What are the best diets to serve Shar Peis?

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Shar Peis are a challenge right from the start. They can be rather sedentary and those wrinkly skin folds can harbor bacteria, so they’re prone to skin irritations.

While you should discuss the overall care of this breed thoroughly with your veterinarian, know also that diet is an important component of care.

Therefore, make sure you feed your Shar Pei a well-balanced diet throughout her entire life. Also, since this breed is sedentary, they won’t require a high-protein diet (but don’t just assume the diet is healthy because it says “low protein”). It may not be balanced, and that will lead to other health problems. Discuss any dietary changes with your veterinarian—and look for skin irritations whenever you try a new food.

Here are some general guidelines:

• High-grade commercial dog foods are fine, but make sure the first ingredient is named meat.
• Keep crude protein amounts at 17 to 20 percent and crude fat no more than 20 percent. Fiber should be 4 percent or less. NOTE: Shar Pei’s do not need more than 20 percent protein in their food. In fact, the less protein the better! Only feed adult small bite food, as puppy food generally has a higher protein count to accommodate most puppy growth spurs.
• No free feeding, because it might lead to overweight. Free feeding means leaving the food out all the time so your dog can graze. An overweight dog is more prone to health problems and it might also encourage begging, since she’ll possibly hold out on her meal for the possibility of something tastier. Avoid table scraps, because they might include items that are allergens or otherwise harmful to her.
• Discuss vitamins, especially the antioxidant C and E, with your vet who also might suggest Omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils.

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