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Phew, this website is a labor of love and largely a one-woman show so unless indicated, all articles written by J.Tsukamoto

Welcoming a new Shiba Inu puppy home is an exciting time.  

It’s also a critical time for your Shiba’s growth and development. Providing your new pup with the right nutrition will optimize her growth and developing brain.

Don’t miss this one time opportunity to make sure you provide your Shiba Inu puppy with the right nutrition to ensure a healthy body as well as a healthy mind.

cute and happy red shiba inu puppy smiling

Puppy Food and Your Growing Shiba Inu's Brain

Equally, or some may argue “more” important than a pup’s growing body is a pup’s developing brain.

And I go all in when it comes doing what I can to nourish my Shiba pup’s growing mind.

To have the best chance of accomplishing this nutritionally, the puppy needs to have a high quality and balanced nutrition plan, preferably supplemented with fresh foods as well as DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), an omega-3 fatty acid.

One study demonstrates that puppies fed a diet high in DHA were more trainable. (Milgram NW, Zicker SC, Head E, Muggenburg BA, Murphey H, Ikeda-Douglas CJ, et al. (2005).

red shiba inu puppy running happily in the grass

The Difference Between Puppy Food and Regular Dog Food

Growing puppies need more nutrients, calories, proteins, and fat to fuel and grow their rapidly developing bones, muscles, eyesight, and cognitive functioning. 

Not providing your puppy an adequate diet can result in developmental problems that could affect the pup for the rest of her life. 

For example, owners need to be careful about how much calcium and phosphorus is balanced per calorie in their puppies' meals. If the calcium and phosphorus level is too high compared to calories then problems with developing bones can occur. 

shiba inu puppy on yellow couch licking her lips

Dog foods formulated for puppies address this issue and have a higher calorie to calcium / phosphorus level then regular dog food.

Additionally puppy food typically has more omega-3 fatty acids in the meal to help with brain development and cognitive functioning.

This is the reason choosing the right food for your puppy is so important.

How To Choose The Right Food For Your Shiba Inu Puppy

When choosing puppy food for your Shiba it’s important that the food is formulated for growing puppies and meets minimum nutritional standards. 

The nutrition standard that most pet manufacturers follow is the standard provided by AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

However due to the fact that AAFCO is often scrutinized for allowing animal by-products as well as potentially hazardous preservation agents - I also look to the NRC National Research Council for their nutrition recommendations.

The NRC is an institution born in 1916 and bred to revolve around scientific and governmental organization.

red shiba inu puppy standing in the grass

Although AAFCO looks to the NRC for most guidelines, the NRC guidelines are stricter more fine tuned and better for fresh and homemade diets than AAFCO guidelines.

High - Quality Ingredients:

Only consider brands that are known to use only high quality ingredients. The food should list the exact type of protein rather than simply “meat” or “meat by-products”.

The food should not contain BHA / BHT, propylene glycol, rendered fat, or white flour.

Do the “Salt” test

When looking at a long list of ingredients in dog food, find where salt is listed. Any ingredient after salt is 1% or less of the food. 

Many companies purposely mislead consumers by listing off many seemingly great ingredients such as blueberries, pumpkin, broccoli, etc.

But if these ingredients come after salt, then the amount of these ingredients in the dog food is just a smidge.

Best Kibble For Shiba Inu Puppies

Open Farm Grain Free Puppy Recipe

Open Farm is one of the very few companies that arrived on the scene a few years ago to finally offer dog owners a kibble option that is not horrendous - but actually pretty good. Great even.

The operation at Open Farm revolves around four strict pillars: premium nutrition, ethical sourcing, humanely-raised, sustainability, and transparency.

And they achieve this by sourcing ingredients from farms that are audited and certified by Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership.

Open Farm has an intense commitment to animal welfare and environmental preservation. Very few, if any other dog manufacturers come close to this level of commitment.

This is why at this time, Open Farm puppy food is one of the only kibble based puppy foods we recommend.

Check out the latest price of Open Farm Beef Puppy food here

ORIJEN Six Fish Dry Dog Food

Although I, like most pet parents, were not keen on the fact that Orijen has been bought out by Mars - this product is still a solid choice for growing puppies.

This Six Fish formula is loaded with protein as well as DHA, omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain growth in puppies. 

What’s great is that the diet is based on 85% animal ingredients and the first six ingredients are fresh or raw whole mackerel, whole herring, monkfish, and Acadian redfish.

That’s an pretty impressive list of fishes.

 Check out the latest price of Orijen Six Fish Dry Dog Food here.

Best Freeze-dried Food For Shiba Inu Puppies

Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, Surf and Turf, Humanely Raised Meat Recipe with Non-GMO Superfoods

Open Farm not surprisingly gains top spot for us in this category as well.

Freeze-dried food is expensive so I’d highly recommend this to be used as a topper to supplement your Shiba puppy’s meals. 

Open Farm offers a variety of freeze-dried proteins, but I’d go for the Surf and Turf blend for puppies due to the need for DHA, omega-3 fatty acids.

Check out the price of Open Farm Freeze-dried Raw Surf and Turf Dog food here.

Open Farm RawMix Grain-Free Wild-Ocean Recipe for Dogs, Includes Kibble, Bone Broth, and Freeze Dried Raw

Open Farm’s Rawmix Wild Ocean Recipe is a mix of freeze-dried raw as well as nutritious kibble to provide a great balance between quality nutrients and price point.

Just about everything is right with this blend.

It includes bone broth, raw, fish protein for DHA, and non-gmo fruits and vegetables.

This food can be used as a complete meal for your Shiba Inu puppy - ideally being rotated with Open Farm Kibble as well as Ziwi Peaks Surf and Turf blend.

Check out the price of Open Farm's Rawmix Wild Ocean Recipe here.

Best Air-dried Food For Shiba Inu Puppies

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food – Mackerel and Lamb, All Natural, High Protein, Grain Free and Limited Ingredient with Superfoods

Ziwi Peak is one of our favorite dog food companies. 

And for good reasons!

Ziwi Peak is one of the handful of ethical and sustainable companies in the world that has made a significant difference in providing our beloved pets with premium quality food.

Deeply rooted in New Zealand culture, Ziwi Peak personifies their role as Kaitiaki, or guardians of both the land and the sea.

They use free-range, grass-fed and grass-finished animals. Only a small handful of pet food companies do this. 

Air-dried food has virtually zero moisture in it and most recipes are fed after rehydrating the meal with water or bone broth.

Additionally air-dried food can be seen as a ready-to-serve alternative to raw feeding. 

The high quality ingredients combined with the high-tech air-drying process results in a food that can make quite a bite into your dog food budget - so instead of using a full meal, you can supplement this and use a meal "topper".

Check out the price Ziwi Peak's Air-dried Mackerel and Lamb dog food here.

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