Best Dog Food for Akitas in 2022

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akita dog

Akitas are heavy-boned and muscular dogs with a double-coat that sheds like crazy if not taken care of. This large-breed loves cooler weather and can run around all day if you let them.

But, to keep up with their activity level, you’ll need to get the best dog food that supplies them with protein, fats, and calories. 

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for Akitas. 

It’s high in protein and includes healthy fats for both joint and muscle support — which is essential for these short legged pups. And, it also has vitamin D for strong bones. 

Besides Now Fresh, there are other great food options as well. From puppy food high in DHA to a limited ingredient diet for tummy sensitivities, your Akita will do well with any of the foods on this list.

Our Best Dog Food for Akitas

  1. Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Adult Akitas)
  2. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Akitas Puppies)
  3. Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food (Best for Senior Akitas)
  4. American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food (Best for Active Akitas)
  5. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food (Best for Akitas With Allergies)
  6. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  7. My Ollie Dog Food (Best Fresh Dog Food)
  8. Purina Pro Plan Adult Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food)
  9. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)
  10. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed Dry Dog (Best for Healthy Joints)

10 Best Dog Foods for Akitas Reviewed 

All of the dog food formulas listed below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your Akita’s food, please consult with your veterinarian. 


Best for Adults

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult
  • First 5 Ingredients: De-Boned Turkey, Whole Dried Egg, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Flour
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 393 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free dry dog food formulated for large breeds 

Akitas need to keep their strong muscles. Their stocky build requires plenty of protein and healthy fats to keep up with their daily needs. 

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed offers a high-calorie and high-protein formula for large breeds. It starts with real deboned fresh turkey and duck. These two high-quality animal proteins offer glucosamine to promote healthy muscles and joints.

Flaxseed and deboned salmon provide omega-3 acids for joint and heart health, as well as healthy skin. They also supply vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. 

For a boost of fiber and antioxidants, ingredients like spinach, pumpkin, and lentils are added as well. They provide probiotics to promote easier digestion.

And, for eye health and immune support, both spinach and pumpkin offer vitamin A and vitamin C. 

This formula doesn’t include grains, wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial preservatives.


Best for Puppies

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain Free Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Egg Product, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 33.5% Crude Protein, 18.5% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 9% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 485 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein puppy food with calcium for large breed puppies

It’s important for large breed puppies to get plenty of calcium, protein, and healthy fats for healthy growth. And, because Akitas are mostly muscle, these nutrients will help them stay strong. 

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy offers high-protein dog food with freeze-dried raw meat for flavor and extra vitamins. 

This formula starts with cage-free chicken and chicken meal. These offer a whopping 33.5% Crude Protein — as well as a natural source of DHA for healthy brain function

Egg product includes extra protein, vitamin D, and calcium for healthy bone growth.

Salmon oil and chicken fat provide amino acids and taurine for healthy joints and heart health. And, flaxseeds boast a healthy amount of vitamin E for a luscious coat.

This formula is free from grains, corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meals. It also doesn’t include artificial colors and preservatives. 


Best for Seniors

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 370 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and high-protein kibble with glucosamine for healthy joints

As your Akita ages, they have a higher chance of gaining weight, becoming lethargic, and losing their muscle and joint tone. So, a senior dog food made with high-quality proteins and fats will be essential in keeping their health top-notch. 

Merrick Grain-Free Senior is the perfect formula for aging Akitas. It’s filled with real animal proteins and essential fatty acids to aid in muscle and joint health. 

This formula includes real deboned chicken as the very first ingredient, providing protein, glucosamine, taurine, and chondroitin for joint mobility.

Chicken fat and salmon meal provide healthy animal fats for a healthy coat that’s itch-free. Chicken fat also supplements L-carnitine — helping to boost your senior’s metabolism. 

Blueberries, sweet potatoes, and apples provide antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system. And, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene — essential vitamins for eye health.

This grain-free recipe doesn’t include wheat, gluten, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives.


Best for Active Dogs

American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food

American Journey Active Life Lamb Vegetables
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Turkey Meal, Barley, Brown Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 339 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High protein dog food with omega fatty acids for active Akitas

Akitas are extremely energetic and need to get rid of their pent-up energy. Because of this, they’re great at working and training. But, active Akitas also need real animal protein and omega fatty acids to protect their muscles and joints. 

American Journey Active Life provides everything your dog will need, without ingredients that they don’t. First, it starts with real deboned lamb and lamb meal. This novel protein provides 23% of their daily protein needs, while also being allergen friendly. 

Lamb also has a natural source of glucosamine to nourish the joints. 

Brown rice and barley offer natural prebiotic fiber and magnesium. These aid in healthy digestion and energy production. And, sweet potatoes include calcium for strong bones and teeth. 

Fish oil and vitamin E oil provide healthy fats for energy and a healthy and shiny coat. Cranberries, kelp, and blueberries supplement natural antioxidants for mental clarity and immunity support.

This formula is free of wheat, corn, soy, poultry by-product meals, and artificial ingredients. 


Best for Allergies

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain Free PURE LID Lamb Pea
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Garbanzo Beans
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 509 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry food with probiotics for Akitas with allergies

Akitas can be prone to food allergies — with the biggest culprits being beef, wheat, and soy. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE is a limited ingredient diet with 10 ingredients to avoid sensitivities.

The recipe starts with deboned lamb. Turkey meal and chicken meal are added as well for 32% of high-quality protein. Plus, nutrients like taurine and glucosamine help protect the joints and soothe the digestive system. 

Chicken fat naturally includes omega fatty acids and chondroitin for a shiny coat. And sweet potatoes provide a grain-free and easy-to-digest carbohydrate source. That way, your dog can get vitamins and minerals — like vitamin A for eye health — without an allergic reaction. 

After cooking, this formula is supplemented with CANIDAE’s “HealthPLUS” blend of probiotics. These help with their metabolism and digestion support. 

This formula is free of grains, corn, wheat, and soy. It also doesn’t include any artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. And, it’s made right in CANIDAE’s Texas facility.

It is worth noting that some Akitas are also allergic to chicken. While not as common as beef or wheat, it is important to keep in mind. 


Best Wet Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Hearty Beef Stew Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Lamb, Pork Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 5% Crude Fat, 1.4% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 396 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High protein and high-fiber wet food for healthy digestion 

Due to allergies and being prone to weight gain, Akitas need to stay regular and eat plenty of protein. Luckily, wet food is high-protein and has extra fiber to promote healthy digestion. This also helps with maintaining a healthy weight and boosting their metabolism. 

Whole Earth Farms canned recipes are made in the US with high-quality animal proteins. As an example, the beef recipe starts with real beef, beef liver, and lamb. Along with protein, they offer taurine and B vitamins for energy and heart health. 

Sweet potatoes, apples, and carrots provide carbohydrates your dog will need. And, these ingredients include essential nutrients and antioxidants for immune system support.

Whole Earth Farms is cooked in America with sustainably sourced ingredients. It’s made without corn, wheat, and soy. 

Keep in mind that Akitas are large dogs. Because of this, just feeding your pup wet food may not be enough daily calories. Instead, add a few scoops of wet food to their dry kibble for flavor and extra nutrients. 


Best Fresh Food

My Ollie Chicken Recipe

Ollie chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Carrots, Peas, Rice, Chicken Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Crude Protein, 3% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 73% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 298 kcal ME/kg
  • Key Feature: Fresh food with human grade ingredients

To keep your Akita in tip-top shape, you may be looking for a more holistic and high quality diet. But, before you give up on your search and start making your own, try Ollie. 

This customized dog food service creates a diet plan just for your dog. And, each recipe includes human-grade ingredients and is formulated by veterinarians.  

To get started, you’ll take Ollie’s quiz and answer questions about your dog. You’ll enter in their weight, height, if they’re neutered or spayed, their activity level, and even their potential allergies. 

After you complete the quiz, Ollie will calculate your Akita’s daily calories, protein, and fats, and create a diet accordingly. Then, you’ll be able to choose between four recipes — beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey. You can choose one, or even all four. 

Ollie creates the food in small batches and ships it fresh every two weeks. They also include a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop in each shipment. That way, you’ll know how to portion your dog’s food. 


Best Budget Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Poultry By-product Meal, Soybean Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 387 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Budget-friendly and high-fiber dry food made with real chicken 

Dog owners would do just about anything for their pups. But overspending on dog food doesn’t have to be one of those things. Instead, try Purina Pro Plan dry dog food. 

It offers the same high-quality nutrition as the leading brands, while also being a budget-friendly option. 

This formula starts with real chicken as the first ingredient. It provides a natural source of glucosamine and taurine — protecting the joints and boosting heart health. 

Rice offers an excellent source of carbohydrates for energy and vitamin A for eye health. Also, soybean meal and beef fat provide linoleic acid and omega-6 acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. 

Live probiotics are supplemented to help support your dog’s digestive health. And, this crunchy kibble also includes shredded pieces of chicken for texture — enticing your dog to eat their food. 

This food is a great option for dog owners on a budget. But, if your Akita has food sensitivities to wheat or soy, this may not work for them. 


Best for Weight Loss

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Rice Bran, Split Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 11% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 245 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-calorie dog food with prebiotic fiber for digestive support  

Akitas are naturally large dogs with plenty of muscles. But, those muscles can be buried by fat as your dog ages or slows down on activities. Obesity is a serious problem and can cause other health issues like kidney disease and diabetes. 

To avoid too much weight gain or to help your dog lose weight, you’ll need to feed them fewer calories and give them daily exercise. For food, Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight makes this easy. 

This formula has real chicken as the first ingredient — providing a high-quality source of animal protein. 

Split peas and whole-grain brown rice offer high-fiber content for regular digestion and to boost your dog’s metabolism. 

Dried pumpkin and dried spinach are high in essential antioxidants. These support your canine’s immune system and improve their energy levels. 

Nutro Natural Choice is made with non-GMO ingredients. It doesn’t include any chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy.


Best for Joint Health

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed Dry Dog

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 17% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Large breed specific food with DHA and omega fatty acids for joint health

Akitas need to be able to support their weight and muscle mass. This is why having healthy joints is so important — not only do they help with mobility, but they also work with your dog’s muscles to keep them healthy.  

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility dog food was made for large-breed dogs like Akitas that are prone to joint issues. 

First, it starts with chicken meal, which contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. These are the building blocks of healthy cartilage — helping to keep muscles and joints strong. 

Fish oil provides essential fatty acids and EPA, which promote improved joint health in big dogs. And, dried beet pulp offers anti-inflammatory properties to soothe aching joints. 

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility also contains minerals like calcium and phosphorus to promote strong bones.

This formula is made in the US with sustainably sourced ingredients. 


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akita running

Guide to Buying the Best Dog Food for Akitas

Akitas need dog food for large breeds — and have specific nutrition needs as well. Here’s how to choose the best food for your dog.

High Protein

Akitas are big dogs that need a lot of high-quality protein. AAFCO recommends that all dogs need to eat at least 18% protein, but your Akita will need around 22% to 30%, depending on their activity level. 

Also, real meat protein should be the first ingredient. Animal proteins from chicken, beef, fish, pork, and lamb offer higher-quality nutrients that your dog can absorb easier. While meat meals are decent choices, it’s preferable to choose a dog food with real meat listed first. 

Healthy Fats

Akitas can do well on a moderate-fat diet. Your dog is mostly muscle and needs healthy fats for energy as well as to protect their joints and tendons. These should be mostly unsaturated fats — like flaxseeds and fish oil

Other great options are avocados, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower oil. 

Carbohydrates and Fiber

Akitas can do well with carbohydrates and need fiber for healthy digestion. But if your Akita is allergic to ingredients like wheat or corn, there are other options as well. 

Easy-to-digest carbs like oats, sweet potatoes, and whole-grain brown rice are great choices. Along with prebiotic fiber, they also have vitamins like vitamin A for eye health.

Vitamins and Minerals

You shouldn’t need to supplement vitamins and minerals if you’re feeding your dog quality food.

But, Akitas do need recipes with essential fatty acids, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients help protect their large bodies and keep their bones strong.

Ingredients to Avoid

While dog foods usually include healthy ingredients, some include fillers to avoid. These additives can be dangerous and can cause all types of health issues — including blindness and cancer.

The main ingredients to avoid include artificial colors, flavors, and artificial preservatives. Also, nitrates, xylitol, and melamine. 

For Akitas, it may also be best to avoid soy, corn, and legumes in large quantities. While these ingredients are completely safe, they can cause sensitivities in some dogs. 

Akitas Feeding Guide

Akitas are a large breed. Their growth and the protection of their muscles and joints is essential. Here’s what you should know about feeding them.

Puppies

The bones of Akita puppies grow at a fast rate. So feeding your dog large breed puppy food will help slow bone growth and keep them supple and strong. 

Puppy formulas focus on the calcium and phosphorus ratio, helping to lower the chances of your dog developing bone disorders. 

Akitas will also need plenty of calories during the first 16–18 months of their lives. Your pup will need about 30 calories per pound that they weigh. So, if your pup is 40 pounds, they’ll need to eat 1,200 calories a day. 

You’ll also want to split these calories into 2–3 separate meals to prevent bloat and overeating. 

Adults

Once your Akita reaches adulthood, you can switch their feeding schedule to twice a day. And, you’ll also want to slightly lower their calorie limit. 

An adult Akita (unless highly active or pregnant) will need about 25 calories per pound. At an average weight of 75 pounds, that’s 1,900 calories a day.  

Seniors

Your Akita will become a senior at around 8 years old. At this point, it’s time to switch them to a senior kibble. This dog food will offer omega fatty acids and glucosamine — supporting aging joints and improving mobility.

Senior dogs will also need fewer fats and calories. This is because their energy levels and metabolism slow down as they age. Aim to feed your Akita around 22 calories per pound, and around 10% to 13% Crude Fat. 

akita puppy

Common Akita Health Issues 

The average lifespan for Akitas is about 12 years. Just like most large breed dogs, they are prone to joint issues and other problems due to their size. 

Obesity is a prevalent health issue, and it can lead to other issues like diabetes and heart disease. To maintain your Akita’s weight, you’ll need to keep them within their calorie limit. You can also choose a lighter food that is made to help your pup lose weight. 

Hip dysplasia is one of the main issues for large breeds like Akitas. It happens when the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint and causes discomfort.

Eventually, this can lead to arthritis or lameness. You can reduce the symptoms of hip dysplasia by keeping your dog at a healthy weight. 

Also, choose a dog food that has omega fatty acids for healthier joints and muscles. 

Food allergies are common with Akitas — ingredients like beef, soy, and wheat can cause reactions. A common sign is flaky and dry skin that’s red or itchy. 

The best way to help is to feed your Akita a dog food formula without these allergens. Limited ingredient diets will usually be free of them, while still offering the same nutrition.

Keep in mind that it’s essential to feed one protein source for 4–6 weeks to see changes and if it works well for your dog. 

Our Verdict

Akitas need all of the muscle and joint support that they can get. This is why dog food with high-quality protein and fats is essential. 

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food provides quality ingredients your Akita needs to thrive daily. And, it’s free of fillers and additives that can hinder vitamin absorption. 

The other formulas on this list work for the different needs your Akita may have as well — supporting them from puppyhood to seniorhood. 

FAQ About Akitas

Curious about your Akita’s needs? Here are some questions you may have, and their answers!

Can I give my Akita raw meat?

Technically, yes. Raw diets are becoming common amongst many dog owners. But, Akitas can thrive on high-quality kibble and cooked foods as well. If you do want to feed your dog a raw diet, be sure to follow proper protocols and avoid cross-contamination.

Is grain-free food right for your Akita?

While most Akitas can have grains, it is possible for yours to have allergies to ingredients like wheat. If that’s the case, a grain-free diet is essential. But, if your dog doesn’t have grain sensitivities, there’s no harm in feeding them food with them. 

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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