Feeding Your Shikoku

Feeding Raw

Here at Ikigai Shikokus, we recognize and respect the primitive nature of the Shikoku. We recognize that our modern canines are carnivores and we want to feed them appropriately to maximize optimal nutrition and to ensure proper health. We at Ikigai Shikokus believe the best way to achieve this is through feeding a raw food diet.

To relay some common information, the modern canine is a human-influenced version of their wild ancestors, the wolf. Wolves were domesticated to be companions, each bloodline becoming more customized and specific as the years of domestication progressed. With this selective breeding, we now have the breeds we know today. However, the Shikoku specifically is one of the most pure of dog breeds due to the incredible isolation of the breed as well as limited cross breeding. Shikokus thrive on high protein, high quality diets which can be achieved through raw feeding.

Benefits of raw feeding include:

Photo by Joyce. S

Photo by Joyce. S

  • Healthier/shinier coat
  • Cleaner Teeth
  • More control of ingredients
  • No preservatives
  • Unprocessed diet
  • Better weight management
  • Biologically appropriate

How to go about feeding raw

You have many options if you would like to pursue a raw diet for your puppy. There are many commercial diets available that are complete and balanced. Some examples of companies include: Big Country Raw, Mega Dog Raw, Iron Will Raw and Stella & Chewy’s. You can also find a butcher, like 'Canada Raw'. This is currently where we buy Raw Food for our dogs. 

If you would like to make your own raw food diet, please ensure you are following the guidelines below:

  • Meat/Organ/Bone Ratio should be 80/10/10
  • Use high-quality meat
  • Rotate proteins every few days
  • Provide supplements like fish oil, probiotics and pumpkin (for fibre)
  • Always transition cold turkey - do not mix kibble and raw
  • For Puppies: feed 3-4 meals a day
  • For Adults: feed 2-3 meals a day
  • Do not feed a raw food diet if you have immune suppressed people in your household.

If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about raw feeding, please contact us and we will assist you.

Kibble Diet

Here at Ikigai Shikokus, we recognize and respect the primitive nature of the Shikoku. We recognize that our modern canines are carnivores and we want to feed them appropriately to maximize optimal nutrition and to ensure proper health. Although raw food diets are our number one choice for optimal nutrition, we understand if it is something you do not wish to pursue. This page will outline quality kibble choices for your Shikoku puppy.

There is an abundance of commercial kibble diets and we understand it can be very overwhelming to choose what’s right for your puppy. The most important things to look as are: ingredients, digestability and company integrity.


The first five ingredients should ideally be protein, with the first 10 being whole foods. For example, below are the first 10 ingredients from a food label of a high-quality food bag:

“Fresh chicken meat, fresh turkey meat, fresh whole eggs, fresh chicken liver, fresh whole herring , fresh whole flounder, fresh turkey liver, fresh chicken necks, fresh chicken heart, fresh turkey heart…”

Now, below is another list of the first 10 ingredients from a low-quality food bag:

“Chicken, whole grain corn, barley, rice, chicken by-product meal, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, oat meal…”

You can see the difference between the two. The first contain ingredients that are proteins while the second is mostly ingredients containing carbohydrates. One must understand that kibbles will contain sources of carbohydrates, since this is a dry food; it needs carbohydrates to maintain its integrity. However, the source of the carbohydrates should be high quality (peas, chickpeas, potatoes) instead of low-quality (wheat, corn and soy).

The quality of the ingredients affects the digestibility of the food. If a kibble is low-quality, it will not be as digestible and vice versa for high-quality. You can tell this by observing the quantity and quality of the stool produced by your dog. The more that comes out, the less has been absorbed. It’s a good rule of thumb for assessing the digestibility of diets. Please note, raw fed dogs will not produce the same amount of stool as a kibble fed dog.

When choosing a kibble brand, or any dog food brand, always research the company. We recommend feeding a locally made food with local ingredients (nothing shipped from China!). All companies should be very open about their foods!

A list of food recommendations is listed below (available in Canada):

  • Orijen
  • Acana
  • Open-Farm
  • Nature's Variety Instinct

For more information about choosing good-quality kibble, please contact us or visit Dog Food Advisor.