9 Best Dog Foods For Shar Peis Plus Top Brands for Puppies & Seniors

With their wrinkled faces and beady eyes, you can spot a Chinese Shar-Pei from a mile away.

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While typically calm and independent, these dogs aren’t afraid to defend their families. If a Shar-Pei thinks you’re being threatened by another dog or person, they can turn from snuggle-buddies to guard dogs in the blink of an eye.

Historically, the Shar-Pei originated in China, where they were thought of as the “peasant’s dog”. Farmers relied on their Shar-Peis to hunt, herd and guard their livestock. During the 1950s and 60s, the Shar-Pei became endangered but were eventually saved from extinction through the efforts of breeders.

Keep reading to learn more about the Shar-Pei’s unique dietary requirements, and the best Shar Pei food for your precious pup.

What is the Best Shar-Pei Dog Food?

Understanding a Shar-Pei’s Diet Requirements

Labeled as a medium-breed, an average adult Shar-Pei can weigh anywhere from 45 – 60 pounds. Most of these dogs require a significant amount of exercise and high-quality food to stay healthy and mobile. An average adult Shar-Pei generally requires around 1,300 calories a day, but a highly-active dog might need even more than that.

While specific calorie and protein needs will vary based on age, activity level, and weight, here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Puppy Shar-Pei Diet: As their bodies grow, a Shar-Pei puppy will require more protein than at any other life stage. During this time, you should aim to feed your pup around 900-1,000 calories a day—depending on activity level.
  • Adult Shar-Pei Diet: While it may vary from dog to dog, the Shar-Pei is usually fully grown by 8 months. At this point, it’s time to start thinking about gradually transitioning your furry companion from a puppy recipe to an adult formula. Your dog’s calorie intake will also increase from 1,000 calories to around 1,300 calories during this time too.
  • Senior Shar-Pei Diet: At about 7 years old, you can safely assume your Shar-Pei is entering into their golden years and will need to begin eating a senior formula. Since the Shar-Pei’s activity levels tend to decline with age, their caloric intake will too. A less active senior Shar-Pei may only need a little over a 1,000 calories to sustain them.

Instead of getting hung up on your pup’s caloric intake, it’s a better idea to pay attention to the kind of formula you’re feeding them. A Shar-Pei puppy shouldn’t be eating an adult formula just as a senior Shar-Pei shouldn’t be chowing down on a puppy recipe. Each type of formula is designed to meet your Shar-Pei’s nutritional needs at a specific life stage.

Special Dietary Considerations for Shar-Pei

Unfortunately, the Shar-Pei breed is prone to a variety of health issues, such as:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies or sensitive stomachs
  • Entropion
  • Shar-Pei Fever
  • Skinfold infections

Like most dog breeds, the Shar-Pei is at risk for developing hip or elbow dysplasia. This occurs when the ball and socket of the affected joint don’t fit together correctly. Left untreated and your dog may eventually suffer with arthritis, pain, and a lack of mobility.

While dysplasia can be the result of genetics, poor nutrition or a combination of both, it’s crucial that you’re feeding your Shar-Pei a diet that supports joint health.

Entropion, a deformity of the eyelid, is another major issue in the Shar-Pei breed. The eyelashes continually rub against the surface of the eye and cause chronic discomfort and pain. Unfortunately, a Shar-Pei with Entropion must have the condition surgically corrected.

Shar-Pei Fever is a condition that’s specific to this breed and causes repeated fevers and swelling of the hocks. While the cause is unknown, Shar-Pei fever can usually be treated with medication if it’s not too severe.

While their wrinkly appearance might be cute, the Shar-Pei’s appearance can actually make them prone to skin fold infections. Abnormal bacteria can grow unnoticed in the skin folds of a Shar-Pei, and result in a severe infection.

Although none of these health conditions can be completely prevented with a healthy, high-quality diet, feeding your Shar-Pei wholesome meals may be able to minimize the risk. Keep in mind that it’s especially important to find Shar Pei food that can support your dog’s joint and skin health.

Shar-Pei Feeding Chart

While any dog brand you buy will come with their own measurements, it’s generally recommended that a Shar-Pei puppy eats a cup of food 3 times a day. Once they reach around 6 months old, you can begin feeding your Shar-Pei twice a day.

As far as snacking goes, there’s nothing wrong with feeding your Shar-Pei a few treats throughout the day. However, keep in mind that treats should never account for more than 10% of their diet. As delicious as your dog may find them, these snacks don’t contain nearly enough nutritional value to sustain your Shar-Pei all the time.

The Best Dog Food For Shar-Pei: Our 2019 Top 15 Picks

Now that you’ve got a better idea of your Shar-Pei’s nutritional requirements, it’s time to discuss which specific recipes can meet those needs.

Here are our top 15 picks:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Snake River Grill Trout, Venison & Rabbit Grain-Free Recipe

Best Overall: Your Shar-Pei might not actually live in the wild, but with the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Snake River Grill Trout, Venison and Rabbit Grain-Free Recipe, they’ll feel like they do. Your dog can have all the protein they need without having to eat common food irritants like chicken or grain.

The formula also includes LifeBits, bite-sized protein pieces that are packed with crucial vitamins and minerals. In the process of converting real meat into dry dog food, some of the nutritional value can get lost in translation. Blue Buffalo avoids this by using the “cold-formed” method to preserve vital nutrients.

  • Pros: Grain-free, gluten-free, contains plenty of protein (30%), the cold-formed process helps to preserve vital nutrients, includes vitamin and mineral-packed LifeBits
  • Cons: Less affordable, some Shar-Pei dogs may not need this much protein

American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe

Most Affordable: The American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe is able to provide your Shar-Pei with all the nutrients they need at an affordable price. This recipe uses deboned salmon as their primary protein source and contains oatmeal, blueberries, brown rice and flaxseed for an extra nutritional boost.

Many of the fresh grains and veggies of this formula also serve as a source of dietary fiber. For dogs that are prone to gastrointestinal issues or have naturally sensitive stomachs, they might have an easier time digesting this formula than some other choices.

Maintaining good skin health is crucial for a Shar-Pei, and fortunately, this recipe is chock-full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that will support their shiny coats.

  • Pros: Contains dietary fiber, affordable, easily-digestible, includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, added DHA supports cognitive function
  • Cons: not grain-free, contains common food irritants like chicken fat

Solid Gold Holistique Blendz with Oatmeal, Pearled Barley & Ocean Fish Meal Recipe

Most Popular: Finding a Shar Pei food that can meet your dog’s nutritional needs and support their overall health is important—and it’s exactly what the Solid Gold Holistique Blendz with Oatmeal, Pearled Barley & Ocean Fish Meal recipe sets out to do.

With high levels of phosphorus and calcium, you can count on this formula to promote your Shar-Pei’s joint and bone health. With 20 different superfoods like blueberries, pumpkin, and cranberries, the recipe is chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals—as well as plenty of antioxidants to boost your dog’s immune system.

High levels of fat can do more harm than good, but this recipe primarily uses monounsaturated fats from canola oil and salmon oil to promote better skin health.

  • Pros: Monounsaturated fats support skin health, contains 20 different superfoods, boosts the immune system, calcium and phosphorus can help improve your dog’s joints and bones, no artificial preservatives or flavoring
  • Cons: Not completely grain-free, some dogs may be sensitive to fish

NomNomNow Variety Pack

Super Premium: The Shar-Pei may have been known as a “peasant’s dog”, but the NomNomNow Variety Pack will make them feel like a king. NomNomNow provides human-grade personalized meals that are designed to meet your dog’s specific nutritional needs.

By working closely with experts, NomNomNow ensures that each of their recipes contains the correct amount of nutrients based on your pup’s age, size, and activity level. Since many dogs can be picky eaters, ordering the NomNomNow Variety Pack is a great way to figure out which formula your Shar-Pei prefers.

The variety pack includes chicken, turkey, pork and beef meals as well as free jerky samples—all of which are made fresh every week and delivered to your doorstep.

  • Pros: Freshly-made, personalized meals for better nutrition, a great choice for picky eaters, multiple sources of protein, human-grade
  • Cons: Less affordable, some places may not be eligible for delivery

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken

Best for Allergies: Unfortunately, food allergies aren’t uncommon within the Shar-Pei breed. If you’re already aware that your dog has an allergy, finding a food that doesn’t contain that specific ingredient can be a chore.

Fortunately, the Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free recipe is free of common allergens like corn, soy, wheat, and potatoes. Not to mention, with plenty of probiotic support and higher levels of fiber, the chances of this recipe causing a digestive issue are slim.

The natural amino acids and antioxidants from cage-free chicken and chickpeas support your pup’s overall health and boost their immune system.

  • Pros: Grain-free, gluten-free, probiotic support, easily-digestible, high levels of protein (37% protein), amino acids and antioxidants to promote better health
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken, less active dogs might not require this much protein on a daily basis

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe

Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Sensitive stomachs are more common in dogs than food allergies. If you find that your Shar-Pei is experiencing nausea, vomiting or gas, they could be digesting an ingredient that’s upsetting their stomach.

While isolating the culprit can be difficult, feeding your dog a limited ingredient formula like the Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Potato recipe is a great place to start. This recipe keeps the ingredient list short but doesn’t skimp on the nutritional value.

The added calcium, phosphorus and glucosamine can support your dog’s joints while also helping reduce the risk of bone-related diseases later. The essential vitamins and minerals promote your dog’s overall health but specifically work to boost the immune system of your pup (which can lower the risk of infection and sickness).

  • Pros: Includes calcium, glucosamine, and phosphorus for joint health, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote skin health and shinier coats, limited ingredients lower the risk of digestive issues and allergic reactions, grain-free
  • Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to potatoes, less protein than other choices (20% protein)

3 More Top Rated Shar-Pei Adult Foods

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Turkey Recipe

While many dogs do enjoy high-quality kibble, some may prefer the taste of dehydrated food instead. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Turkey recipe includes free-range turkey and a variety of garden veggies and fruits—such as spinach, carrots, and cranberries.

These non-GMO ingredients are human-grade and don’t contain harmful antibiotics, hormones, preservatives or by-products. Dogs with sensitive stomachs may react well to this all-natural formula—especially since it’s grain and gluten-free.

Some owners may shy away from dehydrated food because they fear it’s time-consuming but preparing this recipe for your dog is as simple as just adding water.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe

Your dog’s diet plays a major role in their weight and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken recipe is all about meeting your dog’s nutritional requirements but excluding the unnecessary calories.

By using an animal source protein that promotes lean muscle growth, the formula steers clear of artificial flavoring, preservatives, and fillers. Besides chicken, there’s also plenty of Vitamin C and E for better immune system health.

Keep in mind that, while this may not be a great choice for highly-active Shar-Peis, this recipe can work wonders for a dog that needs to shed a few pounds.

Taste of the Wild Pine Forest Grain-Free Recipe

The Taste of the Wild Pine Forest Grain-Free recipe strives to make your dog feel as if they’re still living in the wilderness. With venison, legumes, peas, and garbanzo beans, this recipe is chock-full of nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals.

The antioxidants and added vitamins provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for your Shar-Pei’s skin and coat health. Along with being grain-free, there’s also plenty of probiotic support to aid in digestion. A Shar-Pei with a grain allergy or sensitivity might react better to this formula than some other choices.

It’s worth noting that the manufacturer makes this recipe within the US and uses advanced safety protocols throughout the process.

3 More Top Rated Shar-Pei Puppy Foods

Wild Frontier by Nutro with Turkey & Duck Grain-Free Puppy Recipe

With 60% animal ingredients, the Wild Frontier by Nutro with Turkey & Duck Grain-Free Puppy recipe is chock-full of protein for your growing Shar-Pei. Since it’s high-protein, this recipe centers around lean muscle growth and developing bones.

Just because a recipe meets your dog’s nutritional standards doesn’t mean your pup will like it. Luckily, this formula takes the extra step to ensure your Shar-Pei looks forward to meal-time.

Turkey liver, heart, and kidney parts provide your puppy with the crucial nutrients they need while also adding an appetizing flavor.

For Shar-Pei puppies that may struggle to digest grain products, you don’t need to worry about this formula upsetting their stomachs—there aren’t any common food allergens or artificial flavoring and preservatives.

Merrick Classic Puppy Recipe

Feeding your pup a balanced diet doesn’t need to mean pulling out all the bells and whistles. In fact, sometimes it may be better to stick to the basics—like the Merrick Classic Puppy recipe. While it might not be completely grain-free, this formula is free of common allergens and irritants like potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy.

Compared to some other picks, this recipe is a low-glycemic option. By excluding certain ingredients, it can help prevent high blood pressure in your dog.

The deboned chicken supports your Shar-Pei’s lean muscle development as they grow, and the added DHA promotes brain and eye health. Calcium and glucosamine are essential to a growing puppy’s joint health, and this recipe is chock-full of them.

Keep in mind that Merrick always produces its recipes within their own Texas-based facilities to guarantee safety and quality.

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe

Designed for puppies up to a year, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Chicken Meal & Barley recipe focuses on your pup’s growth. The added DHA supports your dog’s cognitive and retinal development while natural fish oil promotes muscle growth.

The combination of potent antioxidants and essential vitamins can help lower the risk of your furry friend catching an infection or sickness. Speaking of sickness, the chances of your puppy experiencing digestive issues with this formula are slim—there aren’t any common food irritants or artificial flavors and preservatives.

While a Shar-Pei may not spend long on a puppy formula, it’s worth remembering that this recipe can only suit your dog’s needs for the first year of their life. After that point, you’ll need to switch them to a new formula.

3 More Picks for Senior Shar-Pei Foods

American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Senior Recipe

Once they reach the age of 7, your Shar-Pei is officially a senior—and their nutritional needs change along with their age.  The American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Senior recipe features real chicken and nutrient-rich sweet potatoes in its formula. These ingredients adjust to your dog’s new protein needs and offer them a balanced diet.

The sweet potatoes are chock-full of amino acids that promote lean muscle growth as well as healthier skin and coats. This formula also includes plenty of garden-fresh veggies like dried kelp, carrots, and blueberries that provide potent antioxidants and dietary fiber.

For dogs that may develop sensitive stomachs while they age, this recipe is grain-free and doesn’t contain artificial flavors or preservatives.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Senior Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken

While your dog might get all their dietary requirements from kibble, getting your Shar-Pei to actually chow down on dry dog food can be another issue. Fortunately, the Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Senior Grain-Free recipe contains more than just high-quality kibble—it also features plenty of freeze-dried raw meat too.

Not only will your dog probably love the taste of raw meat, but they’ll be getting an extra nutritional boost from it. The chicken in this recipe is bursting with the protein your pup needs for lean muscle growth as well as natural DHA for better cognitive function.

The added calcium and phosphorus can help prevent bone and cartilage loss so that your pup doesn’t need to slow down in their golden years. A senior Shar-Pei who struggles with gastrointestinal problems might have an easier time digesting this grain and gluten-free recipe than some other picks.

Nutro Ultra Senior Recipe

The Nutro Ultra Senior recipe has a little of everything. It includes a combination of holistic animal proteins like farm-raised chicken and pasture-fed lamb to meet your senior Shar-Pei’s protein requirements.

The nutrient-rich fruits and veggies give your furry friend plenty of amino acids and antioxidants to support their overall health. The natural glucosamine and chondroitin continually help build your Shar-Pei’s cartilage while lowering the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis.

By feeding your dog this blend of lean proteins, whole grains and garden-fresh veggies, you’ll be giving them the fuel they need to stay active throughout their golden years.

Our Shar Pei Feeding Guide

Ensuring that your dog is eating a well-balanced diet takes more effort than just knowing which Shar Pei food to buy. If you still have questions about your dog’s nutrition, you don’t need to wonder any longer—here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Shar-Pei nutrition:

How much Shar Pei food should I be feeding my dog? – The amount of food that a Shar-Pei receives will vary depending on their age, weight and activity level. Any Shar Pei food that you buy will also include feeding instructions on the bag of the back (which are usually based on weight), so you know exactly how many cups to give your pup.
If you find that you’re following the feeding directions, but your dog is gaining or losing weight, it may be time to talk with a veterinarian about a more specific dose.

How do I feed my Shar Pei food? – While dry dog food may be as simple as measuring out kibble and pouring it into their bowl, a raw or dehydrated recipe might take more preparation. In most cases, you’ll need to add water to dehydrated food before giving it to your Shar-Pei.

Almost any recipe you purchase will include their own directions to clear up any confusion, and unless you’ve been told otherwise by your vet, you should follow these instructions explicitly.

Should my Shar-Pei be on a grain-free diet? – There’s some controversy floating around about whether dogs should exclusively eat grain-free, but there’s currently no requirement for them to. The main reason that owners turn to grain-free Shar Pei food is because of food allergies or sensitive stomachs.

If your dog has issues digesting grain products or an allergic reaction to these common irritants, then you should definitely look for grain-free formulas. If your Shar-Pei doesn’t have a poor reaction to grain, then the decision is up to you.

Should my Shar-Pei be on a gluten-free diet? – Like grain-free recipes, there’s no requirement for your dog to be exclusively be eating gluten-free Shar Pei food.

While whole grains can provide plenty of nutritional benefit, many gluten-free recipes find other ways to include those nutrients without using gluten products.

What if my Shar-Pei has a food allergy? – If you suspect that your furry friend is suffering from a food allergy, the first thing to do is book an appointment with the vet. Once you know that their symptoms are definitely the result of an allergy and not another health condition, you’ll have to find the specific allergen.

Corn, soy, wheat, potatoes and chicken are common culprits, but a dog can be allergic to anything they chow down on. After you locate the allergen, the next step is finding a Shar Pei food recipe that doesn’t contain those ingredients.

Remember that all recipes include more fruits, vegetables and proteins than what they may suggest in the name so you’ll need to look at the actual ingredient list. You might find it helpful to purchase a limited ingredient diet since these formulas are often designed for dogs with allergies.

How do I know if my dog has a food allergy or a sensitive stomach? – The symptoms of a food allergy and a sensitive stomach can be similar. Before you begin googling or consulting random strangers, you should always talk to your veterinarian first.

They can clarify whether your Shar-Pei has an allergy or a sensitive stomach as well as rule out other health issues with the same symptoms.

How often should I be feeding my Shar Pei food? – As young puppies, it’s generally recommended that you feed your Shar-Pei 3x a day. Once they reach the age of 8 months, you can begin feeding them only 2x a day.

There aren’t any specific times you’ll need to feed your Shar Pei food, but it’s a good idea to feed them in the morning and evening. This way, your dog will have all the energy they need to power through the entire day.

How do I transition my dog to a new Shar Pei food? – Switching your dog to a new recipe can take a few days. Unless the formula you purchase states otherwise, you should start off by adding 25% of the new Shar Pei food to the old recipe.

If your dog doesn’t react negatively, you can continue to add 25% every day until you’ve completely switched them over.

What if my Shar Pei is a picky eater? – Aside from food allergies and sensitive stomachs, you also have picky eaters to contend with. Some Shar-Peis just may not like the formula—or certain ingredients inside of it—and refuse to eat it. Like humans, dogs also have preferences.

If they just don’t like the taste of turkey or chicken, there isn’t much you can do other than buy another type of Shar Pei food with different ingredients.

The only issue with picky eaters is that figuring out which ingredient they don’t like can take some trial and error. There’s no way to tell which formulas your dog will like, but it might be best to stick with a limited ingredient diet or a dehydrated recipe.

A Final Word

Keeping your dog healthy is about more than just feeding them every day and taking them for a walk. Your Shar-Pei’s diet plays a major role in their overall health.

Many brands will swear that they can meet your dog’s nutritional needs, but not all of them will live up to their promises. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about what dog food brands are best for your Shar-Pei—we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

Instead of trying to guess which formula is best for your furry friend, try choosing one of the top products that we’ve reviewed above.

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