Best Dog Food For Shiba Inus

What is the best type of food to feed your Shiba Inu? Lately, the topic of dog feeding has been subject to much debate. Major dog food companies like Purina and Blue Buffalo have come under much public scrutiny due to numerous recalls on their products.

Are You Feeding Your Dog The Best You Can?

Additionally, concerned dog owners are becoming aware about the dangers of commercial kibble and searching for other healthful alternatives.

Which Method Really is The Best Method?

We will explore the three most common methods of dog feeding and the pro’s and con’s of each method.

shiba inu dog food

  • Commercial Kibble
  • Home Prepared Food
  • Raw “Barf” Diet

Shiba Inu’s are an ancient Japanese dog breed that inhabited areas in Japan that were mountainous and landlocked.

Theoretically, their diets would have consisted of wild fowl, fish, rice, and other small game. Shibas are a relatively healthy and hardy breed and will do well on a variety of balanced diets.

Additionally, much research has been done on the health benefits of consuming fermented foods. Japanese Shiba owners are often seen indulging their Shibas in Natto – fermented beans with an oh so pungent aroma.

But we as Shiba Inu owners want to give our special dogs the ‘best” food possible to keep our Shiba Inu’s happy, healthy, and vibrant.

shiba inu puppy

Shiba Inu dog food

Home Prepared Food – How I Feed My Own Shiba Inu

My personal Choice after years of research on this topic is to feed my Shiba Inu an all natural home prepared diet. Logically, this is by far the most nutritious and healthful way to feed your pet.

Fresh vegetables, protein, fruits, and carbohydrates contain much more biologically available vitamins and minerals than extremely processed kibble.

More importantly, they don’t contain:

  • Preservatives
  • Chemicals
  • Low Grade “Rendered” Protein
  • Grain “Leftover” Ingredients
  • Toxins
  • Low Quality Added Vitamins / Minerals

But what about the saying, “You should never feed your dog table scraps”!? That propagandic statement was invented by the Pet Food Industry in 1960’s to boost slumping dog food sales. Yes, it always points back to the money trail.

There is an extremely interesting topic called “nutritionism”. Nutritionism believers believe that scientists are capable of engineering a food that is superior to that of mother nature.

World Wide Web of “Misinformation”

So basically they are saying that the source of the food is irrelevant as long as the nutrition “numbers” add up. This misguided and short sighted ideology is discussed in this article by the DogfoodAdvisor.

What is Nutritionism?

Nutritionism is an ideology that includes the misguided belief that scientists can engineer a food that’s better than that of Mother Nature
puppy crate

The History of What Dogs Ate…. In History

Dogs have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Commercial dog food? About a hundred years or so….

Before commercial dog food was invented dogs enjoyed a varied fresh diet consisting of human grade food either by an offering or scavenging.

They also enjoyed better health and low cancer rates. Just in the past 50 years, certain cancer rates in dogs have shot up almost 50%

The Commercial Dog Food Business – A Profit Driven Industry

Commercial dog food was actually created by large manufacturers to make use of their “leftover” byproducts like corn / almond husks and animal by product parts. The five biggest manufacturers of dog food in the U.S. are Nestle, P/G, Del-Monte, Colgate-Palmolive, and M&M/Mars.

dog food manufacturers logo

“But the Vet told me that I should only feed my dog kibble.” Veterinarians spend little if any time studying dog feeding methods and much less the quality of the commercial dog food being offered to their patients. However, they do receive much funding / sponsorship from these large pet food manufacturers.

This special relationship between Veterinarians and dog food manufacturers actually begins during Veterinary school and continues when the Vet begins his or her practice.

But There’s a Catch – Research, Knowledge, and Planning 

However, Veterinarians are correct when they state that home prepared foods run the risk of being nutritionally deficient. If I were to feed my Shiba Inu simply rice and chicken for her diet, it would be obvious that she would be missing out on a number of key nutritional requirements.

Therefore, when feeding this type of diet, it is important to provide a variety of foods to fulfill all of your dog’ daily nutritional needs.

So while a home prepared diet is one of the absolute best way to feed your Shiba – it also takes the most time, research and money. There are many wonderful resources that covers this topic in detail.

For my Shiba Inu Kitsune, she eats a lot of lean beef, lean poultry, small fish, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice and some fruits. She loves papaya. In a perfect world, yes it would be non-GMO, but I digress.


Home Prepared Dog Meals “Already” Ready to Go

There are also many companies that offer USDA human grade freshly prepared dog food.

In fact, one of these companies, Just Food For Dogs, participated in a scientific study with their dog food that proved home prepared human grade dog food provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals for all of a dog’s life stages.

However, supplementing with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals is not as simple as you may think. It’s actually quite difficult to get the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to make a dog’s food truly complete.

So if you interested in feeding your dog fresh – which I hope you are – be sure to research thoroughly. More information about preparing a veterinarian approved human food diet can be found here.

Finally, be especially aware of human foods that are dangerous to dogs. These foods include chocolate, most nuts, alcohol, avocado / apple seeds, onions, grapes, etc.

commercial dog food

Commercial Dog Food – Wet / Dry


When I first got my Shiba Inu as a puppy, I had absolutely no idea about dog nutrition and fed her commercial kibble.

I always chose the “better” more expensive brands and thought I was making good choices.

However, I always had to substitute various dogs foods for another because of her reactions to the food. Some foods gave her stomach upset, while others caused rash and hot spots.

The Mistake of Always Assuming Manufacturers Have Our Best Interests in Mind – Not Profit…

It was then that I started to research dog foods thoroughly and quickly switched her to a natural human grade diet. The stomach upsets and rash issues disappeared within the first two weeks.

Understandably, not everyone has either the time or resources to feed a dog a home prepared diet.

Gosh, most families nowadays are too pressed for time to prepare a home cooked meal for themselves!

So when choosing to feed your Shiba Inu commercial dog food, it is imperative that you understand how to decipher dog food labels and research various brands before choosing.

There are so many grades and levels of dog food quality in this category. Mostly it goes from “pretty good” to “down right horrific”.

Since Shiba Inu’s have been known to suffer from grain allergies, I would choose a grain free kibble. Here are more tips to find a good commercial dog food:

  • Look for a kibble that has meat as it’s first ingredient, not meat byproduct
  • Stay away from kibble that has mostly “filler” material such as corn, wheat, soy
  • Understand the difference between poultry meal and chicken meal. P.S. the latter is the better choice
  • Stay away from kibble that has artificial colorings and preservatives
  • Avoid products with too much protein, as modern dogs do not have the same digestive systems as their wolf ancestors
  • Stay away from Beneful or any Purina product. Period.

There are some really good dog food companies that actually care about dogs and take pride in the products they create. It is up to you to find the best choices for your dog by researching and experimenting.

Look out for clues of dog food intolerance such as stomach issues (vomiting, diarrhea, loud digestive noises) and allergic issues (rash, hotspots, hair pulling).

Check out our dry food recommendations here.

Wet Dog Food –

If you are feeding your Shiba Inu only dry commercial kibble, it would beneficial to supplement the diet with either fresh human food or wet dog food.

Dry kibble is dehydrating to a dog.

It’s important that your ensure your dog gets ample water and supplemental “wet” food.

shiba inu healthy vegetables

Simply Add Greens

Adding dark leafy vegetables to your dog’s kibble can reduce cancer rates by as much as 90% according to recent scientific done done in Scotland.

Adding orange vegetables such as carrots to your dog’s diet can cut cancer rate by 70%.

But adding green vegetables to your dog’s kibble and actually getting your dog to eat may not be a simple task.
Quick and Easy Tip To Implement:

I recommend that the leafy greens be lightly steamed and the carrots be soft enough to chew easily. If your dog is especially finicky, adding a bit of broth might help.

Here’s a great resource to research dog food brands:.

raw dog food infographic


Raw Food (Barf Diet)

The raw food diet involves feeding your dog raw meats with their bones and organs.

A raw diet also typically consists of vegetables, eggs, fruits and vitamin supplements.

This method of dog feeding is the most debated and consists of passionate supporters as well as strong criticism from opponents.

A Quite Logical But Not Fully Substantiated Theory

The theory with this diet is that it is biologically species appropriate because dogs are descendants of wolves.

However, dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago. Their dietary needs have changed and adapted as well.

Proponents also claim that bone chewing is good for cleaning teeth. I feel that brushing my dog’s teeth every evening is more regimented than having to count on “giving my dog a bone” every day.
It also is a bit safer in terms of choking possibilities.

The Canine Version of “Raw Foodists”

Proponents also claim that uncooked food retains most of it’s nutrients. This reminds me of the human version of the “raw” movement. Small chuckle.

What about the fact that humans brains grew exponentially larger after the development of fire? Hmmmm.

I have never tried this diet because I believe lightly cooked foods that are varied and full of nutrients are better for both humans as well as dogs.

The nutrition loss from cooking is negligible and debatable.

raw chickenNot The Best Choice For Apartment / Condo Living

Handling raw poultry is not really fun for us humans and things can get messy.

However, I would choose this method over commercial dog food kibble any day of the week.

Do You Still Feel  That You are Feeding Your Dog Properly?

In the end it’s up to you to choose the best form of feeding for your Shiba Inu. You must balance a variety of factors including your budget, your time, and your beliefs.

You also need to consider how your Shiba Inu tolerates the food to ensure that you have a happy, healthy, and thriving Shiba Inu for many years to come.