The Best Dog Food for Shar Pei (9 Top Dog Food Brands in 2021)

Edited by: Mike Powell
Reviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Quick Picks

Best Overall Food for Shar Peis: Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food
“This highly digestible grain-free food is chock-full of antioxidants and duck as its primary protein. Picky dogs will have no problem consuming this delicious dry dog food that enhances overall health.”

Best Value for the MoneyNutro Wholesome Essentials Dog Food
“Despite its lower price tag, this dog food meets all your Shar Pei’s dietary requirements. It incorporates whole grains for easy digestion and contains a variety of fruits and vegetables for added nutritional value.”

Best Raw Diet AlternativeInstinct Grain Free Dry Dog Food
“Made with cage-free chicken as its primary protein source, this freeze-dried, grain-free dry dog food is sure to enhance your dog’s muscles and maintain excellent health.”

The Chinese Shar Pei is famed for its wrinkle-faced appearance, curly tail, and affinity for lounging with its beloved owner. However, these charming canines are hardly active, which can make them prone to obesity and challenging to feed. 

Therefore, keeping your dog in excellent shape and preventing lifestyle-related health conditions means selecting the best dog foods for Shar Peis. Many will develop issues such as hip dysplasia and skin allergies, which require a specific nutritional value. 

In this guide, you’ll learn all about the Shar Pei’s dietary requirements, common health concerns, and the top dry dog food available on the market.   

Product Name
Best Overall Food for Shar Peis
Best Raw Diet Alternative
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Wetlands Premium Dry Dog Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER: NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Adult Large Breed Natural Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 15 lb. Bag
Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Beef Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 20 lb. Bag
Our grade
Our Rating 95/100
Our Rating 93/100
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
High in protein for optimal joint and muscle support
Features high-quality chicken as its primary ingredient
Features 70% real and freeze-dried animal ingredients and exceptionally high protein levels
Feature 2
Contains species-specific canine-stain probiotics for easy digestion
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support a lustrous coat
Contains live and natural probiotics to aid dogs with digestive problems
Best Overall Food for Shar Peis
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Wetlands Premium Dry Dog Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
Our grade
Our Rating 95/100
Feature 1
High in protein for optimal joint and muscle support
Feature 2
Contains species-specific canine-stain probiotics for easy digestion
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Our ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER: NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Adult Large Breed Natural Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 15 lb. Bag
Our grade
Our Rating 93/100
Feature 1
Features high-quality chicken as its primary ingredient
Feature 2
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support a lustrous coat
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Raw Diet Alternative
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Beef Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 20 lb. Bag
Our grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Features 70% real and freeze-dried animal ingredients and exceptionally high protein levels
Feature 2
Contains live and natural probiotics to aid dogs with digestive problems
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Sources researched
18
Sources researched
Customer reviews
13,674
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
9
Products tested

Why It’s Important To Get the Right Nutrition for Your Shar Pei

Unlike other more athletic breeds, Shar Peis are notoriously lethargic. They also tend to overeat and are prone to developing obesity. Thus, a high-quality diet rich in protein and low in fat is essential to keeping your Shar Pei in excellent shape. 

Shar Peis are also genetically predisposed to other health concerns such as eye problems, which can be prevented or controlled with a nutritious diet. 

While some immune disorders and physical conditions are difficult to reverse, pairing your dog’s diet with at least one 20 to 30-minute walk per day can help them retain optimal fitness. 

Keep in mind that these nutritional requirements will change as your dog ages. These dogs can develop obesity as early as puppyhood, so overlooking their nutritional needs can spell disaster. 

Compared to their adult counterparts, who can thrive on 1,300 calories or more, younger dogs only require 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day. They will also require more frequent feeding. Ideally, you can divide their calories into 3 or 4 small meals daily. 

They are also susceptible to developing allergies, which the right dietary choices can prevent. When left untreated, food allergies can cause dry, flaky, and irritated skin or even severe digestive issues. 

You can easily undo the effects of food allergies by incorporating the appropriate food for your Shar Pei. These ingredients might include salmon, sweet potato, and other easy-to-digest components. 

If you cannot identify what your Shar Pei might be allergic to, consider putting them on an elimination diet. This involves removing a single ingredient from their daily meal to determine what might be causing an adverse reaction. 

Ultimately, you’ll want to feed your Shar Pei according to their specific needs. Always consider their age, activity levels, existing conditions, and other needs. 


Key Ingredients To Look For in the Best Dog Food for Shar Pei

Natural, healthy diets are ideal for obesity-prone Shar Peis. Ingredients such as whole foods, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables can help them achieve optimal health. When shopping for the best dog foods for Shar Peis, consider the following ingredients. 

Lean Proteins

The key ingredient in any dog’s diet is protein. Prioritize dog food brands that list real animal meat as its first ingredient and primary source of protein. 

Compared to smaller dogs, Shar Peis require higher crude protein levels to support healthy digestion, muscle development, and proper blood and bowel function. However, they are also prone to obesity. As such, choosing lean meats such as salmon, bison, or turkey will benefit your dog. 

Healthy Fats

Shar Peis have thick, wrinkly coats that require healthy levels of saturated fat to stay lush and silky. The best way to support your Shar Pei’s coat is to incorporate generous amounts of omega fatty acids into their diet. 

Most omega fatty acids are derived from fish oils but can also be found in ground flaxseeds. Other than keeping your dog’s coat in great condition, omega fats also promote healthy brain and eye development. 

Carbohydrates

Despite their instances of lethargy, Shar Peis can be quite active! To help moderate their energy levels, you should seek out quality carbs like barley, oats, and sweet potatoes. Brown rice recipe dry dog food usually suffices.

Whenever possible, avoid feeding your Shar Pei wet food, as canned alternatives contain more carbs than their dry counterparts. If your dog is less active than usual, the best dog food has limited carbohydrates. Lazy dogs with large appetites convert stored glycogen to fat, which can lead to obesity. 

Fruits & Vegetables

Whole vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and peas provide your dog with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Dog foods abundant in these ingredients can contribute to healthy teeth, bones, and digestive systems. They also help your sickly Shar Pei stave off illness and disease. 

More importantly, fruits and vegetables can stimulate energy levels in low-activity Shar Peis. They also improve metabolism, allowing your dog to burn off fat more effectively.  


Common Health Concerns Shar Pei Dogs Suffer From

Unfortunately, these wrinkle-headed dogs are susceptible to multiple developed and genetic diseases that include the following. 

1. SARDS

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration typically occurs in older dogs and can cause permanent blindness. The condition occurs rapidly and is often caused by faulty genetics. 

The good news is, it is relatively treatable when identified early. Shar Pei owners can enroll their dogs in physical therapy or IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin) treatment for canines. You can also introduce eye-enhancing dry food for your Shar Pei such as carrots, eggs, and salmon. 

2. Skinfold Infections

A Shar Pei’s coarse coat and skin, when left to gather dirt, bacteria in between the skin folds can cause contact dermatitis. 

You can spot skinfold infections via foul odors and dry, flaking skin. Preventing skinfold diseases is simple—introduce high-quality dog food rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to keep the skin in excellent condition. 

Incorporating a diet that prevents excess shed can also help ease the symptoms of bacterial skin infections. 

3. Entropion

Entropion is a genetic disease that causes the eyelids to fold in on themselves, eventually leading to permanent corneal damage. Over time, the eyelashes can come in contact with the eye, further irritating it. 

While there isn’t much you can do to stop this from occurring in your Shar Pei, there are methods of treating entropion in its early stages. Incorporate a diet rich in quality animal meat proteins and crude fat, which can help reinforce the muscles around the eye socket. Consider introducing these dog foods for tear stains

4. Shar Pei Fever

As its title suggests, this condition occurs primarily in Shar Peis and is characterized by swollen ankles and a recurring fever. 

The first symptom of Shar Pei Fever is typically swollen hock syndrome, which appears like boils or balloons around the ankles. As such, your Shar Pei’s diet should include ingredients that help prevent liver failure

What is the Best Dog Food for Shar Pei?

  1. Best Food Overall for Shar Peis: Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food
  2. Best Value for Money: NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food
  3. Best Raw Diet Alternative: Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Sensitive Digestion: Solid Gold Wolf King Dry Dog Food
  5. Best for Lethargic Dogs: Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  6. Best for Skin Allergies: Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Dermo Dry Dog Food
  7. Best for Shar Pei Puppies: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Puppy Food
  8. Best for Shar Pei Seniors: Canidae Pure Meadow LID Dog Food
  9. Best for Overweight Dogs: Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Dog Food

1. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Overall Food for Shar Peis: Incorporates a healthy selection of fowl-based ingredients with crude protein levels of 32%

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Wetlands Premium Dry Dog Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
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Key Features

  • High in protein for optimal joint and muscle support
  • Real fruits and superfoods contribute to higher-quality essential vitamins and minerals
  • Contains species-specific canine-stain probiotics for easy digestion

This protein-rich, grain-free dog food is jam-packed with high-quality fowl-based ingredients such as duck, roasted quail, and smoked turkey, essential to developing lean, healthy muscles in your Shar Pei. Natural antioxidants from fruits and vegetables help keep your dog’s immune system in excellent condition. 

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Chicory root is its primary prebiotic source and aids in healthy digestion. Essential chelated minerals and amino acids ensure total nutrient absorption. 

Finally, omega fats in this Taste of the Wild food keep your Shar Pei’s wrinkled skin shiny, lush, and allergy-free!

2. NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food

Best Value for Money: Cost-effective, high-quality dog food contains farm-raised chicken and added whole grains for optimal digestive activity

DISCONTINUED BY MANUFACTURER: NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Adult Large Breed Natural Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 15 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features high-quality chicken as its primary ingredient
  • Made without GMO ingredients, chicken meal, and unhealthy grains
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support a lustrous coat

When it comes to Nutro’s selection of Wholesome Essentials dry dog food, price tags don’t dictate quality! Your Shar Pei will love its real, farm-raised chicken and won’t have any problems with digestion thanks to rich, wholesome grains. 

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This food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen aging joints and deteriorating muscles. If your Shar Pei’s coat isn’t faring well, omega fats and sunflower oil can restore lustre and shine. 

Essential antioxidants in Nutro Wholesome Essentials gives your Shar Pei’s immune system a much-needed boost while amino acids stimulate tissue repair. 

3. Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Raw Diet Alternative: Thoughtfully balanced with cage-free chicken and vegetables to ensure optimal immune system activity and healthy muscles

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Beef Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 20 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features 70% real and freeze-dried animal ingredients and exceptionally high protein levels 
  • Contains live and natural probiotics to aid dogs with digestive problems
  • Does not contain grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy

This grain-free dry dog food is packed with freeze-dried real animal proteins to preserve optimal nutritional value. Its formulas feature cage-free chicken or grass-fed lamb as easily digestible proteins that keep your dog energetic throughout the day. 

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It also provides guaranteed levels of omega fats, which keeps your dog’s sensitive skin allergy-free. Added probiotics and antioxidants provide a much-needed immune system boost and help aid sensitive digestion. 

Its formula is free of grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives.  

4. Solid Gold Wolf King Dry Dog Food

Best for Sensitive Digestion: Holistic formula with probiotic support, packed with superfoods to support dogs with complicated digestion problems

Solid Gold - Wolf King Bison and Brown Rice Recipe with Sweet Potatoes - Natural Adult Dry Dog Food - 24 lb bag
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Key Features

  • Specifically formulated for medium to large-breed adult dogs
  • Features advanced probiotic support to enhance gut health
  • Includes high-quality sources of omega fats, fiber, and vitamins

Natural and lean protein-packed animal meats fortified with 90 million probiotics per pound are what make this dry dog food stand out. This bison meal, brown rice, and sweet potato recipe is even more fiber-rich, promoting healthy gut bacteria and overall immune health.   

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Solid Gold also contains superfoods like pumpkin, cranberries, blueberries, and carrots to help soothe upset stomachs. This unique blend of healthy fats and whole grains helps maintain your dog’s muscles and repairs broken tissues.  

Omega fats and enriched vitamins replace low-quality ingredients such as fillers and artificial preservatives.

5. Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best for Lethargic Dogs: Fortified with healthy fats to help boost energy levels in lethargic dogs

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe - 4.0 lb Bag
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Key Features

  • Poultry-free food features real deboned beef as first ingredient to help fuel your dog’s energy
  • 60% of protein is derived from real animal sources 
  • Developed with omega fats to enhance the skin and coat

If your Shar Pei is notoriously lazy, this grain-free dry dog food fortified with healthy fats can give them the energy boost they need. 60% of its protein inclusions are from real, whole-raised animal sources, while 30% consists of fiber, natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. 

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Leading levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat. Added glucosamine and chondroitin repair underused muscles and provide essential hip and joint support. 

This Merrick grain-free recipe does not contain soy, wheat, gluten, or artificial additives like dyes and flavors. Overall, this adult dry dog food is an excellent choice for muscle-building, active digestion, and maintaining high energy levels.  

6. Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Dermo Dry Dog Food

Best for Skin Allergies: Therapeutic diet packed with soothing extracts and omega fats can undo stubborn skin problems

Forza10 Dermo Sensitive Skin Dog Food, Dog Food for Allergies and Itching, 6 Pound Bag, Fish Flavor, Sensitive Stomach Dog Food for Adult Dogs and All Breeds
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Key Features

  • Therapeutic plant extracts and balanced ingredients support coat and skin health
  • Single-source protein helps prevent food allergies
  • Ideal for treating pyoderma, contact dermatitis, and hair loss

If your adult Shar Pei is laden with skin allergies and a crusted, patchy skin and coat, this grain-free, single-source protein dry dog food may present a sound solution. This complete and balanced limited-ingredient diet contains therapeutic plant and herb extracts that help improve inflammatory, autoimmune, and chronic diseases. 

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Omega-3 fatty acids also help treat irritated skin and undo the effects of pyoderma, dermatitis, itching, hair loss, and foul skin odors. 

It contains only one protein and no gluten, which helps your dog avoid sensitivities and flare-up causing allergies. It is also free of brown rice and sweet potatoes for dogs that are particularly sensitive. 

7. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Puppy Food

Best for Shar Pei Puppies: Packed with wholesome ingredients to promote healthy brain, skeletal, and vision development in your Shar Pei puppy

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe, 30 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • DHA from high-quality fish oil aids in early stage development
  • Natural ingredients fortified with vitamins and minerals are easy to digest
  • Vitamins and antioxidants support healthy immune function

Hill’s Science Diet provides your growing Shar Pei puppy with precise nutrition for healthy development. Wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken meal and barley promotes brain, eye, and skeletal health. Quality proteins also aid in early-stage muscle development and provide an optimal energy boost. 

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This dry dog food also contains wholesome grains and vitamins to aid in digestion and provide added taste for picky eaters. It is free of artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives. 

If you have a pregnant pet, this particular dog food will also suffice. However, you might be better off with these dog foods for nursing canines.

8. Canidae Pure Meadow LID Dog Food

Best for Shar Pei Seniors: Limited-ingredient dry dog food features an optimal blend of protein and fiber to support your aging dog

CANIDAE Pure Senior Recipe, Limited Ingredient Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
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Key Features

  • Formulated with only nine real food ingredients to prevent allergies and stomach sensitivity
  • Features protein-rich chicken as its first ingredient
  • Fortified with a blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids

This best-selling sweet potato recipe dry dog food is specifically formulated for aging pets with sensitive digestion. Its main ingredients include real chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. This high-quality mix of proteins, fats, and healthy carbohydrates are easy to digest and don’t cause irritation. 

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Its limited-ingredient, grain-free dog food for Shar Peis contains only nine components to reduce instances of allergies and indigestion. It is also lower in calories, which keeps your less active dog from gaining too much weight. 

This dog food’s best feature is its Canidae HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, which promotes optimal gut health. Omega fats also do wonders for your dog’s skin and coat.

9. Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Dog Food

Best for Overweight Dogs: Features premium deboned chicken and antioxidant-rich ingredients to keep your dog at an optimal weight

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
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Key Features

  • Contains L-Carnitine for lean muscle development
  • Calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins promote strong, healthy teeth
  • Chicken meal and sweet potatoes contribute to easy digestion

Though designed primarily as a large-breed adult Shar Pei dog food, this nutrient-rich Blue Buffalo formula is also ideal for developing puppies with high energy levels and weight issues. 

This high-protein dog food is fortified with vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants for increased nutrient absorption and to ensure healthy weight. 

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This Shar Pei diet also contains L-Carnitine for healthy muscle development and contains sweet potatoes for optimal digestion.

If you need a Shar Pei dog food that also prioritizes healthy muscle development and has hip and joint support, Blue Buffalo is the way to go.


Questions & Answers

Q: How many times a day should I feed my Shar Pei?

A: Shar Pei feeding frequency will depend on their age and activity level. For instance, younger, more active Shar Pei puppies may require feeding three to four times a day, while older, more lethargic Shar Peis will suffice on twice-a-day meals. Ensure that you are feeding your dog enough and at the right time. 

Q: How often should you walk a Shar Pei?

A: Shar Peis should get at least two 20 to 30-minute walks a day, or one 60-minute walk a day, accompanied by another half-hour of free play. Engage them with toys to stimulate mental activity. Consider toys that help keep your dog active—tennis balls, frisbees, or ball launchers. Never skimp on your Shar Pei’s daily exercise to ensure that they are at a healthy weight. 

Q: What dry food ingredients should I avoid feeding my Shar Pei?

A: Shar Peis have a sensitive digestive system and should avoid the following ingredients: 

  • Wheat or soy-based products that can cause allergies and irritable bowels
  • Foods with artificial additives, preservatives, and fillers
  • Foods without a viable, real meat source
  • Wet food that adds too much moisture to their diet
  • Chemical ingredients such as PHA or propylene glycol

Q: Why do Shar Peis stink?

A: There are multiple reasons a Shar Pei might smell. For instance, dirty, unwashed skin folds can gather bacteria, which eventually creates a foul smell. If your dog’s skin is gathering dirt from regular play, ensure that you use an effective shampoo. If it is a skin condition, consider putting them on a skin-sensitive diet.  

Q: What do I feed a Shar Pei with allergies?

A: If your Shar Pei suffers from food allergies, you’re best off providing it with a limited-ingredient diet. The fewer the ingredients in a meal, the less likely they are to demonstrate an allergic reaction. Avoid proteins like chicken meal and beef, which dogs tend to be allergic to. Instead, consider a brown rice recipe with chicken, sweet potato, and other digestible fibers.

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.