9 Best Shiba Inu Dog Foods Plus Top Brands for Puppies & Seniors

“Inu” means dog in Japanese, and this adorable breed is native to that country. It’s one of several spitz varieties, but it’s also one of the smallest. This fun, intelligent breed is one of the most common in that country and is rapidly growing more popular over here as well. They’re muscular dogs and have a big personality to match.

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Their movements are graceful and almost foxlike. Although they haven’t been available in the United States for long, they’re rapidly getting more popular as people discover their personalities and fall in love with their gorgeous, two-toned coats. This breed has catlike agility but is most often a companion dog.

Good food can not only support the health of the thick coat but can keep your Shiba’s muscles toned and in good shape. The food you choose has the potential to make or break your Shiba’s health, so let’s take a look at a few of our favorites. Plus, we’ll answer some questions you may have about how to choose the right food.

What Is The Best Dog Food for a Shiba Inu?

Understanding A Shiba Inu’s Dietary Requirements

Shiba Inus are compact dogs, but they do have higher energy needs and plenty of muscle tone to keep up. Foods that encourage a healthy coat and sharp mind are good choices and will help alleviate any skin issues or anxiety.

Owners know that the breed is very independent (some would say stubborn) and prone to bouts of spiritedness. Dogs that don’t receive adequate nutrition could become lethargic and anxious due to lack of nutrients. The right food supports their brain function and wellbeing.

They’ll need a lot of support for their skin and coat health as well as foods that won’t spike blood sugar or cause unnecessary weight gain. Because they’re on the smaller side, even a tiny increase in weight can cause joint issues and problems with the bone structure. Be diligent about how much you’re feeding your Shiba and what type of Shiba Inu food you’re using.

  • The first ingredient should always be a quality protein source from a whole, labeled meat. Whole meats are better for digestion and balance protein with the rest of the recipe. Meat meals are one-way manufacturers add protein, and they could be an excellent secondary source. Make sure they’re labeled and never just identified as general “meat meal.”
  • Healthy fats are critical for skin and coat health. Your Shiba’s coat is thick, and you may not notice skin problems until it’s a serious issue. Support both their skin and coat as well as mental acuity with a healthy blend of fats. Fats also provide energy so your Shiba won’t feel lethargic halfway through the day.
  • Although there are excellent meat-based diets out there, many foods use fruits and vegetables to provide critical vitamins and minerals. These can be good sources of fiber as well, helping ease digestion and provide the building blocks for health and wellbeing.
  • Additional ingredients include holistic supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which support healthy joints and cartilage and probiotics that can boost the immune system. These ingredients work together to provide your Shiba with food that takes care of each facet of health.

Special Diet Considerations For Shiba Inus

Shiba Inus are fiery, stubborn dogs, but they do come with a few breed issues that could crop up. Good food considers these issues and could help alleviate the problem or avoid it in the first place. Let’s take a look at three of these important conditions.

Allergies

Shiba allergies could manifest in a few different ways, but one common way is itchiness and skin issues. The coat is thick enough that you may not notice skin inflammation and damage until it’s a huge issue, so making sure to check regularly is critical.

Good food can condition the skin and support healthy growth. Avoiding cheap ingredients could alleviate some of the inflammation. Probiotics could also help with this inflammation response. Healthy oils give the coat a healthy sheen and condition the skin while soothing any dry or irritated skin.

Patellar Luxation

This is a condition in which the knee cap isn’t properly formed and can sometimes pop out of place. Athletic dogs are prone to injury from this condition, so food that supports muscle tone is vital. Good muscle tone supports the skeleton and movements so that your Shiba can withstand more activity.

Also, foods that contain natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin can help your dog’s joints all over, not just at the knees. Some evidence shows that joint cushioning improves with this supplement, and it could help prevent early degradation.

It’s essential to maintain your dog’s weight throughout its life because excess weight can make the condition worse. Start in puppyhood with quality food that supports the system and keeping that healthy practice well into the senior years when activity levels often slow down.

Hypothyroidism

Although this is partly genetic, many dogs can go on to lead healthy lives with medication and proper diet. Maintaining your dog’s weight at a healthy balance can help alleviate some of the symptoms while plenty of vitamins and minerals could help repair damage.

Making sure you aren’t stressing the thyroid with too many processed foods could keep your dog’s condition from getting worse and ensure that everything else is in place for a healthy life in addition to medical treatments.

Shiba Inu Feeding Chart

Shibas may be little dogs, but they are highly energetic and muscular. It’s essential to maintain a regular relationship with the veterinarian so that you aren’t overfeeding or missing critical nutrients in your Shiba’s diet. Each recommendation will vary with individual dogs but here’s a general idea of what to expect.

  • Puppies: Typical puppies only need about a cup or so of food, but this depends on the size of the puppy and the type of dog food you choose. Your veterinarian will probably change feeding portions several times over the puppy period, so be prepared to adapt with the changes.
  • Adults: Adult Shibas reach around 20 pounds or so depending on sex, so their food ranges around two cups divided up into several meals per day. If your Shiba is more active or less active, that could change portion sizes. Also, if your Shiba is pregnant or lactating, that could also change the recommended portion sizes.
  • Seniors: A senior Shiba will receive similar nutrition to an adult, but with careful consideration of weight. Older Shibas can sometimes stop being so active, so carefully monitoring any weight gain could be a key to a long healthy twilight period. Make sure you maintain your relationship with your veterinarian.

The Best Food For Shiba Inu

Our recommendations all carry premium ingredients and would be excellent choices for your Shiba Inu food depending on your individual circumstances. Let’s take a look at a few options that can build the foundations for health and wellbeing.

Best Overall – Merrick Backcountry Raw Pacific Catch Recipe

Our first food uses healthy fish (salmon, trout, and whitefish) to provide a great balance between protein and healthy fats. These omega fatty acids can support brain functions and keep the skin soft and supple. Together, they provide the building blocks for a lifetime of good health.

Deboned salmon is the first ingredient, but the recipe also uses freeze-dried fish for good texture and an extra burst of protein. The formula should help support your Shiba’s muscle tone and provide energy all day.

It contains no grains or gluten and uses no cheap fillers. Fruits and vegetables fill in vitamins and minerals that support the immune system as well as other body systems. They also provide critical fiber for proper digestion. Glucosamine and chondroitin begin early intervention with joint health.

Merrick’s ingredients are locally sourced and come from responsible providers. They never use unnamed meat meals or ingredients with an abundance of hormones or antibiotics. The recipes are clean and easy to read.

  • Pros: good texture with raw pieces, excellent protein and fat balance, supports joint and skin health
  • Cons: not a lot of bag size choice, some dogs just pick around the kibble and eat the raw bits

Best Value – Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food

Nutro’s superfood blend uses three lean protein sources to provide an abundance of support for muscle tone and healthy skin. Chicken, lamb, and salmon give Shibas complementary proteins to build strong muscles. Healthy sunflower oil conditions the skin and improves coat texture, and it can also help relieve itchiness if your Shiba’s skin is prone to dryness.

It uses no artificial colors or flavors and contains no cheap fillers. It’s excellent for Shibas that need to maintain weight or those who need an extra boost of healthy fats with their proteins. It has plenty of antioxidants plus healthy fruits and vegetables for fiber. These improve digestion and give critical minerals and vitamins for overall good health.

The brand is veterinarian created and is packed with nutrition without breaking your wallet. It’s a great alternative to super expensive premium brands without sacrificing premium ingredients.

  • Pros: combination of complementary proteins, provides critical minerals, can help relieve itchy skin
  • Cons: may not satisfy all picky Shibas, bag size may not be convenient for all situations

Most Popular: American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe

American Journey’s recipes are created to help keep dogs feeling energetic and healthy all day long. The recipe uses salmon, a rich source of protein with plenty of omega fatty acids to build skin and coat health. Sweet potato helps moderate blood sugar while providing energy and fiber. A blend of vitamins and minerals ensures your Shiba’s different systems are supported and that your Shiba has a great start to every morning.

The recipe is also great for Shibas that struggle to keep weight down. It’s not specifically a weight control formula, but with healthy fish and sweet potato, it provides all the nutrition your Shiba needs is a smaller calorie package.

  • Pros: supports skin and coat health, good blend of omega fatty acids, lots of energy
  • Cons: may not satisfy picky eaters, uses peas

Best Super Premium: NomNomNow Chicken ChowChow

NomNomNow uses a unique process to bring your dog the best food available. This veterinarian created concept uses only human grade ingredients, cooked and delivered right to your door. It allows you to feed your dog a premium diet without the inconvenience of doing it yourself.

The meals come prepackaged in the correct portion sizes, and the ingredients could be consumed by humans if you were so inclined. The recipe uses lean chicken as the primary protein source along with healthy veggies and sweet potatoes for energy. Fish oil provides plenty of omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and proper brain function.

The recipe is a limited ingredient one, so if your dog is sensitive, this could be easier to digest. All the ingredients are easy to identify, and each meal is an excellent way to build up your Shiba’s health through a great Shiba Inu food.

  • Pros: human grade ingredients, limited ingredient formula, plenty of omega fatty acids for joint and skin health
  • Cons: requires cold storage, delivery isn’t always convenient depending on where you live

Best For Allergies: Zignature Venison Recipe

Zignature recipes are limited ingredients and offer novel proteins to help combat some of your Shiba’s worst allergies. Venison is a rich protein that doesn’t often trigger allergies the way poultry or beef does and with only a handful of other ingredients, your severely allergic Shiba has the best chance of finally sorting out those digestion issues.

A blend of vitamins and minerals ensures healthy brain development, builds strong bones and muscles, and helps rebuild the gut health. It also supports a healthy immune system. It’s low glycemic and free of typical canine allergens including poultry, beef, corn, soy, and artificial ingredients.

  • Pros: novel protein, good blend of fatty acids, limited ingredients
  • Cons: uses peas, somewhat expensive

Best For Sensitive Tummies: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe

For dogs with sensitive digestion, another Limited Ingredient option is Natural Balance. The fish and sweet potato recipe is a clean recipe designed to support the immune system and rebuild digestion. Sweet potato is low glycemic and blends well with the healthy proteins of fish. Omega fatty acids soothe skin issues and encourage a healthy coat.

It’s grain free and removes a lot of the irritants found in standard kibbles. There’s no corn or soy and no artificial ingredients that can make digestion difficult. It could also encourage healthy gut flora and digestion regularity.

  • Pros: healthy fish with low glycemic sweet potato, skin soothing ingredients, encourages healthy gut activity
  • Cons: may not satisfy picky puppies, uses potatoes

3 More Top Rated Shiba Inu Foods

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe

Blue Buffalo’s healthy weight formulas make it easier for your Shiba Inu to maintain a healthy weight while still receive proper protein for muscle development. The formula is designed to mimic your dog’s ancestral diet without all the cheap fillers and artificial ingredients of common kibbles. It’s well balanced and helps promote proper weight and digestion. Plus, vitamins and minerals support all your Shiba’s systems for all day energy and health.

Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken Lamb, Brown Rice, and Pearled Barley

Easily digestible lamb is the basis for this recipe. It blends with brown rice and barley for an excellent balance of carbohydrates and proteins, giving your dog all day energy and strength. The recipe is free of all unnatural ingredients (artificial flavors, for example) and cheap fillers like corn or soy. It uses healthy fats for coat health and to support skin rebuilding. Oils also help your dog maintain energy throughout the day and support joints.

American Journey Beef And Sweet Potato Grain Free Recipe

American Journey’s Beef recipe uses a recognizable protein source that even picky dogs tend to love. It supports healthy muscle tone and blends with sweet potato for all day energy without those pesky blood sugar spikes and crashes. It also uses fresh fruits and veggies to provide antioxidants and minerals for the building blocks of healthy systems.

3 More Recommendations For Puppies

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Be Natural Puppy Recipe

The Instinct formula is specially made for growing puppies. It uses chicken as a lean, but whole protein source made from freeze-dried, crushed chicken for a raw food boost. It should satisfy your dog’s tastes and provide an interesting mouthfeel that might encourage puppies to eat.

Fruits and vegetables provide excellent sources of vitamins and minerals while also helping with fiber. Together, these ingredients support digestion and things like your puppy’s immune system. It has optimum levels of DHA and calcium for brain health and healthy, growing bones.

Nulo Freestyle Turkey, Cod, and Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe

Nulo’s recipe is a premium blend of multiple protein sources that contain complementary proteins and plenty of healthy fats. It has guaranteed levels of DHA and calcium to support proper growth and should also support your puppy’s growing muscles.

It uses only holistic ingredients, including fruits and vegetables that provide both fiber and vitamins. It supports joint health, skin health, and boosts the immune system with antioxidants. It’s low glycemic, so it won’t spike your Shiba’s blood sugar and should provide steady energy all day long.

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Food

Merrick’s puppy food is a rich blend of kibble and freeze-dried raw bits that can help picky puppies eat and provide dense nutrition for growing muscles and bones. It has guaranteed calcium for developing bones and DHA for healthy brain function. Plus, all Merrick’s ingredients are locally sourced from responsible providers and contain no hormones or added antibiotics that can affect digestion. Whole chicken and chicken meal provide the basis of all-day energy and keep your puppy full until the next meal.

3 More Recommendations For Seniors

Nulo Senior Trout and Sweet Potato

If you fed your puppy Nulo, the senior years might be time to move back. It uses only premium ingredients with a quality protein source from trout to help ease your senior’s digestion and provide critical fats for brain health. The recipe uses sweet potato, which may help prevent blood sugar spikes when in conjunction with divided meals.

It has glucosamine and chondroitin to support aging joints and calcium to promote overall healthy bone structure. Fruits and vegetables provide good sources of fiber for normal digestion and vital minerals to support other systems like the immune system. Plus, pure probiotic strains build robust digestion, cut down on inflammation and help your Shiba feel healthier.

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Dinner With Chicken Senior Recipe

If your senior has issues with teeth or has just gotten really picky, it could be time to switch back to wet food. Wet foods are often more suitable for seniors with tooth pain or severe pickiness. This recipe combines a quality protein source with fruits and vegetables for a well-balanced meal that Seniors will love.

It contains no fillers, no wheat, and no artificial ingredients. It has added glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and relieve minor pain. Chelated minerals help the immune system along with probiotics and biotin. Brown rice provides good carbohydrates that won’t break down too quickly causing blood sugar spikes.

Solid Gold Young At Heart Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Senior Recipe

Solid Gold’s grain free formula uses healthy chicken with sweet potato for a lean protein and carbohydrate blend to keep your senior Shiba in top shape. Healthy veggies provide critical vitamins and minerals for a robust immune system while quality fats improve brain function and support joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin may also help relieve pain from aging joints and could possibly mitigate mild damage already done by aging.

The recipe contains no fillers or artificial ingredients and should help seniors maintain healthy weight even when activity levels are low. The kibble is manageable for most seniors and it contains ideal fat for making sure your senior feels full without adding extra calories.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have some questions about your Shiba so let’s take a look at common things first time owners wonder about (and some longtime owners too).

How Should I Feed My Shiba Inu?

It’s not recommended that you free feed your Shiba because it makes it very difficult to know how much your Shiba is actually eating. That puts it at risk for weight gain and makes it impossible to know if the right nutritional requirements are met.

It can also obscure any problems your Shiba may be having. Not eating could be a sign of an underlying issue, and if you don’t notice right away, you lose precious time. Feeding and then removing unused food helps you keep up with feeding and notice any issues right away.

Allow your Shiba a certain amount of time to eat food. If your Shiba stops eating before the entire meal is finished, remove the leftovers when the time is up. It teaches your Shiba to eat consistently and helps you keep track.

How Do I Change My Shiba’s Food?

Your Shiba could be subject to digestive issues if you make a sudden change, so transitioning slowly is the key. Begin by adding just a small amount of food into the old food and increasing the amounts each day until there is no old food left in the serving. Your Shiba can get used to the new food, and you have less chance of rejection or digestion upsets.

How Do I Get My Picky Shiba To Eat?

Pickiness in dogs is common, but there are some ways around it. Take the time to introduce your dog to new foods slowly, and you’ve got a much better chance that it will eat. If your Shiba still doesn’t eat, try the following tricks:

  • Take the food up. Free feeding can encourage lazy eating. If your Shiba knows that the food will disappear, it’s more likely to eat right away rather than waiting around for something better. Some owners notice a massive difference once they stop free feeding.
Don’t feed people food. If you make your own dog food, that’s different, but constantly feeding table scraps discourages your Shiba Inu from eating its own food. It could take a while for your Shiba to reset, but this will also help you maintain a proper weight and cuts down on the chances you’ll feed something dangerous.
  • Use a mix or topper. Wet foods can be combined with dry foods to help encourage picky Shibas to eat. If you do this method, makes sure you carefully count the serving sizes, so you don’t’ accidentally overfeed your Shiba. It can be challenging to calculate some foods, so get your veterinarian’s input before you switch to this method.
  • Use a cooked menu. Truly picky Shibas could benefit from a cooked menu. If you can’t make the food yourself or you don’t want to, using a meal delivery service like NomNomNow could help make that whole process a lot easier.

What Do I Do About Allergies?

Shiba Inus are prone to allergies, and there could be a few different causes. If you suspect your Shiba suffers from food allergies, there are a few things you can try.

  • Remove cheap fillers. These often cause reactions in the digestive system and spike blood sugar, irritating digestion. The gut gets inflamed, and the immune system jumps into action. Soon, your Shiba is itchy and having digestive trouble.
  • Check protein sources. Common food allergies are actually poultry and beef. If you suspect your Shiba is allergic to either of these, find a recipe that contains no whole or partial proteins from either of these sources. If the symptoms improve, you may have found your problem. Many foods use chicken as a secondary protein source so make sure to read the ingredients. Don’t just rely on the title to figure out what type of food you want.
  • You can also try something called a limited ingredient diet. These foods use only a single protein source and a handful of other low allergen ingredients that help reduce the likelihood a dog will react poorly. These could be good options if you aren’t sure what’s causing the food allergies because the ingredients list is often clearer.

What About Grains?

Studies still aren’t entirely conclusive about whether grains are harmful or not. If your Shiba seems sensitive remove the grains, but we wouldn’t worry about grains without some sort of catalyst for removing them. It can be challenging to find grain free foods that don’t use potatoes or peas, so both could be a dicey choice.

It’s best to get your veterinarian’s opinion before you remove them completely so that you understand all the options. Don’t fall for marketing schemes claiming grain free without also checking the full ingredients list to make sure everything is necessary and in your dog’s best interest.

Final Thoughts

Shiba Inus are wonderful dogs that can be great companions. They live long lives when taken care of, and a quality diet from the very start can help your Shiba live the kind of life dogs dream about. It’s essential to maintain your Shiba’s weight and to work with your veterinarian (and possibly a trainer) to manage their big personalities.

Their reputation for fiery spirits and unique looks is helping them gain popularity outside their native Japan. They’re fast approaching being one of the more popular breeds around and could offer a lifetime of enjoyable companionship if you’re willing to work with them to socialize and train.

Make sure the food you choose is densely nutritious with plenty of protein. Even if your Shiba has allergies, it’s possible to find a diet that will be easily digested and offer all the building blocks for a lifetime of health. Your Shiba Inu food choices may not be in every grocery store but taking the time to choose a premium food is well worth the effort to acquire it. And with online delivery, you’ve got all the resources you need to have the best possible food available. Start with one of our choices, and you’ve got a great beginning with your companion.

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