Phew, this website is a labor of love and largely a one-woman show so unless indicated, all articles written by J.Tsukamoto
Feeding your Shiba Inu a balanced, FRESH diet is just about the best thing you can do to contribute to the health and longevity of your Shiba. Period.
And not only that.
Feeding your Shiba a varied and delicious diet will undoubtedly add to your Shiba’s happiness and quality of life.
A fresh and balanced (very important) diet full of bioavailable nutrients free of preservatives, additives, and chemicals is a billion times better than a diet of dry, processed “kibble” full of preservatives and subpar ingredients.
But the kicker here is that you must understand what constitutes a balanced diet.
And if you don’t understand this yet, it’s better to purchase fresh dog food from a reputable company while you learn the in’s and out’s of fresh feeding.
That’s where I come in to show you how I feed my raucous pack of five thriving Shibas.
First things first.
Here are some of the essential ingredients, tools and accessories you’ll need to start cooking!
High Quality Ingredients
Whenever possible choose fresh, organic in-season human-grade ingredients.
Protein will always be the main ingredient so look for lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb.
I rarely if ever choose pork as I don’t eat pork myself and also because I notice that some of my Shibas had digestion and or allergy issues with pork.
Small fatty fish such as mackerel is terrific for dogs as it provides essential omega fatty acids that’s great for skin, coat, brain power, and overall health.
Vegetables are also an important component of a fresh dog food diet as they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, beta carotene, and phytonutrients.
The best vegetables for homemade dog diets include:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower
- Dark, leafy greens such as kale, mustard cabbage, bok choy
- Root vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, radishes
- Microgreens such as bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts
Some types of fresh diets like raw diets exclude most starches however starches such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, and potatoes can be included in most dog’s diets.
Feeding a dog a diet of mostly proteins can be cost prohibitive for many.
Most commercial kibble is full of starches vs. proteins so adding some unrefined, healthy carbs can definitely be a part of your dog's meal.
The most important aspect of fresh feeding is ensuring a balanced diet that contains the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Although you technically can create a fresh diet using 100% whole foods - it’s pretty hard to do so.
That’s why adding supplements is an important part of feeding your Shiba fresh meals.
Ideally, it’s best to strive to create recipes that contain diverse ingredients to get as close to balanced as possible and then add supplements to complete the meal.
Knowledge of vitamin and mineral requirements for dogs is necessary and must be studied and understood before switching your dog to a 100% fresh diet.
Most supplements do not contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary to balance most feeds. For example, you’ll often need to add additional calcium to most dog meals.
Other vitamins and minerals commonly deficient despite supplementation include:
- Vitamin D & E
You probably already have most of the cookware you need to start making basic dog meal recipes.
If you have multiple dogs you’ll likely want to use larger sized cookware to make bigger batches
Must Have Basic Cookware:
- Pots and pans in various sizes and shapes (best to avoid nonstick when possible)
- Baking sheets / trays
Nice To-Have Cookware:
- Muffin pans to make treats
- Silicon molds for treats
After spending so much time preparing your pup’s fresh food it’s important to store them in a way that reduces freezer burn and oxidation.
I try my best to stay away from plastics whenever possible though I’ll use it occasionally if it’s BPA free. Never reheat food in plastics even if it’s BPA free.
My favorite containers are glassware, zip top bags, and BPA free meal prep containers.
Here's a great portable, easy-to-use vacuum sealer that I'm currently in love with!
Must-Have Storage Containers -
- Glass containers - rectangular preferred for better storage
- B.P.A. free meal prep containers
- Ziptop Bags
- Large glass or BPA free containers for kibble (if feeding kibble)
Nice-To-Have Storage Containers
- Vacuum sealed glass containers
- Vacuum sealed zip bags
Measuring, Mixing, and Cutting Tools
Tools for measuring dog food ingredients are important to ensure that meals are properly portioned - especially when first getting started in fresh dog food prep.
Simple tools like measuring cups work fine, though scales can provide better accuracy.
Must-Have Measuring, Mixing, and Cutting Tools
- Sharp scissors
- Sharp knives
- Measuring cups and bowls
- Mixing utensils (spatula, large stainless spoons)
- Cutting board
Nice-to-have Measuring, Mixing, and Cutting Tools
- Kitchen scale
- Food processor / blender
So Get Started!
Hopefully this article has shown you that it doesn't take much to get started preparing you Shiba fresher, healthier meals.
Remember, simply supplementing their current kibble with fresh proteins and veggies can do wonders for your Shibas health, vitality, and happiness.
Here's another helpful article on how to improve your Shiba meals.
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