The element of proper nutrition and what to feed an Akita is not to be taken lightly. The diet that your Akita eats will directly affect his or her health. So, let’s get right down to business.
This is a big concern for owners. While it may be more convenient to feed one large meal per day, eating such a large amount in one sitting can cause bloat, a serious health issue that can have devastating consequences. When an Akita is made to wait 24 hours in-between meals, this can bring on intense hunger, which leads to unabashed gobbling, ingesting air and swallowing without chewing.
Best, is to feed 2 times per day. This is already necessary for puppies and for seniors, so it is easy to stay with this routine. Even with 2 meals per day, this massive dog can eat quite a bit… and for this reason, we do highly recommend special bowls that will slow him down to consume at a reasonable rate, this is best for proper digestion and again, will greatly help to prevent bloat.
Akita owners have most likely learned that many recommend fasting for this breed. The reason for this method is:
It allows the body’s to rest. During the time of the fasting, small amounts of fruits and vegetables are fed and this allows the body to be cleansed.
This should be done 1 day per week. The day should be chosen and it should remain the same day each week, for example: Mondays
Puppies should not be fed this way. From 8 weeks to 6 months of age, they should be given 1 light meal on “fast day”. From 6 months on, they can then be on the same feeding schedule as an adult.
What to Feed during the fast : On this particular one day of each week, you will want to offer:
Fruit – cubes of apple (NO seeds, NO skin, NO core) and/or blueberries
Vegetables – raw baby carrots and/or sweet peas
Note: If your Akita is on a prescribed
medication that is to be taken with food, do feed them their regular
meal (or at least a smaller portion of it).
Always: Always supply the same amount of free, clean water.
How Much to Feed
The exact amount will vary so much depending on: age, activity level and
particular body metabolism. Despite their size, most eat much less than
an owner anticipates. The average adult will maintain their weight on
2-3 cups of the proper foods, given 2 times per day ( a total of 4-6
To determine how much your Akita requires, you would start with 1.5 cups
for each meal. If he or she leaves some and walks away, you will know
to cut back to the amount that was ingested within the first 10 minutes.
Commercial food can be seen 2 ways:
Manufactured in huge quantities, not fit for human consumption, filled with artificial flavors, owners are unsure of ingredients
A premium brand that delivers what it promises, better than any home
cooked recipes (unless time is not a factor) and complete for a canine.
The answer to feeding an Akita actually lies in the middle of those 2
concepts. Premium dog foods (and we will go over which are the best for
this breed ahead) can be very healthy, however they are not complete.
The best food for this particular breed is a high quality dry food
supplemented with certain fresh ingredients mixed in which rounds out
the meals and provide what is needed for excellent health.
What to Feed
Puppies - Akita puppies only need puppy food up until the age of 4
(The higher content of protein promotes rapid growth and
thus can cause developmental problems with this breed).
Therefore, they should be switched to adult formula as described below at the 4 month mark. Since many owners will obtain their Akita at the age of 2 months, this means that puppy food will only be consumed for 2 months.
First, let’s discuss the fresh fare that should be blended into the dry kibble. Dry is recommended because commercial wet, canned is too compact and without the combination of dry/fresh, the Akita will not receive the proper amount of proteins, carbs and other nutrients.
There are 2 reasons for adding in extra food that you prepare (easily):
1. The wet ingredients will be soaked up by the dry kibble and will then expand the food to the size it will be in the stomach – This prevents bloat
2. It will supplement the diet so that your Akita is receiving just what they need.
An owner should choose at least 2 of the following…or all of them.
Rice – An important carbohydrate that is a nutritional need for the Akita. Some are sensitive to brown rice, others do just fine. An owner should buy either in a small quantity and if the dog does well with it, stay with it. If stools are runny or there is any other signs of sensitivity, you will then want to switch it out. So, it will either be brown rice or white rice.
Vegetables – Carrots, peas, sugar snap peas, cooked potatoes (cubed), yams.
Eggs – hard boiled eggs, crushed with shell ON. Never feed raw eggs.
For puppies – plain white yogurt
It is just fine to choose one ingredient one month and a different one the next. Variety is a good thing for this breed.
Note: Be sure to wash all fruits and veggies
The Main Kibble
After many years of experience and seeing how this breed reacts to certain elements, we only recommend a specific few. Some well-known name brands contain fillers – they are empty ingredients that are only added in to bulk up the food…it is designed to make a dog feel full but passes right through the body giving zero nutrients.
Many also have intense coloring and/or nasty preservatives which are detrimental to good health and are notorious for causing allergies.
Importantly, many kibble (even top rated ones) contain some wheat (fine for many dog breeds and even the Akita does not necessarily have an intolerance) and soy (again, also fine for other breeds and the Akita Inu does not necessarily have an intolerance); yet the combination of these 2 elements seems to work against the natural digestion of this breed; perhaps this has something to do with the processing of bulk kibble. More research should be done in this regard; however owners who do not want to experiment may do well in making choices that follow this way of thinking since so many owners who have struggled through years of trial and error have found these food choices to be optimal for their Akitas.
The Akita does best with a certain blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while NOT containing by-products, artificial preservatives, corn, wheat or soy. With this said, we recommend a specific brand of
The Akita thyroid gland produces only 1/3 of the necessary iodine. Therefore, the addition of a natural, easily digested iodine is vital to the health of this dog. Iodine as an additive to food is not enough, as it is dissipated during the processing. An excellent source of this needed element is kelp. It is a seaweed that contains vitamins and 22 trace minerals.
Zinc is a vital trace element that is dispersed during food processing, therefore when found as a listed additive; it is not enough for this breed. It is necessary for proper growth, protein synthesis, immune function and reproduction. Some idiopathic skin and coat problems that are found with Akita dogs improve greatly when this supplement is added.
It is recommended to cover all bases by adding a multi-vitamin to the daily diet and one 8000 to 10,000 IU soft gel of vitamin A from fish oil. It is necessary for development and maintenance of skin, coat, eyesight and immune function. But take care - the best omega for the Akita breed will be derived from wild caught Alaskan salmon or pollock (farmed fish often contain mercury). For more details, look to "Supplements" in the Akita Specialty Shoppe.
Older dogs have special dietary needs. Once an Akita is declared to be a senior, more fruits and vegetables should be added to kibble, making the ration more on the fruit and veggie side.
Additionally, fresh meat should replace at least ¼ (but ideally ½ of the dry food). You will want to offer well cooked, deboned:
• White chicken breast
A senior will need extra supplementation of Omega 3. It is vital in several ways: It reduces joint inflammation, aids the immune system and contains natural pain killers called prostaglandins.
An age specific vitamin and mineral supplement should be given. Plasma zinc leaves are lower at this age and zinc is a companion mineral to anti-oxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. A well rounded supplement of vitamin and minerals will help reduce tissue damage, help with joint pain and work to improve mobility.