The Akita is the national dog of Japan. It is large, powerful, and loyal.


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Around the world, there are two separate breeds of Akita. One of them is the Japanese Akita, which is called the Akita Inu or Akita Ken. “Inu,” in this case, means “dog” in Japanese. The other recognized breed is the American Akita. This one is often just called the Akita.

Interestingly, both of these versions get classified as the same breed in the United States and Canada. The Japanese Akita has less variety, as far as colors are concerned, while the American Akita has more.

There are some physical differences between the Japanese and American Akita breeds. However, we will consider them the same for this article unless noted otherwise.

The Akita is quite a dignified dog. DNA evidence shows that it is one of the oldest breeds in the world. It is a spitz, just like its smaller cousin in Japan, the Shiba Inu.

According to Japanese oral tradition, the Akita’s ancestor, the Matagi, was used for hunting deer, wild boars, and bears. The Akita, the descendants of the Matagi, was still kept for these purposes in Japan as late as the 1950s.

The source of the popularity of the Akita comes from the story of Hachiko. Hachiko was an Akita dog born in 1923 and owned by a Japanese professor in Tokyo.

The professor lived in the suburbs and would commute to work in the city by train every day. Loyal Hachiko would accompany the professor to the station in the morning, and then go back and wait for him in the evenings, from where he would follow the professor back home.

In March of 1925, the professor had a brain hemorrhage while at work. It was fatal, and he never came back home. Hachiko, who was only 1 ½ years old, went to the station to wait for him as usual, but the professor never appeared.

Hachiko didn’t stop waiting. He would go to the train station every day for the next nine years. He let the professor’s family care for him, but he would still take trips to the station. A bronze statue of Hachiko was erected at the station in 1934, just a short time before the dog died. Today, Hachiko is famous all around the world for his dedication and unfailing loyalty.

Unfortunately, the army melted the bronze statue during World War II to provide metal for armaments, but another one replaced it after the war.

There has since been a ceremony each year at the station to honor Hachiko. The dog is the Japanese national symbol of loyalty.

Today, the Akita works as a police dog and a guard dog and serves a regular family pet. It remains popular in Japan, North America, or elsewhere around the world.

Standing between 24 and 28 inches tall and weighing between 60 and 120 pounds when mature, this breed is rightly considered a giant one.

The Akitas are bold, independent, and devoted to their families, but they tend to act aloof around strangers. They are intelligent but can be quite territorial and challenging to train. They can also be very aggressive to other dogs they are not familiar with and have a high prey drive.

However, with their families, they are affectionate, playful, and will do anything to defend their loved ones.

Considering how large this dog is, it requires a diet high in quality. The best diet for an Akita includes plenty of protein and just a moderate amount of fat. Supplements that support the development of joints also help.

The Key Nutritional Needs of Akitas

Akitas’s energy requirements vary greatly depending on their job and activity level, but large amounts of protein will always be a primary need. Adult Akitas will need to eat at least one gram of protein for every pound of their body weight.

As long as the diet has an average amount of amino acids, whether they come from plants or animals, it is considered healthy.

Of course, it’s also essential that your Akita has a healthy supply of micronutrients, such as minerals and vitamins. Vitamins A and D, in particular, should be present in sufficient quantities, as these are among those vitamins most likely to lack in dog diets.

When you purchase dog food for your Akita, make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to the letter, and in case you have any concerns, contact your vet.

Generally, choosing dog food for your pet is not as difficult as it seems. Many dog owners fall into a common trap because they think more expensive dog food is also better in terms of quality. That’s not necessarily true. A moderately-priced pack of dog food with all the right ingredients is just as good as an expensive one with the same components. Generally, here are the essential nutrients your Akitas diet should contain:

Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for carnivores, such as dogs, and meat is the primary protein source. For Akita, beef and lamb are delicacies, and your dog will appreciate it if you can feed them beef or lamb every day.

That said, if you aren’t able to provide meat to your Akita every day, then do not feed them only meat. If you offer only meat, they will depend on it and not eat anything else even if they are hungry.

There are plant sources of protein as well, such as lentils, broccoli, and other legumes. Mixing these into your Akita’s diet will get it used to non-meat foods, which will come in handy when you can’t afford meat.

Fat

Fat is an essential source of energy for many dogs, including Akitas. Fat also gives your dog healthy skin and hair. Akitas are incapable of producing their own fat, so you should include it in moderate quantities in their diet. Don’t overdo it, however, as it can lead to rapid weight gain and heart issues.

Water

Water is an essential part of the diet of all dogs, and Akitas are no exception. Your Akita needs to stay hydrated, so make sure it drinks enough water every day. Dehydration can lead to numerous health risks. To make sure your Akita is well hydrated, put a bowl of water by their side so they can drink it whenever they’re thirsty.

Dogs will not overdose on water, and it won’t lead to weight gain, so don’t worry about them getting too much.

Akitas’ needs differ as they age. Once an Akita puppy stops breastfeeding, You should focus on a diet that promotes its development. The food should strengthen the immune system since it will not have matured yet. Here are the recommended quantities for Akita puppies, depending on the age in months:

  • 200 grams a day, divided into three portions, from the 2nd to 3rd month.
  • 150 grams a day, divided into three portions, from the 4th to 5th month.
  • 400 grams a day, divided into two portions, at six months.
  • 300 grams a day, divided into two portions, at eight months.

For an adult, recommended amounts will depend on the level of physical activity the dog engages in and its weight. It’s essential to take your Akita for regular visits to the vet to check their weight.

If your Akita gains weight too fast, it might be an indicator that you are overfeeding it. On the other hand, if it is losing weight too quickly, you could be underfeeding it.

For an Akita in the 66 to 88-lb. range, 500-590 grams a day should be enough, divided into two portions. If the dog is any larger, feed it between 590 and 800 grams a day, depending on the physical activity level, divided into two or three portions.

As your Akita ages, you should give it an appropriate amount of food, depending on its physical activity level. There is a real danger of overfeeding an Akita as it ages and engages in less physical activity.

Too much food could easily lead to obesity. As your dog gets older, you will generally reduce the size of the portions you give it and probably have to buy dog food specifically meant for ‘seniors.’

What about Nutritional Supplements?

A good diet should provide your Akita with all the nutrients he or she needs. There are, however, cases where you might want to increase the amounts of certain nutrients in the dog’s diet.

These extras may be necessary when the dog is a puppy. These vitamins will help if it is having growth problems or if it is sick or pregnant. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, you should generally not give your dog supplements unless recommended by a vet.

Special Dietary Considerations for Akitas

The Akita is an ancient breed, and, as such, it is a very healthy dog in general. That’s part of the reason this breed has managed to endure for so long.

That said, all dog breeds are prone to unique health problems, and so is the Akita. Some of the health issues an Akita might go through include:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Uveodermatologic Syndrome
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Gastric Dilation
  • Entropion
  • Cruciate Ligament Injury
  • Addison’s Disease

Most of these conditions affect the skin, eyes, muscles, and skeleton of the Akita. Some of them are directly related to the diet you feed your dog. Others are independent of the diet and related to genetics or environment.

To be safe, make sure you feed your Akita a high-quality and wholesome diet to maintain overall body health.

Most Common Health Issues

The most critical conditions in the list above, the ones you need to focus on when choosing your Akitas diet, are hip and elbow dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, and gastric dilation.

Gastric dilation, in particular, is potentially fatal. It is a condition where the stomach expands, either due to gas or food. This growth creates excess pressure on the blood vessels and prevents the flow of blood to the heart.

Gastric dilation occurs most commonly when an Akita eats too fast or too much or exercises too soon after a meal. It can also happen when a dog swallows too much air while eating. There are no specific dietary factors connected to gastric dilation. All you can do is make sure you watch how much (and how) your dog eats during meals.

As for hip and elbow dysplasia, these are prevalent musculoskeletal health issues. They are common in large dog breeds, such as the Akita. Hip and elbow dysplasia include malformation of the elbow or hip joint.

To avoid this issue or manage the condition when it occurs, the dog needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Your responsibility as a dog parent is to avoid feeding your dog food high in fat and calories.

It would help if you also looked for dog food fortified with nutrients that support joints, such as chondroitin and glucosamine. The most crucial time for your Akita to avoid having these conditions is when they are a puppy. Control the dog’s intake of phosphorus and calcium during this time, as it will reduce their chance of developing these and other musculoskeletal issues when they enter adulthood.

Sebaceous adenitis is an inflammation of the skin. Common symptoms include matting, hair loss, coarse or brittle fur, bacterial infections, lesions on the skin, and intense itching. There is not much conclusive information out there about what, exactly, causes sebaceous adenitis, but there are numerous treatments.

These include antibacterial and antibiotic treatments. Apart from getting these treatments, you can also provide your Akita with a balanced diet. Their food should have all the essential fatty acids, as they help to improve and maintain the health of skin and hair.

Which Human Foods are Safe for Akitas?

You can feed your Akita many human foods. Many foods humans consume can be a primary source of some critical nutrients. It is crucial, however, that you do not overfeed the Akita with these foods, as too much can often be toxic and could lead to unwanted weight gain.

The following foods are perfectly safe for your Akita:

  • Peanut butter
  • Watermelon
  • Bread
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli

Some foods are toxic for Akitas, and you should never feed them to yours. It would be best to make sure these things do not slip into prepared human food that you give to your dog.

These include the following:

  • Raw dough
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cooked bones
  • Apple cores
  • Avocado
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate

Feeding Schedule for Akitas

As the Akita is a large breed, the average Akita can take up to three years to reach full size. Throughout your Akita’s life, you should provide him or her with plenty of protein to support lean muscle growth, as well as moderate amounts of fat for energy.

For Akita puppies, two to three meals per day are ideal. If you can, keep it at three meals per day. Start by picking out a high-quality recipe for giant breed puppies and follow the feeding instructions to find out how much food to give your puppy.

From there, divide the amount into three portions, with equal periods between meals. Your Akita will likely reach 75% of his or her adult size within the first year. From the second year on, you can switch the dog to an adult diet.

For adult Akita’s, pick out a high-quality recipe for giant breeds. These will be rich in lean protein to help your dog develop their lean muscle mass. They should also contain moderate amounts of fat to provide energy and promote healthy skin and hair.

Again, refer to the package instructions to find out how much food your dog needs in a day. For adult dogs, two meals a day are ideal. You can divide the daily recommended food quantity into two portions.

When your Akita grows old and becomes a senior, their metabolic rate will naturally slow down. You should therefore reduce the portion size, so he or she eats less at every meal. Alternatively, you can switch to feeding your dog food meant for ‘seniors.’

Why is Your Akita Not Eating?

Sometimes you may notice your Akita shying away from their food. In that case, there might be a problem with the dog itself, or something might be wrong in its environment that discourages it from eating. Some possible reasons include:

  • The environment might have changed drastically. Like any other animal, Akitas take time to adjust to a change in their environment. They may not eat properly initially but will gradually return to their regular eating habits as they adopt the new lifestyle.
  • If there is another pet in your house, it may be acting aggressively toward your Akita when he or she tries to eat. This issue is common among territorial or unfriendly animals. In that case, feed your Akita separately from the other dog or pet so that they won’t interfere.
  • Your Akita might have an upset stomach. Akitas, like most other dogs, are naturally curious creatures. Something might have caught your Akitas eye, and it might have eaten it out of curiosity, leading to a stomach upset. In that case, the Akita will lose its appetite. When this happens, most dogs’ reflex is to chew on some grass to induce vomiting, so they can eject whatever is causing the stomach upset. Once they have vomited the offending food, they will eat like usual again.

Extra Tips for Feeding Akitas

When feeding your Akita, it is vital to keep a few things in mind. For example, Akitas tend to be aggressive with food, and you may have to train yours while still a puppy.

You can start by feeding the dog by hand, which will help it get used to being touched while eating. If your Akita has a habit of eating too quickly, then it may be necessary to use a slow feed bowl to force them to eat slowly.

While picking out the right diet for your Akita is essential, it’s only half the battle. You need to keep the food fresh after buying it. Store the dog food package in a cool, dry place, and don’t empty it into a plastic container.

The bag has already been specially designed to preserve the freshness of the food and protect it. If you have to use a separate container, put the whole bag inside it.

To learn why we picked each of these dog foods for this breed keep on reading below.

1. American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Food

If you’re shopping on a lean budget, then this is an attractive option to consider. It is not only affordable but also offers excellent quality. It isn’t specific to large breed dogs but contains lots of protein with moderate fat content.

It has both chicken meal and deboned chicken as the main ingredients and chicken fat to provide essential fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. Rice and peas, which are both digestible for Akitas, are also included, and fresh vegetables and fruits for micronutrients.

Pros

  • High quality at an affordable price
  • Has lots of animal protein with moderate amounts of fat
  • Includes chelated minerals

Cons

  • Not specific to large breeds
  • Contains grains, which might not be ideal for Akitas with grain allergies

2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular dog food brands on the market, and for a good reason. They offer grain-free food with natural ingredients and premium roasted meats.

This particular product includes roasted venison and bison, as well as beef, chicken, and lamb. It has grain-free carbs, such as peas and sweet potatoes, which are all digestible for Akitas. It also contains ocean fish meal and canola oil to provide essential fatty acids.

Pros

  • Contains premium roasted meats
  • Has very high protein content
  • It is grain-free
  • Includes chelated minerals
  • Includes dried fermented products to provide probiotic support for your Akita

Cons

  • Not specific to large breeds
  • A little on the pricier side

3. Now Fresh Large Breed Adult Dog Dry Food

This food provides a high-quality diet for your Akita. It is made with fresh turkey, duck, and salmon to deliver protein. It also includes grain-free carbs in the form of peas and potatoes, which are both highly digestible.

This recipe is for large breed dogs, so it should provide your Akita with the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy body. It even includes supplemented chondroitin and glucosamine for joint support.

Pros

  • 100% fresh meats in ingredients
  • Includes grain-free carbohydrates
  • Includes chelated minerals

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Only comes in large size

4. NomNomNow Fresh Dog Food

If you’re looking for the absolute best dog food money can buy, then it’s hard to do much better than NomNomNow. This brand delivers fresh dog food to your doorstep.

All you have to do is choose a recipe online after filling out a profile. NomNomNow then creates a custom diet for your dog based on their calorie requirements and delivers fresh food to your door every week.

The quality is very high, but it’s also costly, so make sure you can afford it.

Pros

  • Home deliveries
  • Diet is custom made for your Akitas specific needs
  • Very high-quality ingredients delivered fresh

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not available in stores

5. Ollie Fresh Pet Food

Ollie is a New York-based pet food company that offers a similar service to NomNom, where you can order fresh custom meals delivered to your door.

A particularly great option is their lamb and butternut squash meal, which is excellent for dogs with grain allergies. It contains lamb, lamb liver, butternut squash, kale, and chickpeas. All of Ollie’s food is fresh and made and hand-packed in the USA. The company cooks it in small batches, and their kitchens are USDA-regulated.

Pros

  • Each recipe uses fresh and natural ingredients
  • You can customize your choice to fit your Akita’s needs
  • Their food meets the nutritional standards of the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not available in stores

6. Farmer’s Dog Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food Delivery

Farmer’s dog offers vet-formulated recipes from board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition experts. The meals meet AAFCO nutrition standards and are made fresh from natural ingredients. They are all grain-free and customized to the unique needs of your Akita.

Another great thing about this brand is the personalized touch: packages include your dog’s name and the date the food was made, delivered right at your doorstep.

Pros

  • The food is delivered fresh
  • Uses human-grade ingredients
  • You can customize plans to your dog’s needs
  • Uses eco-friendly packaging
  • Cooked and packaged in the USA

Cons

  • Costly
  • Not available in stores

7. A Pup Above Fresh Human Grade Dog Food

Yet another dog food delivery service that delivers fresh custom dog food to your doorstep. A Pup Above offers fresh human-grade dog food, each featuring a single premium source of animal protein.

Their selection includes beef stew, Porky’s Luau, Turkey Pawella, and the Chicka Chicka Bow Wow. They also use a unique cooking method, known as the sous-vide, which enables them to have up to 72% more protein content than other recipes.

Pros

  • Uses human-grade ingredients
  • You can choose between a one-time purchase or a subscription
  • Unlike other dog food delivery services, A Pup Above’s meal selection includes grain-free and regular options.

Cons

  • Dry food is cheaper
  • Packages are not pre-portioned for your dog

8. Canidae PURE Elements With Lamb Limited Ingredient Diet

This food is an excellent food choice for Akitas with allergies, as it has limited ingredients. This simple formula helps to avoid triggering food sensitivities and allergies in a dog.

Canidae PURE Elements contains fresh lamb as the protein source and includes grain-free carbs, including sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

Chicken fat is an ingredient to provide essential fatty acids. There are also probiotics, chelated minerals, and vitamin supplements.

Pros

  • Very rich in protein
  • Grain-free
  • Contains micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals
  • Great for Akitas with sensitive stomachs or allergies

Cons

  • A little on the pricier side
  • Not specific to large breeds

9. Nutro Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Large Breed Recipe

This food is another limited ingredient product for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It is made especially for large breed dogs, so it’s perfect for your Akita. It contains no artificial additives or fillers and is completely grain-free.

The main ingredient is lamb, with sweet potatoes and chickpeas providing the grain-free carbs.

Pros

  • Grain-free
  • Great for Akitas with sensitive stomachs or allergies
  • Specially formulated for large breeds
  • Contains chelated minerals and other micronutrients

Cons

  • Includes some plant protein concentrates
  • Does not contain probiotic supplements

10. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Recipe

This product is one of the best puppy foods on the market. It features high-quality kibble with high protein content mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces.

This combination ensures your Akita puppy gets high protein content in its food. The recipe also has a delicious flavor that most puppies like.

It includes cage-free chicken, peas, and chickpeas for grain-free carbs. It also has probiotic supplements and chelated minerals.

Pros

  • Formulated especially for puppies
  • Grain-free
  • Contains very high protein levels

Cons

  • This product is dry kibble, not fresh food
  • Not for adult Akitas

11. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula

This product is an affordable formula for Akita puppies containing lamb, rice, and vegetables. It has moderate amounts of animal fat to provide your puppy with healthy skin and a healthy coat. It also has dried fermented products to give probiotics to help with digestion.

Pros

  • Affordable product
  • Has high protein content
  • Contains no low-quality fillers or artificial additives
  • Specifically for puppies

Cons

  • It is not grain-free
  • Not ideal for older Akitas

FAQ

Here are some common questions about Akita diets.

What kind of food should I feed my Akita?

Price is probably the most significant factor to consider when deciding on the type of food to feed your Akita. Price shouldn’t be your only consideration for sure, but you should also consider that your Akita might grow very large and heavy, which means they will eat a lot.

Fresh or raw food is an excellent choice for Akitas, but it can be costly to maintain such a diet. The most cost-effective diet should include large quantities of high-quality dry food. You can supplement the dry food with a food topper or wet food to help keep their skin and hair healthy.

Should Akitas eat grain-free food?

There is a lot of controversy about whether or not dog food should be grain-free. For your Akita, the sole factor that you should consider when deciding whether to get grain-free food is how well they digest grains.

Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are digestible for most dogs. However, your specific Akita may have grain allergies. If they suffer from frequent stomach upsets, skin problems, or ear infections, it may be a sign of a food allergy, and grain is a common culprit.

Aside from the medical implications, Akitas should thrive, whether you feed them grain-free or regular food. If you want to be sure, visit your vet for a professional opinion on the matter or an allergy test.

What vegetables should Akitas eat?

Admittedly, many pet parents feel weird about feeding their dogs vegetables. However, many vegetables are suitable for dogs and are often part of the ingredients for dog food.

Vegetables can boost the amount of dietary fiber your Akita gets, as well as provide critical nutrients. Some of the best vegetables for Akitas and other dogs include the following:

  • Zucchini
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Cucumber
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus

How much food should I give my Akita?

The correct amount of food to give your Akita depends on their age, weight, and physical activity level.

Generally, you should expect to feed an adult Akita about five or six cups of food daily. Note that the food type also matters, as the calorie content varies from one food to the next.

Your best bet is to read the feeding instructions of the specific dog food you are feeding your Akita to see the recommended quantities.

How frequently should I feed my Akita?

No matter how much food you give your Akita in a day, you must spread out the portions to avoid feeding him or her too much at once.

Overeating can lead to gastric dilation, which can be fatal. Generally speaking, you should feed adult Akitas twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

If your Akita is especially physically active, a light midday snack won’t hurt. Puppies should eat three times per day. Whatever the feeding frequency, however, make sure that you’re not overfeeding your Akita, as this could lead to obesity.

Conclusion

Akitas are great pets to have, and yours deserves the best kind of food you can afford consistently. Take your time to go through your options and pick what is best for both you and your dog.

An Akita’s diet should be rich in protein and have moderate amounts of fat and digestible carbs and micronutrients. The products listed in this article are all great options, so you should not have any trouble choosing one.

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