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Why is My Shiba Inu Not Eating?

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on December 4, 2023

Shiba Inus, known for their fox-like appearance and spirited personality, are usually quite good about maintaining a consistent eating routine. However, like any dog breed, there can be times when a Shiba Inu may lose interest in food. This can be a source of worry for owners, as consistent eating habits are vital for their health. This article will explore why a Shiba Inu might not be eating and provide guidelines on when veterinary care is necessary.

Understanding Shiba Inus’ Eating Habits

Typically, Shiba Inu has a robust appetite. They are known to be independent and sometimes stubborn, which can sometimes be reflected in their eating habits. Shiba Inu owners need to understand what is normal for their specific dog to effectively identify any unusual changes in eating behavior.

Common Reasons for Loss of Appetite in Shiba Inus

A Shiba Inu might refuse to eat for several reasons. Identifying these can help in addressing the issue:

  1. Stress and Environmental Changes: Shiba Inus are sensitive to their environment. Changes like moving house, introducing new pets, or significant alterations in the family dynamics can lead to stress, affecting their appetite.
  2. Dental and Oral Health Issues: Dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, or injuries in the mouth can make eating uncomfortable, resulting in decreased appetite. Regular dental check-ups are vital in preventing such issues.
  3. Health Concerns: Various health issues, from minor conditions like an upset stomach to more serious illnesses like kidney disease, can cause a Shiba Inu to lose interest in food. Other symptoms to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy.
  4. Dietary Preferences and Food Quality: Shiba Inus can be particular about what they eat. Disliking certain types of food or being of low quality or stale could be reasons for not eating.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

It’s crucial to know when to seek professional veterinary advice:

  1. Prolonged Refusal to Eat: If your Shiba Inu refuses to eat for more than 48 hours, it’s time to consult a veterinarian.
  2. Symptoms Accompanying Loss of Appetite: Loss of appetite and other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, noticeable weight loss, or changes in behavior require immediate veterinary attention.
  3. Pre-existing Health Conditions: Shiba Inus with pre-existing health conditions require immediate care if they show a significant change in appetite, which could indicate a complication or worsening of their disease.

Dietary Management and Care for Shiba Inus

  1. Consistent Feeding Routine: Maintaining a regular feeding schedule in a familiar and comfortable environment can help minimize stress and encourage your Shiba Inu to eat.
  2. High-Quality Diet: Providing a balanced diet that fulfills the nutritional needs of your Shiba Inu is crucial. Introducing a new brand or type of food under veterinary guidance can stimulate their appetite.
  3. Monitoring Dental Health: Regular dental care is essential. Dental issues can significantly affect Shiba Inu’s eating ability, so maintaining good oral hygiene is vital for preventing such problems.

A Shiba Inu not eating can signify various issues, ranging from minor to severe. By understanding the potential reasons behind this behavior and recognizing when to seek veterinary help, you can ensure the health and happiness of your pet. Regularly monitoring their eating habits and providing a nurturing environment and proper care are critical to encouraging a healthy appetite.


Tips for Getting Your Shiba Inu to Eat

With their distinct personality and independent nature, Shiba Inus can sometimes be selective about their food. It’s not uncommon for Shiba Inu owners to face challenges regarding their dog’s eating habits. Whether it’s a temporary phase or a sign of something more significant, there are several strategies you can use to encourage your Shiba Inu to eat.

Adding Flavor with Nutritious Food Toppers

One effective way to entice a Shiba Inu to eat is by adding food toppers to their regular meals. Toppers can include healthy options like cooked lean meats (chicken or turkey), a spoonful of cottage cheese, or a bit of scrambled egg. These toppers make the meal more appealing and add extra nutrition. Ensure that any toppers used are safe for dogs and free from harmful ingredients.

Hydrating Dry Food for Enhanced Taste

Adding moisture can make the food more palatable if your Shiba Inu primarily eats dry kibble. Mixing in warm water or a low-sodium, dog-friendly broth can enhance the food’s smell and taste. This method is particularly beneficial for older Shiba Inus or those with dental issues, making the food easier to chew and digest.

Switching to High-Quality Dog Food Brands

Sometimes, the issue might be with the food itself. If your Shiba Inu shows little interest in their current nutrition, consider switching to a different brand. Look for high-quality dog food brands that are rich in nutrients and have real meat as a primary ingredient. Gradually transitioning to the new food over several days is essential to prevent gastrointestinal upset.

Introducing Dietary Variety

Introducing various foods can help maintain your Shiba Inu’s interest in their meals. This doesn’t mean frequent significant changes, which can upset their stomach, but slight variations such as different protein sources or occasional safe fruits and vegetables. Always introduce new foods gradually and in moderation.

Creating a Comfortable Eating Environment

The environment where your Shiba Inu eats can significantly influence your willingness to eat. Ensure they have a quiet, comfortable dining place away from loud noises and disturbances. Consistency in feeding location and schedule can also help establish a comfortable routine that encourages regular eating habits.


Encouraging your Shiba Inu to eat may require trying a few different strategies. From adding tasty and nutritious toppers, hydrating dry food, switching to a more appealing dog food brand, introducing dietary variety, and providing a peaceful eating environment, these methods can help stimulate your dog’s appetite. Monitor your Shiba Inu’s eating habits closely and consult with a veterinarian if there are ongoing concerns about their nutrition or health. You can ensure that your Shiba Inu enjoys their meals and stays healthy with patience and attentive care.


Frequently Asked Questions About Why Shiba Inu Might Not Be Eating

1. Why is my Shiba Inu suddenly not interested in eating?

A sudden lack of interest in eating in Shiba Inu could be due to various factors such as stress, environmental changes, or underlying health issues. It’s crucial to observe if there are other symptoms, like lethargy or vomiting, which might indicate a health concern.

2. Can changes in routine affect my Shiba Inu’s appetite?

Yes, changes in routine can significantly affect a Shiba Inu’s appetite. They are creatures of habit and may react negatively to changes in their feeding schedule, environment, or household dynamics.

3. Are dental problems a common reason for Shiba Inus not eating?

Dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, or oral injuries, can make eating painful for Shiba Inus, decreasing their appetite. Regular dental check-ups are essential to maintain their oral health.

4. Could my Shiba Inu not be eating due to the hot weather?

Yes, hot weather can sometimes reduce Shiba Inus’s appetite. They may eat less during warmer weather to regulate their body temperature. Ensuring they have a relaxed and comfortable place can help maintain their regular eating habits.

5. Is it normal for Shiba Inu to skip a meal occasionally?

Occasionally skipping a meal isn’t usually a cause for concern for Shiba Inu unless it becomes a regular occurrence or is accompanied by other symptoms like weight loss or lethargy.

6. How long can a Shiba Inu go without eating before it becomes a concern?

If a Shiba Inu goes without eating for more than 48 hours, it should be a cause for concern. Extended periods without food can lead to health issues and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

7. Can gastrointestinal issues cause a Shiba Inu to stop eating?

Gastrointestinal issues such as an upset stomach, gastritis, or intestinal parasites can cause a Shiba Inu to stop eating. These conditions often require veterinary attention, especially if accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea.

8. How does aging affect the eating habits of Shiba Inus?

As Shiba Inus ages, their appetite can decrease due to lowered activity levels or age-related health issues. Adapting their diet to their changing needs and monitoring their health closely is important.

9. Can changing my Shiba Inu’s food cause them to stop eating?

A sudden change in dog food can cause a Shiba Inu to stop eating if they do not like the new food’s taste or texture. Gradually transitioning to fresh food over a week is recommended.

10. Are Shiba Inus prone to being picky eaters?

While not typically known as picky eaters, individual Shiba Inus may have specific preferences or aversions. Finding a balanced diet that suits their taste and nutritional needs is essential.

11. Could my Shiba Inu not eating indicate a more serious health issue?

Not eating can indicate a severe health issue in Shiba Inus, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Consulting a veterinarian for a thorough examination is advisable.

12. Is lack of exercise a reason for my Shiba Inu not eating?

Lack of exercise can lead to decreased appetite in Shiba Inus. Regular physical activity is crucial for stimulating appetite and maintaining overall health.

13. How can I tell if my Shiba Inu’s loss of appetite is due to pickiness or illness?

If your Shiba Inu is picky, they may occasionally refuse food but generally maintain a healthy weight and activity level. A health problem is more likely if the loss of appetite is sudden, persistent, and accompanied by other signs of illness.

14. Can parasites cause a loss of appetite in Shiba Inus?

Yes, parasites like worms can cause a loss of appetite in Shiba Inus. Regular deworming and veterinary check-ups can help prevent and treat parasitic infections.

15. Should I be concerned if my Shiba Inu eats less during a family change, such as a new baby?

Changes in family dynamics, like the arrival of a new baby, can temporarily affect a Shiba Inu’s appetite due to changes in attention and routine. Providing extra love and maintaining as much of their routine as possible can help them adjust.

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