Shar-Pei’s are a majestic breed from China that are loyal, intelligent and cunning. Don’t let their lazy demeanor fool you, they are highly protective of their family and will not hesitate not only to sound the alarm but tackle the problem head-on. Without proper training, a full grown adult Shar-Pei can become more than a handful.
Proper nutrition is essential to keep them in peak condition. Shar Pei dogs are not the most active so getting them to exercise those extra pounds off can be a challenge. The right food will help maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and ward off many illnesses and diseases.
Why Quality Food Matters for Your Shar-Pei
High-quality food is essential to the lifestyle and health of the Shar-Pei. Not the most active breed around, these dogs make great pets for those with limited space or someone not able to get out and run around with them on a regular basis.
However, because they are more lethargic than other dogs, their diet becomes especially important. Good protein levels with a lower crude fat can help fight obesity. However, higher crude fats will serve the purpose of helping them keep the weight on should they become ill, or have conditions that prevent them from eating enough, or regularly.
While they are susceptible to many eye conditions and other health concerns, a lot of them can be prevented with a high-quality diet. Unless the disease or condition is genetic or hereditary, the quality of their food can play a large role in prevention and overall health.
Top Food: Quick Look
The best brands have been vetted, and the following list is a quick overview of the best options for your Shar-Pei.
- Best Overall Dog Food – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight
- Best Premium Dog Food – NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare
- Best Value Dog Food – Merrick Grain-Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato
- Best Dog Food for Seniors – Victor Senior Healthy Weight
- Best Dog Food for Puppies – Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey Recipe
Shar-Pei Common Health Issues
When it comes to the wrinkle-headed pups, their eyes are the most commonly afflicted area. Though they are also prone to other conditions.
Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration, or SARDs, is a common affliction on adult and senior Shar-Pei’s. The condition is quick to appear and can cause permanent blindness. While not a whole lot is known about the disease, it is thought to be mainly hereditary.
As indicated by the name, this condition happens quickly. Your pup can be fine one day and completely blind in just a few short weeks. Currently, there is no treatment if the condition is caught too late. Once the degeneration has kicked in, there isn’t much you can do.
Some promise has been shown if caught extremely early, though, through use of physical therapy and IVigs. There is also hope for a new injection that is being tested, but at this time, it isn’t readily available.
If you notice your Shar-Pei walking around lost, not able to find toys, landmarks or stumbling during walks, you need to have them checked out by a vet right away.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid folds in on itself and can lead to corneal injury or infections. The lid and eyelashes can scratch the eye and at a minimum is very uncomfortable.
There are several treatment options for this primarily genetic condition. In the worst cases, surgery is used to correct it. However, before that, there are steps that can be taken to prevent, treat or even cure the entropion.
One of the leading non-genetic causes is a poor diet. A diet lacking in enough crude meat proteins and crude fats can cause weight and muscle loss around the eye socket. This, in turn, can lead to the condition where it will need to be treated. A high-quality diet can be a great prevention method.
More eye conditions are a major concern as well as some other issues. While the rest of these aren’t as common in all dog breeds, Shar-Pei’s are more likely to be affected.
- Retinal dysplasia
- Gastrointestinal disorder
You should have annual check-ups with your vet to test their eyes, blood, and urine for any conditions that may appear.
What to Look for in a Quality Dog Food for Your Shar-Pei
The diet is important. While any dog will sit at the table and happily enjoy a hotdog or burger, that isn’t the best food for them. The Shar-Pei is no exception. When looking at the ingredient list on your dog food packaging, there are some things you need to ensure make it on the list.
The most essential element in any dog’s diet is protein. The protein should also be meat sourced and not grain sourced (like from wheat). While some options are cheaper to manufacture, they aren’t the best options for most dogs.
Meat proteins will provide your pup with the essential nutrients they need for healthy digestion, bowel and blood function. Shar-Pei’s are a medium sized dog that needs more proteins than smaller dogs. However, there should be a low crude protein to crude fat ratio, depending on your specific dog’s needs, of course.
Some Shar-Pei’s will need more fats while others will need more proteins. Generally, the more active and alert pups will need more fats to burn off while the lazier individuals could do with a bit more protein to help keep them going.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most of the food in the high-quality market will have a lot of vegetables. You will find things like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, white potatoes and even kale included in a lot of recipes.
These bring the vitamins and minerals up and help the teeth, bones and digestive tracts develop healthier. These added vitamins will help keep your dog active. What is more important though, is that because the Shar-Peis aren’t known for their activity levels, the vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies will keep their metabolism running better,
A higher functioning metabolism allows them to process their foods better and burn any excess fats off more effectively.
Ingredients to Avoid in Your Shar-Pei’s Dog Food
Just as you should ensure there are meat proteins and vegetables on the list, there are foods you should ensure are not on the list at all.
Artificial Colors and Dyes
Artificial colors have a negative impact on most dogs. For the sandy colored Shar-Pei. Dyes will rub off the foods while being eaten. If your dog food has these chemicals, you will notice their teeth, gums, muzzle and even paws may become discolored.
In extreme cases, the colors can end up working through the body and dying the fur of the dog. However, there is a larger concern: allergies.
These dyes and colors can cause allergic reactions in many breeds. Shar-Pei’s are on that list. Even if it doesn’t happen right away, an allergy can develop over time. It is good practice to avoid these chemicals in your dog food from the start.
One of the most adverse ingredients you could ever see on a label is meat byproduct. While the FDA has not yet removed the canine species from the list of byproduct uses, they have deemed byproduct to be non-consumable for humans.
With good reason. The byproduct is a 4-D food. This means the meat and slough used in its production comes from sources that are (among other things) Dead, Dying, Diseased or Deformed.
As you can imagine, no animal, human or otherwise should ever consume this food source. There is next to zero nutritional value, and the adverse effects it can cause are not worth the risk.
Bad Dog Food Brands for Shar-Pei
There are still brands on the market that for one reason or another include these ingredients, as well as other items are known to cause harm or be ineffective when feeding your dog.
The list below is just a sample of the brands you should avoid. Each one on this list contains either artificial colors, dyes, and flavors, or byproduct. You should always check the labels to be sure and avoid any brand that contains byproduct, artificial anything, corn or more than two wheat sources.
Except in cases of wet food, where a broth or water may be listed first, you should always ensure a viable real meat source is listed as the first ingredient. The meat source should also be named, such as chicken, turkey, beef, pork or salmon. If you ever see a label with just the term “meat” do not purchase it.
These brands are known to have harmful chemicals, no nutritional value or meat byproduct in their kibble.
- Ol’ Roy by Walmart
- Kal Kan
Shar-Pei Feeding Chart
It will be up to you, as the owner, to ensure the pup gets enough to eat while not eating too much. Each dog will be different, and you should make sure you are feeding enough and at the right times.
This chart is just a guide to get you started, and your feeding schedule and amounts should be watched closely to ensure the pup is properly fed. If you have any concerns, your veterinarian will be able to assist you.
Puppies should have between ½ and ¾ of a cup twice a day. You should try to avoid feeding a half hour before or after any long-term or strenuous exercise to aid in digestion and prevent bloating or other stomach conditions.
Adults should have between ¾ and one full cup, also twice a day. Though three times a day feedings of ¾ cups isn’t unusual. You should err on the side of feeding more than underfeeding.
Seniors will stay on the twice per day feeding schedule but will have their amounts reduced to ½ to ¾ cup, if the food has enough crude proteins and crude fats. If you are in doubt, you can mix in ¼ to ½ cup dry food to raise these levels.
Bet Dog Food for Your Shar-Pei
Tastes vary between dogs, and yours may not like the same food as the next Shar-Pei down the street. However, when it comes to nutritional value, crude proteins, fats and fibers, we have tracked down the best of the best.
Each brand listed here is optimally suited for your Shar-Pei.
Best Overall – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight provides your Shar-Pei with everything they need without worry of gaining too much weight. There is a two to one crude protein to fat ratio, which will allow your average Shar-Pei to remain active without having to go overboard on a diet and exercise routine. – Buy It
You will find plenty of vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals to support healthy joins, ones, and teeth as well. The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, and pea fiber.
What Customers Like
- Easily eaten and digested without needing water or wet food toppers.
- Will mix with wet food, though, for added nutrition.
- Great flavor most dogs enjoy.
- Some individuals don’t like the texture of the kibble alone.
- Can easily be overeaten.
Best Value – Merrick Grain-Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato
Merrick grain free is a highly nutritious dog food with pure meat proteins and zero grains. All the vitamins and minerals are naturally sourced from vegetables, fruits, and berries. The crude protein is one of the highest on the market (38 percent) which is something to brag about when it isn’t sourced from grains. – Buy It
The first five ingredients are deboned beef, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes.
What Customers Like
- The kibble is easily eaten by every mouth.
- High protein for energy levels and active digestion.
- Mixes well with water for gravy or wet food as a topper.
- Some picky eaters may not like the flavors.
- Crude fat is a little high (15 percent) for the already overweight bunch.
Best Super Premium – NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare
NomNomNow has pioneered the human-grade dog food market and is still one of a few that gets it right. After a short sign up process and profile build, you can order form a variety of flavors and recipes. The Tasty Turkey Fare combines the best ingredients for a high protein, low-fat meal. – Buy It
Each portion is packed individually, so you don’t have to guess. Just open the pouch and serve. The first five ingredients are ground turkey, brown rice, carrots, spinach, and egg.
What Customers Like
- Easy to serve and portion control to prevent overeating.
- Multiple recipes to choose from at any time.
- Handy scheduled delivery to your door to prevent running out.
- Some ingredient is eaten around, leaving waste.
- Not all recipes are low enough in fat for some older Shar-Pei’s.
Best Puppy Food for Shar Pei Dogs
Best Dry Food – Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey Recipe
Wellness Core brings your Shar-Pei the nutrition they need and the boost of vitamins and minerals that keep them active, healthy and strong. Each bowl full of kibble gives you a two to 1 protein to fat ration (36 percent to 18 percent) and is packed to the gills with vitamins and minerals. You will also find a plethora of vegetables and berries with added antioxidants for illness fighting properties. – Buy It
The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, and peas.
What Customers Like
- Flavorful and full of essential vitamins and minerals for strong, healthy dogs.
- Mixes well with water for gravy.
- High crude protein levels for active digestion and proper growth.
- Contains both peas and white potatoes which some owners wish to avoid.
- Can easily be overeaten leading to obesity.
Best Wet Food – Nutro Ultra Puppy Chunks in Gravy
Nutro Ultra has been around long enough to know what makes a high-quality premium dog food. They do not skimp on the protein sources, and their gravy mix is full of flavor that all puppies will eagerly enjoy. – Buy It
The first five ingredients are chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, potato starch, and wheat gluten.
What Customers Like
- Great flavors and textures to keep puppies interested.
- Mixes well with dry food as a topper.
- More vitamins than most other puppy formulas.
- Has some wheat sources which Shar-Pei’s may not tolerate too well.
- Can be too rich for younger puppies.
Best Senior Dog Food for Shar Peis
Best Dry Food – Victor Senior Healthy Weight
Victor Senior helps you keep an eye on your older Shar-Pei’s weight. With their enriched formula, you can still feed the amount the pup is used too without worrying if they are getting too much. This is beneficial in the transition stage from adult to senior. Not only that but you will also find enough vitamins and minerals that support joint, bone and tooth health to keep your dog happy and healthy. – Buy It
The first five ingredients are beef meal, whole grain brown rice, whole grain millet, menhaden fish meal, and chicken meal.
What Customers Like
- Great taste that makes the transition easier.
- Low fat and high protein for metabolism and digestive health.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals that older dogs need.
- Texture can be rough for more sensitive teeth.
- Doesn’t hold up well when mixed with water.
Best Wet Food – Blue Buffalo Freedom Senior Chicken Recipe
Blue Buffalo takes care of all life stages of your Shar-Pei’s, and their senior formula is one of the best. Easily mixing with dry foods for added proteins, the formula also works well as a stand-alone. – Buy It
You will find many naturally sourced vitamins and minerals to boot, which will keep their joints and bones healthy and strong. The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, and peas.
What Customers Like
- Not too rich, even when mixed with dry food.
- Does well with sensitive, aging digestive tracts.
- Can be fed alone, helping with portion control.
- May not have enough crude fats when served alone.
- Some picky eaters may not like all the flavors.