Shiba Inu feeding can be a tricky topic for both new and seasoned Shiba Inu parents. It’s surprising that despite their size, they can have a big appetite. That said, feeding a Shiba Inu is an important skill to master.
There are several factors considered in how to feed a Shiba Inu, such as height, weight, and gut health. Generally, Shiba Inus have a fast metabolism which is why they need more calories.
Our Shiba Inu feeding guidelines aim to help you better understand the best dog food to feed your Shiba Inu adult dog and Shiba Inu puppy.
Further, this feeding guide will also help you accurately balance their nutritional needs.
Shiba Inu Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Shiba Inu?
A Shiba Inu puppy must eat around ½ to 2 ½ cups of dog food distributed into three meals throughout the day. Meanwhile, adult Shibas require around 1 ½ to 2 cups of dog food. Finally, senior Shiba Inus should eat at least 1 to 1 ½ cups daily. These portion sizes will depend on what you feed your dog.
Shiba Inus have a detailed feeding requirement in which the number of cups to be given a day should be proportioned to their current size and weight. The amount of food changes with their body growth.
The following are detailed feeding charts to guide you on how to feed your growing Shiba Inu properly.
Shiba Inu Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
In the first few weeks of its life, the Shiba Inu puppy gets most of its nutrients from its mother’s milk. Make sure their nursing activity is done in a secluded location.
The Shiba Inu puppy should be comfortable enough to drink milk without any disturbance or threats. If the Shiba mother cannot produce sufficient milk for all the pups, then it’s best to get a milk replacer formula.
When they are big enough, a Shiba Inu puppy should be weaned on wet food first, as their teeth have not yet fully developed. Shiba Inu puppies are fed ¾ to 1 cup of wet food four meals a day starting at ten weeks old.
At three months old, you may give your Shiba Inu puppy 1 cup of puppy food three times a day. Just remember not to feed in excess to avoid obesity.
If your Shiba Inu puppy is not that active or is on the smaller side of the dog breed, you can start with ½ cup of puppy food a day. The amount of food they intake depends on how fast and big they grow.
Below is a chart that you can use as a guide when feeding your Shiba Inu puppy:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|2 – 3 months||0.5 – 1||150 – 200||30%||15 – 18%|
|4 – 5 months||1 – 1.5||220 – 250||30%||15 – 18%|
|6 – 8 months||1.5 – 2||270 – 300||30%||15 – 18%|
|9 – 12 months||1 – 2.5||320 – 600||30%||15 – 18%|
According to the National Shiba Club, protein and fatty acids should make up the balanced diet of a Shiba puppy. It is okay for them to intake healthy carbs, food supplements, and vegetables occasionally.
Adult Shiba Inu Feeding Chart (1 to 7 years)
A Shiba puppy grows quickly between 3 and 7 months and fully develops when they reach 18 months. By this time, they should be able to transition from puppy food to dry food at 1.5 cups per day.
Below is a detailed chart of how much you should feed your adult Shiba:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|1 – 7 years||1.5 – 2 cups||790||30%||15 – 18%|
In order to keep your Shiba Inu’s weight maintained, start feeding them recommended food options that are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fats. These nutritional requirements should never be compromised.
Senior Shiba Inu Feeding Chart (8 years and above)
As your Shiba Inu reaches its senior years, you may opt to give them 1 to 1.5 cups per day. Mixing some food supplements, natural ingredients, and essential vitamins is also recommended.
Always remember that how much you feed your senior Shiba Inu should be proportional to its age, height, and weight.
|Age||Daily Food Quantity |
|8 years and above||1 – 1.5 cups||700||30%||15 – 18%|
Senior Shiba Inus, whether male or female, require extra care and planning when it comes to their diet in order to keep them strong despite the symptoms of aging.
Shiba Inu Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Shiba Inu?
In terms of feeding frequency, Shiba Inu puppies should be fed with their mother’s milk or with puppy food at least three to four meals daily. Meanwhile, adult Shibas should be fed twice a day. Seniors, on the other hand, can be fed either once or twice a day.
A Shiba Inu puppy for up to twelve weeks should be fed at least four times a day. They need to eat more frequently because their bones and muscles are growing rapidly at this age.
At three months old, you may reduce the feeding frequency to three times a day until they reach a year old.
Shiba Inus usually stop growing at one year old and are considered adults. That being said, they should be fed only twice per day, while senior Shiba Inus only require to be fed once or twice a day.
|0 – 12 weeks||Three to four times a day or free feeding|
|3 – 12 months||Three times a day|
|1 – 7 years||Twice a day|
|8 years and above||Once or twice a day|
As a Shiba Inu ages, its feeding frequency lessens. Older Shibas tend to eat less because they do not move as much as in their prime years.
Keeping strict feeding requirements promotes great self-control and avoids cases of misfeeding that can entirely change your dog’s weight.
Optimal Feeding Times for Shiba Inus
A young Shiba Inu, if not free-fed, should eat early morning, at lunch, around late afternoon, and during dinner time. As an adult, Shibas may be fed once in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. Meanwhile, senior Shibas may be fed once or twice in the morning and/or in the evening.
Creating a specific schedule for your Shiba Inu’s feeding time is much easier than giving them food at random times of the day. Once you have a routine, your Shiba Inu will automatically know when it’s time to eat.
Setting their meal times at the same hour as your breakfast, lunch, and dinner is an effective way to keep track and stick to your routine. Eating together also helps the Shiba Inu and its family to bond closer.
Below is a detailed chart that you can use as an example in creating your Shiba Inu’s personal feeding schedule:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|0 – 12 weeks||7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, and 7:00 pm if not free-fed|
|3 – 12 months||7:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 7:00 pm|
|1 – 7 years||7:00 am, 7:00 pm|
|8 years and above||7:00 am or 7:00 pm if fed once a day; |
7:00 am and 7:00 pm if fed twice a day.
Following a strict feeding schedule can greatly impact your Shiba Inu’s personal development, appearance, and overall well-being. It also boosts your dog’s immune system as well as its gut health.
Best Dog Foods for Shiba Inus
Commercial canine food is not only convenient for many Shiba Inu owners but also gives enough nutrition that the Shiba Inu needs.
Also, high-quality food is recommended to avoid the risk of undernutrition or food allergies.
Dog food manufacturers differ in nutritional needs per brand. So, when buying processed food, make sure that it has all the necessary ingredients for a Shiba Inu’s healthy and balanced diet.
Avoid buying low-quality food brands as it may cause allergic reactions, a decline in dental health, or irritability to your dog’s stomach.
Here are some of the best food you can give your Shiba Inu:
- Dry Dog Food: Commercially made, high-quality dog food is formulated to give the right amount of nutrients such as omega fatty acids, proteins, and minerals to your Shiba Inu. Although they come in different flavors, look for brands that would be most suitable for your Shiba Inu.
- Wet Dog Food: Wet food is often given to growing Shiba puppies but can also be consumed by adult Shibas. Like dry food, it comes in flavors such as salmon and sweet potatoes. Wet food is also palatable and contains healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to support your active dog.
- BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food): Raw food diet is a dog’s diet that consists of 70% uncooked meat, 10% raw meaty bones, 5% liver, 5% secreting organs, and 10% green leafy vegetables or fruit. There are several raw feeding recipes online, and they can be modified according to the specific needs of your dogs.
- Homemade Meals: Shiba Inu owners who prepare homemade meals should follow the Shiba Inu feeding chart to know how many ingredients they should put in the homemade meals. Homemade food is not only fun to make, but it also saves a lot of money. Plus, you are able to regulate the ingredients that go into your dog’s meals.
Since there are many foods to try aside from dry kibble, you must know which type of food your dog likes best.
Since Shiba Inus can be picky eaters, you can take advantage of the wide options available for their food.
Further, it is good to switch between dry food, wet food, raw diet, and homemade meals as a healthy alternative for your dog.
Aside from your dog enjoying the variety, this also ensures a complete and balanced diet.
Don’t forget to give your dogs some treats they deserve once in a while. Not only does it boost their mood, but giving them treats can be a good method of training them.
If you want to see some possible food choices for a Shiba Inu, watch this video:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Shiba Inu
Before you feed your dogs tasty human food, keep in mind that Shiba Inus have sensitive stomachs. Most human food has ingredients and artificial flavors that would be bad for their digestive system.
Avoid giving your Shiba Inu food that is too salty such as popcorn, potato chips, and corn chips.
Too much salt in a canine’s system can make them really thirsty too. If you feel like your dogs have consumed an excessive amount of salty food, watch out for symptoms like fever, diarrhea, and bloating.
Too much sugar can also be bad for your dog’s health. Shiba Inus do not have what you call the “sweet tooth,” and feeding them candy is not part of their normal diet.
These harmful substances in chocolates can affect all vital systems of the Shiba Inu and can cause overstimulation, an increase in heart rate, and rising blood pressure.
Another thing to avoid feeding your Shiba Inu is fatty, greasy food. Pancreatitis may be developed by your Shiba Inu if they eat too much oily food.
If your dog has consumed any of the food mentioned above and has started displaying severe symptoms, it is best to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian.
Additionally, it would be best to get your Shiba Inu checked for food allergies before getting them settled at home.
How to Transition Your Shiba Inu to a New Food
Shiba Inus often tend to be picky from time to time, and food transitions may be necessary, especially if your dog refuses to eat because it has gotten tired of the same food.
Changing your dog’s food from old to new food must be done little by little to avoid upsetting their stomachs. Canine food brands vary in nutritional content. Transitioning too quickly can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
A week is an ideal timeline where you can gradually start switching your pooch’s diet. Start by mixing 25% of the new food in your Shiba’s bowl and then slowly increase the portion of new food per day.
Below is a chart to show the transition between old and new food:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|1 – 2||75%||25%|
|3 – 4||50%||50%|
|5 – 6||25%||75%|
By the end of the week, your Shiba should already be used to the new diet, whether it is kibble, raw food, or wet food. This method is also applicable when switching from puppy food to adult food.
Feeding an Overweight Shiba Inu
A Shiba Inu achieves a healthy weight of about 17 to 23 pounds as an adult. If your Shiba Inu weighs a lot more than that, then chances are it may be overweight.
Feeding an overweight Shiba Inu can be quite tricky for most dog owners. First, you should always check with your veterinarian about the diet plans that your overweight Shiba Inu should be following.
A Shiba Inu’s standard body build is measurable by feeling their ribs. It should be felt when petting but should not be visible at first glance. This method isn’t accurate, but it is a good way to monitor their weight.
To feed an overweight Shiba Inu, you need to reduce their current food intake by approximately 10% until they reach the right amount based on the Shiba Inu feeding chart.
Have an accurate measuring cup that will help scoop the right amount of food you give your Shiba Inu. Otherwise, you may accidentally feed your dog more than the amount of food it needs.
Scheduled feeding is also very important. Give at least 15 to 20 minutes of meal time and immediately take away their bowls to enforce discipline in feeding.
If your Shiba Inu is obese, it’s also best to stay away from treats or, better yet, start transitioning to healthier snacks like fruits and low-calorie treats. This is also a good time to start prioritizing their exercise as well.
Dogs do not often know when to stop eating, so it’s the dog owner’s responsibility to regulate their meal proportions, frequency, and schedule, as obesity carries unwanted health problems for your dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Shiba Inu Not Eating?
Shiba Inus lose their appetite when they are sick. They may also stop eating when their bellies are already full. Further, some Shiba Inus are picky eaters, and they may just be bored with their current food.
Shiba Inus who stop eating for more than 24 hours and display vomiting or irregular bowel movement should be taken to the vet immediately.
Do Shiba Inus Eat a Lot?
Shiba Inus eat only the right amount of food proportionate to their height and weight. However, they are also very active and require more calories to burn.
Shiba Inus can eat a lot because of their muscular build. If your Shiba Inu engages in physical activity more, then you should match their amount of food intake too.
Can Shiba Inus Eat Bones?
Shiba Inus can eat bones, but only if they are raw. In fact, If dogs chew bones that are raw, it helps their teeth and jaw muscles stay strong.
On the other hand, cooked and smaller bones are brittle and can injure the throat and stomach of your dogs if fully ingested.
Larger bones are much safer since they have a lesser tendency to choke your Shiba Inu.
Can Shiba Inus Be Vegetarian?
Shiba Inus cannot be vegetarian since their diet should consist mainly of proteins to help build healthy bones and muscles. Vegetables are very healthy, but they cannot replace the nutritional values of protein.
On the other hand, it is okay to add vegetables to your Shiba Inu’s scheduled meals as long as they are not allergic to them.
In fact, vegetables help with a Shiba’s healthy digestion and help regulate its weight.
Shiba Inu feeding may be complicated at the start. However, once you get to know the food preferences and nutritional requirements of your dog, you will be able to satisfy its needs in no time.
Like with other dog breeds, there are so many factors to consider in feeding Shiba Inus, such as how much food to give, how often you need to feed them, and even the type of solid food to prepare for them.
Providing the right food for your dog ensures proper growth, achieves a healthy body, promotes a healthy immune system, and lengthens your dog’s life.
Have you experienced what it is like to feed a Shiba Inu? If you have some tips and tricks on Shiba Inu feeding, share them with us in the comments below!