Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Dog Foods for Akitas in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

akita inu puppies eating dog food from bowl

The Akita is one of Japan’s most popular dog breeds, partly due to their reputation for intense loyalty and a desire to protect their family. If you have an Akita in your family, 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:

Divider 2

A Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
CANIDAE Dog Food CANIDAE Dog Food
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Features plenty of animal protein
  • Formulated with antioxidants and fatty acids
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food
  • Affordable
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Primary protein source is meat
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nom Nom Beef Recipe (Fresh Dog Food Subscription) Nom Nom Beef Recipe (Fresh Dog Food Subscription)
  • Uses nutrient-dense, natural ingredients
  • Recipes exceed AAFCO nutritional requirements
  • Appropriate for all life stages
  • 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 Dog Food ORIJEN Dog Food
  • 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

    Check Price on Chewy

    When 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 it a good choice for dogs with known food sensitivities.

    Along with a healthy source of animal proteins, CANIDAE PURE 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 it’s the best overall dog food for Akitas this year.

    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, and 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, and you’ll find glucosamine and chondroitin, which help support healthy joints. The first ingredient 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 issues 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. Nom Nom Beef Recipe (Fresh Dog Food Subscription) – Premium Choice

    spotted dog exploring Nom Nom dog food box with turkey and chicken

    When it comes to quality, you can’t get much better than Nom Nom dog food. The Beef Mash dog food recipe is an excellent option for Akitas because it’s packed with protein and can sustain an active Akita’s energy level. It also contains nutrient-dense, natural ingredients, including ground beef, potatoes, eggs, and carrots.

    All Nom Nom recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists and exceed AAFCO nutritional requirements. They’re safe for dogs of all ages to eat. So, you don’t have to worry about searching and transitioning to new dog food if your Akita puppy enjoys this meal.

    All batches of the food are prepared and packaged at Nom Nom’s USA kitchens, and the company has a strict and thorough quality control procedure. To date, none of Nom Nom’s dog food recipes have ever been recalled.

    The only thing to remember is that the Beef Mash recipe is grain-free. Unless a dog has a wheat allergy, it’s completely safe for dogs to consume wheat, and there are health benefits to eating wheat and whole grains.

    Pros
    • Uses nutrient-dense, natural ingredients
    • Recipes exceed AAFCO nutritional requirements
    • Appropriate for all life stages
    • Strict quality control procedures
    Cons
    • Beef recipe is grain-free

    4. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food

    Wellness Natural Pet Food

    While providing well-balanced nutrition is important in adulthood, it’s also critical for young, growing Akita puppies. When narrowing down the best puppy food for the breed, one of our top recommendations is the Wellness 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. It also has a controlled dose of calories, calcium, and other vital 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 of this formula is its tendency to cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. Some owners criticized the protein content, 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 essential 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 critical 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 ORIJEN Senior High-Protein Adult Dry Dog Food.

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

    According to some owners, ORIJEN Senior 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 bag’s size; it 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. The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dog Food

    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. The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Clusters Dry Dog Food is a human-grade recipe ideally suited to the dietary needs of Akitas. 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, The Honest Kitchen provides peace of mind for owners of dogs with allergies.

    According to some owners, the dried pieces were too hard for their dogs to chew. It may cause digestive issues, and some dogs refused to eat it.

    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

    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 struggle to maintain your Akita’s ideal weight, we recommend the Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food formula. Under the supervision of a vet, it can help your dog maintain a healthy weight while also preventing excess hunger.

    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 disliked the taste of this food, while others also experienced 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 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 various vegetables and fruit. It 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 Whole Earth 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
    • Peas may cause digestive issues
    • Not all dogs enjoy the flavor
    • Some owners dislike the texture

    Divider 5

    Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Dog Food for Akitas

    After reviewing several dog food formulas, we’ve selected the best dog foods for your Akita. However, there are still factors 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 for 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 to your veterinarian about what is suitable for your pup. Although the Akita does not appear to be largely affected by DCM compared to other popular breeds, this is still an important issue to consider when shopping for a new food.

    divider 9

    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 are 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.

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

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

    When should you switch your Akita to adult food?

    While it’s essential to feed your Akita 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 1 year old, though some suggest waiting 2 years. If you’re unsure whether your Akita is ready to switch to an adult formula, we recommend speaking to your vet.

    Divider 5

    Conclusion:

    Our number-one pick on our list of the best dog foods for Akitas is the CANIDAE PURE Real Duck Dry Dog Food. This formula uses limited, high-quality ingredients, is loaded with animal protein, and includes essential 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. It is slightly more affordable than our other picks while featuring meat as the primary 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, Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe might appeal to you. This food uses human-grade ingredients and is appropriate for all life stages.

    Finally, if you’re looking for the best food for Akita puppies, the Wellness Complete Health Natural Puppy Food is a great option. Designed for the dietary needs of large-breed puppies, this food uses chicken as its first ingredient and contains plenty of essential 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. Are you still unsure which food is right for your pup? Your vet is always the best resource for dietary and health-related issues!

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database