What to Feed a Dog to Keep Him Healthy and Happy

There are four primary dog feeding strategies:

  1. Dry dog food (kibble)
  2. Wet dog food
  3. Homemade dog food
  4. Raw diet (BARF)

There is no definitive answer as to which dog feeding method is best.

This article summarizes each method, and presents their pros and cons. Based on this, we can decide what to feed our dog, based on his lifestyle and preferences.

1. Dry Dog Food (Kibble)

When considering which kibble to feed our dog, it is important to keep these things in mind –

  • Note what the main ingredients are.
  • A good rule of thumb to distinguish the major components of a food is to look for the first named source of fat in the ingredient list. Anything listed before that, and including it, make up the main portion of the food, other items are present in much smaller amounts to add flavor, function as preservatives or because of their dietary benefits (e.g. probiotics, vitamins and minerals).
    ~~ [ Excerpt from the Dog Food Project ]

  • Look for a kibble with meat as its primary source of protein.
  • Avoid kibble with wheat, corn, or soy as its main ingredients. For sources of carbohydrates, potatoes and rice are easier to digest. Many dogs are allergic to wheat and corn.
  • Avoid any food with wheat or corn gluten. Here’s why.
  • Avoid kibble with too many “by-products” in their ingredient list.
  • Avoid kibble with many generic ingredients, for example poultry meal or fish meal. Instead, look for chicken meal or salmon meal.
  • Avoid kibble with artificial coloring and preservatives, for example BHA or BHT.
  • Avoid kibble with too much filler material, such as corn hull.

I have done a fair amount of research into dry dog food, because both my dogs have sensitive digestive systems. My Shiba Inu is allergic to wheat, and my Siberian Husky is allergic to most types of grains (wheat, corn, oats), as well as some types of fish.

Here are some good kibble brands that are well-reviewed by many dog owners:

  • Wellness CORE – My dogs are currently on Wellness CORE. They seem to really love the kibble and are doing well with it.
  • Orijen – This was actually my first choice during our kibble switch-over. However, my Sibes are allergic to some types of fish and all their kibble formula contains fish.
  • Blue Wilderness – Very well reviewed and the chicken formula has a similar ingredient list to Wellness CORE.
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct – This kibble has a simpler ingredient list with two main components – chicken meal and tapioca. It also has a 42% protein content which looks good.
  • Taste of the Wild – I have never tried Taste of the Wild, but they also have a well reviewed grain-free kibble with good ingredients. I love their cover art.
  • Innova EVO – On March 2013 there was a voluntary recall of EVO products. As a result, we decided to switch over to Wellness CORE.

** Note that all of the above brands are grain-free, high-protein kibble. There may be some concern over high-protein dog food causing kidney disease, but this is a myth that has been debunked.

Just be careful not to give high protein food to large breed puppies as it may cause overly rapid growth, which will stress bones and joints.

Other dry dog food brands:

Canidae is often recommended as a good, medium-cost quality kibble. I have never tried Canidae, but their ingredient list looks sound.

Solid Gold: I did not include Solid Gold because their high protein kibble, Barking to the Moon, contains generic fish meal as its primary ingredient. Instead, we want to look for salmon meal, herring meal, or whitefish meal which is in Orijen 6, and Wellness CORE Ocean.


  • Better for dental health because it is less likely to stick on, and stain teeth.
  • Easy to transport and use in dog obedience training, handling, and dog grooming.
  • Easy to stuff in dog toys.
  • Balanced nutrition for our dog.
  • Has good fiber content, resulting in more regular stools.


  • Does not smell or taste as good as the other dog foods.
  • Our dog may not want to eat kibble, and instead try to hold-out for something better.
  • May make our dog thirsty. Therefore, provide free access to water all day long.
  • Cannot be sure about quality of ingredients. There have been a fair number of dog food recalls on kibble.

2. Wet Dog Food

Once we have finished our research on dry dog food, we can just get the wet or canned versions of our favorite kibble brands. Doing this will ensure the same high quality ingredients, and packing process.

I only give my dogs a small amount of wet food everyday. They get their wet dog food in the form of frozen Kongs, which they work on at night while in their crate.


  • Tastes good.
  • Will not dehydrate our dog.
  • Balanced nutrition for our dog.


  • Difficult to handle and stuff in toys, unless frozen.
  • Difficult to use for training, handling, or grooming.
  • Not as good for dental health.
  • Cannot be sure about quality of ingredients. There have also been some wet food recalls.
  • Expensive.

3. Homemade Dog Food

The most difficult part of feeding our dog homemade food, is ensuring that it has the proper nutritional balance.

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns against feeding our dogs table scraps. Table scraps tend to be too rich, and may contain foods that are poisonous to dogs. The AVMA also discourages using homemade food as our dog’s primary feeding method.

The AVMA does not recommend that people attempt to prepare home-cooked meals for their pets because pet nutrition is very complicated and unique to species and individual animals.

~~ [ Excerpt from Tips On Cooking Your Pet A Home-Cooked Meal, AVMA ]

If we absolutely want to try this dog feeding method, the AVMA recommends the book Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Dr. Donald Strombeck, or the www.petdiets.com website.

I will sometimes microwave some simple people food for my dogs, but only as a supplement to their mostly dry dog diet. In particular, my dogs really like melted cheese, boiled chicken, microwave sausage, and bacon.

When I need my dogs to endure an unpleasant dog grooming session, e.g. nail grinding or teeth brushing, I will sometimes microwave them a mix of salad greens (lettuce, and carrots), boiled chicken, vienna sausage, cheese, and a very small amount of bacon bits.


  • Very tasty.
  • Our dog will probably work hard for homemade food.
  • High quality, human grade ingredients.


  • May not have balanced nutrition for our dog.
  • Difficult and dirty to stuff in toys.
  • May be time-consuming to prepare.
  • Expensive.

4. Raw Diet (BARF)

A raw diet consists primarily of uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs. Sometimes eggs, vegetables, fruits, and vitamin supplements are added to create a more balanced meal.

Whether to feed our dogs a raw food diet, is a hot debate with strong proponents and opponents.


  • Very tasty.
  • Bones help to clean teeth.
  • Nutrients are not destroyed by cooking.
  • May lead to better health.


  • May not have balanced nutrition for our dog.
  • Bones can splinter and become a choking hazard or cause intestinal perforations.
  • Raw food may carry bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.
  • Difficult to use in training, or to stuff in food toys.

For a more comprehensive discussion on the pros and cons of a raw diet, refer to the links below:

Useful Dog Feeding Sites

Related Articles


  1. Not Impressed with Kibble says

    Hi!!!! =)
    I am thinking of preparing my dogs food everyday, I have three cocker spaniels. One has been competing and already has 10 points including all her majors.
    My male is about to start showing and I have been told by multiple breeders that I need to give him biotin daily and I’m looking for other ideas other than craming biotin down his throat. I have been feeding him kibble and I’m just not impressed with it.
    What I’m thinking of doing is feeding Wellness Core and mixing in a homemade food of some sort. I’m hoping that it will encourage my dogs to eat the kibble that is better for them and also give them more nutrients. My thought is I will switch between cooked chicken, cooked salmon and cooked ground beef. All of the cooked meat will be raised and slaughtered as I already do this to feed my family.
    I’m just wondering what peoples thoughts are of doing both home cooking and kibble together. Has anyone tried doing this daily?
    If so what were your thoughts on it?
    Are you still doing it?
    Did it improve your dogs skin and hair?
    Did your dogs enjoy the mixture?
    Is there any other meat that you cooked to put in your dogs kibble?

  2. Maria Boyd says

    when is it a good time to switch from puppy food? (currently on Blue Wilderness puppy food) She will be 1yr March 15

  3. SimSimLoveHusky says

    May I ask a dumb question…
    When you use the frozen wet food in Kongs, do you frozen the wet food first then put in the Kongs, or you put in the wet food in Kongs and then froze them together?

    Also, do you mix the can food with some water before frozen it or put in Kongs?


    • shibashake says

      I put the soft wet food in the Kong first, then I put the filled Kong in my freezer. I don’t mix it with water. 🙂

  4. Nicole says

    Hi ShibaShake,

    My name is Nicole and I am the mama of an 8 month old Sesame Shiba named Taz. We got him at 3 months old and have been giving him Purina Pro-Plan Puppy Formula dog food. I was initially concerned because he was having a mixture of normal poop and then diheria, but our vet told us it was because he was a puppy and getting used to dry food. He seemed to be doing okay these last few months, but recently (he is 8 months now) he has been having diheria and clear liquid coming out. Thinking it was maybe his food since he seemed to become uninterested in eating it we swapped him to Purina One Smart Blend for puppy’s. It doesn’t seem to be getting better and I’m not sure what to do other than go to the vet?

    Do you have any words of wisdom that could possibly help?

    Thank you,

    Worried Shiba Mom

  5. Ariel says

    Hi hi 🙂
    My boyfriend and I recently added little baby Dakota to our family! He is 18 weeks and weighs 8.4 pounds, we are feeding him 1/4 cup twice a day at 8am/pm. I’m worried that this may not be enough, he does have energy but loose it very quick. He will play with us for about an hour or two and then need to nap or lately he has just been sitting by his dish staring at it waiting for us to fill it. We do use his food for rewards when we train him so he is not going all day without anything in his tummy. Any advice you have would be amazing!

  6. Swe says

    Hi! I’m from India. I have a 3 month old husky, Goku. I feed him ROYAL CANIN MAXI JUNIOR, four times a day, around 200g each. And my vet asks me to increase his feed gradually (he doesn’t mention anything breed specific). I’m just wondering if I should increase the feed and if I should change the brand of food?

  7. Audrey says

    Hi. I was wondering if you ever had your huskies cry at their food bowl and just basically refuse to touch their food. Mine wouldn’t stop crying/whining til I take his food away. (I’m feeding Acana Duck and Orijen Puppy so I don’t think it’s because the food is low quality). I’m about to tear my hear in frustration.

    A husky owner happened to upload a video of his husky doing the exact same thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r96LZqBtlwg

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  8. Sanjay says

    My rottweiler puppy 45days so pls tell me royal cabin giant starter good for my puppy health and which food and tonic I give my puppy healthy

    • shibashake says

      I avoid dog food that contains wheat gluten or corn. I talk more about how I pick food for my dogs in the article above. I am currently using Wellness kibble. I use the puppy formula in the beginning, and then switch to Wellness CORE once my dog is fully grown.

      When I get a new dog, I also take him to the vet for a check-up and to get advice on vaccinations. Finally, it is generally best to wait until a puppy is at least 8 weeks old before separating him from his mother and siblings. Here is why.

      ASPCA article on puppy socialization.

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi again
    I’m the girl with the 4 year old boxer
    I feed him Ol Roy adult kibble
    When I walk him he doesn’t leave other dogs alone (humans as well)
    I told my vet what I could do and she said to walk him but I can’t His daily routine: Play with him at morning: Let him rest and play again for 1 hour: the rest of the hours we cuddle and he lives his life: At night I feed him (I only feed him once a day) But hes getting better at walking which is good ☺

  10. Anonymous says

    I have a 4 year old Boxer who is preety obese and I am trying to walk him but his old owners never made him social and it would really help if you could tell me if there is a way to male him social and if you could tell me if there is kibble that can help him lose weight. I play with him 1 hour a day and still no results

    • shibashake says

      What are you currently feeding him? What is his daily routine like? What do you mean by “not social” – does he get reactive to people or other dogs or something else? What does he do during walks?

      With my dog, I give him a fixed amount of food every day. I measure out how much kibble I give him. If I give my dog extra chicken rewards for training, then I make sure to cut down on his kibble accordingly.

      I would consult with your vet on how to manage your dog’s weight. Medical history is important and has to be taken into account.

  11. Vanessa says


    I have a poodle/maltese mix puppy. I currently have my dog on wellness Complete Small Breed. I can’t help but wonder if she could maybe have an allergy to the oatmeal in the food because he seems to scratch more than usual.

    Do you know if Nutro Natural Choice Puppy is good as well? First ingredient on the bag is chicken

    • shibashake says

      How old is your puppy? I did a quick look through of the different Nutro kibble and it seems that most of them also contain oatmeal. The ingredient list for NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® Small Breed Puppy Food also seems to contain oatmeal.

      When I had food allergy problems with my Shiba, I first switched him over to a bland diet (after consulting with my vet). Then I waited to see if his itching symptoms went away, which it did after some days (< 1 week). His stool quality also got better. Then, I slowly introduced his normal food back one by one to narrow down which exact food was causing his symptoms. More on what I did to figure out my Shiba’s food allergy.

      There could also be other reasons for dog itchiness.

    • Vanessa says

      Hi Shibashake,

      My puppy is 11 weeks, and I currently feed him Wellness Complete health Puppy. I have been considering to switch to Grain-free puppy to see if it helps. He tends to bite his feet and scratch a lot behind his ears

  12. Anonymous says

    Good morning I have a two year old shiba he has his own personality that is for sure. I have some concerns and would like to know if anyone else went through this with their Shibas. My boy named Stig seems to not eat much of his food during the day so we leave it. In the mean time he tries to eat anything made of leather in the house shoes, belts, and gloves. Then we go outside and he wants to eat grass his poop is hard no diarrhea unless hes passing something he ate that he shouldnt of and hes constantly licking the couch, rug, and my bed. Then he will only really eat at night. Im currently feeding him Iams he loved at first could this be the bored you guys are talking about so hes eating evetything else to try to fill his tummy. He truly is my baby boy and im a little worried any advise is appreciated
    thank you
    worried momma
    Shannon and stig

    • shibashake says

      I feed my Shiba a high protein, grain-free kibble, and he seems to do well on that. I stay away from kibble that has a lot of fillers. I talk more about how I pick my dog’s kibble in the article above.

      What is your Shiba’s daily routine like? What type of chew toys does he enjoy? Is he showing any signs of digestive distress? Does he vomit out the grass? When was his last vet visit? How was his physical weight and health? When did the behaviors start?

  13. Odin's Fur Mom says

    I have the pleasure of being the fur mom to Odin, a 7-month old male, black/tan Shiba. I adopted him at 10 weeks from a yucky place and he has been growing like a weed and learning about the world as a normal pup. 🙂 I read your article about your Shiba becoming “bored” with kibble and also being allergic to wheat. Odin eats Wellness for puppies… I am curious how you confirmed the wheat allergy and and what age this was confirmed? And at what age did your pup become “bored” and learn that he will receive yummier foods if he skips his meals on purpose? 🙂 Thanks! Shannon

    • shibashake says

      When I first got Sephy, I fed him Eukanuba because that was what his breeder was feeding him. I then noticed that he started getting itchy all over his body, and his poop was also not great. Therefore, I put him on a bland diet to see if the symptoms would go away. They did, so I had narrowed things down to his food.

      Then, I slowly introduced his regular food back one by one, and in that way I realized it was a kibble issue. At the same time, I was also reading up on food ingredients, so my first guess was the wheat in his kibble. I changed to a wheat free kibble, and things got better, so I further narrowed things down. Later on, when we went to puppy class, he got treats from the class instructor which also contained some wheat, and his poop got bad again. So through several of these experiences, it became pretty clear that he has an issue with wheat.

      In terms of the boredom with food, that all occurred within his first year, but it had more to do with me rather than with Sephy. I didn’t know much about training at the time, and I was giving him too much extra stuff, so he would try to skip meals and just hold out for dessert. 😉 With Sephy, I always follow the Nothing in Life is Free program and I make sure not to give him too much extra.

      He is definitely the type where if I give him an inch, he will try to take a mile, so I have to be very consistent with him. 😀

  14. scottdeniseakira says

    Hi Shibashake,

    My husband and I are welcoming our first puppy on Feb 18th and she’s a Shiba Inu, we will name her Akira. She will be 8 weeks old by that time. I am looking at the Wellness Core Puppy formula. I looked through the ingredients and it seems well thought of…Do you have any advice on this particular brand for puppies? Any suggestions would be much appreciated! 🙂
    Btw, Thank you for this amazing blog!!! It is very well-written, entertaining, honest, and very informative! I’ve been through so many websites and this is the best!

    Much love,

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming puppy!

      Yeah, I also like the ingredients for Wellness CORE. I am currently using it for all of my dogs. I also used the Wellness puppy kibble and wet food for my youngest Husky (Lara) when she was young.

      Give your furry girl a bunch of cuddles from me when you get her. 😀

  15. Jovanna Ibanez says

    I have a question.. I’m preparing to get a new puppy soon and I am concerned about how much serving a puppy should be getting.. I know it depends on their current size and how much they will actually weigh as an adult but I was wondering how you personally feed your youngest or how you did feed your puppy in the beginning like at 8 weeks old? BTW, love your blogs and dogs!!!

    • shibashake says

      When I first got my youngest Husky, Lara (8 weeks old), I gave her a lot of Frozen Kongs, with wet Wellness puppy food. I also used some kibble for various training tasks and some plain microwave chicken breast (deboned and cut into small pieces). In terms of total food, I used what was needed to keep her occupied and engaged. Then, I adjust accordingly, depending on how she is doing. One time I fed her too much, and she had a slight tummy upset, so I knew to adjust things down a little bit. The amount fed will also depend on the type of food used.

      The frozen Kongs were great because they helped her settle down before nap-time, slows down how her eating speed, and teaches her good eating habits. Initially, I would help her get the stuff out from the toy, because she can’t do it all herself with puppy teeth. This also helps her associate people and eating in a positive context.

      We did about 2 hours of training, play, and one or two frozen Kongs at the end, followed by about 1.5 hours of nap-time and so on during the day. At night, she slept for about 8-10 hours with one or two potty breaks in the middle. The schedule will depend on the individual puppy.

      Congrats on your upcoming puppy!

  16. Guillermo says

    Hi, i have a shiba inu of 5 months, i use a mix of royal canin and pedigree kiddle, but im planning to use blue wilderness or blue freedom, what do you think in about to change blue brand instead royal canin?

  17. Lei says

    Hello from Sansa and I. My little girl named Sansa is almost 5 months old. I have a big concern about her appetite. When my husband and I just got her, she was 7 weeks old and was on taste of wild puppy food, she was ok with that until she was 12 weeks old, she became picky. After some consultation with a staff from pet market, I slowly switched her food to orijen puppy food. She was supper happy at the beginning but eventually, she got tired and didn’t eat as much as she used to. A couple days ago, she got diarrhea, I looked for the information on the internet and tried to treat her at home, it turned out just fine. I fed her with boiled white rice mixed with boiled chicken and regular puppy food for 3 days. Then when I only give her regular puppy food, she is no long interested at all. I tried to force her to eat sometimes by hand feeding, but nothing worked. I am worried a lot as I will have to go back to work in 2 weeks, she will be just by herself all day long, I am afraid she will not eat her food at all. Is there anything that I can do to bring her appetite back? or should I change the food again? Ton of thanks in advance.

    • shibashake says

      A couple days ago, she got diarrhea

      Hmmm, do you know what was the cause of the diarrhea? I change my dog’s food *if* he has allergies to his current food.

      My Shiba, Sephy, was extremely picky over his food when he was young. He quickly got bored of his kibble and would just hold out for the good stuff. At first, he would only eat wet food, so I ground up his kibble and mixed it in with the wet food. After a bit, he got bored with wet food, so I would mix in boiled chicken with his kibble. That was good for a while, then he got bored again and would just pick out the boiled chicken pieces.

      The thing with Sephy is that he is very clever and he learned that if he didn’t eat his kibble or regular food, he would get much better stuff instead – e.g. boiled chicken, cheese, etc. By giving him better stuff to encourage him to eat his kibble, I was actually teaching him not to eat his kibble, because if he waits, he will eventually get better stuff. 😀

      Finally, I put him on a fixed schedule and I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program, so he works for all of his food. I feed my adult dogs twice a day, and I feed a puppy more often depending on age. However, I always do feedings on a fixed schedule. I make sure not to overfeed.

      I use Sephy’s kibble as rewards for simple commands, following rules, and other more simple tasks throughout the day. Whatever is left over, I put in a kibble ball for him to work on during meal times. If he doesn’t want to work on it, then I take it away after a certain amount of time. I *do not* free feed. He skipped a few meals and sometimes, he still skips meals but very rarely so now.

      With consistent and fixed feedings, he knows exactly what type of of food he will get for doing various tasks, how much food he will get in a day, and when meal times are. I used fixed feedings on Sephy because his issue was a behavioral one, where he learned that he could get better rewards by not eating his regular food.

      Note however, that loss of appetite can also be the result of physical issues, allergies, stress, or other factors. Therefore, the first thing that I always do when trying to change my dog’s behavior is to identify the source of the behavior. Different causes will require different strategies for rehabilitation.

      Some posts from other Shiba owners about picky eating-

      Hope this helps. Big hugs to Sansa!

  18. Frances says

    Hello again from Sammi and I 🙂
    My little man has decided to get picky about his food now. Before he used to literally spin and jump over breakfast and dinner but now he doesn’t seem to as motivated.
    In the morning we give him kibble (http://www.eaglepack.com/product-orignal-dog.aspx?product=81) and then for dinner, Sammi gets kibble as well as some wet food.
    We tried to get him to eat his kibble by adding some gravy to it for some more taste and initially he liked then but soon enough grew tired of it.
    Did Sephy start to get picky as he grew older? Samurai turned 9 months yesterday and his tastes certainly are changing. Even when trying to teach him tricks, he’ll only do them for “good” treats or before he’s eaten because he tends to pay more attention if he’s “starved”. haha.
    As always, your help is very much appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Frances and Sammi

    • shibashake says

      Did Sephy start to get picky as he grew older?

      Heh, Sephy has always been a very picky eater. He may get excited about a particular type of food for a while, then he loses interest.

      As you say, Sephy also responds best to working for food right before dinner. 😀 That is when I do his teeth brushing. He doesn’t get dinner until after I brush him.

      Recently, Sephy has gotten a bit squidgy around the edges, so I cut back some on his daily rations. I have noticed that he is a lot more motivated about food now, even his kibble. With Sephy, he will be picky if he can be picky. However, if he gets hungry, he will motivate himself and actually work for his supper. He always reminds me of Wimpy from the old Popeye cartoons. I can almost hear him saying ..

      “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.


  19. says

    I switched to Halo Natural Holistic kibble (I alternate lamb/chicken/fish) a few years ago and have had great success with it. It seems to go along with everything I’ve studied and with your thoughts as well. It’s pricey, but I really don’t care about price when it comes to my “kids”…only quality and that I’m doing the best I can for them. The new doctor at my vet called me when my 11 1/2 year old Shiba Inu was getting his comprehensive exam because he thought he read the chart wrong…he said inside and out my Shiba looks like a 4-5 year old.

    I would like to get your thoughts on this food if possible please:


    Thank you 😉

    • shibashake says

      Hello Dwayne,

      So glad to hear that Frodo-San is in such good health. Sounds like your 3 have a lot of fun together! 😀

      As for kibble, my Shiba, Sephy, is allergic to wheat and one of my Sibes is allergic to oats so they do best on grain-free kibble. I am currently giving them Innova EVO and they all seem happy with it.

      The Halo brand kibble looks like it also has a good ingredient list. Hugs to your whole pack!

  20. Frances Antonio says

    Update: you are going to laugh at this. Sammi won’t eat the kibble straight out of the ball but he’ll eat it out of a rollee ball… *rolls eyes
    Variety is the spice of life it seems as we find that if we do one meal with gravy, the another one with meat or cheese, he seems to eat it all.
    But now we give him breakfast in his rollee ball so not only does he exercise but he eats!!! Success haha
    Oh Shiba indeed.
    Hope all is well with you and Sephy 🙂

    • shibashake says

      LOL! The things we do for our little foxes. 😉

      Sephy’s new thing is biting at our carpet pads. He thinks he is very clever because he has to nudge up a bit of the carpet first, before he can get at the pads. And throughout it all, he has to use his ninja stealth skills so that he can tear off a chunk of pad, before he gets caught. He is very silly!

      Big hugs to Sammi!

  21. Frances Antonio says

    Hi again 🙂
    Little Sammi has decided to be picky with his kibble. We’re currently feeding him EaglePack puppy as that is what the breeder has recommended. He used to love it, literally span in every direction when he saw his bowl being filled but now he pushes the kibble around.
    With his dinner though we generally mix it in with some wet food but even now he just eats the wet food and eats the kibble later when he probably knows that he’s not going to get anything better.
    So now we’re putting a bit of cheese and melted peanut butter in with his breakfast but keeping his dinner the same.
    Is there anything you can recommend that would encourage him to continue eating his kibble? I’m apprehensive to move him over to wet food as he’s still a puppy and requires all the nutrients and protein from the kibble.
    As always, your response is greatly appreciated.
    Frances 🙂

    • shibashake says

      Always good to hear from you and Sammi!

      Little Sammi has decided to be picky with his kibble.

      Haha, yeah Sephy went through this phase as well. We also started adding wet food, and he liked that for a bit. Then, like Sammi, he would only eat the wet food. If we added cheese or anything else, he would only pick those out or just lick it off. So we ground up his kibble and mixed it into the wet food. He liked that for a bit, and then decided that was not good enough.

      Oh Shiba! 😀

      Some things that helped with Sephy-
      1. I switched to using a grain free kibble. Sephy liked that a lot better.
      2. I switched to a fixed feeding routine. I would only give him his food at very fixed times. If he does not eat during that time, I would just take his food away.
      3. I made him work for all of his food – through grooming sessions, obedience sessions, etc. Whatever is left over, he gets from interactive food toys.

      Sephy skipped a few meals, but then he got hungry and started eating and even working for his kibble. He will still skip meals sometimes (e.g. when he does not want to have his teeth brushed), but very infrequently.

      Hugs to Sammi! Let us know how it goes.

  22. Yvette Gamon says

    Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks

    • shibashake says

      It depends on how much flexibility and customization you want for your blog. Many people use Blogger which is easy to set up and has some nice options. However, the number of things that you can do is limited. The same goes for hosting blogs on wordpress.com. Blogger and WordPress.com offer free hosting. There are many other free hosting options but each has their own limitations.

      People who want more flexibility get paid hosting, and use blogging software. There are several free public domain options. I use WordPress. There are instructions on the WordPress site on how to set up your own site-

      To properly manage my WordPress blog, I find it useful to have knowledge of CSS, PHP, and also a bit of Javascript.

      My wordpress articles are posted here-

      If you have more questions, please post it on my wordpress blog.

  23. Jennifer says

    Hi! I am getting a lab puppy in a couple of weeks and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on something. I was told to feed the pup large breed puppy food. Orijen makes a large breed puppy food and you gave Orijen the thumbs up so I thought this would be a good choice. However, there are several people who have said that this food is too rich for their dogs and upsets their stomachs. Do you think there is any merit to this? Would you recommend Orijen large breed puppy food for a lab?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jennifer,

      When it comes to food, each dog is a bit different. Each of my dogs is allergic to slightly different things, and my most recent puppy Lara seems to have a more sensitive stomach than my other two.

      I am currently feeding them all Innova EVO and they do well on it. However, my Sibes will occasionally get upset tummies from hunting rodents in the backyard. When they get tummy issues, I always switch them over to a bland diet (boiled chicken and white rice only). During these times, kibble is too rich for their digestive system.

      I tried Orijen briefly with my first two dogs several years ago and they were also fine on it. I only got a smaller bag. However, they seemed to prefer EVO so I decided to stick with that.

      Both Orijen and EVO have good ingredient lists and are grain free. However, some dogs may be allergic to poultry, or herring, or may have a more sensitive stomach. With a new puppy, there is usually an initial testing period to see what food suits him best. I try to follow the kibble guidelines above, and stay away from kibble with wheat, corn, and soy.

      In the beginning I get some of the food that puppy is used to from her breeder. Then I start with 3/4 of the old food and 1/4 of the new food for a few days. If all goes well, then I go 1/2, 1/2 and so on.

      Congratulations on your upcoming new puppy! Give us a picture album link when you have the time! 😀

  24. Paul Newell says

    I have two questions about food.

    1) I actually live in Japan and am planning on buying what is known as a mame shiba inu puppy here. Mame means “bean” in English, and this dog is affectively a toy shiba inu. It was actually recently recognized as an official breed here in Japan, but I think it has yet to make its way over to America. Anyways, Japanese dog food is absolutely horrible (dogs have only been kept as pets here for a few decades, until recently any dog would just get leftovers and rice and broth). Anyways, my plan is to bring bag dog food with me when I go home over the summer in July (I am gonna get the puppy in August). I go back twice a year, so I can just bring enough food for a half a year each time. Here estimate final weight will be between 6~8 pounds. My plan at this point was to go with Orijen puppy food. I originally wanted to go with Innova EVO, but they don’t seem to have a puppy specific formula, and I am worried about feeding a 8 weeks old puppy adult dog food.

    2) In addition, I am wondering if wet food is necessary for my dog, and what brand and type is good (if any) for a puppy. One of the breeders I talked to here in Japan actually told me that he doesn’t recommend wet food for Shiba Inu because they tend to get fat rolls or something on their back haha

    Thanks for any help!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Paul,

      am planning on buying what is known as a mame shiba inu puppy here.

      That is cool. I have heard of mame Shibas but do not know anybody who owns one. Would love to hear more about them and please share pictures as well.

      In terms of the food, I think your reasoning is sound. I didn’t give Sephy adult food until he was about 1 year old. I talked to my vet and called up the EVO people before switching over. According to my vet, the high protein content is more of an issue with larger breed dogs. Still though, I figure it is best to use puppy food for puppies.

      Some dogs can have sensitive tummies though, and even be allergic to fish or poultry. My Sibes, for example, are allergic to most fish including salmon, mackerel, and tuna. It may help to chat with your breeder about puppy’s parents, whether they have allergies, and what she will feed her puppies.

      I am wondering if wet food is necessary for my dog, and what brand and type is good (if any) for a puppy.

      I mostly use wet food for frozen Kongs, which can be useful for keeping a puppy busy. My Sibes love frozen Kongs, but Shiba Sephy is less interested. My Sibes do much better on dry food though. The wet food can sometimes upset their stomachs, even though I don’t see anything they are allergic to in the ingredient list. I was using the EVO wet food, but it did not agree with my new Sibe puppy, so I am now using Wellness CORE. Each brand usually also has a puppy formula in wet food format.

      I only give them about 1 or 2 frozen Kongs per day, which is not very much based on their weight. I make about 8 regular Kongs per can of food. In general, the bulk of their food comes from dry kibble.

      Congratulations on your upcoming Mame Shiba. When you have the time, please share pictures and temperament information with us! 😀

  25. L M Anderson says

    Awesome blog – and your puppies are beautiful! My dogs are sensitive too – we found Alpha grain-free by Natural Balance to work best for us – the first ingredient is chicken and it’s not too overloaded with protein like some of the other brands that gave my sheltie diarrhea. Thank goodness there are great foods out there for our sensitive babies!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks LM!

      Yeah, Natural Balance is a good brand. My Shiba used to love their food rolls, but unfortunately he is allergic to wheat. Hugs to your pups!

  26. Lindsey says

    I am about to bring home my very first Shiba Puppy and this sight has been so helpful!!!! Thank you for all the information and tips

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your soon to be new addition!

      One thing I really regret with Shiba Sephy is not taking enough pictures during his puppy days. They grow up really quickly, so take many many pictures. One can never have too many puppy pictures! 😀

  27. Angeline says

    Your blog is so informative and helpful!! I really like your dogs, they look so healthy and beautiful. I just bought a 3 months old Shiba recently and she is my first dog!! OMG~~ she is doing really good so far, no teething and no biting on my stuff. However, she scratch everyday more than 3 times. She is taking Natural Choice as meal and I’m very concerned about her allergy skin. Her groomer told me it may be because of the food. I saw your recommendation but I’m still not sure which kibble is suitable for my little DingDing. It would be great if you able to suggest me a few types of kibble that suitable for little Shiba.
    Also, DingDing eats poop sometime when I’m not around. Do you know how to solve this problem? I told her firmly many times, but once I’m not around, she will eats her poop.
    Thank you so much and I really appreciate your help and suggestion.^^

    • shibashake says

      Hello Angeline,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      In terms of kibble, I am currently feeding all my dogs Innova EVO. It is high protein and grain free. However,each dog is different in terms of what they may be allergic to. Many dogs are allergic to grains such as wheat and corn, which is why many people use grain free kibble. Other well rated kibble brands include – Orijen, Wellness CORE, Blue Wilderness.

      Dog itchiness can also result from a variety of other sources. If I suspect that the source is dietary in nature, I usually switch my dog onto a bland diet. If the issue goes away, then I know that it is a dietary allergy.

      In terms of poop eating, here are some reasons why dogs eat poop and some ways on how to stop poop eating.

  28. says

    This is my second visit to this blog. I am thinking about starting a brand new blog in the same category. This blog gave me some information to work with. (Don’t worry, I won’t be copying you :)) You have done a good job.

  29. Javier says

    I just recently got a husky he’s about ten weeks old I had two questions… First when should I take him off puppy food? Second my vet tells me I doyle only feed him lamb because of the sensitive stomach they havebut blue wilderness salmon, or turkey caught my eye would it be ok to feed him that

    • shibashake says

      Hello Javier,
      I usually keep my Sibes on puppy food until they are about 8 months old. My breeder says that she keeps hers on puppy food until they are about 1 year old.

      Sibes do have pretty sensitive stomachs. It depends on the individual Sibe what ingredients they may be allergic to. In general, I would stay away from grains such as wheat, corn, and soy. I haven’t used Blue Wilderness myself but I have heard good things about it. Their listed ingredient list also looks good and it is grain free.

      Is your puppy currently on the Blue Wilderness puppy food? How is he doing on it?

      The Blue Wilderness puppy food mostly contains Chicken and Turkey, so if puppy is doing well on it, I would go with one of those two when switching to the adult formula.
      One of my Sibes, Shania, is allergic to salmon. However, each Sibe is different. 🙂

    • Javier says

      He is on regular blue buffalo puppy not wilderness. And I don’t plan on taking him off for a while just my breeder and vet says lamb is the best for them and normally huskies have problems on other meals but blue wilderness doesn’t make a lamb. So I guess but your comment it depends?

    • ShibaShake says

      Ah, now I see.

      Yeah, when it comes to food allergies, each dog is slightly different. Both my Siberians do well on chicken and turkey (Innova EVO), but I know there are dogs who are allergic to poultry.

      You could try switching brands, but I think it is better to try out Blue Wilderness first and see how it goes. Solid Gold has a Lamb adult formula, but frankly, I like the Blue Wilderness ingredient list much better.

    • Javier says

      well i don’t know what to do since I got him he has had diarrhea. The very and the breeder say to keep him on lamb but I’m starting to doubt them both because he has been on two different lamb brands and thediarrhea has always been there. The reason I haven’t changed him food is because the very have him some meds for it (which I’m almost done with) but it’s only gotten worse

    • shibashake says

      My puppy Lara also had some problems with diarrhea.

      One thing that helped with her is switching over to a totally bland diet. In her case, I only gave her boiled/microwave plain chicken and plain white rice. I did that for a few days and the diarrhea stopped. If the dog is allergic to poultry, then a different type of meat can also be used.

      Then I slowly reintroduced back her regular food in quarters. e.g. 3/4 bland diet, 1/4 kibble for 3-4 days. If everything is ok, then 1/2,1/2 and so on. This helped me determine what exactly caused her diarrhea, which turned out to be the wet food we were feeding her.

      Another thing I discovered that was causing her problems was feeding her too much in a short amount of time. Overfeeding can also cause puppies to get diarrhea.

  30. cynthia says

    Hi Shibashake!!

    I switched my Shiba Sasha’s food to Wellness brand natural dog food, she loves it and her coat is shinier, less scratching and allergies etc. But recently she hasn’t been eating as much, I like to put food out, have her eat it and take it away, but her eating patterns are so erratic it forces me to leave food for her to eat at her convenience. I’m wondering if she is doing some kind of shiba mind trick on me where she is demanding treats in lieu of real food?? Should i move her treats where she cant see them? should i scold her when she begs? i try and reward her randomly and always have her work for her special treats but she still seems to demand them and i do not want to reward begging or make her think she can skip eating puppy kibble and only survive on treats! any help appreicated!!! Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cynthia,
      Sorry for the late reply. I just got a Sibe puppy last weekend and have been busy keeping the little ball of nuclear energy in check. 😀

      I’m wondering if she is doing some kind of shiba mind trick on me where she is demanding treats in lieu of real food??

      LOL Shiba mind trick – I like that! Yeah Sephy definitely did Shiba mind tricks on me when he was younger. He still tries today, but I have now developed a good resistance to it. Like Sasha, puppy Sephy would refuse to eat his kibble, and only eat the good stuff. When mixed together, he would pick out the good stuff and refuse to eat the kibble. I did all sorts of things to get him to eat, including grinding up his kibble and then mixing it into some wet food. That worked for a while but invariably, he went back to playing hard to get.

      Switching to fixed meal times really helps. Shibas are stubborn but they will eat if they are really hungry. With fixed meal times, Sephy now works for his kibble. Sometimes he will start playing his Shiba tricks again and not eat for 1 day or so, but I just stick to the meal plan and he starts to eat once he realizes that he ain’t getting more of the good stuff.

      Once eating kibble becomes a routine, Shiba will be less likely to try this particular mind game.

      Should i move her treats where she cant see them?

      That may help. I know that Sephy becomes more obsessive when he can see something. I usually move stuff so that Sephy is not tempted to try and jump up on counters. However, it will likely not have too much of an effect on begging.

      should i scold her when she begs?

      Different owners have different beg rules and restrictions. For example, I am fine with begging, as long as they do it nicely, e.g. Sit, no jumping, no biting, etc. Also no temper tantrums if I choose to ignore them. I also discourage begging when I am having dinner. Usually I will tell Sephy to go to his mat/bed, and reward him for doing that. Nowadays, he just goes to his bed on his own during meal-times.

      I have found that a good way to get Sephy to do what I want is not only to tell him “No”, but also to tell him what to do instead. For example, just telling him not to beg didn’t work out well with him, whereas telling him to go to his mat instead lets him work and allows him to get rewarded.

  31. Andrea says

    We’re using the same kibble as the breeder and he’s had no ill effects (it is grain free already, yay!)

    Thankfully, the breeder had him acclimated to handling when we picked him up. He’s been VERY tolerant of all family members so far playing with and touching him. We have pretty much been transferring him from lap to lap (he’s been a cuddle bug in the house, but turns into a hyper explorer in the back yard.)

    He and the cats are also just kind of ignoring each other so far.

    We got his collar today and putting it on him was a complete non-event (once again thanks to the breeder.) He scratched at it twice and hasn’t even noticed it since. I’ve put it on and off several times with no problems. The leash, on the other hand, he started biting within seconds. I’ve found if I walk quickly and just ahead of him, he’ll worry more about keeping up than the leash though.

    He’s eating a bit now and will “sit” if bribed with chicken. He LOVES chicken.

    His crate and not sleeping with us is NOT making him happy, but it’s only day two, so I have hope. 🙂

    By the end of the week, I may be crying about him – but the first two days have been pretty good.

    • shibashake says

      With my Shiba he had the runs pretty much as soon as we got him. After doing some research, I took him off of his kibble (given by his breeder) and put him on a boiled chicken/rice diet. After a few days, things got a lot better. His kibble contained wheat, so I got a new puppy kibble for him that was wheat free and he was good after that.

      Later on, when I took him to puppy class, he got some Natural Balance food rolls from one of the trainers. He loves those treats but he started to get the runs again. After checking out the ingredient list, I discovered that the Natural Balance food rolls contained wheat.

      So I am pretty sure he is allergic to wheat.

      I went through a similar process with my Siberian. She was good as a puppy, but when I switched her from puppy to adult food, she started getting the runs and I found that the key ingredient in the adult kibble that was not in her puppy kibble was oats, so it was probably the culprit. After I switched kibble brands, to a grain free kibbble, she was good.

      Nowadays I feed both my dogs Innova EVO which is high protein and grain free. It seems to work well for them.

  32. Colleen says

    Thanks for the info! I’m going to give that a shot! Hopefully he gets the hint quickly that he needs to eat the food when I give it to him. It’s hard watching him not eat as it is, let alone if I have to take it away from him! I’m a sucker for those Shiba eyes. Guess I have to be strong!

    Thanks again!!

  33. Colleen says

    So recently Reptar decided that he’s too good to eat. The only way he seems to voluntarily eat is if I throw a couple pieces of kibble on the floor and start of pseudo game of fetch. We’ve been transitioning him to his new adult food for a while now and he seemed like he really liked it in the beginning”. This concerns me because I know he is not getting enough nutrients and he’s already eating (when he does eat it) really healthy and good dog food (Blue Buffalo). This is new, very new maybe a week or so.

    I have even tried putting them in toys and making it more fun since he likes the “throwing food” game but he’ll just empty it all out of the toys and leave it on the floor.

    Could it be cause it’s summer time and he’s just “too hot”? Any tips or advice or ideas? Thanks as always!

    • shibashake says

      I went through the same thing with Sephy. Oh Shiba! – LOL.

      After I had him a couple of months, he decided he didn’t want kibble anymore.

      I started by adding in wet food – which worked for a while, then he would just pick out the wet food. Then I ground up the kibble and mixed it in with the wet food – which worked for a while, then he stopped eating the whole wet/dry food mix. I tried adding cheese, bacon, etc. – but he would just pick out the good stuff.

      Finally, I switched to a high protein kibble brand and just set up a strict schedule for him. I would put the kibble out for him. If he didn’t want to eat it after a while, I took the kibble away and set it out next meal time. He didn’t eat the first few times but then he got hungry, so he started eating his kibble again. 😀

      As you say, I have also observed that Sephy doesn’t like eating as much when it is really hot. Even now, he will sometimes skip a day of eating to clear his system. Based on my observations, a day is the most time he will go without eating.

      Finally, when Sephy is hungry (because he scorned his kibble), he will sometimes come over to beg from me with his little Shiba whining. I ignore him when he does that – he only gets dessert after he finishes his regular meal. 😀

  34. Shalini Kagal says

    That’s a great one-stop hub of pros and cons for all the different diets! We feed our dogs home-cooked – I’ve always wondered about switching to raw but I’ve been worried about infections.
    Lovely pictures of your dogs!

  35. Brunettemom says

    i just want to comment on anyone that was asking about what to feed your pets that have food allergies, i can tell you from experience about 4yrs at least that my dog had reocurring ear infections, pain. odor til we switched his food/treats the past 2months it is completly gone and vet was so impressed with the results she asked for the name of his foods/treats, am happy to share the information with anyone that wants it, here ya go http://www.ourlifeofriley.com thats my dogs name 🙂 ok thanx hope this helps you

  36. Petpro says

    For a fantastic low mess, low worry raw diet try Natures Variety. It is a pre-formulated raw diet offered in proteins such as organic chicken, beef, lamb, venison, and rabbit.
    Her is the ingredients list for Chicken:
    INGREDIENTS: Chicken, Raw Ground Chicken Bone, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseed, Chicken Eggs, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Duck Eggs, Pheasant Eggs, Quail Eggs, Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Clove
    >taken from:
    It comes in many convienant sizes and is already in pre-formed patties. Just cleanse your utensils and bowls afterward and theres no worry, no fuss. I defrost 2-3 days worth at a time by putting frozen patties into glass tupperware and put it in the fridge, pulling out what I need at that feeding. I have been incorporating this diet with EVO or Orijen, and green tripe(greentripe.com) plus a weekly raw meaty bone or turkey neck. I have a 14 year old 65 lb girl thats doing fantastic and all 6 of my dogs have never had to have their teeth cleaned! Do your research, give it a shot. Your dogs will be as close to possible to their ancestral diet, their body will function beautifully and they will be happy.

  37. toni_noname says

    <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>
    I guess I was wrong about feeding rice to my dog. I read this interesting article on http://www.englishbulldogpuppyblog.com/uncategoriz

  38. Whitney05 says

    Yea, most regular vets aren’t as up-to-date on holistic and raw diets and medicines. You should check out my hubs.

  39. shibashake says

    “Everything that I read said that the chicken bones are much more pliable and easier to eat and digest when raw, which makes them much safe for the dogs to eat.”

    I have read similar things, but several vets have told me not to give them any bones, especially chicken bones because they have sharp edges. Maybe the vets have to be more careful about what they say, in case something happens; but it still makes me very hesitant.

    Interesting about the salmonella; although it is still something that I would worry about. Guess I am a worry wort too 🙂

    I’ll have to check out Jerry’s site on the BARF thing. Thanks!

  40. Whitney05 says

    When I composed my B.A.R.F diet hubs I saw that it can be very nutritious for dogs to have a raw diet. Now, I would never do sole raw. I’d like to do maybe once or twice a week raw with some dry kibble.
    Everything that I read said that the chicken bones are much more pliable and easier to eat and digest when raw, which makes them much safe for the dogs to eat. It also says that it’s rare for dogs/cats to get salmonella and other illnesses from raw bc their stomachs are much stronger than ours.
    I would just like to add variety to my dog’s diet so that she gets the best nutrition, I can provide.
    Have you seen where Jerry with tripawds is on the BARF diet? That’s what really got me doing my research.

  41. shibashake says

    I did consider raw as well, but I am concerned about the bones and possibility of contamination. I currently boil or microwave chicken for my pups, and they seem to really enjoy that. It seems to be a good compromise, and I worry less 🙂 Still I am always thinking about it.

    I would be very interested to know, what are your reasons for, and your parents’ reasons against the raw diet. Thanks!

  42. Whitney05 says

    I love EVO. Mia gets dry food mixed with can every other day. Some days just can, and others just dry. I’d love to introduce a little raw in her diet, but I just can’t convince my parents of it. Although, she is my dog, she’s still a family dog.

  43. AEvans says

    Thank you for recommending both of those as I may have to check those out, but then again you are probably correct I should leave it as is, as I spent thousands of dollars on gettnig him straightened out., thanks for the info.:)

  44. shibashake says

    If your dogs are doing well with a particular kibble, it is usually best not to rock the boat, especially if they are susceptible to food allergies.

    Both my dogs have food allergies. My Sibe, especially, is allergic to most grains, and also to fish. I feed both my dogs Innova EVO kibble. It is grain free, and is high in protein which is good for active dogs. Orijen is another good brand.

  45. AEvans says

    We feed our dogs Royal Canine as my male Cocker has allergies, is there any other types of dogs foods that you would recommend for dogs with allergies?

  46. nostralight says

    LOL. I think all dogs will always beg for food even when they are not hungry. Your dogs are lovely! Thank you, Sheba, for the interesting resources for pet owners.

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