8 Best Dog Foods for Akitas in 2020 — Reviews & Top Picks

An Akita laying on a bedThe Akita is one of Japan’s most popular dog breeds, partly due to its reputation for intense loyalty and a desire to protect its family. If you have an Akita in your own family, then you know how important proper nutrition is to their well-being.

To help you find the best dog food for Akitas of all ages, we’ve put together reviews of the top formulas in the market. Let’s start by taking a look at our favorites:


Our Favorite Picks of 2020 Compared

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
CANIDAE CANIDAE
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Features plenty of animal protein
  • Formulated with antioxidants and fatty acids
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Blue Buffalo
  • Affordable
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Primary protein source is meat
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    The Honest Kitchen The Honest Kitchen
  • Features muscle and liver meat for protein
  • Cold-pressed
  • Dehydrated to preserve flavor
  • Best for Puppies
    Wellness Natural Pet Food Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains DHA and other key nutrients
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • ORIJEN ORIJEN
  • Very high in protein
  • Designed for aging senior dogs
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A.
  • The 8 Best Dog Foods for Akitas

    1. CANIDAE PURE Real Duck Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    CANIDAE

    When it comes to selecting a high-quality food for your Akita, our top pick is the CANIDAE PURE 1590 Real Duck Dry Dog Food. This grain-free formula features real duck as the top ingredient, followed by duck meal and turkey meal for even more animal-sourced protein. It is formulated without corn, soy, or wheat, making this a good choice for dogs with known food sensitivities.

    Along with offering a healthy source of animal proteins, this dog food recipe also includes probiotics and antioxidants for digestion and immunity. The inclusion of omega fatty acids helps support healthy skin and a shining coat.

    While this dog food is a high-quality product, it is notably more expensive than other formulas on the market. Also, some owners have reported that despite the limited ingredients, their dogs experienced digestive issues. However, we still think that this is some of the best dog food for Akitas in 2020.

    Pros
    • Limited ingredients for dogs with food sensitivities
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Features plenty of animal protein
    • Formulated with antioxidants and fatty acids
    Cons
    • Subject to grain-free scrutiny
    • May cause stomach upset

    2. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Dog Food – Best Value

    Blue Buffalo

    Feeding a large dog can be expensive, so for owners searching for the best dog food for Akitas for the money, we recommend the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Dry Dog Food, as it offers an excellent compromise between saving a few bucks and giving your pup the nutrition they deserve.

    As the name implies, this recipe is specifically formulated for large breeds. Because of this, you’ll find glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which help support healthy joints. The first ingredient of this dog food is always meat, so you know that most of your dog’s protein intake is coming from animal sources.

    Since some flavors of this dry dog food include chicken and chicken by-products, it’s important to double-check the ingredients if your dog has food sensitivities. As with almost any food, this formula may cause stomach upset in some dogs.

    Pros
    • Affordable but still high quality
    • Specifically designed for large breeds
    • Primary protein source is meat
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Some flavors include chicken
    • May trigger digestive issues in some dogs

    3. The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Clusters Dog Food – Premium Choice

    The Honest Kitchen

    While there’s nothing wrong with adhering to a budget, some dog owners want the best of the best, no matter the cost. As far as premium dog food formulas are concerned, The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Clusters Dry Dog Food is a human-grade recipe perfectly suited to the dietary needs of Akitas. But while this means you could eat this dog food yourself, it’s probably best left to the four-legged ones in your life!

    Along with featuring top-notch ingredients compiled in a top-notch kitchen, this formula relies solely on muscle meat and liver for animal protein. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with other sources of animal protein, this offers extra peace of mind for owners of dogs with allergies.

    According to some owners, the dried pieces were too hard for their dog to comfortably chew. This dog food may also cause digestive issues. Some dogs refuse to eat this food.

    Pros
    • Formulated with human-grade ingredients
    • Features muscle and liver meat for protein
    • Cold-pressed and dehydrated to preserve flavor
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Subject to grain-free scrutiny
    • Too hard for many dogs to chew
    • Some dogs dislike the flavor

    4. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food – Best for Puppies

    Wellness Natural Pet Food

    While providing well-balanced nutrition is important in adulthood, it’s also critical for young, growing Akita puppies. When it comes to narrowing down the best puppy food for the breed, one of our top recommendations is the Wellness 89115 Complete Health Natural Puppy Food. This formula features chicken as the first ingredient and does not contain corn, soy, wheat, or artificial ingredients.

    Since this kibble is formulated for large breed puppies, it contains plenty of DHA for strong brain and eye development. This food also offers a controlled dose of calories, calcium, and other key nutrients to prevent rapid growth in Akitas and other large breeds. The larger kibble sizes are easier for your dog to eat while discouraging bad habits like eating too fast.

    The most common complaint associated with this formula is its tendency to cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. Some owners criticized the protein content of this food, stating that it’s insufficient for many large breeds.

    Pros
    • Designed for large breed puppies
    • Lists chicken as the first ingredient
    • Contains DHA and other key nutrients for development
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Frequently causes stomach upset
    • Protein content is low compared to other formulas
    • Not filling enough for some dogs

    5. ORIJEN Senior High-Protein Dry Dog Food

    ORIJEN

    Puppy-specific nutrition is an important building block for the rest of your dog’s life, but so is the type of food you feed them during their later years. Purebred Akitas can live up to 13 years on average, so choosing a high-quality senior formula is key to getting the most out of those last few years with your best friend. If you’re looking for a new dog food for your aging Akita, we suggest the ORIJEN DOR4420-13 Senior High-Protein Adult Dry Dog Food.

    This formula features a wide range of whole protein sources, including chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. Actually, ORIJEN claims that 85% of this product is sourced from animals. The inclusion of muscle, organ, bone, and cartilage ensures that all your dog’s nutritional needs are met.

    According to some owners, this isn’t the best recipe for dogs who are picky eaters. The sheer amount of protein in this food can also be too much for some dogs to digest comfortably. If you order this food, pay close attention to the size of the bag — this product is much more expensive per pound than others.

    Pros
    • Very high in protein
    • Designed for aging senior dogs
    • Includes multiple whole animal protein sources
    • Manufactured in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Many dogs dislike the taste
    • May cause digestive issues
    • Protein content is too high for some dogs
    • Very expensive compared to other options

    6. Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Dog Food

    Merrick

    The Merrick 37044 Backcountry Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a quality choice for owners interested in the raw and grain-free dog food movements. While the jury is still out on whether feeding your dog this type of food is better than “traditional” kibble, making the switch (with vet approval) can be a great option for dogs with food sensitivities.

    The first ingredient in this dry food is deboned duck, followed by chicken meal and turkey meal for additional animal-sourced protein. Along with standard pieces of kibble, this food has freeze-dried pieces of raw meat that offer tons of flavor and are easily digestible. On average, each bag of this food contains 38% protein.

    While ideally, this food would feature a consistent amount of freeze-dried meat in each bag, some owners report receiving bags with barely any meat pieces inside (just kibble). Some owners also reported that their dog gained weight after switching to this food.

    Pros
    • May be beneficial for dogs with allergies
    • First ingredient is real meat
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Contains 38% of protein per bag
    Cons
    • High price per pound
    • Subject to grain-free concerns
    • Some bags have almost no freeze-dried meat
    • Dogs may gain weight easily on this food

    7. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

    Hill's Science Diet

    On the topic of weight gain, many Akitas are prone to obesity and other weight-related health issues. If you’re struggling to maintain your Akita’s ideal weight, we recommend the Hill’s 603940 Science Diet Dry Dog Food formula. Under the supervision of a vet, this food can help your dog maintain a healthy weight while also preventing excess hunger.

    When compared to other Science Diet formulas, this recipe contains 18% fewer calories per serving. This might not seem like much on paper, but it can make a big difference for dogs whose appetites are too big for their bodies! It also features L-carnitine, which encourages a healthy metabolism, and plenty of protein and fiber for satiety.

    Unlike the other dog food formulas we’ve mentioned, this product does not feature whole meat as the first ingredient. Instead, it lists chicken meal. Overall, this formula contains more filler ingredients than we’d like to see. Some dogs dislike the taste of this food, while others also experience indigestion.

    Pros
    • Designed for large breeds with weight issues
    • Improves satisfaction with fewer calories
    • Includes L-carnitine
    • Vet recommended and made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • May trigger digestive issues
    • First ingredient is chicken meal
    • Not all dogs enjoy the taste
    • Contains more fillers than many competitors

    8. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Canned Dog Food

    Whole Earth Farms

    Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-while treat or prefer to feed your dog primarily wet food, the Whole Earth Farms 85484 Grain Free Canned Dog Food is a worthwhile option for many owners. You can also pair this wet food formula with any of the dry foods we’ve already mentioned as a topper or mix-in.

    This grain-free formula features whole beef as the first ingredient, along with a variety of vegetables and fruit. This food is designed to be gentle on the stomach, making it a great choice for dogs with mild digestive issues.

    Unfortunately, some owners reported receiving half-full cans of this food. It is unclear whether this was related to a single lot number or continues to be a widespread issue. Though this food is designed for sensitive stomachs, it still contains peas, which may be a trigger.

    Pros
    • Doubles as a meal or treat
    • Designed for sensitive stomachs
    • Protein content is primarily from animal sources
    • Cooked in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Some cans may be half-filled
    • Inclusion of peas may still cause digestive issues
    • Not all dogs enjoy the flavor
    • Some owners dislike the texture

    Buyer’s Guide

    After reviewing the formulas above, we’ve given you a wide variety of options to feed your Akita. With that said, there are still things to consider before selecting a specific food:

    Is grain-free food right for your Akita?

    In 2019, a potential link between grain-free food and a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (a type of heart failure) was discovered. Although dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, is sometimes seen in large and giant breeds, this link suggests that grain-free diets may be causing a much higher rate of DCM in breeds of all sizes.

    Unfortunately, there are still many questions about whether grain-free food is safe to feed dogs. While some veterinarians advise that their patients stay on their regular food — whether grain-free or grain-inclusive — others are adamant that all dogs should be on grain-inclusive foods if possible.

    Before switching your dog to a grain-free diet, including any of the formulas we’ve reviewed above, we strongly suggest talking with your veterinarian about what is right for your pup. Although the Akita does not appear to be largely affected by DCM compared to other popular dog breeds, this is still an important thing to consider when shopping for a new food.

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    Should you feed your Akita large breed dog food?

    Generally speaking, all breeds averaging 24 inches at the shoulder and weighing at least 50 pounds count as large breeds. The Akita stands at least 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 70 and 130 pounds, landing it squarely within the “large breed” category.

    But recognizing the Akita as a large breed isn’t just about how big it can grow. Large and giant dog breeds require specialized nutrition to stay as healthy as possible.

    Along with supporting your Akita’s load-bearing bones and joints, many large breed dog foods actually include a lower concentration of calories and other nutrients to slow growth. Be sure to feed your Akita (or any dog breed) according to the guidelines outlined by your chosen food’s manufacturer.

    When should you switch your Akita to adult food?

    While it’s important to feed your Akita a high-quality food during their adult years, providing proper nutrition during puppyhood is also critical to a long and happy life.

    To encourage even growth, most veterinarians recommend feeding puppy food until your Akita is at least one year old, though some suggest waiting until two years of age. If you’re unsure whether your Akita is ready for the switch to an adult formula, we recommend speaking to your vet.

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    Conclusion:

    Just like our own diets play a direct role in our overall health, the same is true for our canine companions. Here are our top recommendations for Akita owners looking for a high-quality food:

    Our number-one pick is the CANIDAE PURE 1590 Real Duck Dry Dog Food. This formula uses limited, high-quality ingredients, is loaded with animal protein, and includes important nutrients like antioxidants and omega fatty acids.

    For owners on a budget, we suggest the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Dry Dog Food. This product is slightly more affordable than our other picks, while still offering meat is the main protein source. The fact that it’s specifically designed for large breeds is also a plus.

    If you’re thinking about ditching traditional kibble for a more premium formula, The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Cluster Dry Dog Food might appeal to you. This food uses human-grade ingredients that are cold-pressed and dehydrated to preserve flavor.

    Finally, for those with young Akita puppies in their care, the Wellness 89115 Complete Health Natural Puppy Food is a great option to check out. Designed for the dietary needs of large breed puppies, this food uses chicken as its first ingredients and contains plenty of important nutrients for growing pups.

    With the help of our reviews, you’re well on your way to finding the ideal food formula for your Akita. Still unsure which food is right for your pup? Your vet is always the best resource for these and other important questions!