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Do Shiba Inus Have a Lot of Health Problems (and What Is Their Life Expectancy)?

Because Shiba Inus have fewer health issues compared to other dog breeds, they get to live long lives. While they are generally healthy, you should never let your guard down when caring for this breed. Suffering from health issues will not only diminish their quality of life. This may also take your Shiba Inu away from you sooner than you would like.
Do Shiba Inus Have a Lot of Health Problems

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Shiba Inu are self-sufficient and curious dogs who seek adventure. They think for themselves and do what they want to do. This is why health issues have such a negative impact on their well-being.

If they have any medical conditions, they may not be able to do activities they enjoy. This may be due to a physical hindrance, such as a limp. Or it can be that they do not have the energy to do these anymore.

So as their fur parent, you need to make a conscious effort in maintaining their health. A good start to this is knowing what health issues they are prone to. This will help you take preventative measures even while they are still young.

To help you out below is all you need to know about your Shiba Inu’s health. This includes the vaccines they need, how to keep them healthy, and more.

What Diseases Are Shiba Inu Prone to?

Shiba Inu are rather healthy dogs but they are prone to several genetic diseases. The most prevalent ones in this breed are hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. They are also at high risk for other health issues that all dogs are prone to, like dental diseases.

Taking care of your furry friend is not only a privilege, but it is also a responsibility. To help them live a long and happy life, you need to know what health issues to watch out for.

Hip Dysplasia

This inherited skeletal disease affects your Shiba Inu’s quality of life. Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint misaligns with the socket. Dogs who suffer from this find it difficult to do their daily activities.

Hip dysplasia is often found in dogs who are on the heavier side. The excess weight puts a lot of stress on their bodies, which may cause displacement.

If you notice your Shiba Inu showing lameness in their legs or having a hard time getting up, they may have this. Other symptoms of hip dysplasia include the following:

  • Reluctance to jump, run, or climb the stairs
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Limping
  • Stiffness

Patellar Luxation

While this is common in smaller breeds, Shiba Inu are also prone to this genetic disorder. This occurs when the knee ligament weakens, which makes their kneecaps dislocate easily. As a result, their kneecaps slip in and out of place, affecting their gait.

Shiba Inu may have patellar luxation at birth. But they may also develop it as a result of an injury. Depending on the severity of the issue, here are its symptoms:

  • Unusual gait
  • Pain while walking
  • Reluctance to put their weight on their leg
  • Immobility

For mild cases of patellar luxation, your Shiba may only need arthritis medication. But if their condition is severe, they will need surgery to correct the kneecap placement.


Thyroid problems are a common issue in Shiba Inu. In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is underproductive. As a result, your Shiba Inu does not have enough thyroid hormone.

Hypothyroidism has various symptoms, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin and dull coat
  • Excessive urination
  • Change in appetite or thirst
  • Behavioral changes such as aggression

If your Shiba Inu has this condition, they are also more susceptible to skin diseases. Your Shiba Inu will need to undergo blood testing to confirm if they have this.

Unfortunately, hypothyroidism has no cure. You can only manage the symptoms using hormone-replacement pills.

Eye Problems

A Shiba Inu’s soulful eyes are vulnerable to several inherited eye issues. Impaired or loss of vision can be devastating for a playful breed like Shiba Inu. So early detection is a must for them to have a better outcome with their treatment.

Here are the eye problems that your Shiba Inu can suffer from:

  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Cataracts
  • Distichiasis

Glaucoma occurs when there is fluid buildup in front of your Shiba Inu’s eyes. This puts pressure on their optic nerve, destroying it in the process. As a result, glaucoma can lead to partial or complete blindness if left untreated.

Many dog owners may not notice when their dog has glaucoma. So make sure you check your Shiba Inu’s eyes from time to time. Symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • Watering of the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Redness in the whites of their eyes
  • Bluish cornea
  • Swollen eyes

If you see these symptoms, make sure to contact your vet right away. Glaucoma is a medical emergency so you better act fast. Depending on the severity, your Shiba Inu may need eye drops or surgery to correct their eyes.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a degenerative disease that makes it hard for your Shiba Inu to see in the dark. This is due to the weakening of the photoreceptors in the back of their eyes.

In its advanced stages, PRA makes it hard for them to see even in daylight. If left untreated, your Shiba Inu may lose their vision completely.

The bad news is that there is no cure for this disease. But your vet can diagnose this way before your Shiba Inu loses their vision. This gives you ample time to prepare for the worst.


Cataracts occur when eye proteins clump together and block the lens of the eye. This then leads to the tearing of the lens, making the pupil appear cloudy instead of clear.

While your Shiba Inu can inherit this eye condition, it can also be due to diabetes. If left untreated, this can lead to a loss of vision. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of blindness in senior Shiba Inu.

Due to its prevalence in the breed, you need to watch out for these symptoms:

  • Changes in eye colors
  • Changes in pupil shape or size
  • Cloudy pupils
  • Itching of the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Squinting

You may also notice that your Shiba Inu is clumsier than usual, like bumping into walls or furniture. They may also have a hard time recognizing faces that they are familiar with.


This painful condition is due to extra hard growing in unusual locations on their eyelid. Each time our Shiba Inu blinks, the hairs rub on their eyes, creating discomfort.

While this is not an issue with their eyes, this can lead to chronic eye pain and corneal ulcers. The best thing that you can do for your Shiba Inu is to have the hair removed permanently.


Shiba Inu who live in warmer climates are more prone to this chronic disease. Atopy is a common type of allergy in canines, especially Shiba Inu. Allergic reactions of this type occur whenever they inhale allergens.

Although allergies manifest themselves in various ways, atopy affects the skin the most. Your Shiba Inu’s skin becomes itchy, especially their feet, skin folds, ears, and belly.

The common symptoms of atopy are the following:

  • Excessive itching
  • Excessive licking
  • Rubbing their face
  • Recurring ear infections

Managing the symptoms include medication and lifestyle change. Your vet may recommend that you give your Shiba Inu more baths with medicated shampoos.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This inherited blood clotting disorder is often found in Shiba Inu. It occurs when there is a lack in quantity or activity of the von Willebrand factor. This is a blood protein that facilitates the platelets to form a clot.

Signs that your Shina Inu has this bleeding disorder are the following:

  • Extended bleeding after trauma or surgery
  • Bleeding from the gums, nose, or vagina
  • Presence of blood in their feces or urine

There is also no cure for this disorder. Blood transfusions can help your Shiba Inu whenever they have a bleeding issue. Desmopressin acetate, a hormone, may also help increase their von Willebrand factor levels.

Canine Chylothorax

This condition occurs when lymph fluid builds up in your Shiba Inu’s chest. With this condition, their lungs cannot expand correctly. This will reduce their oxygen intake, making it hard for them to breathe.

Other than that, your Shiba Inu may also exhibit these symptoms:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue

In mild cases, removing the accumulated lymph fluid in the chest will help. A switch to a low-fat diet will also benefit your Shiba Inu. But if their case is severe, they may need surgery.

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome (VKH Syndrome)

Another name for this is uveodermatological syndrome (UDS). This autoimmune disorder occurs when your Shiba’s immune system attacks the melanocytes. Although this is not life-threatening, it can lead to complete blindness.

Symptoms of VKH syndrome are the following:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Watery eyes
  • Squinting
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Photosensitivity

Certain areas of your Shiba’s body will change in color. You may notice whitening in these body parts:

  • Coat
  • Lips
  • Nose
  • Skin
  • Scrotum
  • Paw pads
  • Nails

Dental Issues

Shiba Inu are genetically predisposed to having bad teeth. They are likely to have dental abnormalities such as:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Oligodontia
  • Misaligned teeth

Your Shiba Inu can get braces to correct these. But if your Shiba Inu has any of these, they need extra care with their dental hygiene.

Dental diseases already affect all dog breeds, to begin with. Teeth alignment issues make them more likely to develop dental issues. This is due to the extra pockets between their teeth that make it easy for food to get trapped.

Without frequent brushing, this makes it easier for plaque and tartar to build up. If left untreated, this can progress into gingivitis and then to periodontal disease. With periodontal disease, your Shiba will lose their teeth, among other painful consequences.

Is It Common for Shiba Inu to Have Seizures?

Unfortunately, Shiba Inu are genetically prone to seizures due to primary epilepsy. This has no known cause and Shiba Inu most likely inherit this health issue. Primary epilepsy usually starts when they are 6 months of age to 3 years of age.

Sometimes, it is hard to notice if your Shiba Inu is having a seizure. They may appear restless and run around, which you may confuse as them being hyper. They may also bark in space and you may think that this is their alert nature kicking in.

Other clearer and scarier symptoms of seizures include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Hiding
  • Excessive drooling
  • Tongue nibbling
  • Mouth foaming
  • Falling to their side
  • Loss of consciousness

Before their seizure attacks, your Shiba Inu will appear unusual. They will stare at nothing and they will look dazed or confused.

After a seizure, your Shiba Inu may not bounce back right away. They will appear disoriented and they may lose their vision for a while. They may also try to hide from you in confusion.

This neurological condition has no cure. Thus, they need lifelong medication to manage and control the seizures.

Why Did My Shiba Inu Have a Seizure?

There are many possible causes behind your Shiba Inu’s seizures. It can be due to metabolic issues, underlying health conditions, or the cause can be unknown. Depending on the cause, you will figure out what kind of epilepsy your Shiba Inu has.

With this, it may help you to go through the three types of canine epilepsy.

Reactive Seizures

These seizures are due to their brain reacting to metabolic issues. Reactive seizures can be due to any of the following:

  • High or low blood sugar
  • Organ failure (of the kidney or liver)
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Electrolyte issues
  • Anemia

Since toxins can trigger seizures, it is best to know what substances to keep your Shiba Inu away from. Below is a list of some of these.

Household Alcohols
  • Ethanol: Found in alcoholic drinks and raw bread dough
  • Isopropanol: Found in rubbing alcohol
  • Ethylene Glycol: Found in antifreeze
  • Methanol: A common ingredient in paints, adhesives, varnishes, and shellacs
Food Toxins
  • Xylitol: An artificial sweetener in candy, gum ketchup, butter, and toothpaste
  • Methylxanthine: An ingredient in caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sodas

Your Shiba Inu may also get salt poisoning from excess salt intake. Make sure your table salt is always out of their reach. You should also keep an eye on them if they drink seawater.

Metal Toxins
  • Zinc: Found in pennies
  • Lead: An ingredient in certain paints
Human Medications
  • Analgesics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Decongestants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pesticides
  • Metaldehyde
  • Organophosphates
  • Bromethalin
  • Zinc Phosphate
Toxic Plants

There are a lot of common houseplants that are toxic to your Shiba Inu. Some of them are the following:

  • Sago palm
  • Brunfelsia
  • Pothos
  • Asparagus fern
  • Dumb cane

Secondary Seizures

Also called symptomatic seizures, these occur due to a structural change in the brain. The following issues can lead to a secondary seizure:

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumors
  • Head injury or trauma
  • Congenital malformations
  • Infections or inflammation in the brain

Primary Seizures

In this type, the cause of your furry friend’s seizures is unidentifiable. Oftentimes, primary seizures are due to your Shiba Inu’s genetics. What makes this scarier is that this type is the most common one in Shiba Inu.

What Does a Seizure Look Like in Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inu may exhibit behavioral changes, jerking, loss of consciousness, and more. But canine seizures manifest themselves in various ways. The symptoms you will see can vary depending on the following:

  • The stage of their seizure
  • The type of their seizure

Knowing both of these will help you recognize the signs fast and prepare for a seizure. The signs at the beginning of a seizure are subtle and you may miss them if you do not pay attention.

Before anything, you should know the forms of seizures that your Shiba Inu may have.

Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure

This is also known as a generalized seizure or grand mal seizure. Generalized seizures are most common and are easy to recognize. The symptoms of this seizure are the following:

  • Falling to the side
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Paddling of the legs
  • Limb jerking
  • Chewing
  • Salivating
  • Urinating and defecating

This form of seizure often lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes.

Focal Seizures

This type is also known as a partial seizure and is harder to recognize. Under focal seizures are two types:

  • Simple seizures (focal motor seizures)
  • Complex partial seizures (psychomotor seizures)

These two are also characterized by varying symptoms.

Simple Seizures
  • Jerking of the limbs
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Repetitive facial muscle movements
Complex partial seizures
  • Staring in space
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Changes in vision or hearing
  • Hallucinations (such as fighting an imaginary object)

Now that you know how to differentiate seizures, you should know when to expect them. The symptoms will show up in the various stages of a seizure:

  • Pre-ictal phase (aura)
  • Ictal phase
  • Post-ictal phase

Pre-Ictal Phase

Your Shiba Inu will first go through a phase of changed behavior. These are subtle cues that a seizure will happen anytime soon. In this initial phase, your Shiba Inu will show the following:

  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Hiding
  • Attention-seeking behavior

This phase can last anywhere between seconds to a few hours. Your Shiba Inu already senses that something is about to happen to them.

Ictal Phase

The ictal phase is where the symptoms mentioned above will begin to show.

If they are experiencing generalized seizures, they will lose consciousness. Involuntary muscle spasms, leg paddling, and drooling are some of its signs.

If they are experiencing focal seizures, they may have hallucinations. Your Shiba Inu will bark, growl, or bite in the air. They may also become aggressive or fearful without any clear reason.

This phase can last from a few seconds to up to several minutes.

Post-Ictal Phase

Once the ictal phase ends, your Shiba Inu will go into the post-ictal phase. Usually, they become disoriented for a few minutes to a few hours.

Common signs of the post-ictal phase include the following:

  • Pacing
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Temporary blindness
  • Temporary deafness
  • Increase in appetite or thirst

How to Stop a Shiba Inu Seizure

You cannot stop your Shiba Inu’s seizure while it is happening. To lessen its occurrence, you can talk to your vet about your options.

Canine seizure has no cure, but various medications can help in controlling them. But you should manage your expectations as this may not mean that your Shiba Inu will be seizure-free.

Your vet may prescribe your Shiba Inu any of the following anticonvulsants:

  • Zonisamide
  • Gabapentin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Potassium bromide
  • Levetiracetam

Make sure you carefully follow your vet’s instructions when administering any of these. Do not make changes, such as altering the dosage or taking them off of their medicine. Any changes made without your vet’s advice may harm your Shiba Inu.

Once your Shiba Inu is on anticonvulsant medications, they will need them for the rest of their lives.

What Can I Do if My Shiba Inu Is Having a Seizure?

The first thing you should do when your Shiba Inu is having a seizure is to calm yourself down. Your buddy’s health will depend on how you carry yourself throughout the process. Getting flustered will only make them even more frightened, which does not help them.

Once you have calmed down, here are the steps that you need to take.

Keep Them Safe

Start by clearing your Shiba Inu’s surroundings and keeping objects away from them. Remove anything that they may knock over with their violet spasms.

If they are near the stairs, make sure to block them. But if they are on the stairs, stay below your Shiba Inu so that they do not fall.

You should also keep yourself safe throughout this whole ordeal. Do not go near their mouth, as they may bite you. Keep in mind that your Shiba Inu cannot control their jaw movements during a seizure.

Avoid putting anything in their mouth as well. Your Shiba Inu will not choke on their tongue. They may end up hurting themselves once their jaw starts to move.

Stay Beside Them

Comfort your Shiba Inu by talking to them in a gentle voice. Be careful when petting them, and avoid their mouth at all costs. You can caress their back or any body part that they cannot reach with their mouth.

Time Their Seizures

This is an important step to take because a seizure that is too long is a medical emergency. You can use a stopwatch for this or you can keep track of the time, as long as you know how long this is going.

Seizures that last under two minutes should be fine. But if it goes over that, you need to be ready to see a vet.

If it lasts more than 2 minutes, they are at risk of overheating. Make sure to have wet towels nearby and apply them to the groin, neck, head, and paws.

Your Shiba Inu needs to see a vet immediately if:

  • Their seizure lasts more than 5 minutes
  • They have several seizures within a few minutes and are not conscious between each one

Take a Video

This will help your vet a lot in treating your Shiba Inu’s seizures. Sometimes, it is better to have them watch the ordeal to try to describe it. If you can, try to take videos of your Shiba Inu throughout the three phases of a seizure.

But before you do this, make sure your Shiba Inu is in a safe spot and that you are timing their seizure.

Try to Comfort Them

You can talk to your Shiba Inu in a quiet, comforting voice while they are having a seizure. If you want to, you can play some mellow music for them to listen to. Anything that is not too loud will work for them.

After their seizure, you can wrap them up in a soft blanket and hold them for comfort. But you should only do this once they are conscious and back to normal. Otherwise, it is best to leave them be.

If your Shiba Inu does not like hugs though, do not force this. This may do the opposite and make them feel tense.

Have Them Sleep, Eat, or Drink

After a seizure, your Shiba Inu will want to do any of these. Do not force them to do anything and give them what they want for now. If they do want to sleep, make sure to check on them from time to time.

Keep a Journal

Having a journal with the details of your Shiba Inu’s seizures is crucial. This will help you give your vet a clearer picture of what has happened.

Make sure you have the following details in your journal:

  • Date, time, and length of the seizure
  • The frequency of the seizures

If their seizures become more severe, you should also take note of this.

Contact Your Vet

This is crucial if it is your Shiba Inu’s first time having a seizure. Or, if their seizure took longer than it usually does. Your vet will give you recommendations and make sure that you follow these.

Are Shiba Inu Prone to Cancer?

Cancer in Shiba Inu is not as common compared to other dog breeds. Although a dog’s breed may play a part in its likelihood to get cancer, this is not the only factor to consider.

Your Shiba Inu’s Age

Cancer occurs more commonly in older canines. There is no exact reason behind the correlation between cancer and older age. But experts have their suggestions on the matter.

This may be due to an older dog’s immune system weakening as they age. As a result, they cannot fight off cancer as well as younger dogs with more robust immunity. Another reason could be that older dogs had more exposure to environmental carcinogens.

Your Shiba Inu’s Weight

According to research, an obese dog is more prone to developing certain cancers. Obesity increases your Shiba Inu’s risk of mammary tumors, mast cell tumors, and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

Your Shiba Inu’s Diet

What your Shiba Inu eats has a great effect on their health, as you may already know. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial dog foods are not great for them.

It is often the cheap ones that include ingredients that are harmful to dogs. To make their product more affordable, companies use certain preservatives, chemicals, and fillers. You Shiba Inu does not need any of these, so it is better to spend a few more bucks on high-quality dog food.

Other than that, some dog foods may contain cancer-causing toxins. One of these is aflatoxin, which is a byproduct of mold. Shiba Inu that get exposed to this are more likely to develop liver cancer.

Your Shiba Inu’s Environment

Like you, your Shiba Inu can also develop cancer due to carcinogens in the environment. The more they get exposed to these, the more your Shiba Inu’s likelihood of cancer rises.

Some carcinogens include excessive sun exposure, pesticides, air pollution, and smog. Your Shiba Inu will also face the consequences of secondhand smoking. So make sure not to smoke near them or in places where they stay a lot.

What Causes Shiba Inu Cancer?

The most common cause of canine cancer is mutations that happen over time. Internal factors, such as hormone issues can give rise to cancer. But this can also be due to external factors, such as pesticides, tobacco smoke, and sunlight.

Sometimes, it can be due to your Shiba Inu’s genetics. Although cancer is not a common problem in the breed, they are not immune to it. So if your Shiba Inu’s ancestors had cancer, chances are, they may get it too.

Cancer in Shiba Inu can also be due to their old age. There is no clear reason why older dogs are more likely to have cancer. But experts speculate that this is due to a weaker immunity or their prolonged carcinogen exposure.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Itch So Much?

Shiba Inu are prone to a skin condition called atopy, which makes their skin itchy. This may explain why your Shiba Inu is scratching themselves to no end. But this is not the only reason why they may have such itchy skin.

There are other issues to consider for this. It is distressing to see your furry friend in discomfort, so you should look into all options.

The best way to pinpoint the cause behind this is to take your Shiba Inu to the vet. But it will help them a lot if you already have a rough idea of what it is.

To help you with this, here are all the common reasons why a Shiba Inu would itch so much.

Inhalant Allergies (Atopy)

This type of allergy is an overreaction to any inhaled allergen. Rather than sneezing, your Shiba Inu’s skin becomes itchy. Their inhalant allergy may come during specific seasons or it can happen year-round.

There are a wide variety of allergens that can trigger your Shiba Inu’s allergies. But the most common allergens that trigger atopy are the following:

  • Molds
  • Pollens
  • Dust

Usually, the ears, feet, belly, and skin folds are where the itchiness most occurs. Atopic dogs will exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent itching
  • Excessive licking
  • Constant chewing (especially on their paws)
  • Face rubbing
  • Recurring ear infections

Since anything can cause your Shiba Inu’s atopy, it is hard to pinpoint their exact allergen. But you can go for an allergy test to help you and your vet figure this out.

Food Allergies

This is another rampant health issue in Shiba Inu. Your furry friend may also be allergic to any ingredient in their dog food.

The symptoms of food allergies somewhat mirror that of an inhalant allergy. Food allergies may also upset their stomach. Here are the symptoms of food allergies that you should watch out for:

  • Itchy skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin redness and inflammation
  • Constant licking, chewing and rubbing
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Swelling (occurs on their face, lips, ears, or eyelids)

Food allergies are a tricky health issue for your Shiba Inu to have. This is because the common food allergens in dogs are also common dog-food ingredients. Here are some that you should be careful with:

  • Meat (such as chicken, beef, and lamb)
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Dairy

Bacterial or Fungal Skin Infections

You can tell if your Shiba Inu has these skin issues if they smell bad. These microorganisms emit a strong odor that you may be able to smell from afar.

Usually, fungal skin infections smell musty and some say it smells like corn chips. So you can determine which of the two infections your Shiba has based on the smell.

Other than the foul smell, each of the two skin infections may look different on your Shiba Inu. Below is a list of their symptoms.

Fungal Infection
  • Dry, flaky, or crusty skin
  • Thickened skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin redness
  • Chronic ear infections

Fungal infections are mostly on your Shiba Inu’s paws, ears, neck, and tail. So make sure to keep a close eye on these areas.

Bacterial Infection
  • Frequent itching, chewing or licking
  • Hot spots
  • Peeling skin
  • Moist skin
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Pus-filled lesions

Skin Parasites

Your Shiba Inu’s itchy skin may also be because of fleas, mites, or other skin parasites. These creatures cling to your Shiba Inu’s skin, sucking on their blood. This can lead to itchy skin and other symptoms such as:

  • Redness
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Gives
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin lesions that bleed or ooze

How Do You Stop a Shiba Inu From Scratching?

Solving your Shiba Inu’s itchy skin will depend on the reason behind it. Excessive itchiness is a symptom of several skin issues. Each will have a different treatment option and medication.

For inhalant allergies, you need to work with your vet. It can be possible to desensitize your Shiba Inu to allergens with allergy shots. But they may also be better off with anti-inflammatory drugs and other medicines.

For food allergies, your Shiba Inu will need a food elimination trial. You need to work with your vet on this again.

With this trial, your Shiba will eat a protein and carbohydrate that they have never tried before. A series of these is a must to figure out how your Shiba Inu reacts to each ingredient.

Food elimination needs a lot of your time, effort, and planning though. But this is the only way to figure out if your Shiba Inu has a food allergy.

For bacterial and fungal skin infections, your Shiba Inu needs prescribed medicine. Do not self-medicate, make sure you consult your vet and follow their instructions.

For skin parasites, you may buy tick or flea medications from your local pet shop. But these may not be as effective as the ones your vet will recommend to you. Vet-recommended medications tackle all life stages of the parasites, commercial ones may not.

Are Shiba Inu Prone to Fleas?

This cat-like breed has a great habit of cleaning itself, you so do not have to worry about fleas as much. Even with their cleanliness, Shiba Inu are as prone to getting fleas as much as other dog breeds. Fleas are not picky about which dog they latch onto, as long as they get to suck their blood.

But keep in mind that fleas love a warm and moist environment. So if you live in a warmer, humid climate, your Shiba Inu will become more prone to fleas. The same can apply to seasonal changes, summer is when you should try to protect them more from fleas.

How Do You Get Rid of Fleas on a Shiba Inu?

To get rid of your Shiba Inu’s fleas, you need to get flea medication from your vet. Going with what they recommend will ensure that you kill off all the life stages of the fleas. This includes the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

Some flea medications you can buy from your local pet shop only tackle the latter stages of the life cycle. The flea eggs are still there to hatch and give you and your Shiba Inu a lot of problems. So make sure you pick the right flea medication to hasten the process.

But getting rid of the fleas does not stop there. There are other ways you can help your Shiba Inu along with their medication. Part of this is cleaning your home to get rid of any fleas hiding about.

So here are other ways that you can make your Shiba Inu flea-free.

Bathe Your Shiba Inu

This is a great way to kill any fleas hiding in your Shiba Inu’s fur, but this is not a must. All you have to do is to bathe them with lukewarm water and lather them using a mild soap. Dish soap is great for drowning out adult fleas.

You can also use flea shampoo if you want, but make sure to consult your vet first. Flea shampoo can be harsh on your Shiba Inu’s skin. It will dry out their skin and this can make them even itchier.

You should also consult your vet if your Shiba Inu already has open wounds or hot spots on its skin. Bathing them may only irritate their skin and make their condition worse.

If you are not comfortable with this, it is okay if you do not bathe your Shiba Inu. But for severe infestations, this is a need.

Brush Your Shiba Inu With a Fine-Tooth Comb

Fleas are not only hard to spot, but they are also difficult to catch due to their size and speed. Combing through your Shiba Inu’s coat with a flea comb will help in catching these parasites.

Make sure to have a mixture of water and dish soap nearby. Each time you brush through their fur, make sure to dip the comb in the solution. This will prevent the fleas from escaping away.

If you see any flea on the comb, kill them by dipping the comb in a jar of hot, soapy water. Do not attempt to crush the fleas, they are almost impossible to squish with their speed.

Get Rid of the Fleas in Your Home

Fleas may still be lurking in your home, ready to latch onto your Shiba Inu at any time. So make sure that you do a thorough cleaning of your home as well.

Wash all the dog beds, stuffed toys, bedding, rugs, cushions, and blankets that you have at home. Make sure to use hot, soapy water to clean these. You should regularly wash these until your Shiba Inu’s flea infestation has stopped.

Frequent vacuuming around the home is also crucial. Especially in areas where your Shiba Inu likes to stay in. Vacuum your carpets, floors, curtains, and furniture. Make sure to throw the vacuum bag right away to get the fleas out of your home.

Outside your home, you can also use any environmental flea control. These come in sprays or foggers, you only have to pick depending on what you prefer. Seeking the help of an exterminator is also a great option for you.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Wheeze?

If your Shiba Inu is wheezing, this can be due to a blockage in their windpipe. Or it can be a sign of allergies, diseases, and more. Seeing your Shiba Inu struggling to breathe is scary, and it can be life-threatening.

Before you take your Shiba Inu to the vet, getting an idea of the possible cause may help you. So below is a list of the most common causes of wheezing in canines.


Airborne allergens and irritants are the most common reason behind a dog’s wheezing. And since Shiba Inu often have inhalant allergies, you should always look into this.

Pollen, dust mites, spores, and even tobacco smoke can irritate your Shiba Inu’s airways. As a result, they may have trouble breathing and start to wheeze.

You have a lot of irritants and allergens to look into, not only the ones mentioned. So you need to work with your vet to figure out the exact cause.

Foreign Bodies

Wheezing due to inhalation of a foreign object is always a medical emergency. So if you think that this is the case with your Shiba Inu, take them to the vet right away. This is the only way to help them as you cannot solve this at home.

They may have inhaled chewed-up parts of toys, balls, or bones. Or they have sucked any of these down their throat.

A partial blockage will cause your Shiba Inu to wheeze and be in a state of panic. If there is a complete blockage, they may pass out due to not getting enough oxygen.


Various canine diseases have wheezing as one of their symptoms. The most common ones are the following:

  • Heartworm: They can get these from mosquito bites that carry heartworm larvae. Once the larvae go inside, they turn into worms and cause a lot of issues.
  • Kennel Cough: Your Shiba Inu can get this after getting in contact with another dog who has this. Along with wheezing, they will exhibit a dry cough.
  • Bronchitis: Various underlying conditions may cause this. Bronchitis may scar the airways, leading to dry coughs and wheezing.
  • Asthma: Canine asthma is often due to allergic reactions to allergens in the air. This condition constricts your Shiba’s airways, causing wheezing.
  • Congestive Heart Failure: While this is common in older dogs, Shiba Inu of any age can have this condition. With this condition, there is fluid buildup in their lungs, causing them to wheeze. You may also notice that your Shiba Inu coughs and sometimes, there is some liquid.

Tracheal Collapse

Your Shiba Inu’s trachea may collapse due to the weakening of its cartilage. This narrows their airways, making breathing hard, and can lead to wheezing. You may also notice that your Shiba Inu snores more while they are sleeping.

What Are Shiba Inu Commonly Allergic to?

Shiba Inu can be allergic to certain foods, environmental allergens, and even fleas. Although they are relatively healthy dogs, Shiba Inu often have allergies. If left untreated, this can cause chronic issues for your poor buddy.

Knowing what the common allergens of this breed are is part of taking care of them. This way, it is easy for you to get them help when they need it.

The following is a list of allergens that Shiba Inu commonly react to.

Food Allergens

Your Shiba Inu may be allergic to the protein found in chicken, eggs, lamb, and beef. Although this is less likely, they may also react to rabbits and fish. Chicken and beef are usually used in commercial dog food, so make sure to read the ingredients list.

Some carbohydrates may also cause an allergic reaction in your Shiba Inu. The ones that you should be careful of are wheat, soy, and corn.

Other than these, dairy can also cause allergies in dogs. Keep in mind that dairy allergies are not the same as lactose intolerance.

An allergic reaction to dairy affects your Shiba Inu skin, making it itchy, inflamed, red, and more. But with lactose intolerance, it is their digestive system that gets affected. This may cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Environmental Allergens

Inhalant allergies are rampant in Shiba Inu. Allergens such as dust, mold, pollen, and dander can trigger your Shiba Inu’s galleries.

But it can also be anything else that comes in contact with their skin. The most common cause of contact allergies in dogs is various types of grass. This includes buffalo, couch, and Kikuyu grass.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

This condition is particularly prevalent in Shiba Inu. What triggers an allergic reaction is not the flea’s bite, but its saliva. This causes hair loss as a result of excessive scratching, among other nasty symptoms.

What Can I Give My Shiba Inu for Allergies?

The best thing to do is to ask your vet about any medications you can give to your Shiba Inu. Self-medicating is not a good idea as it can cause more harm than good. Each type of allergy will need a different treatment plan and only your vet can give you this.

Are Shiba Inu Prone to Bladder Problems?

Although your Shiba Inu can have bladder problems, they are not predisposed to these. Still, this does not mean that your Shiba Inu is immune from bladder issues. They may even have a healthy bladder but still experience issues with it due to another health issue.

The most common bladder issues that afflict dogs are the following:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary incontinence

Your Shiba Inu may have any of these at any point in their life. In particular, urinary continence is prevalent in older dogs, including your Shiba Inu. More than 20% of spayed females of any breed can also have this.

Bladder problems may also arise as a symptom of an underlying condition, such as:

  • Pyometra
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes mellitus

Pyometra is a big issue for intact female dogs, as a result of their heat cycle. This makes your Shiba Inu want to drink and urinate more than usual. The same goes for Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus.

As you can see, your Shiba Inu is not out of the woods at all. Many factors can affect their bladder health, so you still need to be careful.

What Causes Shiba Inu to Lose Hair?

Parasites and allergies are only a few possible reasons to explain why your Shiba Inu is losing hair. Hair loss can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue, like Cushing’s disease. There is a wide range of culprits for this and it is best for you to explore each one.

Endocrine Issues

Shiba Inu are prone to hypothyroidism, and one of the symptoms of this is hair loss. With this condition, their body does not create enough thyroid hormone. Other than hair loss, they become prone to skin issues, weight gain, and behavioral changes.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can shorten your Shiba Inu’s life. This is because the thyroid hormone affects almost all organs in the body. As a result, your Shiba Inu can develop other scary issues such as:

  • High cholesterol
  • Decreases immunity
  • Slower heart rate

Hormonal Issues

Cushing’s disease is a condition where the body produces too many steroid hormones. In particular, there is an overproduction of cortisol in the adrenal gland. This is a life-threatening condition that makes them prone to other health issues.

Hair loss is only one of the many symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Some other symptoms include obesity, frequent urination, and lethargy.


This condition is an inflammation of your Shiba Inu’s hair follicles. Folliculitis causes hair loss, swelling itchiness, and other symptoms.

Bacteria is the common culprit in folliculitis, but it can also be due to parasites, fungi, and more. Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism may also lead to folliculitis.


Your Shiba Inu can suffer from a fungal or bacterial infection, sometimes even both. There are two types of fungal infections to watch out for: ringworms and yeast infections. All three of these can cause hair loss, bad odor, and skin redness.


Mange is an uncomfortable skin condition caused by mites, and ectoparasites related to ticks. There are two types of mange, depending on which mite is causing trouble:

  • Demodectic mange (Demodex mite)
  • Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei mite)

Both of these can cause hair loss in your Shiba Inu. But hair loss due to sarcoptic mange is due to excessive scratching, not due to the condition itself.

Fleas, ticks, lice, and worms can also cause your Shiba Inu’s hair to fall off. Oftentimes, this is also due to the incessant scratching to relieve their itchy skin.

Pressure Sores

While this is more common in older dogs, your Shiba Inu can also have this even when they are young. This is due to too much pressure or friction in certain areas of the body for a prolonged time. Usually, pressure sores show up on their hips, sides, or elbows.

Afflicted areas may also have thickened and irritated skin, ulcers, and open wounds. Pressure sores are hard to treat and hair loss due to this may be permanent.

Why Is My Shiba Inu Losing Hair on His Back?

Infections, allergies, parasites, and health issues can cause hair loss on their back. To get a detailed explanation for each of these, you can refer to the previous section. But sometimes, these cannot explain why your Shiba Inu is losing hair on their back.

Other issues that can cause this are the following:

  • Psychological problems
  • Trauma or injury
  • Side effect of drugs

Psychological Problems

A Shiba Inu who suffers from anxiety or depression will have some form of coping mechanism. Excessive grooming seems to be a popular choice for dogs. If they lick themselves too much, this can make them lose their hair.

Other than that, like humans, stress can also contribute to hair loss. The death of a loved one, moving homes, and more, can all trigger your Shiba Inu’s stress.

Trauma or Injury

Abrasions or lacerations on the back can create patches of hair loss on your Shiba Inu’s back. They may also excessively groom an injured area, which can contribute to hair loss.

A Side Effect of Drugs

Hair loss is an inevitable side effect of certain drugs that your Shiba Inu may need. This includes prednisone, chemotherapy, and a reaction from vaccines.

Why Is My Shiba Inu Losing Hair on His Ears?

Hair loss at the back of your Shiba Inu’s ears can be due to parasites or allergies. But several medical conditions may also cause this. These conditions include the following:

  • Infections (due to fungi, bacteria, or parasites)
  • Mange
  • Inflammatory skin conditions
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormonal issues

Sometimes, medical issues themselves can cause hair loss. But most of the time, this is a result of your Shiba Inu’s incessant scratching. So if you notice that they are itching more than usual, it is best to take them to your vet right away.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Keep Getting Ear Infections?

Most dogs suffer from chronic ear infections due to allergies. And Shiba Inu are particularly sensitive to allergies. Oftentimes, ear infections get triggered by the following allergens:

  • Flea bites
  • Grass
  • Pollens
  • Dust
  • Dander

Ear infections and allergies go hand in hand and they often flare up simultaneously. This is because allergies cause skin inflammation in the ears as well. Inflammation creates a warm and moist environment in the ears, causing yeast and bacteria buildup.

Even without allergies, they can still get yeast and bacterial ear infections. This is often due to an increase in wax production in their ears. Wax is food for these microorganisms, and they already live in your Shiba Inu’s ears naturally.

But yeast and bacterial overgrowth can be due to your Shiba Inu’s lifestyle as well. Swimming often will make their ears moister. If you do not dry this out, you can expect bacteria and yeast overgrowth.

Other than that, foreign bodies getting stuck in their ears can promote wax buildup. And as you know, the microorganisms that live in their ears love to eat wax. This may cause an ear infection if you do not make it a habit to clean their ears.

Medical issues may also explain your furry friend’s chronic ear infections. Endocrine and autoimmune disorders are only some of these.

Why Is My Shiba Inu So Anxious?

Shiba Inu become anxious dogs due to fear and sometimes, this may be irrational. There are two common reasons why a Shiba Inu suffers from anxiety:

  • Improper Socialization: Shiba Inu have a unique personality. This is because they are not as domesticated as other dogs. Thus, you need to expose them to a lot of experiences while they are young puppies.
  • External Factors: Trauma, accidents, and illnesses can make your Shiba Inu develop anxiety. Any other bad experiences they may have, such as going to a new home, can also be the cause of this.

Anxiety affects your Shiba Inu more than you can imagine. This leads them to do displacement or repetitive behaviors that may harm them. Anxiety in your Shiba Inu can manifest itself in various ways, such as:

  • Running away
  • Hiding
  • Panting
  • Pacing around
  • Chewing
  • Potty accidents
  • Barking
  • Aggression
  • Coprophagia (eating their poop)

These are all your Shiba Inu’s attempts to relieve their stress. They will do many of these incessantly, resulting in self-harm.

For example, your Shiba Inu may chew on anything in sight due to anxiety. In the process, they may injure their mouth or wound their teeth.

This can also happen with excessive clawing or digging. Your Shiba Inu can have wounded paws, and broken nails, and sometimes these will cause them to bleed.

So canine anxiety is a serious matter and you should get your Shiba Inu the help they need if they suffer from it. But to do this, you first need to figure out what type of anxiety they have:

  • Noise anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Travel anxiety
  • Confinement anxiety
  • Separation anxiety

Noise Anxiety

Your furry friend has much better hearing than yours, so loud noises are terrifying to them. Some triggers of this type are fireworks, sirens, thunder, and other loud sounds.

Social Anxiety

This is where your Shiba Inu’s lack of socialization comes out. This breed is notorious for not getting along with other animals and strangers. They often like to keep to themselves, only being friendly to their owners.

But you cannot keep your Shiba Inu at home all the time. They also need to go out and meet strangers, whether they are humans or other dogs.

The lack of socialization will make them misbehave around strangers. This is because your Shiba Inu does not know how to interact with them. Instead of asking for pets, your Shiba Inu may bark at them, asking them to go away.

Travel Anxiety

As a den animal, your Shiba Inu takes a liking to smaller spaces, making them feel like they are in a den. Your car can make them feel like this. Or if you keep them in a crate inside your car, they may feel okay until the car starts moving.

They are not used to their dens moving around. This will frighten your Shiba Inu because this is something new to them.

Confinement Anxiety

Sometimes, the opposite can happen and your Shiba Inu dislikes getting confined. Staying in a smaller space may make them feel trapped like they cannot escape when there is a threat.

Separation Anxiety

Shiba Inu are very independent dogs that are happy to spend time by themselves. With this, they are not prone to developing separation anxiety. But this does not mean that they are immune to it.

Although aloof, Shiba Inu love their owners a lot. If they suffer from this condition, they will be in great distress whenever you are not with them. This leads to several unwanted and destructive behaviors.

What Can You Do for an Anxious Shiba Inu?

As a fur parent, there are many things that you can do to help your Shiba Inu overcome or lessen their anxiety. But keep in mind that anxiety may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. So the first thing you must do is to take them to the vet.

But if your Shiba Inu is healthy, then you can proceed with modifying their behavior.

While you are still at the vet, make sure to tell them about your Shiba Inu’s anxiety issues. They can recommend you the proper course of action for your buddy.


You can use this if your Shiba Inu fears a certain stimulus or situation. The goal is to give them a positive experience as the stimulus or situation arises. In time. they will form a positive association with what they fear, making them less anxious.

So if your Shiba Inu is afraid of loud noises, give them something to enjoy at the time of the event. Whenever they hear fireworks, give them a toy or a treat to distract them. This makes their experience more bearable and more positive.

If they have separation anxiety, you can counter condition your Shiba Inu as well. Once you are at the door, give them a treat-dispensing toy to play with. When you leave, they will get distracted a bit by trying to get the treat out. Doing this all the time will make them have a positive association with your departure.


The goal of this is to acclimate your Shiba Inu to a certain stimulus. You can do this by exposing them to their triggers in small doses. In time, they will then learn to ignore it or behave better whenever they experience it.

Desensitization does not work for all triggers, like fireworks and thunderstorms. This is because it will be hard for you to emulate and weaken this at home. But you can do this with cars, skateboards, and others.

So if your Shiba Inu’s anxiety gets triggered by the sound of a skateboard, then keep exposing them to its noise. Start by producing noise that is weak enough so they hear it and remain calm. But not too loud that they go into a state of panic.

Have your Shiba Inu focus on you the whole time. Their eyes should only be on you. Then distract them by giving them simple commands.

If they can remain calm and focused on you, reward them with a high-value treat. Keep repeating this process slowly, making the noise louder as you progress.

In time, they will develop alternative behaviors in stressful circumstances. They will also associate their then anxiety-inducing triggers with something positive, like treats.

Keep in mind that you should be careful with this method. Desensitization must be a slow and gradual process, or you will frighten your Shiba Inu more.

This is best for younger Shiba Inu as they are more responsive. Older Shiba Inu do not react well to this as they are set in their ways.

Soothing Environment

You can help your Shiba Inu lessen their anxiety by creating a predictable day-to-day life. A good way to start this is by keeping yourself calm as well. Dogs are great at picking up their owner’s emotions and they may mirror them.

Then you can create a fixed daily routine for all of your Shiba Inu’s activities and follow it. If they know what to expect, their anxiety levels will go down. Consider their feeding time, walking, playtime, and more.

Take it up a notch and play some calming music around the house. This will not only benefit you but also your furry friend!

Classical music is the best for this and most dogs calm down whenever they hear it. Avoid playing heavy metal, jazz, and other loud music. These will make them irritable or anxious.

Natural Options

You may want to give natural options a try before going for prescription medicines. This includes a variety of supplements, pheromones, and nutraceuticals. These may work on your Shiba Inu and make them calmer dogs.

The most popular one of these is Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP). This is a nutraceutical that is often recommended by experts.

What is good about DAP is that it has no known side effects or interactions with meds that your Shiba Inu takes. The downside is that the efficacy widely varies from one dog to another.

If DAP does not work for your Shiba Inu, below is a list of other natural options you can try.

  • Anxitane: This contains L-theanine, an amino acid that acts on the nervous system. Anxitane may help in calming your Shiba Inu’s nerves. But you should not use this if they have severe anxiety or aggression.
  • Haromnease: This is a combination of extracts from Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. Haromnease is around 60% effective for dogs who suffer from noise anxiety.
  • Composure: Like Anxitane, this contains L-theanine. An addition in composure is its thiamine and proprietary C3 content.

Why Is My Shiba Inu Shivering?

Shiba Inu will shake themselves from their nose to the tip of their tail for no reason. This is the “Shiba shake” and this is normal for this goofy breed. But this is not always the case, shivering can be a sign of something scarier.

This has a wide range of reasons, from medical conditions to emergencies. The following is a list of possible reasons why your furry friend is shivering.

Cold Weather

Like you, your Shiba Inu will also shiver when it is getting a bit too chilly for them. This is a natural response to get their body pumping more blood. As a result, this raises their body temperature to keep them warm.


It is normal for dogs to shiver when they are feeling intensely happy or excited. So take note of the situation they are in when they start to shiver. It may be because you whipped out their favorite toy!

Fear, Stress, or Anxiety

On the opposite end, your Shiba Inu may also shiver due to intense negative emotions. Shaking is a common sign of stress and while this is not harmful, this is not good for your poor buddy. So make sure to remove them from situations that cause them to fear.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Shiba Inu are smart dogs and they will learn what to do to get your attention. If you have always rushed to their side whenever they shake, they will use this as leverage. They will use this to get what they want from you and most of the time, they want treats.


Shivering is a common symptom of pain. This can be due to an injury, accident, or a medical condition that causes pain.

Ear Infections

One of the symptoms of ear infections is excessive head shaking. With this condition, you need to act fast as this can worsen with time. Make sure to do frequent ear checkups on your Shiba Inu’s ears to see if there is anything unusual.

Old Age

An old Shiba Inu cannot regular their body temperature as they used to when they were in their prime. Thus, they are more prone to getting cold and you will see them shiver a lot more.

This can also be because older dogs experience a weakening in their leg muscles. Or, it can be a sign that your Shiba Inu has joint pain or arthritis.

Canine Distemper

This is a highly contagious disease in dogs caused by a virus called the paramyxovirus. Young pups and unvaccinated dogs are the ones who are most at risk of contracting this. Canine distemper has a lot of scary symptoms, and one of them is shivering.


Shiba Inu are curious furry creatures and they may get a hold of items that are toxic to them, like chocolate. Other than shivering, poisoning can also lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. This is a life-threatening situation that needs the help of an emergency vet.

Other than these possible causes, shivering can also be due to the following:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Generalized tremor syndrome (GTS)
  • Seizures

Why Is My Shiba Inu Limping?

A less scary reason why your Shiba Inu is limping is due to an injury or trauma, which can be superficial or deeper. More serious causes of limping are joint disease, bone disease, and even bone cancer.

Limping in dogs can either be gradual onset or sudden onset. Identifying which one your Shiba Inu has will help in narrowing down the cause.

In gradual onset, their limp develops over some time. An underlying medical issue will cause this type of limping and this can worsen over time.

While in sudden onset, their limping happens without notice. This is usually due to any injuries or trauma that your Shiba Inu suffers from.

No matter the type, you should always take your Shiba Inu to the vet to be safe. It may help your vet if you already have a rough idea of the cause. So below is a list of the common causes of limping to help you with this.

Paw Injury

Check your Shiba Inu’s paw pads for any wounds, cuts, scrapes, or splinters. These can cause great pain and your Shiba Inu may limp to relieve some pain on the affected paw.

Your Shiba Inu’s paw injuries can be due to many things. Common ones are stepping on sharp objects or walking on rough surfaces. But it can also be because of the following:

  • Getting pricked by a thorn
  • Stepping on a nail
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Walking too long on hot pavements, sand, or dirt

Nail Issues

Pain due to broken nails and long nails can cause your Shiba Inu to limp. So make sure to check their nails as you try to figure out what the issue is as well.

Broken nails can be a result of a variety of scenarios. They may break by getting snagged onto something. If the issue is severe, this can lead to an infection.

Long nails are also another issue for your Shiba Inu. This puts too much pressure on their toes and can cause dislocation or trauma. Every time our Shiba Inu walks runs or plays, they feel this.


Excess weight puts extra pressure on your Shiba Inu’s joints and bones. This can cause lameness and may even trigger arthritis if you do not do anything about it.

Injury or Trauma

Does your Shiba Inu push their body’s limits? Or are they clumsy goofballs? Either one of these can make your Shiba Inu prone to getting hurt.

Any of the following injuries or trauma can cause limping in your Shiba Inu:

  • Muscle sprain or strain
  • Broken bones
  • Joint trauma
  • Torn ligaments
  • Dislocation
  • Spinal injuries

Many scenarios can lead to this. If they accidentally get hit by a car, fight with another dog, and more.

Whatever the case may be, any of these can be a quite serious issue for your Shiba Inu. Make sure to take them to the emergency vet right away.

Joint Diseases

Several joint conditions can weaken your Shiba Inu’s joints and this can lead them to have a limp. Two of these are hip dysplasia and patellar luxation and Shiba Inu are prone to these. Other diseases that you should consider are:

  • Arthritis
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)

You should also consider the possibility that your Shiba Inu has Lyme disease. This makes their joints painful, which in turn leads to limping.

Bone Diseases

Panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy are diseases that can explain their limp. Osteosarcoma is also another but this is a form of cancer that attack your Shiba Inu’s bones.

What Is Shiba Inu IVDD?

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a spinal disease that causes pain and mobility issues. IVDD is the most common neurosurgical condition in canines. This can occur due to a bulging, rupture, slipping, or herniating of the spinal disc.

Early detection and treatment are crucial for IVDD as it worsens over time. If you get help right away, you can manage this disease with conservative methods. If left untreated, this can lead to irreversible damage.

There are two types of this spinal disease: Hansen Type I and Hansen Type II. These affect the spinal discs differently.

Hansen Type I arises when the intervertebral disc ruptures. When it does, the disc’s jelly-like contents ooze out and add pressure to the spinal cord. This causes so much pain for your Shiba Inu.

The disc ruptures because it hardens and calcifies. A healthy disc should be flexible, twisting and extending when it should. But if it becomes rigid, normal wear and tear and accidents can make it rupture.

Hansen Type II is when the intervertebral disc bulges, making it out of place. This building calcifies over time and puts pressure on your Shiba Inu’s spinal cord.

While this is the less painful of the two, it can still cause issues. Your Shiba Inu will have problems with their mobility. They will become reluctant to exercise, which is unusual for this playful breed.

Why Do Shiba Inu Get IVDD?

They develop IVDD because of the rupturing or bulging of the intervertebral disc. This happens when the disc hardens, making it prone to herniating and slipping. Your Shiba Inu may inherit this disease or it may happen due to an external force.

An extreme force, like a bad fall, can cause damage to your Shiba Inu’s disc. Once it ruptures or bulges, it will compress the spinal cord, causing immense pain.

What Age Do Shiba Inu Get IVDD?

Your Shiba Inu can get IVDD at any age, unfortunately. They may have it as early as two years of age or even later in life, at 6 to 8 years of age.

What Are the Symptoms of IVDD in Shiba Inu?

IVDD has a wide range of symptoms and it will depend on what type your Shiba Inu has. It will also depend on which part of the spine got affected.

A common symptom of IVDD is a change in their gait. You may notice that your Shiba Inu drags one of their limbs or both of them. Your Shiba Inu may also hesitate to jump or climb the stairs.

Another more clear symptom is their reluctance to lower their head. You notice this most when they are trying to eat food or drink water. IVDD can make it painful to move their neck.

You may also notice that your Shiba Inu raises their paws more than usual. This is due to damage to their spinal cord, affecting their pain perception. Their brain makes them think they are in pain when they take a step, so they raise their paws instead.

These are all symptoms that may occur over time. But IVDD may also occur suddenly and it can be intense right off the bat. They may be healthy dogs but this condition hits them hard without notice. As a result, this can paralyze your Shiba Inu in an instant.

Other symptoms of IVDD include the following:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Limping on one or more limbs
  • Panting
  • Shivering or trembling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hunched posture
  • Urinary incontinence

Is IVDD Genetic in Shiba Inu?

IVDD is a highly inheritable disease in dogs, so your Shiba Inu can get this due to their genetics. But they can also get this as a result of environmental factors.

One example of this is your Shiba Inu’s weight. If they are overweight or obese, they are more susceptible to developing IVDD. The excess pressure on their back can damage their intervertebral discs in time.

Another is your Shiba Inu’s exercise habits. If they push their body to the extreme, they may develop IVDD by accident. A bad fall from a high area can also damage their intervertebral disc.

How Likely Is a Shiba Inu to Get IVDD?

Shiba Inu is not a breed that is often associated with IVDD. But any dog can get IVDD and your Shiba Inu is no exception. Other than their genetics, certain factors can make them more prone to IVDD, like obesity.

You should also know that Shiba Inu are prone to issues with their neck and back. While this may not necessarily be IVDD, this may increase their likelihood of it.

How Do You Prevent IVDD in Shiba Inu?

There is no way to completely prevent your Shiba Inu from developing IVDD. But there are ways for you to lessen their risk for this serious disease. The main thing is to put the least amount of pressure on their spine as possible.

Manage Their Weight

Keeping your Shiba Inu at a normal weight can benefit their health in many ways. But this especially helps in minimizing their risk for IVDD.

Obesity puts a lot of extra pressure on their joints, body, and their spine. This pressure can damage their intervertebral discs in time. Or, it will make your Shiba Inu one bad fall away from getting IVDD.

Lessen Their High-Impact Activities

IVDD can occur as a result of an extreme external force. Many physical activities that your Shiba Inu does can put tremendous force on the spine.

Experts highlight jumping on and off furniture the most. It is normal for dogs to jump, but this is bad for their spine when they land on the ground. It can be even worse if they jump from tall furniture.

Unfortunately, another activity is playing tug-of-war. Many dogs enjoy playing this because it taps into their primal instincts. But this puts unnecessary pressure on your Shiba Inu’s neck.

Other than that, roughhousing with other pets and even with you is also another thing to lessen. This is a very physical activity and your playful Shiba Inu can become too careless in the process.

Playing rough with other dogs can also cause other accidents. This may involve your Shiba Inu’s back and can lead to IVDD.

Lift Them Properly

Many dog owners do not realize the impact of lifting their dogs the wrong way. Not only will this cause pain, but this can also lead to IVDD. Lifting your Shiba Inu makes their backs quite vulnerable to damage. So you cannot carry your Shiba Inu in any way you want.

Although Shiba Inu are not very cuddly, carrying them is sometimes unavoidable. With this, here is the proper way to carry your furry friend—

When lifting your Shiba Inu, make sure your hands are in the proper place. One should be under their chest, and another under their rump. Make sure to keep their back leveled as you lift them.

Never try to lift your Shiba Inu in the following ways:

  • By their collar
  • By their scruff
  • By their tail
  • By their legs

These are painful and can damage their spine in the long run. So next time, be mindful of how you lift your furry pooch.

Use a Harness Instead of a Collar

Unless your Shiba Inu is well-behaved and obedient on a collar, use a harness to walk them. This can be tricky though because they are quite a headstrong breed and they will do what they want when they want. So to be on the safe side, use a harness only.

A collar is dangerous because it puts so much pressure on your Shiba Inu’s neck. When walking them outside, they may tug on it a lot. If they decide to run towards something, they can choke themselves in the process.

While a harness will distribute this pressure on the strongest parts of your Shiba Inu’s body. Thus, a harness is gentler on their body, especially their neck.

Set Up Nonslip Mats at Home

A slippery floor is bad news for your Shiba Inu’s back. When they fall, an extreme force hits their spine and this can damage their spinal disc. This is a bigger issue if your Shiba Inu is quite a playful dog.

So if there is any part in your home that is slippery, make sure to put nonslip mats there. This will prevent your Shiba Inu from slipping by accident.

Outdoors, your Shiba Inu may also slip on wet mud after the rain. While you cannot put nonslip mats outside, keep a watchful eye on them while they do their thing.

Will My Shiba Inu Have Back Problems?

It is hard to tell if your Shiba Inu will have back problems since there are many factors to consider. Generally, this breed is prone to neck and spine pains and issues. So you need to put more care into taking care of their spine.

Your Shiba Inu’s genetics also play a big part in this. If there is any spinal disease in their family history, they may have back issues.

This is why you should always ask about a puppy’s parents’ health background. You will know what your Shiba Inu is susceptible to. This way, you can take preventative steps to reduce their risk for certain health issues.

Other than that, your Shiba Inu’s weight and lifestyle play a big part in this too. Anything that may affect their back will affect their back health.

What Causes Shiba Inu to Have Back Problems?

Your Shiba Inu can get back problems due to injuries, trauma, or accidents during play. This includes slipping, falling, or a bad landing. It can also be due to fighting with another dog, as Shiba Inu do not like dominant dog breeds.

Any injury on their back can cause bruising and this is the mildest consequence. But this may also lead to pinched nerves, muscle strains, and ruptured discs. The latter one is what causes intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) in dogs.

Other than that, this can also lead to vertebral fractures. This can be due to a bad diet or even the wrong use of dog collars while training.

In mild cases, your Shiba Inu can recover from this. But in severe ones, they may have a hopeless case.

But there are other reasons why your Shiba Inu can have back problems. The following is a list of common causes of canine back pain.


This is a significant health issue in Shiba Inu as it can lead to even more problems. This includes heart disease, metabolic disorders, and even back pain.

If your Shiba Inu is on the heavier side, the extra fat puts a ton of pressure on its back. This increases their risk of intervertebral disc disease, a serious spinal disease.

Spinal Arthritis

While arthritis commonly affects the joints of the legs, it can attack any joint in the body. This can mean that arthritis can occur in the joints of your Shiba Inu’s spine.

Arthritis is often associated with older dogs, but they can get it at any age. Any spinal injuries during their developmental stage can make them prone to this. So make sure to pay extra care to them while their bones are still forming.

Other than that, arthritis is often associated with obesity. All the extra weight your Shiba Inu has will strain their joints, even the spinal joints.

Spinal arthritis can be quite painful for them as it has tons of smaller joints. So if your Shiba Inu has arthritis, they experience a grating pain whenever they move. This then affects the quality of life of this playful breed.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

This spinal disease starts with the slipping, herniating, or bulging of the disc. When this happens, the fluid inside the disc gets damaged, putting pressure on the spinal cord. So no matter how IVDD occurs in your Shiba Inu, this causes excruciating pain and may lead to paralysis.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Usually, older dogs suffer from degenerative myelopathy since this is a progressive disease. The onset starts in dogs at around 8 to 16 years of age.

This disease begins with a lack of coordination and weakness in the hind legs. It then advances into complete paralysis of their hind legs. This often happens fast, within 6 months to a year of the onset.


This is another disease that is often associated with old age. Spondylitis occurs when the bone spurs grow on the vertebrae. This causes your Shiba Inu a lot of pain and mobility issues.

Spondylitis may be due to a dog’s genetic predisposition. But it can also be due to spinal injuries and normal wear and tear.


Meningitis occurs when there is an inflammation of the meninges. This is a layer of covering over your Shiba Inu’s brain and spinal cord to protect them.

Usually, the inflammation is due to bacterial or viral infections. But meningitis can also be sterile, where the inflammation is not due to bacteria or virus.

Dogs affected with meningitis will appear depressed, stiff, have seizures, and more. They may also experience severe neck pain and trouble moving their heads.

When Do Shiba Inu Develop Back Problems?

Shiba Inu are prone to several back problems which they can get at any point in their life. This can be due to spinal injuries or diseases. Although back problems are often seen in older dogs, your Shiba Inu is just as susceptible.

While your Shiba Inu is still young, they are still undergoing early development. In this stage, their bones are still forming and any accident can cause issues down the road.

With this, they are more prone to injuring their backs as their bones are still soft. This can lead to fractures, pinched nerves, and more. All these back issues are painful for your poor pup.

Not only that, spinal injuries at a young age can make them prone to developing spinal diseases. They may already have this after an accident, but the onset is once they are older.

Adult Shiba Inu are also not immune to back problems, even if their bones are stronger. Usually, this is due to such an active lifestyle because they can be reckless during exercise. Accidents can happen and this can affect their back health.

In older Shiba Inu, the most likely cause of back pain is due to diseases. Arthritis is a common one and this affects any joint in their bodies, including their spine.

Other diseases are progressive in nature. Your Shiba Inu may already have a spinal disease at a young age, with no sign yet. But once they reach their old age, the onset begins and so do their mobility and pain issues.

At any point in their lives, they may also have back problems due to their weight. So make sure to manage your Shiba Inu’s weight as well.

How Do You Know if Your Shiba Inu Has Back Problems?

A common sign of a back problem in Shiba Inu is a change in posture. You may notice that they hunch their back for no clear reason. They may also hang their head low and avoid moving it a lot, this is due to neck or upper back pain.

Other symptoms of back pain may look like an issue with their legs.

You may notice that your Shiba Inu’s gait has changed. As they walk, they may sway from side to side, appear wobbly, or take shorter strides. Apart from that, limping is a more obvious sign that they have back issues.

Another clearer sign of a back problem is pain. Your Shiba Inu will vocalize more, especially when they are walking. When you touch them, they may yelp or whine out of pain as well.

Back pain may also cause your Shiba Inu to hesitate when moving around. They may have difficulty standing up from lying down. Or they may hesitate to walk, especially run.

Mobility issues due to back pain may also cause them to have frequent potty accidents. This can be because they have a hard time urinating. Or, they may find it hard to get to their potty area in time.

How to Help Shiba Inu With Back Problems

The first thing you should do to help your Shiba Inu who suffers from back pain is to take them to the vet. It is vital to figure out the underlying cause first. This way, you and your vet can figure out the appropriate treatment plan for your poor Shiba Inu.

Depending on the cause, your Shiba Inu may need medications, strict cage rest, or rehab therapy. In severe cases, they may need surgery along with a combination of other treatments.

Whatever the case may be, one of your priorities is to lessen your Shiba Inu’s pain. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used for this.

After your trip to the vet, you still have other ways to help your poor furry friend with their back issues. Below is a list of other options that you can try.

Adjust Your Home Setup

Make sure to make some changes in your home to help your Shiba Inu recover well. These may be small changes, but they can help your Shiba Inu a lot.

The goal here is to lessen the strain on their spine and you can do this in a few ways.

One is by placing ramps on furniture or beds that they like to nap on. This way, your Shiba Inu will not feel the need to jump on or off of them.

Another is by pacing rubber mats or nonslip carpets around your home. This will help in preventing them from slipping, damaging their back even more.

If you have stairs at home, make sure to restrict them from using them too. Going up and down the stairs can be painful for them, but it can also make them prone to an accident.

Weight Management

If your Shiba Inu is overweight, you need to get them back to a healthy weight. The excess weight puts unnecessary pressure on your Shiba Inu’s back. This makes their condition worse or will it not help them recover well.

The safest way to approach this is to talk to your vet about a weight loss program. This will involve a change in their diet and a strict exercise routine.

Regular Supervised Exercise

Even if your Shiba Inu has back pain, they still need to have their daily exercise. But they should not have an intense exercise routine. This means that they cannot be as reckless with their body as before.

So you should always keep an eye on your Shiba Inu whenever they do physical activities. This playful breed may aggravate their backs even more in your absence. But staying with them will help in restricting their movements.

Do not make them jump, play rough with other dogs, or play tug-of-war with them anymore. Instead, go for low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and more.

Back Support

Consider getting a back brace or other accessories to support your Shiba Inu’s back. This will help in alleviating their pain by compressing their back.

But a back brace will also restrict their spinal movement. This provides support to their spine as well as their surrounding muscles.

Alternative Methods

Along with your vet’s treatment plan, you may also want to talk to them about your therapy options. Here are some popular ones that you can consider:

  • Ultrasound Waves: This uses sound waves to reach deeper areas in your Shiba Inu’s body. The waves produce heat to improve blood flow and ease the pain.
  • Cold Laser Therapy: Laser therapy uses light to also stimulate blood flow. This will not only help with the pain, but it will also speed up their healing process.
  • Physical Therapy: This will strengthen any weak parts of your Shiba Inu’s body. It will also target any stiffness and tightness they experience from back pain.
  • Hydrotherapy: To put it simply, this is like physical therapy in water. The benefit of water is that it reduces the pressure on your Shiba Inu’s back.
  • Acupuncture: There is evidence to support that this helps dogs who have chronic back pain. Acupuncture lessens pain, swelling, and spinal compression.

How Do You Prevent Back Problems in Shiba Inu?

To prevent your back problems in your Shiba Inu, you must avoid any unnecessary stress on its back. This includes high-impact exercises, intense games like tug-of-war, and more. You should also prevent them from getting into accidents that affect their back.

Shiba Inu is quite a playful breed. A lot of the activities they may do involve a lot of twisting, flexing, and extending their backs. This is not good for their spine so you need to restrict their movement more.

If your Shiba Inu likes to play with other dogs, make sure to prevent them from playing rough. Dogs like to do this, but this is an intense activity that strains their back.

In connection to this, you should prevent your Shiba Inu from getting into fights as well. Back problems from this are usually more intense due to recklessness.

These are all crucial while your Shiba Inu is still young and their bones are still forming. Any injuries to their back at this stage will make them prone to having skeletal diseases as they age.

Other than these methods above, here are other ways you can prevent back problems in your Shiba Inu:

  • Keep them at a healthy weight
  • Restrict them from jumping
  • Place nonslip mats on slippery surfaces
  • Use a harness instead of a collar

How Do You Know if Your Shiba Inu Hurt Its Back?

You can tell if your Shiba Inu hurt their back if they have an unusual posture or gait. They will arch their back and walk around with a hunch. Your Shiba Inu may also take shorter strides and appear wobbly as they move around.

Other than that, they may show a lack of coordination or control over their legs. Your poor Shiba Inu may have a limp or drag their legs as they walk.

Since back issues can affect their mobility, your Shiba Inu may hesitate to play around. Your Shiba Inu will appear lethargic and they will restrict their movements due to pain.

And because of the pain that they feel, they will not like it when you touch them. They will yelp or whine whenever you touch them or even go near them. This may also change their behavior and they will become aggressive to keep you away.

If your Shiba Inu hurt their back, they may show a wide variety of symptoms other than those mentioned. Watch out for these signs as well:

  • Shaking
  • Stiffness
  • Bruises
  • Frequent pacing
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Potty accidents

Is It Common for Shiba Inu to Break Their Backs?

It is hard to tell if Shiba Inu commonly break their backs since each dog has a different lifestyle. This issue is often due to accidents or trauma from intense physical activity.

Common reasons why a dog breaks their back are getting hit by a car and getting into a fight with another animal. Although some dog breeds can get out of these without hurting their back, others will not. Some dog breeds, like Daschunds, may hurt their backs more easily.

Shiba Inu are prone to back issues as well, so this is something to take note of. While it is hard to tell how common this issue is in the breed, they are more likely to break their backs.

What to Do When Your Shiba Inu Hurts Their Back?

If your Shiba Inu hurts their back, you need to take them to the vet right away. This is the only way to know what kind of back injury they sustained. Determining the cause will help your vet come up with a treatment plan for your Shiba Inu.

Before rushing to the vet, make sure you give them a heads up and contact them first. This will allow them to prepare for your arrival so someone can attend to your Shiba Inu right away.

Your vet may prescribe your Shiba Inu medications to help ease the pain. Whatever the underlying cause may be, your duty once you come home is to give your Shiba Inu plenty of rest.

Keeping them in a small room will help in restricting their movement so they do not aggravate their back. Or, your vet may ask you to crate rest your Shiba Inu. If they do, make sure to strictly follow your vet’s recommendation so your Shiba Inu can recover fast.

How Long Does It Take for a Shiba Inu to Recover From Back Injury?

Your Shiba Inu’s recovery period will depend on their case and the severity of the issue. Usually, recovering from a back injury will take anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks. But if their case is more severe, it will take your Shiba Inu a longer time to recover. There is no exact answer to this, as it will depend on your buddy’s condition.

How Much Is Back Surgery for Shiba Inu?

Canine back surgery is quite expensive and can cost around $1500 to $6000, depending on the severity. This cost is only for the procedure and it does not even include other expenses to prepare for the surgery. Your vet also needs to conduct tests beforehand, such as:

  • Basic physical exam
  • Neurological exam
  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Spinal tap
  • Myelogram

Other than these, you also need to factor in other expenses like the following:

  • IV catheter
  • Anesthesia (and monitoring it)
  • Hospital stay

So an all-inclusive back surgery for your Shiba Inu will cost you around $3000 to $8000. Even after the surgery, they may still need medications and physical therapy. This is to ensure that your Shiba Inu fully recovers.

The price of each item will also depend on various factors, such as your Shiba Inu’s size. Your location and your vet’s rates will also affect your expenses. If you live in a high-cost city, you can expect your expenses to go up.

How Successful Is Back Surgery on Shiba Inu?

The success rate of your Shiba Inu’s back surgery will depend on the severity of their condition. In less severe cases, they will have a 90% chance of making a full recovery. If they still have sensations in their legs, the success rate can go up to 95%.

But if your Shiba Inu’s condition is severe, the success rate drops as low as 50%. Usually, a severe case would be when they do not have sensations in their legs anymore.

Thus, if you suspect that your Shiba Inu has back problems, make sure to act fast. Back problems often get worse over time and treating them will become more tricky as a result.

Giving them immediate medical intervention will give them a better outcome. But delaying care can mean that they will sustain irreversible damage.

How Long Does It Take for a Shiba Inu to Recover From Back Surgery?

After their back surgery, your Shiba Inu may take 6 to 8 weeks to recover. It will take time for their spinal cord to recover, and so you need to take extra care of them during this period.

Your Shiba Inu will need crate rest to limit their movement for now. Do not allow them to run, jump, play with other dogs, and even climb up the stairs. These may make their recovery period longer.

You should also start with physical therapy after your Shiba Inu’s surgery. This will help them regain their strength for a speedy recovery.

How Do You Know if Your Shiba Inu Is in Pain?

Pain can manifest itself in various ways in your Shiba Inu. Some are more subtle and harder to notice, such as a sudden change in appetite. Other signs are more obvious and can make you panic, like shivering and aggression.

It can be hard to know if your Shiba Inu is in pain since dogs like to hide it. This is an ancestral trait from wolves as one of their survival tactics. It may have a benefit for wild dogs, but this will not help domesticated ones anymore. So take the time to observe your Shiba Inu if you suspect that they are in pain.

Usually, dogs who are in pain will excessively groom themselves. Licking feels nice for dogs, which is why they will use this as a self-soothing tactic. If they have wounds, they will attempt to take care of them and clean it themselves by licking.

Notice any changes in their eating, drinking, and sleeping habits as well.

They may have a hard time due to dental issues. They may drink more or less depending on the underlying cause.

And you may notice that your Shiba Inu will sleep more. This may be their way of trying to heal themselves. Or, it can be because they find it so hard to move that they will rather sleep.

A Shiba Inu in pain may also become more aggressive. They fear that you will touch them and this can cause more pain. So they will bark or lunge at you in their attempt to keep you away.

Other signs of pain that you should watch out for are the following:

  • Faster heart rate
  • Hesitance to move
  • Depression
  • Increased vocalizations
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • Restlessness
  • Change in posture
  • Change in breathing (either heavy panting or shallow breathing)

What Can I Give My Shiba Inu for Pain?

Do not attempt to self-medicate at home, you should always go to the vet and ask them what you can give your Shiba Inu. Pain is a shared symptom of many underlying issues, and each will need a different treatment plan.

Pain due to a broken bone, for example, may need emergency surgery. This is not the same treatment plan for pain due to a wounded paw. So you need to tackle the root of the issue itself.

Your vet may prescribe your Shiba Inu medicines to ease their pain.

A popular one is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin. Other than reducing pain, this also lessens any inflammation and fever your Shiba Inu has. Your vet can prescribe any of these NSAIDs:

  • Deracoxib (Deramaxx)
  • Meloxicam (Metacam)
  • Firocoxib (Previcox)
  • Carprofen (Novox, Rimadyl)
  • Grapapiant (Galliprant)

NSAIDs are often great for easing your Shiba Inu’s pain. But sometimes, they may need other options, such as:

  • Tramadol: This is a mild opioid that is often used for aging dogs with chronic pain. But this has side effects such as digestive upset, dizziness, and vomiting.
  • Gabapentin: Usually prescribed for canines with pain due to damaged nerves. Your Shiba Inu may be extra drowsy with this for the first few days.
  • Amantadine: This is for dogs whose pain is due to arthritis, disc diseases, or cancer.

Other than these, you can talk to your vet about other methods for pain relief. There are other ways to do this without having to use medicines. Some of these you will find below.

Alternative Pain-Relief Methods

You can seek the help of dog specialists for your Shiba Inu’s pain therapy options. This includes any of the following:

  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Cold laser therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound waves
  • Aromatherapy

You can also try to relieve their pain at home in simple ways, but make sure to consult your vet first. Ice packs and heating pads placed on your Shiba Inu’s painful areas may help. But make sure to wrap them with a cloth first as direct contact may worsen the pain.

How Many Teeth Does a Shiba Inu Have?

Around 3 weeks after your Shiba Inu’s birth, they will have 28 deciduous or baby teeth. At around 14 weeks after birth, they will already have their 42 permanent teeth.

As an adult, 20 of your Shiba Inu’s teeth will be on their upper jaw. The remaining 22 teeth will be on their lower jaw.

You may wonder why your Shiba Inu has more teeth when their permanent set grows in. This is because their baby teeth still do not include their premolars and molars. It only grows out once your Shiba Inu gets their second set of teeth.

How Many Sets of Teeth Do Shiba Inu Have?

Your Shiba Inu will only have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. The first set that grows is their baby teeth. Soon after, these fall off to make way for their adult teeth.

At birth, your Shiba Inu does not have teeth at all. Their baby teeth only grow about 3 weeks after birth. Each tooth type will erupt at different rates.

This starts with your Shiba Inu’s upper incisors. Soon after, the lower incisors come in. And at roughly the same time, their canine teeth also grow out.

Once your Shiba Inu is around 6 weeks of age, all their 28 baby teeth have erupted.

At 14 weeks of age, your Shiba Inu’s teeth will start to get replaced. This is their teething stage and during this period, they will bite on everything they get their paws on.

So make sure to hide any hazardous items in your house and keep them out of your Shiba Inu’s reach.

The first to come out is their incisors. Soon after their canine and premolars fall out, respectively. At 6 to 7 months of age, your Shiba Inu will already have all their grown-up teeth!

Is It Common for Shiba Inu to Lose Their Teeth?

A Shiba Inu who is less than a year old will lose their teeth and this is normal and necessary, not only common. This is part of their teething process to replace their baby teeth. But it is not normal for an adult to lose their teeth, and this may be more common in this breed.

Generally, this breed does not have the best set of canine teeth. They are prone to having a bad bite and misaligned teeth. This is due to their long and narrow nose, as this makes their teeth more crowded.

As a result, extra care for their dental health is a must. Shiba Inu are prone to plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to dental disease.

The most common cause of teeth falling off in canines is periodontal disease. And Shiba Inu are prone to this, unfortunately.

Why Do Shiba Inu Lose Their Teeth?

If your Shiba Inu loses their teeth as a puppy, it is due to the natural teething process. Their teeth need to fall off so that their adult teeth grow out. But when an adult Shiba Inu loses their teeth, this is can be due to dental disease, tooth decay, or trauma.

Whatever the cause may be, your Shiba Inu needs to see a vet right away. Any issues with their dental health can be serious as it causes them a lot of pain. With pain, they may not be able to eat well.

But it may help your vet narrow down the possible causes if you already have a rough idea. To help you with this, below are the common causes of tooth falling in adult Shiba Inu.

Dental Disease

All dogs are prone to developing dental disease, but your Shiba Inu is more likely to get one. This is because they often have problems with their bite or misaligned teeth. The culprit behind this is their long, narrow nose.

This makes it easy for food particles and debris to get trapped in their oral crevices. These attract bacteria, causing them to build up inside their mouth.

Plaque and tartar will then build up on the surface of your Shiba Inu’s teeth. Without good oral hygiene, this buildup will reach the gumline and go deeper into the gums.

Once that happens, your Shiba Inu’s gums become inflamed. This is a painful disease called gingivitis. Your Shiba Inu may already find it hard to eat food.

At advanced stages of gingivitis, your Shiba Inu will experience chronic pain. They may also have gum erosion, causing their gum line to recede. This damage is already irreversible, unfortunately.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease. It is at this stage that your Shiba Inu’s teeth fall off.

Periodontitis attacks the support structure of your Shiba Inu’s teeth. Their teeth weaken over time and this is why their teeth fall off.

This advanced dental disease is scarier than losing a tooth or two. It is a life-threatening condition that can lead to other health issues. This includes damaging their heart, kidneys, and liver.

Tooth Decay

Humans use their teeth mainly for eating and almost nothing else. But your Shiba Inu uses it for almost everything they do and they use it every day. This includes chewing on their favorite toy or food, picking up stuff, and more.

A lot of things also go through your Shiba Inu’s mouth. These are quite curious dogs and they may get dirt, debris, feces, and other stuff in their mouth.

Unfortunately, this contributes to the normal wear and tear of their teeth. The more they use it, the more likely their teeth get decayed.

If this happens to your Shiba Inu, you need to see a vet. They will have to extract any decayed teeth under general anesthesia. Along with that, your Shiba Inu will also need professional teeth cleaning.

This is the only way to ease the discomfort and pain that they are feeling. Your Shiba Inu will still be able to eat well without their teeth. If left untreated, this can turn into a nasty infection, causing more issues down the road.

Dental Trauma

Since your Shiba Inu uses their teeth a lot, they may also lose their teeth due to trauma. An example of this is by chewing on hard items, like beef bones. Gnawing on this can lead to fracture and tooth damage.

Usually, fractures or tooth loss are due to items made out of bones. Chewing on items made from dense material may also cause this.

How Many Teeth Do Shiba Inu Lose?

Your Shiba Inu puppy will lose all their 28 baby teeth due to the teething process. But if their teeth fall off for other reasons, it is hard to tell how many they will lose.

Periodontal disease, tooth decay, and trauma are all possible causes of tooth loss. The number of teeth your Shiba Inu loses will depend on the severity of their condition. In severe cases of periodontal disease, your Shiba Inu may lose all their teeth.

What Age Do Shiba Inu Puppies Lose Their Teeth?

Shiba Inu puppies usually lose their baby teeth at around 12 weeks of age. Then at 14 weeks of age, their adult incisors will begin to grow out. All the other adult teeth will follow, and at about 6 months of age, they have all their new teeth.

How Long Are Shiba Inu Teething?

The teething stage can be a frustrating experience, but it ends when your Shiba Inu is about 6 to 7 months of age. At this age, your puppy will have a full set of adult pearly whites! Their need to chew on everything in sight will now dwindle as well.

With their second set of teeth your Shiba Inu will have the following:

  • Incisors: Teeth at the front of your Shiba Inu’s jaws. They use this for scraping and grooming themselves.
  • Canines: Four pointy teeth beside the incisors. These are for tearing food and locking on to an item with their bite.
  • Premolars: Sharp-edged teeth right behind the canines. Premolars are for chewing and shredding food.
  • Molars: The teeth found at the back of your Shiba Inu’s jaws. They use their molars for chewing their food.

Make sure to watch out for any remaining baby teeth after the teething stage. If there is a baby tooth left, this can be painful and cause a lot of dental issues down the road. You should take your Shiba Inu to the vet to have this removed right away.

What Should Shiba Inu Teeth Look Like?

Shiba Inu should have a complete set of healthy, clean, and white teeth. There should be no signs of buildup, such as tartar, plaque, and food or debris. Their teeth should not have any discolorations as well, such as any yellowing.

You should also pay attention to their gums as they are also indicators of their oral health. Healthy gums should be pinkish. No bleeding and swelling should be present.

Are Shiba Inu Known to Have Bad Teeth?

Unfortunately, Shiba Inu are prone to having teeth issues. They are more likely to have misaligned teeth and problems with their bite. With this, they are more susceptible to plaque and tartar buildup.

This can lead to gingivitis and then periodontal disease without proper oral hygiene. But if you follow a strict brushing routine, you can avoid all these issues.

So if you can, make sure to brush their teeth every day. If you cannot do this, aim for at least thrice a week. This can already have a significant positive impact on their dental health.

Why Do Shiba Inu Have Bad Teeth?

Shiba Inu may have problems with their teeth alignment and bite due to their narrow noses. With this, all their 42 teeth will get crowded on their jaws. This means that there are more gaps in their teeth for food and debris to get trapped in.

That is a big issue if you are not meticulous with their oral hygiene.

Food and bacteria that get trapped in these gaps can lead to plaque and tartar buildup. Then this can reach your Shiba Inu’s gums and can progress to gingivitis. Then, if you do not do anything, this can develop into periodontal disease.

All these issues can make your Shiba Inu’s breath smell bad. But this is only a mild consequence of having bad oral hygiene. Your Shiba Inu may get chronic pain and even lose all their teeth!

But if you pay extra attention to their teeth, your Shiba Inu will not have these issues. If you want to correct their teeth alignment, they can get braces to have a better bite.

When Do Shiba Inu Get Their First Shots?

To protect your Shiba Inu, they should get their first shots at around 6 to 8 weeks of age. They will then need a series of vaccinations after every 2 to 4 weeks until they are around 14 weeks of age.

What Shots Do Shiba Inu Puppies Need?

Your Shiba Inu will need mandatory vaccinations, such as distemper, rabies, and others. There are other vaccines they can have, but these are optional and will depend on their lifestyle. Not every dog will need the optional vaccines, so it is best to consult your vet about this.

Mandatory Vaccines

Canine Distemper

This will protect your Shiba Inu from a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Paramyxovirus can cause the following:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Respiratory issues (such as a severe cough)
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Your Shiba Inu will need this shot at 6 to 8 weeks of age.


Parvovirus is also another serious and contagious disease. The scary thing is that canine parvovirus is a very resistant DNA virus. Symptoms of this include:

  • High fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe vomiting

Usually, puppies die from parvovirus due to dehydration and intoxication. These two are a result of their severe vomiting.

Even if your Shiba Inu recovers from parvovirus, they are not out of the woods yet as it has long-term effects. Dogs who suffered from parvovirus usually die a few years later.

Your Shiba Inu will need their parvovirus shots at around 6 to 8 weeks of age.


This vaccine protects your Shiba Inu from various diseases such as:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvovirus
  • Coronavirus

Dogs often get infectious hepatitis through contaminated water and food. Initially, it will cause eye and kidney inflammation. Kidney issues will lead to vomiting and diarrhea and can be fatal for puppies.

Parainfluenza is another contagious respiratory virus. This causes infectious tracheobronchitis in canines. Oftentimes, it will develop in situations where many dogs are together.

Leptospirosis and coronavirus vaccines may be optional for your Shiba Inu. If your vet determines that they do not need these, they may give your furry friend a DHPP vaccine instead.

Here is how often your Shiba Inu will need their DHLPPC vaccine:

  • First vaccination: 6 to 8 weeks old
  • Second vaccination: 9 to 11 weeks olf
  • Third vaccination: 12 to 14 weeks old
  • Fourth vaccination: 16 to 17 weeks old
  • Booster shots: Every year

This viral disease causes hallucinations, aggression, paralysis, and more. It can also lead to death if an infected dog does not get medical attention within hours of infection.

The transmission of rabies is usually through the bite of an infected animal. Unfortunately, it can also spread to humans.

Here is how often your Shiba Inu needs their rabies vaccine:

  • First vaccination: 16 weeks of age
  • Booster shots: Every 12 to 36 months

Optional Vaccines

Not every Shiba Inu has the same risk factors, which is why they may not need these other vaccines. Make sure to talk to your vet about your Shiba Inu’s lifestyle to determine what they need.

  • Bordetella
  • Lyme disease
  • Heartworm
  • Leptospirosis
  • Coronavirus
  • Fungal infections

Is Pet Insurance Worth It for a Shiba Inu?

Having pet insurance for your Shiba Inu will be worth it for both of you. It will help in ensuring that they will get the care that they need and when they need it, at any point in their life. But it can also help you with their medical costs so that you do not have to shell out a lot of money.

Although Shiba Inu is a healthy breed, they are prone to several health issues. Some of them include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and glaucoma.

If they develop any of these, you may pay for an unexpected vet bill worth thousands of dollars. Medical treatment is necessary to help your furry friend go back to their happy self. But this is a hefty sum that many dog owners will have a hard time paying for.

That is where pet insurance comes in, reimbursing you for most of the cost, depending on your plan.

Some dog owners delay getting pet insurance for their dogs. They may think that getting one later is better since it is older dogs that often have health issues.

But your Shiba Inu can develop medical conditions at any age. Other than that, they may also have accidents that need immediate surgery.

The earlier you get pet insurance, the better your plan will be. Companies will give you a better quote while your Shiba Inu is still young and healthy.

If your Shiba Inu is older, the cost of your pet insurance will be more expensive. Especially if they already have an existing health condition. It may also be harder for you to find pet insurance for them if they are already sickly.

How Much Is It to Insure a Shiba Inu?

Pet insurance for a Shiba Inu will range from $18 to $69 a month. There are a few factors that affect the monthly cost that you have to pay, such as:

  • Where you live
  • Coverage
  • Your Shiba Inu’s age

Naturally, more comprehensive coverages for your Shiba Inu will be more expensive. The price can go higher if they are older and if you live in a city with a high cost of living.

The price will also depend on your insurance provider and your financial standing. So to get a more accurate monthly cost, it is best to get a quote from your local insurance provider.

What Is the Lifespan of a Shiba Inu?

The average life expectancy of a Shiba Inu is around 12 to 15 years. Because they are generally healthy dogs, you get to spend a long and happy life with them. But several serious medical conditions will significantly cut their long lifespan short.

How Long Do Shiba Inu Live in Human Years?

Shiba Inu live up to 12 to 15 human years on average. This is thanks to their generally great health and only a few inherited issues. Most of their genetic health conditions do not impact their long lifespan.

Although, they may still develop or contract health issues that shorten their life. This is why it is important to vaccinate your Shiba Inu. A lot of contagious and life-threatening diseases are preventable with vaccine shots.

Do Male or Female Shiba Inu Live Longer?

Your Shiba Inu’s gender does not affect their lifespan. Both male and female Shiba Inu are prone to the same health issues, so it all boils down to how you take care of them.

Spaying or neutering your Shiba Inu will help in extending their lifespan. This will lessen their risk for certain health conditions, like cancer.

If you have a female Shiba Inu and you plan to breed them, make sure to pay extra attention to their health. Regular and extra checkups will ensure help in preventing health issues from breeding.

How Do Shiba Inu Die?

Shiba Inu die from old age, diseases, or get euthanized due to a disease. Thus, you should not take this breed’s generally good health for granted. They still need proper care and frequent health checkups to help ensure their long life.

How to Keep a Shiba Inu Healthy

To keep your Shiba Inu healthy, you need to ensure that you fulfill their needs. This includes a proper diet, daily exercise, and more. Their health and well-being are your utmost responsibility as their fur parent.

The following is a list of how you can take care of your Shiba Inu.

Provide Them With the Proper Diet

A nutritious diet will have a significant impact on your Shiba Inu’s health. You have the option to feed them dry food, wet food, raw food, or a combination of these. But you need to know what goes inside your Shiba Inu’s tummy.

Be wary of certain commercial dog foods. These overprocessed and preserved foods will not do your Shiba Inu any good. They often contain fillers, low-quality protein, and other stuff they do not need.

So make sure to do your due diligence and figure out the best diet for your Shiba Inu. You can talk to your vet about this and ask them for recommendations. Try to look into raw food diet too, as this is a healthier diet for your Shiba Inu.

Secure Their Environment

Shiba Inu are notorious for being escape artists. But this is dangerous to them as they may run into trouble. They may get into an accident, get lost, or even get killed.

A fence may not be enough to keep them on your property. If the fence is too low, they will jump over it. If it does not go deep in the ground, your Shiba Inu will dig a hole to escape.

Other than that, make sure that you keep your gates and doors secure. A double door or gate system will prevent them from escaping.

Other than that, make sure to keep them secure during walks as well. Use a well-fitting harness that they cannot slip out of. A harness is better for them as it prevents pressure on their back and neck which can lead to spinal issues.

Manage Their Weight

Sometimes, you may want to spoil your Shiba Inu with lots of love, toys, and even tasty food. But if you give in to their puppy eyes a lot, you can love them to death.

A chubbier Shiba Inu may look cute, but this makes them prone to many health issues. This includes diabetes, thyroid issues, joint problems, and more. If you do not do anything about their weight, you will face dire consequences.

This will diminish your Shiba Inu’s quality of life due to their health issues. This playful and fun-loving breed cannot enjoy life due to many hindrances.

Daily Physical and Mental Exercise

Shiba Inu need their daily exercise in the form of walks, runs, and playtime. This will keep them at a healthy weight and will ensure they are still mobile as they get older. It will also benefit their mental health as it relieves their stress and eases anxiety.

Also, Shiba Inu who get their daily exercise are more well-behaved. This decreases their need to do destructive behaviors such as excessive digging.

Other than that, mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. It boosts their confidence, sharpens their mind, and gives them a sense of fulfillment. This will also help in draining their energy levels even more.

So make sure you give your Shiba Inu chores to do around the house. Puzzle toys are also great for keeping their minds sharp. But the best way to exercise their minds is to teach them commands.

Be Meticulous With Their Dental Hygiene

Dental disease affects about 80% of dogs at age two, whatever breed they are. Misaligned teeth or overbites are common in Shiba Inu because of their narrow noses. Unfortunately, this makes them even more prone to dental disease.

Like other health issues, this impacts your Shiba Inu’s quality of life. They use their teeth every day for almost everything, like eating, grooming, and more. But dental disease can cause them a lot of pain so they will not enjoy these as they did anymore.

In severe periodontal disease, your Shiba Inu’s teeth will begin to fall off. It can also lead to other serious health issues, like heart disease.

Take Them to Regular Vet Visits

Trips to the vet are the best way for you to know how your Shiba Inu is doing. This will help you catch any health issues early before their condition gets worse. With this, you can get them medical attention right away and this will give them a better prognosis.