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Shiba Inus are the smallest (and likely the most ancient breed) originating from Japan, previously serving as hunting dogs for small games . The breed suffered greatly during World War II when it suffered from distemper, but careful breeding programs brought them back to the public .
Although Shiba Inus are more of a companion dog now, their history still remains with them, and they are an active breed who will easily succumb to their hunting instincts when they see small prey in the neighbourhood. Therefore, they have higher activity levels than other medium-sized breeds and will require different foods from the average breed.
Based on my research, Shiba Inus will need a higher protein intake than other medium-sized breeds, regardless of their activity levels. Therefore, the best option for most Shiba Inus will be the Annamaet Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food.
The Annamaet Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food is a low-fat, grain-free kibble that uses ingredients fit for human consumption in their recipe. The ingredients are also sustainably sourced. This recipe is especially suitable for breeds (like Shiba Inus) with high protein but low fat needs.
However, each Shiba Inu is unique, and their needs will differ depending on their circumstances. That’s why I have selected a list of the best dog food for Shiba Inus to keep you informed of the possible varieties your Shiba Inu may benefit from.
- Best dog food for Shiba Inus overall: Annamaet Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best dog food for Shiba Inu puppies: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Dry Food
- Best dog food for Shiba Inu seniors: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best wet dog food for Shiba Inus: Tiki Dog Taste of The World
- Best dog food for Shiba Inus with sensitive stomachs: Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
1. Annamaet Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Low-fat, grain-free kibbles with ingredients passing standards for human consumption and according to sustainability standards
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, Field peas, Lentils, Potato, Tapioca
- Caloric content: 3,242 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 30% protein, Min 7% fats, Max 3.5% fiber
- Best for: Adult Shiba Inus
Annamaet Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food has a recipe that supplies high protein with lesser fats, which is highly suitable for active breeds that will get obese easily.
The kibbles contain a minimum of 30% protein, higher than most other brands of dry dog food out there, with only 7-9% fats, whereas other brands usually have at least 10% or more. It is very suitable for adult Shiba Inus, which thrives on food with about 30% proteins and 10% or less fats.
Owners reviewed that this food was very well received by their dogs, especially those with pancreatitis thrived on it. Overweight dogs have also slimmed down after their owners switched them to this brand, and healthy dogs maintained their healthy status.
However, some owners have commented that their picky dogs refused to eat this food, presumably because of the smell and taste. A few owners commented on the price, saying they had to switch to other brands due to budgeting issues.
2. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Dry Food
- Key feature: Low-fat food with both grain-free and healthy grains option for puppies that get obese easily to grow and develop healthily
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Grain-free | Healthy Grains)
- Caloric content: 3,488 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 30% protein, Min 12% fats, Max 3.5% fiber
- Best for: Shiba Inu puppies
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Dry Food offers healthy grains and grain-free options for puppies depending on their needs. Freeze-dried pieces are also mixed with the kibbles to improve taste, supplement nutrition, and provide better digestibility.
This brand of puppy food provides 30% protein and 12% fat, providing just the right amount of nutrients for Shiba Inu puppies, as they need slightly higher nutritional content to meet their growth needs.
Owners like that this brand produces healthy kibbles with quality ingredients. Picky eaters seem to prefer this brand over other brands (examples given include ACANA and Wellness CORE). Dogs with sensitive stomachs also seemed to take this food well.
However, owners who have purchased this brand for a long time mentioned that they noticed the freeze-dried pieces getting smaller and lesser while the prices have increased, likely affected by global inflation.
3. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Limited ingredient and grain-free kibbles for senior dogs with probiotics and antioxidants for healthy digestion and immunity
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken meal, Turkey meal, Sweet potatoes, Garbanzo beans
- Caloric content: 3300 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 28% protein, Min 10% fats, Max 5% fiber
- Best for: Senior Shiba Inus
The Canidae Pure Senior Recipe features 9 main ingredients and is grain-free. The carbohydrates come from sweet potatoes, so senior Shiba Inus can easily digest them.
This brand of senior food provides at least 28% protein and 10% fat. As seniors are likely to be less active, they can still thrive on slightly lesser proteins and avoid complications such as overnutrition.
Many owners who tried out this food on their senior dogs have stated that their dogs’ digestion improved with healthier stools. Dogs with pancreatitis are also thriving on this food.
However, a few owners have also reported that their picky dogs disliked this brand of kibbles and refused to eat it. Some owners also said that the kibbles are too small for medium and large-sized dogs (Shiba Inu are considered medium-sized dogs).
4. Tiki Dog Taste of The World
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- Key feature: Appetizing, high-protein wet dog food made with non-GMO ingredients that resemble the food humans eat
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Indian Chicken Masala | Asian Chicken Stir Fry | Asian Peking Duck | French Beef Burgundy | Italian Chicken Carbonara | Mediterranean Lamb Influence | Spanish Paella with Chicken & Shrimp | Thailand Chicken Coconut Curry)
- Caloric content: 813 – 1055 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 8% protein, Min 3% fats, Max 2% fiber
- Best for: Adult Shiba Inus with picky tastes
The Tiki Dog wet food is 100% non-GMO ingredients without artificial flavors. They aim to replicate the ethnic flavors into a dog-friendly food for owners who wish to share the yummy taste with their dogs.
These yummy packets contain a minimum of 8% crude protein and 3% crude fat. The nutritional value for fats is slightly higher but still within an acceptable range for adult Shiba Inus.
Owners loved that they could share human-taste food with their little pups. Picky dogs also loved at least 1-2 of the available flavors, which looked and smelled almost like the actual human food product.
However, there are a few cases whereby dogs have been reported to feel sick after consuming this food. Therefore, do monitor your dog if you are trying this food out for the first couple of days to see if there are any adverse effects.
5. Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Limited-ingredient kibbles for dogs who have sensitive stomachs or many allergies for better digestion
- First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Salmon meal, Menhaden fish meal, Sweet potatoes, Peas
- Caloric content: 3,560 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 32% protein, Min 14% fats, Max 4.5% fiber
- Best for: Shiba Inus with sensitive stomachs
The Canidae Limited Ingredient Recipe carefully screens and selects a handful of ingredients that go gently on the stomach without compromising the overall nutritional intake.
This limited-ingredient food provides at least 32% protein and 14% fat, slightly more nutritional content than recommended for adult Shiba Inus. It still makes a good option as dogs with sensitive stomachs may be unable to digest the food they eat entirely, so some of the nutrients may be lost in the digestion process.
Many owners with dogs with either allergies or sensitive stomachs said that their dogs could consume this food without issues and still thrive healthily.
However, a few owners have mentioned the rising costs exceeding their budget, hence they will have to switch to other alternatives. There was also a change in the recipe previously (the information here reflects the new recipe) so if you purchased based on the information here, please do check that the information is accurate on the bag too.
Shiba Inus’ Dietary Requirements
Shiba Inus generally require more protein than their other medium-sized breeds counterparts because of their higher activity levels. However, the amount of food served to each dog will differ depending on the amount of exercise it has.
Shiba Inus will need about 30% crude proteins. Shiba Inu puppies will need slightly more for their development and higher activity levels, at about 33%.
For Shiba Inus, they can get their proteins from both meats and grains, although meat is still the preferred option as dogs generally digest meats better than grains.
For Shiba Inus, their diet should not contain more than 10% crude fats as they are a breed that gains weight very easily.
While it is okay to feed them food with more fats occasionally, keeping them on a high-fat diet will make your Shiba Inu become obese quickly.
Carbohydrates come in many forms, such as grains, sugars, fruits, and vegetables, and are a less expensive source of energy than proteins or fats.
In fact, grains such as rice and oatmeal can support healthy skin and fur in Shiba Inus. Therefore, if your Shiba Inu is not allergic to grains, opting for a diet that includes these grains can be beneficial for your dog.
Common Health Issues In Shiba Inus
Shiba Inus are generally healthy if they are from good breeders that emphasize responsible breeding and caretaking.
However, there are also some genetic issues you may want to take note of as a precaution.
Allergies are common in most breeds of dogs, including Shiba Inus, especially food and inhalant allergies.
While there is nothing much you can do for inhalant allergies except to ensure that your Shiba Inu has lesser exposure to them, you can do much more for food allergies.
Usually, food allergies in dogs concern grains or a specific type of meat (commonly used in dog food), such as chicken or beef.
As long as you avoid serving your Shiba Inu any of these ingredients and replace them with other options that provide the same nutrients, your Shiba Inu will still thrive.
Hip dysplasia is a deformed joint and socket at the hip area, which can lead to a permanent disability if not discovered and treated in time. An obvious symptom to look out for is your Shiba Inu struggling to put weight on one or both of his hind legs
Hip dysplasia can be very painful and affect your Shiba Inu’s ability to carry out daily activities like walking. It can is usually treated via a combination of surgical intervention, physical therapy, and joint supplements once discovered.
Chances of developing hip dysplasia increase with a Shiba Inu’s age and body weight. Therefore providing them with quality food throughout their lives and tailoring the food served depending on their health conditions is very important to reduce the chances of developing hip dysplasia.
Patellar Luxation is a genetic disorder whereby a dog’s kneecaps are improperly aligned, although this disorder can also happen in dogs without these genes at a lower chance. This condition is usually corrected through surgery and medication, depending on the severity of the dog’s case.
Fortunately for Shiba Inus which does not have the disorder-related genes, this disorder is preventable. Similarly to hip dysplasia, having a healthy weight will significantly reduce the chances of this disorder developing.
Strong, healthy muscles will also reduce the likelihood of developing this disorder in your Shiba Inu. Therefore, providing a diet rich in quality proteins and healthy fats (essential amino acids) for muscle-building can be an excellent preventive measure against this disorder.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Feeding Shiba Inus
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that Shiba Inu owners have known to ask.
If you have a question not listed here, you can always contact us, and we will give you a reply.
When should I switch from puppy to adult food?
Shiba Inus are medium breeds that reach maturity at about 12 months. You can safely transit your Shiba Inu from puppy food to adult food after the first birthday.
When you do the transition, it is recommended that you gradually reduce the puppy formula and increase the adult formula percentage over about two weeks. This will allow you to monitor any changes in your Shiba Inu, such as whether the food is suitable, causes any allergic reactions, etc.
Is wet dog food or dry dog food better for Shiba Inus?
Shiba Inus can thrive on both wet and dry dog food as long as the nutritional content is appropriate for their breed.
If you serve only dry dog food, provide plenty of fresh water and monitor your Shiba Inu’s daily water intake to avoid scenarios such as dehydration happening.
If your preference is wet dog food, you must ensure that bowls are not left out for too long and thoroughly cleaned after each feeding session to prevent bacteria growth. Dental chews to clean teeth may also need to be given more frequently as wet dog food does not have the additional benefit of cleaning teeth that dry kibbles help with.
Why does my Shiba Inu growls when I place the food down?
Some Shiba Inus can be very protective of their belongings and food. When they view something as theirs, not even their owners can take the things away from them easily. Their growling is a sign for you to back off as the food is now ‘theirs’.
For them to learn that this behaviour is not appropriate, you will have to train them with the word ‘no’, so that they understand that growling when you approach them during mealtimes is not acceptable behaviour.
Shiba Inus are highly active medium-sized breeds that used to hunt alongside humans and still enjoy plenty of exercise in the modern era. They are highly independent, smart, and will make good companion dogs with enough socialization in the early months.
We strongly believe that Annamaet Lean Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for Shiba Inus overall. The protein and fat content falls in the recommended range, using quality and sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Nevertheless, every Shiba Inu is unique. Do evaluate your Shiba Inu’s needs before selecting dog food for it, and always consult a veterinarian’s opinion when you are in doubt.