What’s The Best Nutritious Dog Food for a Shar-Pei?

The first thing you'll notice about the Shar Pei is that they are quite a dominant breed. Coupled with their intelligence and you own a mind reader! The Shar-Peis are also plagued with a lot of skin issues which more than often is attributed to nutrition or the lack of it. Feeding your Pei the right food could help avoid a lot of these issues and keep their skin healthy and itchy-free. Let's face it, Shar-Pei pet parents suffer as much as their dogs do. In this article, we'll discuss food management and what are some of the best foods for this quintessential itchy dog. Let's get to it!

In a hurry? Here's a quick overview of our top 4 picks:

Shar-Pei Quick Overview

Shar-Pei Breed FactFinds
Breed FactFind

Height

Between 12 to 15 inches 

Weight

Between 40 to 50 pounds

Pedigree

Bred in Asia, closely linked to other breeds like Chow Chows, Great Pyrenees, and Tibetan Mastiffs

Lifespan

Average 7- 15 years

Breed size

Medium

Coat Length

Rough, short and wrinkled.

Health Conditions

Skin problems, Familiar Shar-Pei Fever (FPF), dog bloat, hip dysplasia.

Temperament

Protective, territorial, devoted and independent.

Unique Characteristics

One of the rarest breeds in the world, history used for dog fighting and herding.

The Shar-Pei, or Chinese Shar-Pei, is a rare breed of dog that can be hard for owners to find at first. Once they are found and well-trained, they make very loyal companions to their family. The Shar-Pei breed often turns heads on the street, as strangers check out their unique wrinkled bodies and large heads. The Shar-Pei breed historically were as Chinese working dogs used for herding, hunting, protection, and unfortunately dog fighting. Today, this breed is active and loves different types of play and exercise.

The Shar-Pei breed is best suited for families with children, with their soulful eyes and protective behavior, it's not hard to see why. So let's talk nutrition and make this new addition a long standing and healthy furry member of the family.

Shar-Pei Nutrition Guide

Shar Pei Nutrition Guide

What to feed a Shar-Pei?

In a nutshell, a Shar-Pei should be fed a healthy, natural diet with lean meats. This should be supplemented with other whole ingredients like fruits and vegetables to help maintain overall health, with special attention to ingredients that protect skin and coat health. Finally, take no chances and select foods that don’t include any of the common allergens: soy, corn, wheat, preservatives etc. amongst its ingredients.

So let’s break this down further.

Meats: All high-grade dog food brands should list meat as their first ingredient. The crude protein on the label should read between 22-26% and fat levels less than 20% and fiber of 4% or less. Since the Pei is prone to gaining weight, we recommend a diet of lean protein such as fish or game.

Carbohydrates are also important to a dog’s diet especially to the Pei. Since they are a high-energy breed, carbs provides the adequate energy it needs. Saying that you should buy foods with limited carbohydrates. If your Pei isn’t as active but indulges in a lot of food, then the stored glycogen converts to fat which leads to obesity. Good quality carbs include: barley, oats, brown rice and sweet potatoes. Canned foods contain larger amounts of carbs, so avoid feeding your Pei wet food if you can. If you decide to feed them canned food, mix the two and use a ratio of 3:1 (dry:wet).

Most high-quality kibble contain healthy saturated fats like Omega 3 and 6 that work to improve dogs’ skin and coat health, which is important for the Sharpei breed due their skin sensitivities. Since these allergies can be quite severe in the Shar-Pei resulting in intense itching, loss of hair, infected ears etc look for foods that contain healthy sources of fats such as fish oil. Saturated fats are also a healthier source of energy for your Pei than carbohydrates. And, since homemade dog food often lacks in Omega-3’s due to being destroyed through the cooking process, either supplement the Pei’s diet with Omega 3 oils or select a good quality dog food with those ingredients listed.

Blends like Farm’s Harvest Adult Dog Food (by Nutro), Solid Gold Wolf King with Bison, and Natural Balance Wild Pursuit Chicken, Turkey Meal & Quail are a few options that can provide a Shar-Pei with the nutrition it needs. These blends include the ingredients needed to help maintain a Shar-Pei’s coat and skin health and avoid using ingredients like grain and wheat that can cause allergies.

How many times a day should I feed my Shar-Pei?

The Shar-Pei breed doesn’t require a special feeding routine but since they prone to dog bloat, they should be kept on a twice a day feeding schedule.

Generally, owners should feed their dog once in the morning and once in the evening. However to help prevent GSD, feeding your Pei several small meals spread out over the day instead of one big meal and avoiding exercise before and right after the meal is a good way to avoid bloat.

You know your dogs best and can adjust their feeding as needed, but they should stick to a regular schedule to make sure they are being fed properly. A Shar-Pei should at all times have fresh, cool water available to them. But limit the consumption of large amounts of water right after physical activity to help prevent bloat.

How much food to feed a Shar-Pei?

The Shar-Pei is a large dog with a big appetite, so they may need to be fed more in comparison to smaller breeds.

A Shar-Pei puppy up to the age of 6 months should be fed a specially formulated puppy food formula for large breeds since these contain the right amount of protein, fats, carbs, calories and calcium to phosphorus ratios required for a developing puppy. For a growing Pei puppy the recommended feed is 1 cup per 6 pounds of body weight spread over 3 meals a day and weaning them over 2 meals a day by 6 months old.

Feed your adult Shar-Pei according to their age and activity levels. An inactive Pei will require less calories which will help avoid obesity. Also since they are less active in the winter season adjusting their calorie intake will further help avoid any unnecessary weight gain. Feeding instructions on dog food labels provide guidelines as to the amount of calories to feed and it’s a good starting point. However it’s important that you adjust it from there. All dogs are different and the amount they are fed will be affected by their age, weight, and activity levels.

Older dogs require a diet adjustment since their activity levels begin to decrease and their susceptibility to develop age-related joint problems increases. A senior formula will help prevent your Pei from getting overweight and usually contain higher amounts of protein which is essential to an aging dog.

Shar-Pei Health Problems & Dietary Solutions​

Skin problems and infections are two of the main health problems that owners need to look out for with the Shar-Pei breed. The best way to prevent and treat these issues is with regular cleaning and bathing. In terms of their skin and coat this makes the Shar-Pei a bit of a high maintenance breed, but their owners wouldn’t have it any other way. Owners can also look for dog food with ingredients like Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that help contribute to a healthy skin and coat.

Another issue that the Shar-Pei breed are notoriously known for is Familiar Shar-Pei Fever (FPF), something that occurs on and off with this breed and generally lasts 24 hours. Although this is an inherited illness and not much can be done about it, owners can feed their Shar-Pei premium dog food with added ingredients for immune support. When it comes to keeping a Shar-Pei healthy and bouncing back from these fevers, healthy ingredients and whole nutrition can go a long way.

Reviews of the Best Dog Food for Shar Peis

#1 Adult Food: Farm's Harvest Adult Dog Food (by Nutro)

Best Dog Food for Shar Pei

NUTRO Farm’s Harvest Adult Dog Food is made with chicken as its first ingredient, supplemented with 100% whole grains for healthy digestion and more energy. The recipe uses whole fruits and vegetables that dogs love like peas, sweet potatoes, cranberries, green beans, and apples. These ingredients are freeze dried and included just like that in the kibble, so owners can see the ingredients in their dogs’ food! Like most premium dog food brands, NUTRO includes natural fats and oils to promote skin and coat health.

Owners love Farm’s Harvest Adult Dog Food because it is made in the USA using natural ingredients that they can feel confident feeding their dogs. This includes non-GMO produce only and lean, farm raised chicken.

Picky dogs with appetite problems have seen big improvements after switching to this food. Owners remarked that their dog’s weight remained stable when they switched them over to this recipe while minimizing digestion problems too.

Well loved by many dog owners, the Amazon score for this blend is at 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 163 reviews at the time of writing. So it’s easy to see why it’s become such a bestseller.

View on Amazon

#2 Adult Food: Solid Gold Wolf King with Bison

Shar Pei Best Dog Food

Solid Gold Wolf King with Bison is a holistic dog food specially formulated to suit the needs of medium and large breed dogs. Real bison, brown rice, and sweet potato are the main sources of healthy protein to provide dogs with the energy to stay active during the day. For immune support, this recipe includes 20 nutrient rich superfoods, including pumpkin, kelp, broccoli, blueberries, cranberries, and carrots.

This dry dog kibble uses olive oil, salmon oil, and canola oil as three sources of healthy fats to support dogs’ healthy skin and shiny coats. Solid Gold doesn’t use any corn, wheat, or soy ingredients that typically trigger allergic reactions in some dog breeds.

Owners love Solid Gold Wolf King with Bison because their dogs eat well on it and don’t need as much to get full, since this brand has better ingredients. Dogs who have been switched to Solid Gold have had much better digestion and shinier coats. Overweight dogs have an easier time losing their excess weight after switching to this brand.

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#3 Puppy Food: Fromm Large Breed Puppy 

Puppy Food for Shar-Pei Puppies

The goal of this Fromm recipe is to provide a balanced and nutritionally appropriate diet which aims to give your Shar Pei puppy with the best in everything it needs to grow strong and healthy.

The kibble size is small making it easy for your Pei to eat and digest and they’ll certainly devour it thanks its palatable and excellent ingredients.

Protein is derived from quality meats such as duck, chicken, lamb and fish. It contains the all-important Salmon Oil and Flaxseed for promoting healthy skin and coat and probiotics to aid digestion.

Dry matter analysis is also very impressive with high protein levels of 28.5%, low fat level of 15.75%, fiber 3.65%, limited carbohydrate levels of 45.7% and calories of 389 per cup.

User reviews are also very positive on Amazon with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 based on over 50 reviews at the time of writing.

View on Amazon

#4 Senior Food: Orijen Senior

Senior Dog Food for Shar Pei

Here’s a high quality and popular option from Orijen, which is perhaps the best-selling senior food formula on the market right now.

This blend main ingredients are: fresh boneless chicken, chicken meal, fresh boneless salmon and turkey meal. Yummy and all of which will give your aging Shar-Pei the quality protein it needs and in ample amounts too.

Crude fat is 15%, crude protein is 38% (good and high), crude fiber 5%. The formula is grain-free and has no artificial preservatives and it’s formulated in order to promote a strong immune system.

Dog Food Advisor rate this food at 5.0 and Pet Food Ratings rate it at 5.0. It’s easy to see why regularly ranked as the best dog food for senior dogs.

View on Amazon

Farm’s Harvest Adult Dog Food and Solid Gold Wolf King with Bison are both great options for feeding a Shar-Pei. These dry dog kibbles have healthy protein to provide dogs with lots of energy and stamina, plus added produce, minerals, and nutrients to support dogs’ complete health.

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