Best Dog Food for Shiba Inu (7 Safest and Healthiest in 2021)

Edited by: Mike Powell
Reviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall Food for Shiba Inus: Merrick Backcountry Raw Dog Food
“This dog food boasts a winning formula of salmon, trout, and whitefish to provide your Shiba Inu with optimal fat and protein levels. Its omega fatty acid inclusions support healthy brain function and keep the skin supple.”

Best Value for the Money: Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
“This affordable holistic dog food packs a nutritional punch using three lean proteins. Its unique formula supports muscle tone, improves fur texture, and provides a much-needed immunity boost!”

Best Limited-Ingredient Food: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food
“Shiba Inus with sensitive stomachs will take well to this limited-ingredient dog food that helps improve digestion. Its low glycemic blend and omega fatty acids soothe persistent skin issues and promote healthy gut activity.”

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Shiba Inus are great companion dogs and they thrive in apartment settings. They require ample exercise to keep in shape and a highly specific diet that meets their unique nutritional needs. Factors you’ll want to consider are this dog’s thick, luscious mane, lean, muscular body, and high activity levels. 

In this guide, we’ll take you through the safest and healthiest dietary choices for your Shiba Inu, common elements to consider, basic nutritional requirements, and typical health concerns. 

Product Name
Best Overall Food for Shiba Inus
Best Value for Money
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe for dogs 4 LB (37009)
NUTRO ULTRA Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 30 lb. Bag
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato & Fish Formula, 26 Pounds, Grain Free
Our grade
Our Rating 97/100
Our Rating 94/100
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Protein-rich recipe incorporates freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble
Features three lean protein sources for a maximum immunity boost
Sweet potatoes provide sufficient carbohydrates and are easy to digest
Feature 2
Omega-3 fatty acid inclusions support healthy, supple skin
Contains antioxidants that aid in digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Grain-free formula doesn’t contain peas, lentils, legumes, wheat, or soy
Best Overall Food for Shiba Inus
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe for dogs 4 LB (37009)
Our grade
Our Rating 97/100
Feature 1
Protein-rich recipe incorporates freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble
Feature 2
Omega-3 fatty acid inclusions support healthy, supple skin
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Our ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
NUTRO ULTRA Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 30 lb. Bag
Our grade
Our Rating 94/100
Feature 1
Features three lean protein sources for a maximum immunity boost
Feature 2
Contains antioxidants that aid in digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Limited-Ingredient Food
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato & Fish Formula, 26 Pounds, Grain Free
Our grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Sweet potatoes provide sufficient carbohydrates and are easy to digest
Feature 2
Grain-free formula doesn’t contain peas, lentils, legumes, wheat, or soy
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Sources researched
14
Sources researched
Customer reviews
13,265
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
12
Hours spent testing
Products tested
7
Products tested

Best Dog Food for Shiba Inu

Here’s a list of the best dog foods for Shiba Inu:

  1. Best Overall Food for Shiba Inus: Merrick Backcountry Raw Dog Food
  2. Best Value for Money: Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
  3. Best Limited Ingredient Food: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
  4. Best High-Protein Food: Wellness CORE Dry Dog Food
  5. Best for All Life Stages: Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
  6. Best for Shiba Inu Puppies: Farmina Low-Grain Dry Puppy Food
  7. Best for Shiba Inu Seniors: Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dog Food

1. Merrick Backcountry Raw Dog Food

Best Overall Food for Shiba Inus: Provides optimal fats and proteins while adding a burst of flavor and texture. 

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe for dogs 4 LB (37009)
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Key Features

  • Protein-rich recipe incorporates freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble
  • Deboned salmon as the first ingredient promotes healthy muscles
  • Omega-3 fatty acid inclusions support healthy, supple skin

Shiba Inus bursting with energy will love this freeze-dried dog food that features deboned salmon as its first ingredient. Its protein-rich and poultry-free formula is highly digestible, keeping sensitive Shiba Inu stomachs full without causing digestive upset later on. 

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It is developed with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your Shiba Inu’s thick and silky mane looking its best. Glucosamine and chondroitin inclusions also support healthy hips and joints, perfect for Shiba Inus that love to run. 

Your active dog will benefit from this formula’s whole fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a strong immune system.

2. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Best Value for Money: Cost-effective superfood blend improving muscle tone and keeping your Shiba Inu’s coat lustrous and full. 

NUTRO ULTRA Adult High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 30 lb. Bag
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Key Features

  • Features three lean protein sources for a maximum immunity boost
  • Contains antioxidants that aid in digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Sunflower oil inclusions keep coat and skin sleek and full

Despite its low price tag, this affordable dog food provides ample support for your Shiba Inu’s muscles, joints, and stunning coat. Its three lean protein sources include farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb, and salmon, with amino acids that support a sharp, healthy mind. 

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Its linoleic acid-rich sunflower oil inclusion keeps your Shiba Inu’s coat brilliant and dense. Sunflower oil also relieves itchiness for dogs with extra sensitive skin. This formula is fortified with taurine, which is great for your Shiba Inu’s  heart, and improves his eyesight and hearing.

This low-calorie dog food is ideal for Shiba Inus that need to maintain a specific weight without eliminating essential fats.

3. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Limited-Ingredient Food: Features sweet potato to aid in irregular digestion and Omega-3 fatty acids that help promote healthy skin 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato & Fish Formula, 26 Pounds, Grain Free
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Key Features

  • Sweet potatoes provide sufficient carbohydrates and are easy to digest
  • Grain-free formula doesn’t contain peas, lentils, legumes, wheat, or soy
  • Omega-3 fatty acids improve dry and irritable skin

If your Shiba Inu suffers from allergies or digestion issues, this limited-ingredient dry dog food is an excellent choice. Its first ingredient is fresh salmon, whose omega fatty acid inclusions repair red, flaky, and irritated skin. 

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Sweet potato is its secondary ingredient, providing enough fiber to reduce harmful gut bacteria. Its grain-free formula eliminates any potential irritants you would find in other dog foods. Plus, its lack of corn or soy makes it even easier to consume. 

This impressive formula is clinically manufactured by veterinary professionals, animal nutritionists, and research scientists with over 125 years of combined experience.

4. Wellness CORE Dry Dog Food

Best High-Protein Food: Nutrient-rich grain-free food with quality proteins optimizing your Shiba Inu’s energy and encourages lean body mass. 

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey & Chicken, 26-Pound Bag
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Key Features

  • Protein levels of 34% sustain highly active Shiba Inus
  • Amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keep muscles in perfect shape
  • Developed without meat by-products, artificial fillers, wheat, or soy

This high-protein dog food formula is further fortified by optimal fatty acid inclusions that keep your dog’s coat well-maintained and in excellent condition. Taurine inclusions aids in cardiac function, good eyesight, and fat digestion. 

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Deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal pack an impressive 34% protein in this delicious, grain-free dog food. Shiba Inus that spend most of their time outdoors will get the much-needed immunity boost they need. 

Probiotics in this dog food make it even easier to digest. However, you’ll need to keep an eye out for dogs with chicken allergies. 

5. Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Best for All Life Stages: Multi-protein formulation that offer just the right blend of amino acids for Shiba Inu puppies, adults, and seniors

Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb and Fish Meals, 44lbs
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Key Features

  • Nutritionally dense formula uses chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish as primary proteins
  • Free of common food allergens like corn, wheat, and soy
  • Formulated by veterinarians to suit Shiba Inus of all life stages

This tasty and nutritious dog food supports Shiba Inus throughout all life stages. Packed with probiotics and antioxidants, even the pickiest of puppies, adults, or seniors will take well to this dry dog food’s gentle formula. 

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This formula contains multiple protein sources like chicken, lamb, fish, and turkey. It is also free of common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy, providing your dog with the wholesome nutrition it deserves. 

It  vitamins and minerals that help fortify bones and support essential bodily functions. Finally, its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid inclusions give your dog’s coat a perfect shine.

6. Farmina Low-Grain Dry Puppy Food

Best for Shiba Inu Puppies: Contains essential ingredients that provide optimal levels of fat, protein, and carbohydrates for Shiba Inu puppies. 

Farmina Natural And Delicious Chicken And Ancestral Low-Grain Puppy Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, 5.5-Pound
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Key Features

  • 90% of protein inclusions are from whole meat sources
  • Advanced coating system provides ultimate vitamin retention 
  • Ideal for dogs with additional nutritional requirements

This dry dog food is manufactured with active-breed puppies in mind. It contains optimally-calculated levels of fat, protein, and carbohydrates to seamlessly transition your dog into its next life stage. 

This chicken recipe is free of whole peas, meals, animal by-products, and legumes to aid growing puppies with sensitive stomachs. It is also ideal for younger dogs with hypersensitivities and irritable bowels.

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Manufacturers coat this kibble with vitamins after cooking to preserve freshness and taste for picky eaters. This technique also helps expand shelf life. 

Its ancestral grain formula helps your puppy meet its biological needs and provides extra nutrition for athletic dogs.

7. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dog Food

Best for Shiba Inu Seniors: Formulated for canine adulthood and contains quality ingredients like farm-raised chicken, rice, fruits, and vegetables. 

GENTLE GIANTS Pack of 3 World Class Canine Cuisine Dog Food, 7.5 lbs
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Key Features

  • Natural formula contains twelve whole, non-GMO fruits, and vegetables 
  • Probiotics and prebiotics offer additional digestive support
  • Gentle formula is ideal for older Shiba Inus with sensitive stomachs

This veterinary-recommended dog food contains natural, non-GMO premium ingredients that support your aging Shiba Inu’s overall health. It features organically-grown fruits and vegetables such as beets, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin, providing a healthier alternative to poor-quality carbohydrates. 

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Unlike most dry dog food, this formula contains New Zealand green mussels, whose glucosamine and chondroitin inclusions reduce inflammation due to arthritis and restore bone strength. 

Chelated vitamins and minerals help your older dog fight off disease and keep its bodily functions intact. It features vitamins A and B12, which benefit the skin, coat, muscles, and nerves. 


Basic Nutritional Requirements of Shiba Inus 

Protein

Protein is a crucial component for building muscle mass, tissues, and cells in your growing Shiba Inu. These dogs are heavy set and may require higher protein levels than most. If you want to focus on muscle-building, consider these high-protein dog foods. 

While plant-based proteins will benefit any dog, an ideal protein source for Shiba Inus is from whole-grown animals. Some suitable protein sources to consider for your Shiba Inu are fish, which are also rich in omega fatty acids, beef, chicken, turkey, and duck.  

Fat

Balanced fat levels help your Shiba Inu produce healthy hormones and absorb nutrients in their food. Contrary to popular belief, it does not exacerbate weight gain in heavier Shiba Inus. Instead, your dog burns off this ingredient as it expends energy. 

If your dog is becoming lethargic, it could indicate a lack of fat in its diet. Omega fats are also essential to keeping your Shiba Inu’s fur thick, full, and silky. 

Carbohydrates

While carbs are an excellent way to provide your active Shiba Inu with rapid energy, too much of it can become detrimental to their immune system. Prioritize a modest balance of carbohydrates and pair this with daily walks to keep your Shiba Inu in perfect health. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential in developing your Shiba Inu puppy’s critical bodily functions. For instance, Vitamins A, D, and E support brain and eye health, while minerals strengthen the bones. 

Beware of dog foods that use artificial or inferior quality fillers to pass off as healthy vitamins and minerals. These fillers might include melamine, BHA, propylene glycol, and meat meals from slaughterhouse waste. 

Fiber

Fiber delivers the necessary energy to keep your Shiba Inu active while promoting a healthy digestive system. Good sources of fiber include pumpkin, flaxseed, beet pulp, apples, and carrots. If you’re incorporating fiber into your dog’s diet to firm up their stool, consider these dog foods for diarrhea.


Common Health Concerns for Shiba Inu Dogs 

Joint Issues

Because of their active nature, Shiba Inus are prone to developing joint issues such as hip dysplasia. The best way to ensure that your heavy-set Shiba Inu isn’t putting too much pressure on their joints is to keep an eye on their weight. 

Kibble with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help reduce inflammation due to high activity levels or arthritis, while specialist diets can suppress pain.   

Allergies

Shiba Inus often suffer from skin and food allergies. Symptoms might include excessive eye scratching, tear stains, and red, itchy skin. 

If you aren’t sure what your Shiba Inu is allergic to, consider placing them on an elimination diet until you identify the culprit. You can also put your dog on a grain-free diet or consider these dog foods to reduce tear stains.

Eye Disease

Common eye problems that recur in Shiba Inus include progressive renal atrophy, glaucoma, and cataracts, among others. Depending on the severity of the disease, most veterinarians will recommend eye drops or surgery. 

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your Shiba Inu’s eye health through their diet by purchasing foods rich in sweet potato, pumpkin, and kale. These ingredients contain vitamin A, which improve eye function and boost the immune system.

Patellar Luxation

Shiba Inus are active dogs that love to run and are thus prone to developing patellar luxation. This disease—which is often genetic—causes your dog’s kneecaps to shift in position. The good news is, patellar luxation is highly treatable.

You can improve this condition by introducing ingredients such as glucosamine and omega fatty acids into your dog’s diet. These components can reinforce muscle stress while reducing inflammation and pain.

Furthermore, you should ensure that your Shiba Inu is at a healthy weight to avoid added pressure on the knees.


Key Elements to Consider When Choosing Dog Food for Shiba Inu 

Animal Proteins

When selecting the right dog food for your Shiba Inu, you’ll want to prioritize protein and fat. What kind of protein you choose can make all the difference. Always source high-quality animal proteins that support your Shiba Inu’s immune system, skin, and bones. These proteins include organic chicken, beef, lamb, duck, turkey, and fish. 

Whole Grains (or No Grains)

Despite their reputation for being a hard-to-digest ingredient in dog food, some grains can be beneficial to your Shiba Inu’s digestive health. For instance, brown rice is rich in fiber and full of antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels in your Shiba Inu. Its selenium and manganese inclusions also support bone development. 

However, if your Shiba Inu is prone to skin and food allergies, you may be better off going grain-free. 

Superfoods

Superfoods rich in vitamins and minerals are vital to supporting your Shiba Inu’s overall health. For instance, sweet potatoes are a crowd favorite. They contain an abundance of vitamins, healthy carbohydrates and are high in fiber—perfect for aiding digestion. 

Other superfoods that can benefit your Shiba Inu are spinach, which is antioxidant-packed and can combat bone and joint problems that frequently occur in this breed. Broccoli, which helps reduce cholesterol levels, does wonders for regulating heart function, calcium levels, and metabolism. 

Eating Habits & Activity Levels

Selecting the right food for your Shiba Inu doesn’t just involve ingredients. You should also consider your dog’s eating habits and activity levels. 

For example, while highly energetic Shiba Inu puppies can eat up to four times a day, twice a day feedings for adults will typically suffice. As such, the calories in the food you buy and how often you plan to feed your dog will influence your choice. 

Age

Shiba Inu puppies, adults, and seniors all have unique dietary needs. Generally, puppies and seniors will benefit from 600 calories a day, while adults can thrive on 700 or more.  

Life stages will also dictate your dog’s nutritional requirements. Puppies will need specialized food to support developing bones, organs, and cognitive function, while older Shiba Inus will benefit most from weight control. 

Again, it all boils down to your dog’s age, activity levels, and preferences. By thoroughly reviewing these factors, you can make better-informed decisions regarding your dog’s diet.


Questions & Answers

Q: Can I Feed My Shiba Inu Raw Food?

A: While some veterinary professionals recommend a raw food diet, you’ll always want to play it safe. If you are feeding your dog unclean meat, you could be putting them at risk of bacterial infections such as salmonella or E.coli. Always get medical advice before putting your dog on a raw food diet. 

Q: Do Shiba Inus Do Better on Grain-Free Diets?

A: That depends. Some whole grains, such as brown rice, can help aid indigestion in picky eaters. However, some Shiba Inus have severe grain allergies, in which case, grain-free diets may be appropriate. In the absence of healthy grains and fibers, you should prioritize lean animal proteins and other sources of antioxidants. 

Q: Are Shiba Inus Picky Eaters?

A: Unfortunately, Shiba Inus are notoriously picky! Fortunately, you can undo this bad habit by putting them on a predictable feeding schedule or offering up palatable meats such as lamb and fish instead of chicken. You can further entice your Shiba Inu with a wet food topper if they aren’t taking to their dry kibble. 

Q: How Much Food Should I Feed My Shiba Inu?

A: How much you feed your Shiba Inu will depend on a variety of factors. Remember, these dogs are extremely muscular and are prone to gaining weight quickly. When deciding how much to feed your Shiba Inu, study their eating habits, record their BMI, and consider their life stage.

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.