this one-hour long documentary that can make their lives even better. People are amazed when they see this. I was too. Plus it took me two years to see it. It came out in 2016.

If you’re in Houston, Texas, this Sunday we are having a social with Iman of Lola & Baxter as our guest speaker. He will be teaching us how to read a pet food label. (So we can get past the marketing part of the packaging where they use words like natural, artisan, and healthy. Even though they are probably not any of those.)

Being able to understand the difference between chicken vs. chicken meal vs. chicken byproduct makes it easier to make better choices. Iman will also share with us easy ways we can upgrade the current food that we are feeding.

The event is listed in the Houston Shih Tzu Lovers Playgroup and the Facebook Event. You can RSVP on either. For those of you not able to attend, I’ll be sharing the highlights with you.

0 In Lifestyle/ Wellness

7 Tips to a Good Night’s Sleep for You and Your Hooman

March is National Sleep Awareness Month

This is the perfect time to share with you a night time ritual to help you and your Shih Tzu get a good nights sleep. I sleep in the bed. And I bet if you’re here reading this you do too. We tend to be fancy like that. It took us a while to get our sleep ritual right, so I hope one of these tips is the answer you were looking for.

Best tip ever, right here, #1…

  1. Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine: If you live in an apartment especially, then when hoomans walk by you know how excited we get. Even in a house if you have lots of people walking around. With this kickin’ I don’t feel the urge to bark and wake everyone up. It cancels all that foot traffic out and mom likes me a lot more. On the rare occasion I do bark in the middle of the night, it’s because we forgot to turn it on. Seriously, get it! Life changing.
  2. Black out curtains FTW! Make sure there is no light peeking through the windows. When it’s totes black I tend to settle down because I can’t see anyways so I’m quiet. (I’ve noticed even on an airplane, mom blacks out my carrier, and I stop barking. Which is so great because people on the plane get mad at us.)
  3. Diffuse lavender essential oil. We keep a diffuser on the night stand and the lavender helps to get us in sleep mode. It’s also been known to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. So set the tone in your bedroom and breathe it in. I feel like I’m in a spa, it helps to add to the ambiance.
  4. No digital devices! We don’t have a tv in the bedroom, but there’s still an iPhone and iPad to distract us. Give Instagram a break. Turn off Netflix (although if you haven’t seen Schitt’s Creek, you may want to peep it. But not at bedtime. So funny!) There have been times when I’m falling asleep, then check my phone and that wakes me up again and the next thing I know it’s 2am. Don’t do that. And if you must, def read #5.
  5. Heard of blue light blocking glasses? If you must check your phone and keep your light on for a little while longer, try some blue light blocking glasses. They look funny, but mom notices the difference when she wears them. She gets sleepy really fast even while lights are still on.
  6. Activity and walks during the day! Make sure us pups get some activity so we are a bit more calm at night. Long walk, or a good indoor play sesh will do.
  7. Take all the toys out of the bedroom. If you’re anything like me, toys are my jam. Very toy motivated. I’ll squeak all night. And I’m very protective of my toys and growl when anyone gets close to me and my toys. So basically I’ve been grounded for life and toys are no longer allowed in the bed. Wah!

This is me in bed looking all cute and innocent. Do you sleep through the night or do you keep the hoomans up?

0 In Lifestyle/ Wellness

How to Keep Your Doggie Teeth Clean

Hey heads up, Feb is National Pet Dental Month.

Want lots of kisses? Keep your teeth clean! That’s what I do. I’ll give you the exact products I use. I’m 4 going on 5 years old and my vet says my teeth are excellent. So I must be doing something right.

I don’t think all hoomans understand that if our breath smells then we need a teeth cleaning. Teeth are important to our entire health and wellness. Got it. So don’t skimp or get lazy. 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have periodontal disease. That’s what leads to bad breath, painful inflammation, and can easily cause major life threatening diseases. Don’t take this lightly. There are toys and treats that can help with this too. I choose to use the most natural products.

I try dental toys every now and then. I found this one on

Here are the products I use:

TrueBlue Fast and Fresh Dental Swipes: No lie, these swipes are fast. I keep them in my beauty space and do this during my morning beauty routine.

Ark Naturals Breathless Plaque Zapper Pouch: When I’m feeling like I need a little extra care, this little packet goes in my water. It took a few times for me to be cool with this. I only drink fresh water. If it’s been sitting there all day, I won’t drink it. Fresh water, and I’m all over it. So I can tell when there’s something off about my water. But I’m all good now. I got use to this.

ARK Naturals Breath-Less Chewable Brushless Toothpaste: OBSESSED WITH THESE! I eat like two of these a day. And if I could get my paws on more I would. I can live off these. Doggie crack! Sometimes I get one that has been frozen because they try to slow me down. I eat them fast and then want more.

How do you keep your teeth clean? Tell me because I’m open to adding more to my beauty routine!

Wait! If you’re due for a dental cleaning, keep reading!

When I get my teeth professionally cleaned, you bet your fluffy butt I’ll be getting a non-anesthetic dental cleaning. Yes this is an option! Before I knew about this, the thought of going under for a teeth cleaning would cause major anxiety. But now, I have a plan and it’s to get my teeth cleaned by Healthy Smile Pet Dental. Costs way less! And doesn’t stress my mom out. I thought this was a California thing and was thinking I’d have to fly out there to do it. But then heard about this being available in my city, Houston. Score!

Peace + Love + Shih Tzus

Love, Akasha

2 In Lifestyle/ Wellness

4 Ways to Test Your Shih Tzus IQ?

Leona the Lion, Photo Credit: @mrmarinnyc

How intelligent is your Shih Tzu? Want to know their IQ? Watch this video and take your Shih Tzu through the four ways to test and keep score.

What does intelligence in dogs even mean? It means that they are highly trainable. Although I have to say Akasha has ME trained very well. If you’re here and have a Shih Tzu, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

She didn’t do too well with Leona’s video tests, so I’m hoping with a little more practice, Akasha will surprise me. Although I’m perfectly happy with my high maintenance sassy tzu!

Our East Coast Shih Tzu Expert is Leona the Lion.

She is a 3 year old Fashionista and YouTube Sensation living it up in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve been friends on Instagram for a while and we hope to meet her and her dads IRL (in real life) one day!

Check out Leona’s video as her daddies walk her through the four ways to test. And if you’re not subscribed to Leona’s YouTube channel, do it! Her videos are absolutely adorable and will be sure to make you SMIZE.

(ahem, for all you Tyra Banks, Top Model fans)

If you want to go a little further, Dognition, Find the Genius in Your Dog, is a good next step. Play MORE science-based games and learn more about how your Shih Tzu’s mind works. It includes games, tools, and reports.

I’m already geeking out at how fun it’ll be to discover Akasha’s hidden talents. I mean come on, a FULL personality report on my Akasha. YAAS PLEASE! We’ll make sure to report back with how she does.

Shih Tzus are loving and cute as hell, but it’s also important to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Playing games can be fun for you AND your Shih Tzu. Get that play time, quality time, bonding time in and give your Tzu a big (((HUG))) from us!

If you’re Shih Tzu Obsessed like we are, make sure you head on over to our Lifestyle posts and get your fix! And if you want to be a contributor on Shih Tzu Culture, email us at to let us know. We would love to hear about you and your sass!

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@shihtzuculture   |   @loveakasha