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Soft, strong, and sweet, Shiba Inu’s are an increasingly popular dog breed here in the US- due, in part, to their keen senses and bold personalities. They’re often mistaken for Akita’s, being that they are a fairly recent addition to the US dog breeding society and have the same curly, fluffy tail and muscular body.
Of course, being able to feed these characteristics is naturally what many lovers of the breed are keen on and, as always, we’ve got you covered. Below, we discuss the best dog food for Shiba Inu and what makes these specialist foods ideal for such a faithful, charismatic companion.
Hitting our list as the best dry food for Shiba Inu breed, this option from Blue Buffalo has been created with their patented Life Protection Formula. Packed full of their LifeSource Bits- small parts of kibble which use a mixture of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants- this is a great choice as a dog food for Shiba Inu’s as the recipe is perfect for small breeds and dogs who need a helping hand from time-to-time with their health.
A great, grain-free option, this Premium High Protein dog food for Shiba Inu’s from Taste of the Wild is a great choice for any small but mighty breed that needs an extra helping of protein. Since Shiba’s are known for being full of life, this is one of the best options you could give to your pup if you and your dog like to take life by the horns and go on plenty of walks together. Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain is one of 7 recipes included in our review of the Taste of The Wild Dog Food.
Keeping it natural is a good way to go with your Shiba Inu and with Nutro’s Wholesome Essentials range, you can be sure you’re getting a dry dog food packed with the right type of goodness. With no meat by-products, fillers, corn or wheat, you get a meal that will be kind on their stomach and help to keep any allergies or food sensitivities at bay. The chicken in this delicious recipe is farm-raised and helps to support their lean muscles and overall good health. Add in omega 3 & 6 for skin and coat health, as well as vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamin E for optimum immune system support and your adult Shiba will be on the right nutritional path.
Made with completely organic ingredients, and cooked in an organically certified US kitchen, this is a premium dog food that is perfect for Shiba Inu’s thanks to the lack or any nasty add-ons that you might find in cheaper counterparts. More expensive than many of the options on our list, this is a dog food that centers around completely natural ingredients- so no fillers, hormones, synthetic fertilizers or preservatives have been used at any stage of this kibble, making it perfect for Shiba’s with a sensitive stomach.
The Limited Ingredient Diet from Natural Balance is a great choice for many dogs but is particularly favorable with breeds that often suffer from allergies or digestive issues, such as the Shiba Inu. Their limited ingredients kibble has no added fillers, colors or preservatives and their food is always a massive hit with our canine companions. Natural Balance L.I.D. Small Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our Natural Balance Dog Food Review.
Great, affordable price
Limited ingredients so no added fillers, colors or preservatives
Created for smaller breeds, Nature’s Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food has been broken down to better suit smaller mouths. Packed with chicken meal for a great source of lean meat and therefore extra protein, this is an ideal choice for Shiba Inu’s as they are a small, muscular breed that often requires a little extra protein. This is also a perfect choice as Shiba Inu puppy food, as the smaller bites and tasty ingredients are sure to keep their attention, while giving them the best start.
The grain-free option from Victor Super Premium Pet Food is a great choice for Shiba’s as they’re designed with food allergies in mind. Thus, there are no added fillers, preservatives or colors and they have even catered for dogs with allergies to proteins found in lean meats other than fish. Being the only option that has this option, we think it’s worthy of a spot in our Top Picks. VICTOR Select Yukon River Canine Recipe is one of 5 recipes included in our review of the Victor Dog Food product line.
With a primary focus on providing high-quality proteins, this grain-free option from Wellness Core is a great choice for active Shiba Inu’s who spend a lot of their days outdoors. With a high protein percentage of 34%, this isn’t ideal for elderly dogs but it perfect for smaller, bolder breeds such as the Shiba Inu. Better yet, this option uses no filler or preservatives and is made right here in the USA. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our review of Wellness Core Dog Food.
A colossal bag that provides fantastic value-for-money, this dry fog food from CANIDAE is made with added probiotics and antioxidants, as well as being made without corn, wheat or soy. This is the perfect kibble for Shiba Inu’s in multi-dog households and, as an added bonus, can be used during all of your dog’s life stages. CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken Formula is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our CANIDAE Dog Food Review.
Our final choice is the highly-rated Limited Ingredient Diet from ACANA, which holds up to 60% of it’s total mass from fresh, raw or dried animals- providing that lean meat and a great source of proteins for your Shiba Inu. The remaining 40% is made up of healthy fruits and veg, so you can be sure that your pup is getting all the vitamins and minerals they could possibly need. ACANA Singles Lamb & Apple Recipe is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of Acana Dog Food.
Ingredients to Look for in a Dog Food for Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu food should always be packed full of the good stuff and, while the same can be said for any pet, we know that giving our Shiba’s the best dog food can mean that they are happier, healthier and maintain their full-of-life attitude that we all love so much.
Below are the best ingredients you can find in Shiba Inu dog food, as they carry everything your dog will need to maintain their optimal health and wellbeing:
Packed full of protein and therefore essential fatty acids, good quality beef supports everything from your Shiba’s immune system to their skin and bones- as well as providing the energy required for those long days at your side.
Fish is a great source of Omega-3 and Omega-6, as well as being packed with protein if you choose lean fish such as salmon and sardines. These are great for maintaining eye and skin health too, so are a particularly great choice in the summer, when your dog is likely to be shedding.
Papaya is packed full of enzymes and is therefore perfect for maintaining optimal digestive health. They’re also full of Vitamin-C and beta-carotene, so are great for reducing heart disease and inflammation- perfect for older Shiba’s who might have joint problems.
As well as being great for digestion, thanks to their high fiber content, brown rice is also full of antioxidants which can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels in your Shiba Inu. Brown rice also has plenty of selenium and manganese, which help bone development and maintenance.
Did you know that green peas are a great anti-inflammatory? Their unique phytonutrients and antioxidants work brilliantly with the omega acids that you’ll find in these little round balls of tastiness, to provide your dog with healthy joint health.
A fantastic superfood that fills your Shiba Inu full of the good stuff, sweet potatoes are full of Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as being high in fiber and healthy carbohydrates.
Ideal for reducing levels of cholesterol, broccoli is another superfood that is abundant in Vitamins A, D, and K, which helps regulate the heart, calcium levels, and bone metabolism.
Another superfood that helps to combat bone and joint problems, spinach is packed full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamin K, to maintain bone and blood health.
Shiba Inu Diet and Nutrition
Protein is perfect for building up muscle mass and maintaining the health of your Shiba’s muscles, as they are quite heavy-set dogs. That said, what intake they should be receiving depends almost entirely on just how active they are.
If you and your Shiba are more likely to be lazing around on a Sunday, then they’ll likely need less protein. Of course, the more you and your dog are out and about, the more protein your dog will need.
Proteins are made up of 22 amino acids- some of which your dog can’t produce on their own. So, investing in food that is laden with the missing 10 amino acids is a great way to ensure your dog is getting their full intake, and therefore are able to stay at their healthiest.
Like every dog’s diet, the Shiba Inu diet needs to have a good level of carbs in its daily mix. These carbs are then broken down into glucose, which is used to create energy. Without carbohydrates, your Shiba Inu simply won’t have the energy they need to go about their day-to-day lives, never mind having the energy required for walkies!
Despite what you might hear in flashy magazines, fat is actually very much necessary in order for your body to live healthily and the same can be said for your Shiba Inu. Having a good level of fat in the body helps your digestive system to absorb the vitamins and minerals, as well as a great way of storing fatty acids that the body can’t produce itself.
Fat is also the first source that’s burned off during exercise and, if you and your Shiba Inu like to take frequent walks, feeding them a good helping with plenty of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is essential for maintaining healthy body weight, as well as being very healthy for the body in general.
Vitamins and Minerals
Often overlooked, particularly in cheaper foods that are packed with more fillers, vitamins and minerals can help your Shiba Inu to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle. Vitamins A, D, and E help to promote good brain and eye health, for example, while minerals help maintain bone structure and growth.
Food to Avoid Feeding Your Shiba Inu
While the following won’t necessarily have a negative impact on your Shiba Inu, it can be beneficial to avoid “fillers” in your Shiba Inu dog food, as they add no real benefit to your dog’s overall diet, health, and wellbeing but instead could actually be causing more issues. For example, many dogs are allergic to the ingredients below and, since Shiba Inu’s are known for their allergies, it might be best to avoid these foods entirely.
These items are also known to cause your dog’s digestive system to slow down, as your pup’s stomach requires more energy to digest them, causing constipation and a sore stomach– especially if your dog isn’t used to these.
Common Health Problems Shiba Inu – How Diet Can Help Them
Shiba Inu, like many breeds, often have problems with hip dysplasia or joint issues as they age. In these cases, keeping a close eye on the weight of your dog is key, as any added pounds can exacerbate the issues and cause problems further down the line.
Ensuring that your dog is fed a healthy diet not only helps with their weight, however, as you can also use specialists’ diets and supplements to help ease the pain that comes with joint problems. Foods that have added Omega-3 and Omega-6 can be a great help, as these essential fatty acids can reduce inflammation, while glucosamine and chondroitin can help retain the pet’s cartilage.
Shiba Inu’s are known for their allergies, and any signs of excessive scratching, eye-watering or similar should always be seen by a vet as soon as possible to help ease these issues. That said, giving your dog food that doesn’t use any fillers can be a huge help, as many dogs are intolerant or allergic to soy, grains, corn, and wheat, as well as any artificial colors and flavors.
The final health problem that Shiba Inu is known for is eye problem. Many dogs can suffer from Progressive Renal Atrophy and Cataracts, among others, so these issues aren’t necessarily directly linked to the breed. Of course, there’s no harm in providing additional sustenance to stave off these problems, and food that is rich in sweet potato, pumpkin, and kale can do wonders to help with any eye problems- along with a multitude of others, too.
Q: How much food should I feed my Shiba Inu?
A: If you’re new to the breed, you might find yourself wondering how much do Shiba Inu’s eat, since they’re essentially a very muscular breed, yet still considered a member of the small/toy breed group. You should know that all dogs have their own metabolism and ideal weight, in much the same way as us humans have our own rate and BMI. The main thing is that they are kept at a healthy weight- where you can feel their spine, ribs, and hips but not be able to see them, and that (when you look at them from above) you can see a slight concave shape around their stomach area.
If that sounds a little confusing, or you aren’t sure of what constitutes the shape or feel of your dog’s weight, you can always follow the feeding guide, below:
30 X Weight (Kgs) + 70 = Daily caloric intake
Again, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule and there’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to any pet, as they’ll have their own lifestyle. Other factors you’ll want to take into account when looking into how much your Shiba Inu needs feeding is to check:
How active your dog is – The more active they are, the more food (particularly protein) they will need.
Their lifestyle and age – The older your dog gets, the more likely they are to want to laze around and become a lapdog, therefore needing less food
Individual differences – Every dog will have his or her own metabolic rate, as well their own energy levels and body shape
Body condition score – Rated between 1-9, the body condition score for dogs works in the same way that our own BMI score works for humans. The ideal body condition score for most dogs is around 4-5, and dogs above or below this will need their daily intake altered, to meet these additional needs.
Q: How often should I feed my Shiba Inu?
A: The answer to this depends almost entirely on how greedy your dog is! As puppies, you’ll need to feed your Shiba Inu smaller servings, more regularly- while adults can handle 2 larger servings. These servings usually come as a case of one in the morning and one at night- but it also depends on your family life and working hours.
The main thing is that your pup is fed consistently, with a good serving of healthy dog food for Shiba Inu’s. Remember that, not long after they’ve eaten, they will likely want to nip outside to do their business- which is one of the reasons we recommend placing a serving out in the morning (for your dog’s breakfast) and one around tea time, so they can be let out before bed.
Q: How much should a Shiba Inu puppy eat?
A: As with most puppies, you shouldn’t have to worry about your Shiba Inu eating too much puppy food at first. Unless your puppy is particularly greedy, in which case you might want to ration the food throughout the day.
At first, you can put down your puppy food at any point and just top it up as needs are. However, as the weeks go on, you can start to set up a proper feeding schedule, usually at around 3-6 months, depending on your dog’s appetite. At this point, you should be providing roughly one cup of Shiba Inu puppy food, which will be spread throughout the day. So, you might choose to start with 3 feeding times, throughout the day, with 1/3 cup each time- moving up to two feeding times with half a cup per serving.
As time wears on, you can keep adding to their daily intake, until you’re feeding your Shiba Inu puppy 1.5 cups of puppy food per day. This means you should have them on a healthy schedule by the time they’re adults, with 2-3 servings a day, totaling 1.5 cups of Shiba Inu dog food.
Our Top Pick
Our Top Pick for Shiba Inu dog food is easily Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, as it contains everything your Shiba Inu could possibly need without adding in any extra fillers or nasties that can react badly with your Shiba’s natural state.
The smaller kibble size, combined with the added fatty acids and high-quality protein makes this the perfect dog food for your Shiba Inu, as it’s less likely to trigger any allergies while still being perfect for sensitive stomachs and digestive systems.