Keeping Your Shar-pei Healthy


It is recommended that your Shar-Pei friend eat grain-free food. This alleviates many worries about food allergies, and provides a healthy diet. Be sure to check labels and bags for ingredients. Most premium brands offer both grain-free and dry foods containing some grain(s). While some dogs can tolerate brown rice formulas, it is highly suggested that you avoid corn, wheat, and soy. As always, this advice doesn’t supercede recommendations from your veterinarian for prescription diets. Most of these foods are available at Petco, PetSmart, and Pet Supermarket, as well as local specialty shops or feed stores. Check online for vendors and coupons.

Examples of grain-free foods FSPR volunteers feed their own loved ones:

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness
  • California Natural Grain Free formulas
  • Canidae Grain Free
  • Evo (formerly Innova Evo)
  • Natural Balance (by Dick van Patten)
  • Nature’s Variety
  • Origen (by Champion)
  • Petcurean
  • Solid Gold Barking at the Moon
  • Taste of the Wild (by Diamond)
  • Wellness CORE

Monthly flea and tick and heartworm preventatives:

You have likely heard of Heartguard, contains the drugs ivermectin (for heartworm) and pyrantel (for roundworm, hookworm, pinworm). It is IMPERATIVE that your friend be protected from heartworms, which can be transmitted by a single mosquito bite any time of the year! Ivermectin is available in generic forms/drugs such as Iverheart and NuHeart and others. Low cost drugs that can protect your pal are available at several online vendors for a substantial savings versus buying from a vet or pet supply store. Read information regarding animal weight and dosage instructions. These suppliers also carry numerous flea and tick preventative products. Most Shar-Pei exhibit severe flea allergies, and even a few fleas or a minor infestation can have serious effects on the skin. Try:


Any human dandruff shampoo containing selenium sulfide (antibacterial and anti-fungal properties): Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment; Selsun Blue Medicated; Nizoral (excellent for yeast) Products specific for dogs are available. Look for labeling such as medicated, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, but always stick to quality brands, such as Vet Solutions, GlenHaven, DermaPet. Don’t over-bathe your Shar-Pei. Occasional brushing also keeps skin/coat healthy. Your vet may recommend specialty products containing sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, or other ingredients for your dog’s specific skin problem if one appears.


For irritated eyes, apply a lubricant such as GenTeal Gel or similar, which can be found at most discount retailers and drug stores. Do not use regular human eye drops for itchy/red eyes. A small amount of ointment (such as Neosporin) can also be very soothing to the eye and surrounding area.


Last but NOT least, the small Shar-Pei ear makes them more prone to ear infections, both fungal (yeast) and bacterial due to a lack of air flow. These adorable little ears must be kept clean! Look for ear flush or cleaning products with the words “acidifies” and “dries”. An acidic pH is not hospitable to yeast. Never insert anything into the dog’s ear. A good demo:


We love the thick neck and wrinkles of the Shar-Pei, but this can make many regular collars ineffective or irritating. Your Shar-Pei should always wear his/her identification tags! Collars that Shar-Pei are less likely to back out of include the Martingale style collar of nylon or nylon and choke chain. A harness also works well for a dog who pulls. Collar selection depends on your dog’s body and personality. Make sure the dog is comfortable but that you can easily control him/her if necessary. Even with microchips, tags with contact information can help you find a lost friend more quickly. Shar-Pei love to have their own bed, and cow hooves make good chew toys!