10 Best Dog Food for Shiba Inu: 2021

This is our 2021 review of the best dog food for Shiba Inu. 

Shiba Inu is a reasonably healthy breed. And these cute little Japanese pups are growing in popularity, particularly in the United States. 

But because of their high energy levels, active lifestyles, and large muscle mass, Shiba Inus need plenty of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they need plenty of calories too.

After researching the best dog food for Shiba Inu, our favorite overall choice is Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Salmon Dog Food.

This high-quality dog food offers your canines plenty of nutrients and calories they need to thrive. And it uses raw meat bites to appeal to even the pickiest of eaters too!

However, we understand that every dog is different. So we found ten of the best possible diets for various scenarios, including sensitive skin, allergies, joint health, or weight loss.



The 10 Best Dog Food for Shiba Inu


ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Catch Salmon Dog Food
Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Catch Salmon Dog Food
  • Freeze-dried and contains raw meat bites inside
  • Uses high-quality animal sources for protein
  • Made without grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy
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Best for Puppies
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Includes calcium and phosphorus
  • Plenty of omega fatty acids and amino sugars
  • Made entirely without artificial ingredients
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Best for Seniors
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Includes antioxidants to support the immune system
  • Made without grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy.
  • High amounts of omega fatty acids
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Best Budget
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Uses whole fruits and veggies for antioxidants
  • Made without grains, corn, wheat, or soy
  • High protein content of 32%
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Best Wet
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food
  • Packed full of dietary fibers
  • Uses fruits and vegetables for essential nutrients
  • Made without corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients
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  1. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Catch Salmon Dog Food (Best for Adult Shiba Inu)
  2. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food (Best for Shiba Inu Puppies)
  3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Senior Shiba Inu)
  4. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food)
  5. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Dog Food)
  6. ACANA Wholesome Grains Red Meat Recipe Dog Food (Best High Protein Dog Food)
  7. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat All Life Stages Dog Food (Best for Skin & Coat Health)
  8. Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food (Best for Allergies)
  9. Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Lamb Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Joint Health)
  10. Natural Balance Fat Dogs Chicken & Salmon Low Calorie Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)


Best Dog Foods for Shiba Inu Reviewed

All the dog foods we are about to go through meet an AAFCO daily nutrient profile for dogs. Before switching your dog’s food, consult your veterinarian. [1]


Best Overall
Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Catch Salmon Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Whitefish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 34% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Calories: 390 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw, Weight Control, Sensitive Digestion
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

If you’re looking for a balanced, nutritional meal packed full of protein, vitamins, and minerals, give this formula from Merrick a try. This grain-free dog food combines freeze-dried raw kibble with tender bites to give your canine’s taste buds a variety of flavors, all in one meal. 

The vast majority of meat protein sources are fish ingredients. Deboned salmon, salmon meal, and whitefish meal all contribute to the ample 34% protein content. 

These luscious meats contain rich amounts of omega fatty acids. Added sunflower oil is also an excellent source of these fatty acids. These healthy fats help enhance natural skin oils in your dog’s body, which will eventually lead to a healthier coat and skin.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are included in the recipe also, which help maintain healthy joints and hips in canines and improve mobility. [2]

And, this formula uses whole fruits and veggies for powerful antioxidants that help repair tissue damage caused by free radicals. These protein by-products can cause severe damage to your canine, leading to chronic conditions like cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. 

This recipe can also be used to control weight gain. Picky eaters will find this dog food appealing because of the unique inclusion of raw meat bites within their meal. So if you have a Shiba Inu that’s a fussy eater, this is a great option.


What We Like
  • Freeze-dried and contains raw meat bites inside
  • Natural sources of omega fatty acids and amino sugars
  • Uses high-quality animal sources for protein
  • Made without grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy
  • It can be used as a weight control diet
  • Packed full of 34% protein content
  • Includes whole fruits and veggies for antioxidants
What We Don’t Like
  • Uses potato-based foods for carbohydrates
  • Slightly pricey compared to other foods
  • Would have liked to see more fruits and veggies in the recipe



Best for Puppies
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Poultry By-product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Calories: 456 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: High-Protein
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Growth

Puppies need high amounts of omega fatty acids, protein, and nutrients like calcium during their early years to support them. In fact, DHA plays a crucial role in your puppy’s brain and vision development. [3] And this formula from Purina Pro Plan is packed full of it.

Whole chicken is the first ingredient to be used in the recipe, offering up ample amounts of protein for your growing Shiba Inu. Added fish oil contributes to the 18% crude fat content and is the primary source of DHA in the recipe.

Calcium and phosphorus are also supplemented into the diet to help support bones and grow strong teeth. 

Purina includes both antioxidants and probiotics to aid your puppy’s immune system and digestive system. Antioxidants play an essential part in promoting healthy bacteria in a dog’s body. At the same time, probiotics help battle harmful bacteria too. 

This high-protein dog food is made without artificial ingredients, common causes of allergies, and even some cancers. [4] Excluding these harmful ingredients means your new Shiba Inu puppy is getting whole, natural foods in their diet.

This high-quality dog food is made specifically for puppies. It is crafted by Purina’s in-house team of veterinarians, nutritionists, and scientists. It’s worth noting that the formula is made with grains. However, most canines do well on a grain-inclusive diet.


What We Like
  • Specifically made for puppies
  • Fortified with calcium, phosphorus, and other essential minerals
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Plenty of omega fatty acids and amino sugars
  • Made entirely without artificial ingredients
What We Don’t Like
  • Sometimes causes softness of stool
  • Uses grains in the diet; trigger for some food allergies
  • Some picky eaters struggle with it



Best for Seniors
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Lentils, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 34% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 342 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Gluten Free, High-Protein
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

Shiba Inus can live for a long time. In fact, they can live between 12 to 15 years. But even the healthiest pups will eventually start to slow down as they grow old.

You can take care of your senior canine by giving them Wellness CORE dry dog food. 

This formula is packed full of nutrients seniors need, offering plenty of antioxidants supporting their older immune system. Mainly these come from ingredients like carrots, apples, broccoli, and blueberries. But that’s just to name a few!

The high protein content of 34% is a particular highlight, arming your senor Shiba Inu with the tools necessary to maintain their muscle mass. Protein also plays a role in managing joint conditions for canines, as well as inflammation.

Calcium is supplemented, too, ensuring that the nervous system is protected and their bones, teeth, and joints. This high-protein recipe includes natural dietary fibers to aid the digestive system. And valuable sources of L-carnitine are included to give a further boost to their metabolism. 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free dog food is made entirely without corn, wheat, or soy. While it’s not explicitly made for seniors, it’s an excellent choice for dog parents that don’t want to switch their diet later on in life.


What We Like
  • High protein content of 34%
  • Uses natural sources of antioxidants to support the immune system
  • Calcium supplemented to aid tender joints and bones
  • Made entirely without grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • High amounts of omega fatty acids
What We Don’t Like
  • Not made specifically for seniors
  • Slightly pricey compared to other brands
  • Doesn’t appeal to fussy eaters
  • Some dog parents noticed an increase in gassiness



Best Budget
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 390 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

It can be expensive to be a dog owner. Believe me, I know! And finding the best diet for your lovable family member can be a struggle, especially if you’re on a tight budget. And just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. 

You can always find a dog food that is still made with whole ingredients. Like this one, from American Journey! That is why it’s our favorite budget option for Shiba Inus.

This affordable dog food has an impressive 3 of the first 5 ingredients as animal protein sources. Deboned salmon, chicken, and turkey meal contribute to the recipe’s 32% protein content.

It also uses whole fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, blueberries, kelp, and carrots. All of them play a crucial role in your canine’s body. For example, blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants that improve urinary tract health and the immune system.

And yet, it doesn’t stop there either! The recipe also includes prebiotics, and vitamin A, which helps maintain vision, immune function, and cell growth. 

This high-protein dog food offers Shiba Inu owners an affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality. Your loveable furry friend will get plenty of nutrients to help maintain their muscle mass and keep their energy levels on the up!


What We Like
  • Very high quality compared to other budget options
  • Uses whole fruits and veggies for antioxidants
  • Added vitamin A and omega fatty acids
  • Uses real meat as protein sources
  • Made without grains, corn, wheat, or soy
  • High protein content of 32%
What We Don’t Like
  • No added taurine sources



Best Wet
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8.5% Crude Protein, 5.5% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Calories: 451 kcal/can
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

Have a picky eater in the house? Then giving them wet food may be the best option for their daily meal.

And Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe canned dog food is an excellent option for this.

The recipe is packed full of moisture which will help keep your Shiba Inu hydrated. It uses high-quality ingredients containing dietary fibers to help their digestive system too.

If you have a reasonably active Shiba Inu, then this wet food can also make a great addition to their kibble. However, it should not be their only source of food if that’s the case.

This is because some wet foods don’t contain as much protein or fat compared to other kibbles. Generally, this is because of their high moisture levels, which lower the crude percentages of a recipe.

Blue Buffalo specifically made this dog food to help maintain muscle mass in dogs. Whole chicken and their organs, like the liver, provide enough amino acids and omega fatty acids to do this.

Whole fruits and vegetables are also included in the formula, featuring sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, blueberries, and cranberries. These nutritional foods all provide vitamins and minerals that will improve a dog’s overall well-being. And they help improve your canine’s heart health.

This wet food doesn’t contain any poultry by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Plus, it excludes corn, wheat, or soy to make it suitable for sensitive pups.


What We Like
  • Packed full of dietary fibers
  • It can be used as a topper or on its own
  • Uses fruits and vegetables for essential nutrients
  • Contains whole chicken for protein
  • Appeals to picky eaters
  • Made without corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients
What We Don’t Like
  • Lower protein content
  • Unsuitable on its own for active pups or breeds



Best High Protein
ACANA Wholesome Grains Red Meat Recipe Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Deboned Pork, Beef Meal, Oat Groats, Whole Sorghum
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Calories: 371 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Gluten-Free, Chicken-Free, Pea-Free, Natural, High-Protein, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Raw
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

Shiba Inu’s are known for being active, high-energy pups. However, if your Shiba Inu is constantly exercising, they’ll need high concentrations of protein, fat, and calories to keep up their energy levels.

This is why we recommend ACANA Wholesome Red Meat dry dog food.

This protein-dense formula is made using Yorkshire pork, grass-fed lamb, and high-quality beef. These premium meat sources are packed full of protein, minerals, and vitamins that give dog parents real value for money.

The recipe does include grains in the formula. But, nutritious whole grains like millet, sorghum, and oats are all loaded with additional nutrients your high-energy canine needs.

While the recipe uses grains, it is gluten-free, however. And it doesn’t stop there either. It’s made entirely without artificial ingredients, corn and soy too, meaning your Shiba Inu is getting the freshest, healthiest diet possible.

All dog foods made by ACANA are crafted in Kentucky using ingredients sourced from local farms, ranchers, and fishers.


What We Like
  • Uses high-quality protein sources like grass-fed lamb
  • Plenty of energy sources for active pups
  • Made without corn, soy, and artificial ingredients
  • Includes whole fruits and vegetables
  • Added fish oil for omega fatty acids
  • Offers dog parents real value for money
What We Don’t Like
  • Some dogs are “put off” by amounts of grains
  • It may be unsuitable for food allergies or intolerances



Best for Skin & Coat
Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat All Life Stages Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 337 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Chicken-Free
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

This chicken-free dog food gives Shiba Inus complete, holistic nutrition. And it is specifically made to enhance sensitive dogs’ skin and improve their overall coat health.

Wild-caught salmon is the primary contributor to the 25% protein content. This high-quality fish ingredient is an ideal source of protein because of its rich levels of omega-3 fatty acids. 

These healthy fats help produce natural skin oils in your dog, which help improve dry skin, a common symptom of allergies in dogs. Plus, they have anti-inflammatory properties to help manage food allergies and improve mobility and aching joints. [5]

A unique blend of probiotics is included in the recipe to help protect the immune system and improve your pup’s digestion. 

An optimal immune system means they have a better chance of battling skin infections. While a healthy digestive system will ensure they are processing the maximum amounts of nutrients in their diet to improve their coat health.

This hypoallergenic dog food is made without any corn, wheat, or soy. Plus, it excludes artificial flavors and colors, meaning your canine is getting the best quality meal they can.


What We Like
  • Uses salmon as the primary source of protein
  • Included unique blend of probiotics
  • High-quality ingredients used
  • Affordable hypoallergenic dog food
  • Moderate 25% protein content
  • Rich levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Many dog parents noticed immediate improvements in their dog’s coat and skin
What We Don’t Like
  • Limited ingredient diet may be better suited for dogs with allergies
  • Includes peas and potatoes, common allergens
  • Fussy eaters struggle with this dog food initially



Best for Allergies
Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 382 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Sensitive Digestion
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

Shiba Inus’s allergies are caused by common allergens like soy, pork, and wheat. While most Shiba Inus won’t suffer from food allergies from one food specifically, they can experience them at some point in their life.

If you suspect your canine suffers from food allergies, consult your veterinarian. Once you have identified the allergen causing them the issues, they will recommend a diet that is made for sensitivities.

Many vets will recommend Hill’s Science Diet dog food, and it’s easy to see why.

This limited ingredient dog food is made using real chicken as the primary source of protein. However, this sensitive digestion dog food includes prebiotic fibers to help aid the digestive system. And, it supplements omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E to help improve your dog’s skin and coat and helps with any shedding.

These beneficial nutrients are also associated with healing skin, which is a common problem for dogs with allergies.

Apart from chicken, this diet also contains high-quality ingredients like brown rice, cranberries, and beet pulp. All of which are easy to digest and help prevent any tummy issues. And they have added minerals and vitamins that your Shiba Inu needs.


What We Like
  • Made specifically to help the digestive system
  • Frequently recommended by veterinarians
  • Uses real chicken as the protein source
  • Added prebiotic fibers, vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Made without artificial ingredients
  • Every food made by Hill’s has to pass daily safety checks 
What We Don’t Like
  • Includes grains and gluten
  • Some dogs just pick at the food
  • Slightly smaller kibble size compared to others
  • Dog owners noticed some changes in ingredients recently



Best for Joints
Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 335 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

While Shiba Inus are relatively healthy breeds, they are prone to suffering from joint conditions like hip dysplasia.

However, a healthy nutritional diet can make all the difference. Dog foods that contain high amounts of healthy fats and amino acids can offer them tremendous support and alleviate painful symptoms.

This is where Solid Gold’s Hund-n-Flocken dog food comes in.

Lamb is the primary source of the 22% protein content, an ideal amount of protein for any canine. However, this luscious red meat contains many beneficial nutrients like chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids. Added fish oil is also a natural source of these healthy fats.

Amino sugars like chondroitin and glucosamine are naturally found in animal meats. They help grow cartilage tissue around a canine’s joints, stopping them from rubbing and causing them any pain. 

Whereas omega fatty acids are commonly associated with alleviating joint conditions due to their anti-inflammatory properties. [6]

This formula does include grains like brown rice and oatmeal. However, these healthy whole grains provide added nutrients to your Shiba Inu diet. In fact, most dogs do well on a diet containing grains.

Solid Gold’s holistic dog food also features an impressive variety of superfoods to boost your canine’s immune system. Whole fruits and veggies like carrots, pumpkin, blueberries, and cranberries are all included in the recipe. And while these help improve a dog’s immune system, they play a vital role in the digestive system too. 

This dog food is made without corn, wheat, or soy, in addition to artificial ingredients and GMOs.


What We Like
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Uses whole grains for energy and added nutrients
  • An impressive array of superfoods
  • Ideal 22% protein content
  • Specifically crafted to combat joint conditions
  • A unique blend of dietary fibers to support digestion

What We Don’t Like
  • Includes grains, a potential trigger of food allergies in some canines
  • Makes dogs gassy at first
  • Picky eaters struggle with the food
  • Some smaller dogs don’t like the bigger kibble size



Best for Weight Loss
Natural Balance Fat Dogs Chicken & Salmon Low Calorie Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Dried Peas, Oat Groats
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 7.5% Crude Fat, 10.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Calories: 315 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Weight Control
  • AAFCO Life Stage: Adult

As you can see, the name says it all. This dog food is specifically made to help dogs like Shiba Inus maintain their muscle mass and control their weight.

Natural Balance’s dog food offers unique protein and dietary fiber sources that help your lovable pup lose weight without compromising flavor, protein, or quality.

The high 26% protein and 10.5% fiber content help dogs feel fuller for longer. This helps to stop them overeating or begging, which, as we all know, leads to weight gain.

Along with chicken and salmon meals, this weight control dog food uses carrots, parsley, and spinach to boost the immune system. These foods play a role in keeping your canine’s breath fresh and improve oral hygiene too.

Plus, the diet contains high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fats help to keep your Shiba Inus coat nice and shiny. And they improve heart health and maintain brain function too.

The kibble is made using a unique layering system that helps retain taste while giving them the maximum amount of fiber your canine’s body needs. All while keeping their tail is wagging and their calorie intake low. 


What We Like
  • Made in the United States
  • High amounts of protein and dietary fibers to keep dogs full for longer
  • Includes whole fruits and veggies
  • Numerous reviews share success stories of improvements in weight loss
  • Appeals to picky eaters due to enhanced taste
  • Contains high levels of omega fatty acids
What We Don’t Like
  • Has a slightly higher carbohydrate content of 48.5%
  • Contains grain ingredients
  • Some owners noticed diarrhea when switching to this dog food




Shiba Inu Puppy

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Shiba Inu

Every dog has different nutritional needs, including Shiba Inus. Here’s what you need to look for when buying their dog food.

Shiba Inu Nutrient Needs & Ingredients to Look For

High levels of activity and the need for high-quality nutrients and calories means Shiba Inus need quite a lot of food to maintain their fast-paced lifestyle.

Here are some of the nutrients your Shiba Inu needs.

Carbohydrates

Grain-free dog foods are becoming more popular diets, especially among dog parents. However, these formulas naturally contain lower concentrations of carbohydrates. While canines don’t need these nutrients in their diet, active breeds will.

Generally, 20% of your canine’s daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. When shopping for your Shiba Inu dog food, try to find a recipe that uses rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or whole grains as carbohydrate sources.

Most canines do well on a grain-inclusive diet. So if you want to try a formula that uses grains, try to find one that uses barley or corn (in moderation). However, suppose your pup suffers from allergies. In that case, it’s best to steer clear of them, instead opting for a limited ingredient diet.

Healthy Fats

Because of their higher activity levels, Shiba Inus will need higher fat concentrations to maintain their energy. So it’s best to avoid low-fat dog foods.

Most formulas will contain approximately 10% crude fat content, which is about right for a Shiba Inu. However, they can consume a diet consisting of 20% crude fat too. Provided they have a more active lifestyle.

However, if your Shiba Inu suffers from diarrhea, try switching them to dog food with lower fat content. Usually, the amount of fat in their diet will be a crucial factor.

The best types of healthy fats come from ingredients like broths, fish oils, or animal fats. [7] These fats play an active role in protecting your Shiba Inu’s joints and also give them nutrients like DHA.

High Protein

Every canine needs stable amounts of protein in their daily diet. And Shiba Inus are no different. Especially considering their more active lifestyles and energy needs.

Look for dog food that uses an animal protein source. Most reputable, high-quality dog foods will do this. However, some will use plant-based protein sources instead. Real meats are always best. 

However, that isn’t to say all plant-based protein sources are low quality. Ingredients like peas, pea protein, and spinach are all excellent ingredients that offer additional nutrients.

That being said, try to find a dog food that includes chicken, beef, lamb, or salmon. These real meats will offer plenty of protein, in addition to amino acids and sugars that will improve your canine’s overall well-being and mobility. 

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals play an integral role in your pup’s health. So it goes without saying that they need plenty of them to live a happy, healthy life.

Shiba Inu need high concentrations of nutrients to support some of their essential bodily functions. 

They need ample amounts of glucosamine, vitamin A, and omega fatty acids. Glucosamine helps maintain your canine’s joints, omega fatty acids help improve overall heart health and cognitive function. And vitamin A aids your canine’s vision. 

Most manufacturers will actively try to include these nutrients in their formulas. However, always try to find a dog food that meets the nutritional requirements of the AAFCO.

Ingredients to Avoid

When choosing the best dog food for Shiba Inu, you must give them a diet full of the right nutrients. However, there are some ingredients that you need to avoid.

Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Preservatives

Artificial ingredients aren’t always harmful. But most are simply not needed in dog food.

For example, artificial flavors are usually an indication that the formula doesn’t contain enough fats. Fats will make a dry kibble tasty for dogs. So, if the fat content is low, manufacturers will opt to include artificial flavors to make dogs eat it. 

Likewise, dogs can’t see color as we do. So artificial colors are simply not needed in dog food. In fact, my Jack Russell doesn’t care what her food looks like, provided it tastes good!

Some artificial preservatives are fine. However, other preservatives are linked with severe health conditions. In moderate amounts, preservatives won’t cause any significant harm.

But it’s worth remembering that if your canine is consuming preservatives in their daily diet, they’ll be eating a fair bit for a while. So to be extra safe, it’s always best to avoid it.

BPA and BHT are consistently linked with certain cancers and tumors. And while Ethoxyquin isn’t allowed in human foods, they’re used in some canned dog foods.

You’ll usually find artificial ingredients in many low-quality formulas. Most nutritional diets will exclude them.

Unidentified By-Products or Meat Meals

You wouldn’t eat something if you didn’t know what it was. And the same principle applies to dog food too.

Some meat meals are used in some formulas, where the source won’t be listed.

Most meat meals are a great option for protein, provided they are named. For example, “lamb meal” or “chicken meal” is just the meat with most of its moisture removed.

The kinds of meat meals you want to avoid feeding your pup are any that state “meat meal.” This type of meat is essentially mystery meat, where the origin of it is unknown.

The same principle applies to by-products too, where a dog food simply puts “by-products.” Avoid feeding your loveable furry friend anything unknown. Especially some of these by-products as they can include parts of the animal, such as their feathers.




Shiba Inu Outside in Garden

Common Shiba Inu Health Problems and Their Diet

Shiba Inus are a reasonably healthy breed. They aren’t particularly prone to developing allergies that affect their active lifestyle. But they are known for suffering from joint conditions.

Here are a few health conditions you may need to watch out for as they get older.

Patellar Luxation

A condition that occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated from the joint. This condition is hereditary, and symptoms are pretty easy to spot too.

Common signs that your Shiba Inu is suffering from Patellar Luxation include slow walking, their leg bent at an unusual angle, or dragging their leg.

If the condition worsens, surgery may be needed. However, moderate or mild symptoms may just need steroids or narcotics. Your canine’s diet can play a vital role too. Vitamins and minerals are essential to help combat pain and inflammation.

Like other joint-related conditions, nutrients like omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and vitamin E can also help combat pain symptoms and protect their kneecaps.

Hypothyroidism

In dogs, hypothyroidism happens when their immune system thinks that the thyroid is a danger and attacks it. It’s a genetic disorder, so a balanced nutritional diet will only go so far. Unfortunately, there is no cure.

Common signs that your Shiba Inu is suffering from hypothyroidism include excessive weight gain, increased appetite, tiredness, irregular body temperatures, or excessive shedding. 

If you suspect your pup is suffering from this condition, it’s best to get them checked by a veterinarian to confirm the next steps.

However, while there is no cure for hypothyroidism, giving your Shiba Inu a low-calorie diet and moderate crude fat content will definitely help. [8]

Hip Dysplasia

Just like medium and large dog breeds, Shiba Inus can be prone to suffering from Hip Dysplasia. This condition happens in dogs when their hip bone becomes dislocated because it doesn’t fit into the joint socket.

It can be excruciating for dogs if it’s left untreated. So it’s best to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Unlike hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia can be prevented. All you need to do is ensure they remain at a healthy weight and feed them a balanced, nutritional diet that offers plenty of fats and protein. 

Nutrients like glucosamine and omega fatty acids also play a pivotal role in preventing hip dysplasia.

Eye Conditions

Shiba Inus are vulnerable to eye diseases, which usually progress over time. Unfortunately, if left untreated, they can cause blindness in dogs. The most common types of eye diseases Shiba Inu suffers from are cataracts, retinal dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). 

These eye diseases are all genetic, so, unfortunately, there is no simple way to prevent them. However, giving your canine plenty of nutrients in their daily diet will go a long way.

Nutrients like omega fatty acids, lycopene, or vitamin A are all excellent ways to slow them down and protect your canine’s eyes from any severe symptoms. 

Final Verdict

Like most canines, Shiba Inus need plenty of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients to help keep their bodies strong and maintain their active lifestyle. These high-energy pups need a high-calorie diet to simply keep up!

So, what is the best dog food for Shiba Inu?

We recommend Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Pacific Salmon Dog Food. This high-quality formula offers Shiba Inus plenty of vitamins and minerals to help keep strong bones, joints, and muscles. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants to support their immune system and glucosamine for their heart and joints.

And it uses unique raw meat bites to appeal to even the fussiest of eaters too! What pup would be able to resist? Certainly not yours! 

But if you don’t fancy this diet, you can’t go wrong with any of our recommendations above.

James Fuller

James Fuller

Founder of Honest Whiskers

Hey! I’ve owned a pet pretty much all my life, in fact, I currently have both a cat and a dog! My mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information

Dogs and Cat
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