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How Big Do Shiba Inu Grow (What Is the Right Size for Your Dog)?

A full-grown Shiba Inu is a perfect-sized dog for many as they are not too big and not too small. But to ensure that your furry friend is in good shape, you need to refer to a healthy weight and size range. Keeping track of these will help you take action as soon as you spot anything amiss.
How Big Do Shiba Inu Grow

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When you think of a Shiba Inu, you imagine a svelte, fox-like, and charming dog. So it is easy to think that your buddy may be on the skinnier side, getting you worried.

But what is harder is figuring out if they are packing on the excess pudge. With all their thick layer of fluff, they may be hiding this fact. Thus, it is easy for you to get deceived.

Being overweight or underweight is a serious issue for any dog. With this, you should always be aware of your furry friend’s body condition.

But to do this, you must have an idea of what a healthy Shiba Inu looks like. And you will know what that is in this article, along with other helpful information that you need.

Are Shiba Inu Considered Small, Medium, or Large Dogs?

Shiba Inu are officially classified as medium-sized dogs. But their size is a bit confusing, as they can go into the territory of small dogs at times. Thus, you may get conflicting answers about their size on the internet.

To shed light on this, you must know the general criteria of a small and medium dog.

Small dog breeds are those that weigh 20 pounds (9.1 kg) or less. While medium dog breeds should weigh around 20 to 60 pounds (9.1 to 27.2 kg).

A male Shiba Inu has an average weight of 23 pounds (10.4 kg), which meets the criteria of a medium-sized dog. Meanwhile, a female Shiba Inu only has an average weight of 17 pounds (7.7 kg). This puts them in the realm of small dog breeds.

With this, it is more appropriate to say that Shiba Inu are small to medium dogs.

Because we are talking about size, you may wonder why height was not mentioned here. This is not a consideration when determining a dog’s size classification. Dogs greatly vary in this regard, even within the same breed.

Thus, your Shiba Inu’s height will not matter here. But generally, taller dogs weigh more. So a bigger Shiba Inu is likely under the medium classification.

What Is the Size of a Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inu is a medium-sized dog with a preferred weight of 17 to 25 lbs (17.7 to 11.3 kg). They also have a height range of 13.5 to 15.5 in (342.9 to 393.7 mm).

Along with these, this breed has a general body length of 23 to 28 in (584.2 to 711.2 mm). Their standing height is around 17.5 to 21.5 in (444.5 to 546.1 mm).

But keep in mind that male Shiba Inu are larger and heavier dogs than their female counterparts. And for you to know if your buddy is at a healthy range, you need to know the specific measurements.

A male Shiba Inu has a height of 14.5 to 16.5 in (368.3 to 419.1 mm) at the withers. Their weight ranges from 18 to 24 lbs (8.2 to 10.9 kg).

Meanwhile, a female Shiba Inu has a withers height of 13.5 to 15.5 in (342.9 to 393.7 mm). And a healthy weight range for them is around 15 to 20 lbs (6.8 to 9.1 kg).

What Are the Sizes of Shiba Inu?

There is only one officially-recognized size for a Shiba Inu. With this, your furry friend must be a medium-sized dog. Some Shiba Inu do not fit in the average range, but this happens with every other dog breed too.

You will encounter some dogs of this breed that are smaller or bigger than the standard size. Although this is quite rare, especially if you got your Shiba Inu from a reputable breeder. But as long as your furry friend gets your vet’s clean bill of health, there is nothing to worry about. 

Are There Mini Shiba Inu?

Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu is not exempted from having miniature versions of themselves. A Shiba Inu that is purposely bred to be small is a Mame (pronounced as mah-meh) Shiba Inu. The word “mame” means “bean-sized” in Japanese, as they are 30 to 50 percent smaller than the breed standard.

A Mame Shiba Inu only stands up to 11 inches (279.4 mm) tall, while a standard Shiba Inu is 13.5 to 15.5 in (342.9 to 393.7 mm) tall. These smaller pups also weigh around 10 to 14 lbs (4.5 to 6.4 kg). This is much lighter than the weight of a standard Shiba Inu, which is 17 to 25 lbs (17.7 to 11.3 kg).

These sample measurements are for a male Mame Shiba Inu. As you can expect, a female Mame Shiba Inu will be much lighter and smaller.

Mame Shiba Inu are immensely frowned upon by many. The reason why they are being bred is all for the profit that they bring breeders. These breeders know that Mame Shiba Inu will sell because they are cute and irresistible.

But breeders have no regard for the health or temperament of these dogs. Breeding Mame Shiba Inu does not follow any standard and is not regulated. Thus, you are at risk of getting a sickly pup if you get one of these dogs.

Because breeding them is unethical, Mame Shiba Inu will never be officially recognized.

Are Mame Shiba Inu the Same as Mini Shiba Inu?

At a glance, Mame Shiba Inu and Mini Shiba Inu look the same. The difference lies in where they are being bred.

Mame Shiba Inu are often bred by Japanese breeders who have extensive knowledge of the breed. Meanwhile, a mini Shiba Inu comes from a backyard breeder that does not know the right name for these dogs.

There is also a difference in the way the two are being bred.

Breeders of Mame Shiba Inu will mate two runts to produce dogs of a small size. Another method they use is breeding two Shiba Inu who have dwarfism.

To create a mini Shiba Inu, backyard breeders will crossbreed a Shiba Inu with a smaller dog breed. Popular mates include Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and mini Poodles.

Either way, you will get issues no matter which small Shiba Inu you get.

A Mame Shiba Inu is much more prone to health issues than a standard Shiba Inu. Remember that they are being bred for their size, without their health as a consideration. This may also emphasize any genetic health conditions in their lineage.

A mini Shiba Inu, due to its mix, is more of a wild card. You will not know the temperament you get when buying one because it is hard to predict. So instead of a Shiba Inu’s temperament, you may get more of the other dog’s temperament.

Are Mame Shiba Inu a Different Breed?

Mame Shiba Inu is not a separate breed from the standard Shiba Inu. Instead, they come from the standard size and are bred to be smaller dogs. This is not an official size of the Shiba Inu, and no dog club or association will ever recognize them.

Where Do Mini Shiba Inu Come From?

There are three ways by which breeders create a smaller and lighter version of the Shiba Inu. Below is a list of these methods:

  • Mixing a Shiba Inu with a smaller dog breed
  • Mating Shiba Inu with the dwarfism gene
  • Breeding Shiba Inu runts together

To breed dogs is both a privilege and a responsibility, and one should only do so to preserve a dog breed. But by creating Mame or mini Shiba Inu, this does not happen. They are often bred without regard for the temperament and health of the puppies.

And as you can imagine, each of these methods can lead to issues, some more serious than others.

To emphasize the gravity of these issues below is a more detailed discussion of each method.

Breeding With a Smaller Dog Breed

Some breeders create mixed breeds with a standard Shiba Inu. Often, they mix a Shiba Inu with Pomeranians, mini Poodles, and Chihuahuas.

As a whole, the issue here is that the puppies they produce do not resemble the Shiba Inu as much. But what is more worrying is the temperament of these puppies.

Mixing with a Pomeranian can emphasize the stranger-related aggression in the two breeds. A Poodle-Shiba Inu mix can create stubborn pups. While breeding with a Chihuahua can produce pups that are prone to biting and aggression.

Breeding With the Dwarfism Gene

In this method, breeders will mate two dogs that have the dwarfism gene. As a result, the puppies turn out to be miniature Shiba Inu. This helps to ensure the pups’ small size, but this method has severe issues.

The produced puppies will usually have large heads, long bodies, and short legs. Because of their structure, these pups are prone to spinal issues.

Not only that, but they are also susceptible to serious heart abnormalities. These dogs may also be more aggressive.

Breeding Runts Together

A “runt” puppy is the smallest dog in the litter. With proper love and care, these dogs can grow up to be healthy and happy adults. This is also another method that ensures the small size of pups while retaining a dog’s unique traits.

But more often than not, these puppies get bombarded with a lot of health issues. They are usually weak because of a congenital abnormality. Thus, they are prone to infections, parasites, and a lot more problems.

Why Is My Shiba Inu So Small?

If you feel that your Shiba Inu is on the smaller side, they may still be growing. Puppies grow at different rates. Others reach their full-grown size faster, while others take more time.

This breed usually reaches its full adult size at around 18 months of age to 2 years of age. Thus, you may only need to wait a bit more.

Apart from that, they may also be the runt of the litter. Or, they may have small bones. In both of these scenarios, your furry friend will always be on the small side.

But these are not the only possible reasons why your Shiba Inu is smaller than usual. There are a few factors that stunt your buddy’s growth, such as:

  • Intestinal parasites
  • Malnutrition
  • Strenuous exercise

Intestinal Parasites

Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and other intestinal parasites may be the culprit. Your Shiba Inu may have gotten it from the environment or their mom when they were younger.

These parasites feed off of the nutrients from your poor pup’s body. So your Shiba Inu will not get enough calories to support their growth, thus, they will appear smaller.

Other than stunted growth, intestinal parasites can also cause the following:

  • Large potbelly
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

If you suspect that your Shiba Inu has this, take them to the vet for deworming. Make sure you follow your furry friend’s deworming schedule to prevent this again. Once these parasites are gone, the body can resume normal development.


Puppies need a nutritious diet to support their growth and development. This is why your Shiba Inu pup needs age-appropriate dog food. This way, they get the right amount of nutrients for their daily meals. If your pup does not get this, then it will experience a stunt in its growth.

But other than their food quality, their food quantity is also as important. Puppies who are starving at more at risk for stunted growth. So if your Shiba Inu does not get enough food, providing them with premium food will only go in vain.

Feeding them too much will also cause issues. If your buddy carries extra weight, they are at risk of damaging their joints. And because of the extra pressure on their joints, they will have trouble growing.

With this, make sure you are feeding your Shiba Inu the right amount of high-quality dog food.

Strenuous Exercise

Keep in mind that while your Shiba Inu is still growing, their joints are still fragile. Overexercising your Shiba Inu may lead to stunted growth.

Excessive pressure on their joints can damage the growth plates. Thus, their long bones do not develop as normal. Usually, this comes from jumping from high areas and running too much.

This is an even bigger issue if your Shiba Inu is on the heavier side. Because they weigh more, there is a greater impact on their joints.

Why Is My Shiba Inu So Big?

Some Shiba Inu are naturally larger than the breed standard, and your buddy may be one of these rare cases. As long as your vet says they are healthy, then there is nothing to worry about. But this is not the only possibility that you should consider.

Your Shiba Inu may be big due to the following:

  • They are a mixed-breed
  • They are pregnant
  • They are overweight

Your Shiba Inu Is a Mixed-Breed

You may not know it, but your Shiba Inu may be a product of crossbreeding. So they may have gotten their larger size from their bigger parent.

If you got your Shiba Inu from a breeder, make sure to check with them first. Reputable breeders will never sell you puppies advertised as purebred when in reality, they are not. When in doubt, it is always better to confirm with them.

But if you got your Shiba Inu from a shelter or a rescue, then this is trickier. When taking home a rescue dog, you do not have much information on its history. Thus, you cannot be sure about their lineage.

With this, you can always go for a dog DNA test. This will help you in determining your furry friend’s ancestry.

Your Shiba Inu Is Pregnant

This should always be one of your considerations if you have an intact female Shiba Inu. Especially if there are other intact males in your household. You may not know it, but your furry friend may be expecting puppies.

At the early stages of dog pregnancy, it is hard to confirm this even with an ultrasound. Usually, you will have to wait 20 to 22 days after mating to know if this is the case.

In the meantime, you can watch out for some of these pregnancy signs:

  • Weight gain
  • Larger stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Getting tired easily
  • Behavioral changes (such as increased irritability or becoming more affectionate)

Your Shiba Inu Is Overweight

Shiba Inu are often food-motivated, and plenty of them today are couch potatoes. If your buddy eats too much and lives a sedentary lifestyle, this may be the case.

To manage a dog’s weight, you have to match their exercise needs to their calorie intake. A dog may eat a ton of food, but because they are very active, they remain at a healthy weight. There needs to be a balance between both, otherwise, you will have trouble with their weight.

There are a few ways to confirm if your Shiba Inu is heavier than normal.

One is by checking the scale. The preferred weight for a male Shiba Inu is 23 pounds (10.4 kg), while a female is around 17 pounds (7.7 kg). Deviating from these a few pounds more or less is not a big deal. But if the difference is drastic, then you should get concerned.

Another method is by feeling for your furry friend’s ribs. Run the tips of your fingers through their ribs with light pressure. If you cannot feel ribs or muscles and feel fat instead, then your buddy is overweight.

The last method is by looking at your Shiba Inu from above. If they are at a healthy weight, they will have an hourglass figure. But if they are overweight, they will look rounder and you cannot find their waist.

How Quickly Do Shiba Inu Grow?

Most of your Shiba Inu’s rapid growth occurs within their first year. So you can expect them to reach their full-grown size at 12 months of age. But your furry friend’s growth is not linear during this period, though.

A puppy’s growth is sporadic. Your Shiba Inu puppy will go through a growth spurt at around 3 to 7 months of age. At this stage, they will almost double in size so their growth is quite noticeable.

But by the time they reach 8 months of age, this growth will slow down a bit. At 12 months of age, you will already see your furry friend’s adult height.

They will still grow a bit at around 12 to 18 months of age, but this only concerns their weight. They will “fill out” their body but the changes are minimal.

At What Age Are Shiba Inu Fully Grown?

At around 12 months of age, your Shiba Inu will already reach their adult size. While your furry friend will remain this tall for the rest of their lives, their weight will still change. They will continue to gain some weight at 12 to 18 months of age.

During this stage, your Shiba Inu will also gain muscle mass and bone density. Both of these will increase if you provide them with appropriate daily exercise. These also contribute to your furry friend’s weight gain.

So for your buddy’s full-grown size both height- and weight-wise, you must wait until they are 18 months old.

How Long Is a Shiba Inu Body?

The average body length of a Shiba Inu is around 23 to 28 in (584.2 to 711.2 mm). Your furry friend can be on the lower or higher end of this range depending on their gender. A male Shiba Inu is typically larger and longer than a female Shiba Inu.

How to Measure Shiba Inu Length

Measuring your Shiba Inu’s body length is pretty straightforward, and you can do this with a few steps. But before you begin, make sure you have a soft measuring tape in hand. Now follow the steps below to proceed:

  • Step 1: Have your Shiba Inu stand up straight. Do not let them sit, sniff the ground, or do anything else. Letting them move around will lead to an inaccurate measurement.
  • Step 2: Put the tip of the measuring tape at the base of your buddy’s spine, where their collar rests. Hold it in place and run it along their spine until you reach the base of the tail. This is where their tail meets the body, and hold this in place.
  • Step 3: Take note of the measurement as this is your furry friend’s body length.

Depending on what your goal here is, you may want to shorten your furry friend’s body length. If you are looking for a shirt for your male Shiba Inu, make the length shorter. This way, you can avoid potty messes on their clothing.

How Much Do Shiba Inu Weigh?

The average weight for a male Shiba Inu is 23 lbs (10.4 kg), while a female Shiba Inu is 17 lbs (7.7 kg). This does not mean that your Shiba Inu should follow this exactly. It is normal for any dog breed to deviate from their preferred weight a bit.

So a good weight range for a male Shiba Inu is around 18 to 24 lbs (8.2 to 10.9 kg). Meanwhile, a healthy weight for a female Shiba Inu is anywhere between 15 to 20 lbs (6.8 to 9.1 kg).

But other than their gender, your furry friend’s weight will also depend on a few factors such as:

  • Age: Naturally, an older Shiba Inu will be heavier than a younger one. A puppy is still growing, so they need time to reach their full-grown weight.
  • Appetite and Diet: Shiba Inu who are voracious eaters will weigh more. If they get excess calories, these will get stored as fat. And this contributes to weight gain.
  • Lifestyle: A couch potato Shiba Inu will weigh more and be prone to becoming overweight. Meanwhile, active Shiba Inu will shed off excess calories to prevent weight gain.
  • Health: Certain medical conditions can make your Shiba Inu gain weight. An example of this is diabetes.

How Much Should a Male Shiba Inu Weigh?

According to breed standards, a male Shiba Inu should weigh 23 lbs (10.4 kg). But not every dog will fit into this preferred weight. So a healthy weight range for a male Shiba Inu is 18 to 24 lbs (8.2 to 10.9 kg).

This weight range puts them at a small to medium dog size classification. As long as your vet gives your furry friend the clean bill of health, you have nothing to worry about. Some dogs are just small-boned, and your Shiba Inu may be one of these.

How Long Are Shiba Inu Puppies?

Being a medium-sized dog, you can call your Shiba Inu a puppy until they are a year old. Once they reach this age, they are already full-grown adults. While they are still going to gain weight, they will remain this tall for their lifetime.

But even if your Shiba Inu reached physical maturity already, mentally, they have not. They will still be a puppy at heart, getting into trouble with their puppy energy. They will mellow down in time and act more like an adult, but you need to wait longer for this.

How Much Should a Shiba Inu Puppy Weigh?

Your Shiba Inu puppy’s weight will depend on its month of age. As pups undergo rapid growth within their first year, they will gain weight each month. So having a growth chart as a guide will help you keep track of your furry friend’s development.

Below is a weight chart for Shiba Inu puppies to guide you. Since males are heavier than females, there is a separate weight estimate for each gender.

Puppy Age Male Shiba Inu Weight Female Shiba Inu Weight
1 Month of Age 3 to 7 lbs (1.4 to 3.2 kg) 3 to 7 lbs (1.4 to 3.2 kg)
2 Months of Age 4 to 9 lbs (1.8 to 4.1 kg) 4 to 9 lbs (1.8 to 4.1 kg)
3 Months of Age 7 to 10 lbs (3.2 to 4.5 kg) 6 to 8 lbs (2.7 to 3.6 kg)
4 Months of Age 9 to 13 lbs (4.1 to 5.9 kg) 8 to 11 lbs (3.6 to 5.0 kg)
5 Months of Age 11 to 16 lbs (5.0 to 7.3 kg) 10 to 13 lbs (4.5 to 5.9 kg)
6 Months of Age 13 to 18 lbs (5.9 to 8.2 kg) 11 to 15 lbs (5.0 to 6.8 kg)
7 Months of Age 15 to 19 lbs (6.8 to 8.6 kg) 13 to 16 lbs (5.9 to 7.3 kg)
8 Months of Age 16 to 20 lbs (7.3 to 9.1 kg) 13.5 to 17 lbs (6.1 to 7.7 kg)
9 Months of Age 16.5 to 21 lbs (7.5 to 9.5 kg) 14 to 17.5 lbs (6.4 to 7.9 kg)
10 Months of Age 17 lbs to 22 lbs (7.7 to 10.0 kg) 14.5 to 18 lbs (6.6 to 8.2 kg)
11 Months of Age 17.5 to 23 lbs (7.9 to 10.4 kg) 15 to 18.5 lbs (6.8 to 8.4 kg)
12 Months of Age 18 to 24 lbs (8.2 to 10.9 kg) 16 to 19 lbs (7.3 to 8.6 kg)

Keep in mind that these are only estimates and that puppies do not grow at the same rate. So you do not have to worry much if your Shiba Inu pup is lagging or is way ahead. If their weight is a big concern of yours, you should take them to the vet to ensure that nothing is wrong with your puppy.

How Much Do Newborn Shiba Inu Puppies Weigh?

Newborn Shiba Inu puppies will weigh around 2.5 oz at most (0.07). You will notice right away that the male puppies look slightly bigger, so they may weigh more. During the first 24 hours of their life, you can expect your puppies to lose some weight.

This is normal as the puppies are shedding off their water weight. You should only get concerned if they lose more than 10 percent of their weight at birth.

But soon after, your growing pups should begin to gain weight fast. They may already get heavier than their birth weight at three days old. This is a sign that your Shiba Inu puppies are already growing, and they will gain more weight each day.

How Much Does an 8-Week-Old Shiba Inu Weigh?

At 8 weeks of age, your Shiba Inu puppy’s weight will be around 3 to 4.5 lbs (1.3 to 2.0 kg). By this time, they will not rely on their mother’s milk as much anymore. Thus, you need to ensure that they get adequate nutritious food to support their growth.

How Much Should a 12-Week Shiba Inu Weigh?

The average weight for a female Shiba Inu at 12 weeks of age is 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg). Meanwhile, a typical weight for a male Shiba Inu of the same age is 9.0 lbs (4.1 kg). But as you know, puppies do not grow at the same rate so it is common that they deviate from this.

This is why you must know the healthy weight range for your furry friend at 12 weeks of age. A female Shiba Inu’s weight range is around 6.7 to 8.7 lbs (3.0 to 4.0 kg). And a male Shiba Inu’s weight can be anywhere around 7.7 to 10.3 lbs (3.5 to 4.7 kg). Still, some Shiba Inu of this age can fall way off this range.

According to research, a 12-week-old female Shiba Inu can weigh as light as 2.3 lbs (1.1 kg) and as heavy as 9.3 lbs (4.2 kg). In the same study, a 12-week-old male Shiba Inu can weigh as light as 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) and as heavy as 10.7 lbs (4.9 kg).

So if your Shiba Inu puppy’s weight worries you, it is always best to consult your vet. Your furry friend may be healthy despite not being in the average weight range. But this will help you rule out the possibility of any health issues.

How Much Should a 4-Month-Old Shiba Inu Weigh?

Once your Shiba Inu reaches 4 months of age, their weight can be anywhere around 8 to 13 lbs (3.6 to 5.9 kg). Male Shiba Inu are heavier, so their weight range is around 9 to 13 lbs (4.1 to 5.9 kg). The slightly lighter female Shiba Inu has a weight range of 8 to 11 lbs (3.6 to 5.0 kg).

Keep in mind that this is only a rough guide to help you track your furry friend’s growth. If they are behind or ahead of the pack, this is okay. Some puppies grow faster or slower than others, even in the same litter.

How Much Should a 5-Month Shiba Inu Weigh?

At 5 months of age, your Shiba Inu can weigh around 10 to 16 lbs (4.5 to 7.3 kg). Female Shiba Inu are on the lower end of this range, weighing around 10 to 13 lbs (4.5 to 5.9 kg). While male Shiba Inu are on the higher end, with a weight range of 11 to 16 lbs (5.0 to 7.3 kg).

Again, do not feel too pressured if your Shiba Inu puppy does not fall within this range. They still have a lot of time to grow and normalize their weight. So keep in contact with your vet and continue to provide them with nutritious meals.

How Much Should a 6-Month-Old Shiba Inu Weight?

Once your Shiba Inu puppy is half a year old, its weight range will be around 11 to 18 lbs (5.0 to 8.2 kg). To be more specific, a male Shiba Inu will often weigh around 13 to 18 lbs (5.9 to 8.2 kg) at this age. While their female counterpart will have a weight range of 11 to 15 lbs (5.0 to 6.8 kg).

How Much Should a 1-Year-Old Shiba Inu Weigh?

Now that your Shiba Inu puppy reached a year old, its average weight ranges from 16 to 24 lbs (7.3 to 10.9 kg). Of course, male Shiba Inu will be heavier with a weight range of 18 to 24 lbs (8.2 to 10.9 kg). While a female Shiba Inu will have an average weight of around 16 to 19 lbs (7.3 to 8.6 kg).

Keep in mind that this may not be your furry friend’s final adult weight yet. They will continue to fill out, and gain muscle mass and bone density until they reach 18 months of age. With this, you need to wait for more for their final full-grown weight.

Are Shiba Inu Prone to Weight Gain?

Although Shiba Inu appear well-muscled and slim, they are prone to weight gain. And unfortunately, their thick and fluffy coat often hides this fact. If left unchecked, they can become obese, and this breed is at high risk for developing this.

Obesity often occurs when there is an imbalance in their activity level and food intake. A couch potato Shiba Inu who eats a ton of food daily is then prone to becoming obese.

This is because they do not shed off the calories that they get from their food. As a result, this gets stored as fat as the body’s energy reserve.

If this is the case for your Shiba Inu, you need to change their lifestyle and get them on a diet. But you must first consult your vet to figure out the best method for your Shiba Inu. You can work on a weight loss program with your vet to bring your buddy back to a healthy weight.

But obesity is not only a result of their bad diet and sedentary lifestyle. Sometimes, underlying medical conditions are the culprit behind your buddy’s extra pudge. This includes insulinoma and hypothyroidism.

This is why it is crucial to see a vet first before making any lifestyle or diet changes. If their obesity is due to medical issues, then these will not help. What your Shiba Inu needs instead is medical attention.

The internet may swoon over dogs with extra meat on them, but you should never let your Shiba Inu get to that point. Obesity can host a multitude of other health issues, affecting their quality of life. Your Shiba Inu may develop diabetes, arthritis, heart issues, and more, as a result of their excess weight.

How Can I Tell if My Shiba Inu Is Overweight?

You can tell if your Shiba Inu is overweight or not through a simple physical examination at home. Your furry friend’s looks can be deceiving because all their fluff can hide their fur. Thus, you may want to use a combination of the methods listed below:

  • Visual inspection
  • Feeling their ribcage
  • Checking their weight
  • Observing their behavior
  • Consulting with a vet

Visual Inspection

Begin by standing above your Shiba Inu and looking at them from above. Make sure that your furry friend is also standing straight so you can see their body condition.

A dog of healthy weight should have a defined waistline, giving them an hourglass figure. The sides of their body should be straight and trim too. An obese Shiba Inu will lose their waist definition so that it will look rounder or oval.

Other than looking at them from above, you should also look at them from the side.

A healthy Shiba Inu should have its bellies tucked behind its ribcage. So their stomach would sit higher compared to their ribs.

But an obese Shiba Inu will have a sagging and untucked waist. When they walk around, their belly swings as they move around.

Again, visually inspecting your Shiba Inu may be tricky because of its thick layer of fluff. With this, you may want to proceed with the other methods below.

Feeling Their Ribcage

To feel for their ribs, run the tips of your fingers along their ribcage, behind their front legs. Do several passes on this area to get a better feel of their ribs. Make sure to use gentle pressure as you do this.

If your Shiba Inu is at a healthy weight, you can feel its ribs right away. It should feel like you are running your fingertips on the back of your hand.

But if all you feel is fat, and it is hard to locate their ribs, then your Shiba Inu is overweight. You would need to exert more pressure to feel their ribs.

Checking Their Weight

It is always great to know your furry friend’s weight. This way, you can compare their weight to the Shiba Inu breed standard. By doing this, you can gauge whether your buddy is overweight or not.

You can always visit the vet and weigh your Shiba Inu there. But this is not a practical solution for many, especially if you live far from the vet. So you need to know how to properly weigh your Shiba Inu at home.

If you have a dog weighing scale, then great! This will help you get a more accurate weight check for your Shiba Inu. But if you do not, you can proceed with a bathroom scale.

This is not as simple as putting your Shiba Inu on the scale, though. So here is a step-by-step process for you to follow:

  • Step 1: Carry your Shiba Inu and take them with you as you step on the bathroom scale. Now record the weight.
  • Step 2: Let go of your Shiba Inu and step on the scale alone, then record the weight.
  • Step 3: Calculate your furry friend’s weight. Do this by subtracting your weight as you carried your pooch with your weight alone. The difference is your Shiba Inu’s weight.

Now that you have their weight, compare it to the breed standard. Do not expect them to be at the preferred weight. So make sure you check for their healthy weight range depending on their age.

Keep in mind that this method is not quite accurate. Your Shiba Inu may move around too much as you weigh them. Or, they may be too heavy for you to carry.

But there are some tips to get better readings for this:

  • Only weigh your Shiba Inu if they are dry
  • Remove any accessories they are wearing (such as a collar)
  • Take them to the potty first before weighing
  • Do not weigh them after a meal (weighing before meals is better)

Observing Their Behavior

As you can expect, a dog will act unusual if they are carrying a bit more weight. They cannot move around like they used to, and it will show as they carry on with their daily activities.

Here are some behavioral signs of an overweight Shiba Inu:

  • Spending the whole day lounging around
  • Slowed movements
  • Having trouble walking
  • Breathing difficulties (especially during physical activities)
  • Digestive issues

Consulting With a Vet

If you are still unsure if your Shiba Inu is overweight or not, you can always ask your vet. They are experts on the matter, and they can confirm your suspicions.

Is My Shiba Inu Puppy Overweight?

To determine if your Shiba Inu puppy is overweight or not, you can follow the same methods above. See if they have a defined waist, feel for their ribs, and check for their weight. Or to be sure, you can go ahead and consult your vet.

Looking at them may not be reliable though, because of their roundness. So make sure you feel for their ribs instead. If you cannot feel their ribs with your fingertips, then they may be overweight.

But at a young age, it is tricky to know if your Shiba Inu puppy is overweight. As you know, their weight gain is erratic within their first year. So they may be way ahead of the pack when it comes to their weight, and that is okay.

Not only that, puppies, no matter their breed, always look pudgy when on the younger side. They have big bellies and waddle a bit as they walk, which is what you will expect of an overweight dog. But this is normal for a Shiba Inu puppy, even if they are at a healthy weight.

Still, your furry friend should slim down as they age. This process should start at around 3 to 6 months of age. By then, they will assume a more mature body. And at this stage, it is easier to see if they are carrying a bit more weight than you would like with one look.

If you are unsure about this, then taking your Shiba Inu puppy to the vet is best. They must remain at a healthy weight, as this is crucial for their young, fragile bodies. If a puppy is overweight, this can lead to many health issues once they enter adult life.

Why Is My Shiba Inu So Overweight?

The most common reason why dogs become overweight is the lack of exercise and overeating. But there are also other possible reasons for this, such as the following:

  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Old age
  • Pain
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Distended abdomen

Having an overweight dog is a big issue that you need to correct right away. Thus, it is best to learn more about these causes in detail.

So below is a more thorough discussion of the possible reasons for canine weight gain. And the list will start with the most common cause.

Lack of Daily Exercise

Daily physical activities not only keep your Shiba Inu entertained. But they also help in managing your furry friend’s weight.

Through exercising, they are burning the calories that they get from their diet. And if they do not use up these calories, they get stored as fat. This is why dogs who live a sedentary lifestyle are often overweight.

Because your Shiba Inu eats twice each day, they also have to get their body moving daily. The number of calories that they eat should match their activity levels. Only then can they remain at a healthy weight.

Overfeeding and a Bad Diet

As mentioned above, an imbalance between a dog’s diet and exercise can lead to weight gain. If your Shiba Inu eats so much in a day, their activity levels should match this.

There are a few ways that you can overfeed your Shiba Inu, and you may not even notice that you are doing some of these:

  • Free Feeding: With free feeding, you allow your buddy to eat whenever they want from their bowl. You cannot control their food portions here and they will keep eating whenever they want. Thus, your furry friend may overeat because no one is stopping them.
  • Excessive Treating: Treats are a powerful training tool, but they still pack calories. Training your buddy with many treats contributes to their daily calorie intake. So if you overindulge them with treats, they will gain weight.
  • Lack of a Feeding Schedule: A consistent feeding schedule will help your buddy form a body clock. When it is nearing their time to eat, they get hungry. But without one, their hunger will be inconsistent, too, and they will keep on asking you for food.

But other than their food intake, the quality of their food also matters. Thus, you should avoid feeding your Shiba Inu the following:

  • High-calorie diet
  • Table scraps

These types of foods contain so many calories within a small amount. So as your Shiba Inu eats, they are taking in more calories. This can be a bigger issue if they will not stop eating because they still do not feel full.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Sometimes, the problem does not lie within your buddy’s lifestyle and food intake. Being overweight can also be a sign that your Shiba Inu is suffering from a health issue. Some medical conditions that can contribute to this are the following:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Insulinoma
  • Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism)
  • Fluid buildup (as a result of heart or liver disease)

With this, you should always take your Shiba Inu to the vet if you notice that they have become pudgy. Especially if they get proper exercise and food intake. A visit to the vet will help in preventing their health issue from worsening.

Old Age

As your Shiba Inu ages, they will not begin to see the natural consequences of aging. Not only will their metabolism slow down, but they will also lose their muscle mass. Their body will not process their food as fast anymore, which leads to weight gain.

But not only that, but your Shiba Inu will also become more inactive. They cannot exercise as much as they used to due to old age. So they will not get enough chances to shed off the calories that they eat.

They will much prefer to sleep and lounge around than to play. Your furry friend will also lose interest in activities they used to like, such as long walks.

Because there is nothing you can do about these, you need to adjust their diet. Do not let them eat as much as they used to, and provide them with a low-calorie diet.


If your Shiba Inu is in pain, they will not want to move around as much. You would do the same, would you? Because of this, they will rather sleep so they can let their body heal and regenerate.

While that may be good, this means that they cannot use up the calories they ate. And there are many reasons why your Shiba Inu may be in pain, such as:

  • Injuries (such as torn ligaments and paw injuries)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis

Unfortunately, Shiba Inu are prone to hip dysplasia. So you have to do all you can to prevent this. And arthritis is common in older dogs, regardless of their breed.

Spaying or Neutering

Sterilizing your Shiba Inu can make them prone to becoming overweight. One reason for this is that spaying or neutering lowers their metabolism. So they need a change in their diet, otherwise, they can gain weight.

Another reason is that spaying or neutering can affect the sex hormones. When this happens, your Shiba Inu may have an increase in appetite and a decrease in energy.

But keep in mind that these are all only possibilities. It does not mean that your Shiba Inu will experience this if they get sterilized.

If this is something that worries you, then you should discuss this with your vet. There is an ideal age for spaying or neutering dogs that limit side effects like this.

Distended Abdomen

A distended abdomen does not make a Shiba Inu overweight, but it makes them look like it. When this occurs, your furry friend’s tummy looks bigger, making them look extra pudgy.

A bloated stomach is something that you should worry about, as it can be serious. This is one of the main symptoms of gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is a serious and life-threatening condition.

This occurs when the air fills with too much air, food or liquid. As a result, the stomach rotates and cuts off the oxygen and blood flow toward the stomach. If left untreated, this also affects the heart.

How Do I Get My Shiba Inu Dog to Lose Weight?

To help your Shiba Inu lose weight, you first need to have them examined by your vet. This will help you determine the cause of their weight gain, first of all. And it will also help in ruling out health issues as a possibility.

If your Shiba Inu does have a medical condition, you need to take calculated steps to make them lose weight. This way, you can avoid health complications when making changes to their diet or routine.

Not only that, but your buddy can also get the proper medical attention from your vet. Because if you do not nip this issue in the bud, all your efforts will go in vain.

While you are at the vet, make sure you discuss the best weight loss program for your Shiba Inu. Every dog is different, but an expert like them can guide you with this.

Now that you have gone through the most critical steps, you can continue at home. Here are some ways to get your Shiba Inu back in shape.

  • Follow a strict feeding schedule
  • Make use of measuring cups
  • Provide them with a balanced diet
  • Opt for low-calorie treats
  • Follow a daily exercise routine
  • Get your family on board
  • Regular weight checks

Follow a Strict Feeding Schedule

If you have been free feeding your Shiba Inu, now is the time to stop. You should only put their food bowl down at certain points of the day. How often you do this will depend on your furry friend’s age.

A Shiba Inu puppy will need at least three meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While an adult Shiba Inu can go for two meals a day, one for breakfast and another for dinner. Make sure you set a time for each meal and be consistent in laying out their food.

Now that you have that covered, you should only allow your Shiba Inu to eat for around 15 to 20 minutes. After that, get the bowl and keep it out of their reach. Do this whether they have finished their food or not, or even if they have not touched it.

This will let them learn that they should eat at the right time, otherwise, they do not get to eat at all.

Make Use of Measuring Cups

To control their food intake, you need to give them a specific amount of food for each meal. Do not pour out their kibbles without care, and use a measuring cup.

A good start for their feeding portions is following the guidelines on their food bag. But this guide is not set in stone, you still need to adjust it to your buddy’s weight and health. If you do not know where to go from here, you can always ask your vet.

Provide Them With a Balanced Diet

Getting your Shiba Inu to a healthy weight is not only about the amount of food that they eat. The quality of their meals matters just as much too.

Take out any unhealthy foods from their diet, such as table scraps. This is a great start to modifying their diet and getting their weight back down.

Decreasing their carbohydrate intake is another thing to consider. Instead, go for meals with higher protein content to build up their muscle mass.

But again, every dog is different. Thus, it is hard to give out concrete modifications to their diet. So make sure you discuss this with your vet first.

Remember that starving your Shiba Inu by lessening their food potions is not what you should do. Instead, you should lessen their caloric intake. And you can only do so by making changes to their meals.

Opt For Low-Calorie Treats

As a loving dog owner, you want your Shiba Inu to get some tasty treats from time to time. But most dog treats you get from a pet store are high in calories, and can contribute to weight gain. The treats that you give your buddy stack up on top of their scheduled meals.

Instead of store-bought dog treats, you can give your Shiba Inu veggies and fruits. Carrots and broccoli are popular options, especially when boiled or steamed. And for fruits, most dogs love small slices of apples and bananas.

Follow a Daily Exercise Routine

Modifying your furry friend’s diet, such as limiting their calorie intake, can only do so much. They also need to work out each day to shed off the calories they have eaten.

Increasing their daily physical activities is best. By doing so, the body uses its fat reserves for energy, not only from the food they eat. With this, you must have a daily exercise schedule for your Shiba Inu.

The good news is that Shiba Inu are naturally playful and energetic. They usually love spending time outdoors and going on an adventure! So it will not be as hard to bribe them to go out and get moving.

There are plenty of activities that you can do with your Shiba Inu. One of these is by letting them run around the yard. Shiba Inu loves to sprint around, so they are having fun while they get back in shape.

Other activities you can do are the following:

  • Walking
  • Fetch
  • Tug-of-war
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Dog sports (such as agility)

Make sure that you adjust their exercise duration according to their age. You should not push a puppy or a senior Shiba Inu to play as long as an adult is in their prime.

Get Your Family on Board

Your entire family must work together to help your Shiba Inu lose weight. So sit down with the family and discuss the changes that you need to make together.

Do not let anyone feed your Shiba Inu treats or table scraps. You should also ask them to help your furry friend move around if they could. These are only a few examples, but you should go into more detail with them.

With everyone on board, you can help your Shiba Inu get back to a good weight much faster.

Regular Weight Checks

Make sure you keep track of your buddy’s weight throughout their weight loss journey. This is a crucial step to ensure success. By doing so, you will learn what works for your Shiba Inu and what does not.

Not only that, but this will also keep you motivated. Seeing the number go down each week will help remind you of your goal.

What Should I Feed My Overweight Shiba Inu?

If you take your Shiba Inu to a vet, they may prescribe your buddy diet dog food. Along with that, your vet will give you a feeding guide that you should strictly follow. But if your Shiba Inu did not get this, you can still make changes to their diet at home.

Your goal here is to cut your furry friend’s calorie intake, not the amount of food that they get. Unfortunately, this may still make your buddy feel hungry after a good meal. But there are ways for you to trick them into thinking that they are already satisfied.

One way to do this is by soaking their dry food in water. To do this, divide their meals into two and soak one half in water for 30 minutes. After this, mix the other half into the soaked food and serve it to your Shiba Inu.

By soaking some of their dry food, it will expand more and take up a lot of space in their stomach. Your Shiba Inu will then feel like they have eaten more than they should! This way, you make them feel satisfied without adding any calories to their meal.

Another way to feed your overweight Shiba Inu is by adding some veggies to their diet. Make sure you choose low-calorie and high-fiber veggies. This fiber will make them feel full longer without adding many calories to their meal.

Here are some veggies that are a great addition to your furry friend’s food bowl:

  • Green beans (preferably steamed or low-sodium canned ones)
  • Pumpkin
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Kelp
  • Peas

How Much Should an Overweight Shiba Inu Eat?

There is no exact answer to this because there are too many factors to consider. Some of the things you need to consider are the following:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Starting weight
  • Ideal weight (for the breed and gender)
  • Health issues

Other than that, you also have to calculate the calories that your Shiba Inu needs each day. Because of these many considerations, it is best to talk to your vet about this. They can help you figure this out, and give you the calorie adjustments your buddy needs as you progress.

Is My Shiba Inu Underweight?

To figure out if your Shiba Inu is underweight, there are simple steps that you can take in the comfort of your own home. Because this breed is naturally slim, you may often worry if they need to gain a few pounds. So if you want to confirm this, you can try the following methods:

  • Visual inspection
  • Feel their ribs
  • Feel their spine
  • Check their weight
  • Consult with your vet

Visual Inspection

To give a proper inspection of your furry friend’s body, have them stand up straight and keep them still. Now, you can start by inspecting them from above first.

Stand over your Shiba Inu and notice their body shape. A healthy Shiba Inu should have an hourglass, but their bones should not be prominent.

If your Shiba Inu is underweight, you will notice an exaggerated waist. The curve between their hips and ribs looks extreme like they are being “sucked in”. There is a sharp curve here, where there should be a smooth one.

Other than that, you can already see their spine and ribs poking through their skin. You can see their individual rib bones with ease. This tells you that there is not enough fat and muscle between their bones and skin.

Now, look at your Shiba Inu from the side while they are still standing up. Notice their tummy first. An underweight Shiba Inu will have a severe tummy tuck, almost as if it is nonexistent.

You can also clearly see each rib bone down to the last, and also their backbone protruding at the top. Moving to their rear, you can also see their hip bones poking through their thin skin. The bones at the base of their tail are also obvious and easy to find.

Looking at these bones, you will notice harsh curves as well. In a healthy Shiba Inu, all curves seen on their body should have a smooth transition.

Feel Their Ribs

Now it is time to run your fingertips along your furry friend’s ribcage. You will instantly feel like this area is bony to the touch if your Shiba Inu is underweight.

You can already feel each rib bone as you stroke their ribcage up and down. Other than that, you will also not feel much between their skin and ribs, and their flesh feels thin. This is because they do not have enough fat and muscle between the bones and flesh already.

Feel Their Spine

Move over to your Shiba Inu’s spine and run your fingertips along its backbone. If you have an underweight pooch, their backbones will protrude. Thus, you will feel minimal flesh on top of each vertebra.

Check Their Weight

Another way to figure out if your Shiba Inu is underweight is by comparing them to the breed standard. But to do this, you must figure out your furry friend’s weight first.

You can always take them to the vet and weigh them there to get an accurate reading. But you can also get one if you have a dog weighing scale. If both of these are not possible for you, you can make do with a bathroom scale.

Do not put your Shiba Inu directly on the bathroom scale, as you will not get a good reading. There is a method you should follow to proceed with this. To help you out, here are the steps that you need to take:

  • Step 1: Carry your Shiba Inu and make sure they stay still and remain calm. Now step on the bathroom scale with your furry friend. Record the reading on the scale.
  • Step 2: Step down and release your Shiba Inu. Now get on the scale again alone to get your weight. You should also record this measurement.
  • Step 3: Get the difference between the two measurements. Your buddy’s weight is the measurement in step 1 minus the measurement in step 2.
  • Step 4: Compare your furry friend’s weight to the breed standard. Make sure that you are looking at their average weight range depending on their age.

Keep in mind that this method only gives you an estimate of your Shiba Inu’s weight. This is not precise as weighing them at the vet or using a dog weighing scale.

Other than that, there may be small errors in getting the measurement in step 1. Your Shiba Inu may move so much that the bathroom scale cannot get a good reading.

Consult With Your Vet

Even with all these simple methods, the best way to figure out if your buddy is underweight is by taking them to the vet. Not only can they confirm this with you, but they can also guide you on how to bring them up to a healthy weight. Thus, you can start with your furry friend’s weight gain program right away.

How Skinny Should My Shiba Inu Be?

A healthy Shiba Inu should be svelte yet have a distinct body shape that has muscle and fat. You can tell that a Shiba Inu has an ideal weight by inspecting its body.

Take a look at your furry friend from above. They should have an hourglass shape with a defined waist. The curve between their ribs and hips should be smooth, without a touch of harshness.

Now look at your Shiba Inu from the side and notice their tummy. They should have a tucked tummy, with a slight downward curve from their waist to their ribs. This curve should not be too steep.

When looking at your Shiba Inu, you should notice their bones. If they are the right kind of skinny, their hip bones, backbones, and ribs should not protrude.

You may see some ribs poking through when they move. But you should not see the last few pairs of their rib bones.

Other than looking at your Shiba Inu, you should also feel for their ribs. If they have an ideal weight, you should feel their rib bones without exerting much pressure.

You should not easily feel the individual ribs. And there should be some fat and muscle between their bones and skin.

Why Is My Shiba Inu So Underweight?

An obvious reason why your Shiba Inu is underweight is that they are not eating enough. If their body does not get enough calories, it begins to use the fat reserves as fuel. So as time goes by, your Shiba Inu will get thinner and thinner.

This occurs if you are not giving your Shiba Inu the proper meal portions. Or, you may not be feeding them as often as they should each day.

But if your furry friend undereats, then you should get worried. This can be a sign that your Shiba Inu has an underlying medical condition.

Other than these, there are also other reasons why your buddy is so underweight, such as:

  • Poor diet
  • Old age
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Dental issues
  • Medication side effects

Because being underweight is a serious condition in dogs, it is best if you dive deeper into these. To help you learn more below is a more detailed discussion on each possible cause.

Underlying Medical Condition

This should be one of your first concerns if your Shiba Inu is noticeably thin. They may be eating enough, getting the right nutrition, and still look famished. Unfortunately, weight loss is a symptom of many serious health issues.

Some medical conditions that may cause this are the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Abdominal diseases
  • Pulmonary conditions
  • Cancer
  • Maldigestion
  • Malabsorption

With this, you should take your Shiba Inu to the vet right away. They need to undergo a thorough exam with urinalysis and blood work. This way, your vet can pinpoint the exact cause.

By doing so, you can prevent their condition from becoming worse. Your furry friend can get medical care right away, giving them a better prognosis.

Poor diet

Make sure that your Shiba Inu gets the proper nutrition and amount of food. Otherwise, they will become unhealthy and this will show in their dwindling weight.

A balanced diet with the proper portions is what your Shiba Inu needs. But what they, as an individual, should have will depend on various factors. No two dogs are the same, so you should work out your buddy’s specific needs.

Low-quality dog food may be nutritionally imbalanced as they use poor ingredients. So make sure to take a second look at what you are feeding your buddy.

But if you feed them a raw diet or homecooked meals, you may still have this issue. Careful planning is a must here. And you may not be giving your buddy the key ingredients for maintaining their weight.

With this, make sure to speak with your vet. Ask for recommendations for high-quality dog food. And while you are at it, discuss the correct feeding amount for your Shiba Inu.

Old Age

Like gaining weight, it is also normal for a Shiba Inu to lose weight as they age. This is only one of the many consequences of aging.

If your old buddy is losing weight, it can be due to various factors. This includes muscle mass loss, digestive issues, and a reduced appetite.

With this, you may need to switch your furry friend’s diet. But before you proceed, you need to talk to your vet to get an appropriate alternative. They should recommend one that suits your pooch’s needs.

Intestinal Parasites

Is your Shiba Inu losing weight, even if their appetite did not change or if they have been eating more? If so, intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, may be the culprit.

These intestinal parasites steal all the nutrition from the food. This deprives your poor pooch’s body of the necessary nutrients they need. Thus, they will begin to look famished and sickly and lose weight.

But other than these, your Shiba Inu may also experience other symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Deworming treatments are effective protection against most parasites, including heartworms. But there are various types of parasites that these cannot kill.

An example is whipworms, as many deworming treatments cannot kill or prevent these. And your Shiba Inu can get these from contaminated soil and water. If your buddy plays with these, they may ingest whipworm eggs.

Dental Issues

Pain in your furry friend’s mouth can discourage them from eating. So if left untreated, dental issues can make your Shiba Inu lose weight.

Dental pain can be due to rotten or broken teeth. Anything dislodged in their mouth, such as a bone, can also cause this. Oral tumors and ulcers are also something to consider.

But the scariest possible reason for this is dental disease. And unfortunately, Shiba Inu are prone to developing this.

With their long and narrow snout, their teeth become crowded. This creates pockets between their teeth where food and bacteria can get lodged in. Other than that, this breed is prone to overbites too.

But even with these, your Shiba Inu can avoid dental disease. As long as you follow a strict dental routine, your buddy should be fine.

Otherwise, plaque and tartar can build up on the surface of their teeth. If left untreated, this buildup can do down to your buddy’s gums, causing gingivitis. If you still do not do anything, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease.

Both these conditions are very painful for your Shiba Inu, making it hard for them to eat. So you must take them to the vet right away if you suspect that this is the case for them.

You can tell if your Shiba Inu has a dental disease if they exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Swollen gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums

Medication Side Effects

If your Shiba Inu is taking certain medications, they may experience side effects. Some can make your Shiba Inu lose weight and they will have difficulties in gaining the weight back.

With this, you should bring this issue up to your vet. You can talk to them about changing your furry friend’s medication. And while you are it, make sure to ask them how you can help your buddy gain their weight back.

How Do I Get My Shiba Inu to Gain Weight?

The first thing you should do to help your Shiba Inu gain weight is to take them to the vet. This way, you can work with them to determine why your furry friend is underweight. Thus, you can prepare a proper weight gain program for them.

Your vet will ask you some questions during your visit. They want to know about your Shiba Inu’s diet, lifestyle, and any medications they may have.

If they feel that your Shiba Inu does not get the right amount of food, they may ask you to increase their meal portions. So they will give you a new meal amount for you to follow. But if this does not work, then you should come back.

They will do a thorough examination of your furry friend’s body. This includes the following tests:

  • Bloodwork
  • Urinalysis
  • Biochemistry profile
  • Endoscopy
  • Abdomen ultrasound

Once the results are back, your vet may be able to pinpoint the root cause of this issue. If your Shiba Inu is suffering from a medical issue, they will need the proper treatment.

While you are there, you can ask your vet about a possible switch in your Shiba Inu’s dog food. Adding more calories to their diet will help them gain weight. But you should only make the switch with the advice of your vet. You should also discuss appetite stimulants with your vet.

Now that you know your buddy’s health condition, you can continue helping them gain weight at home. Here are more ways for you to fatten them up to a healthy weight again:

  • Alter their diet
  • Avoid table scraps
  • Have them eat fresh or wet food
  • Add pumpkins and sweet potato to their diet
  • Change their feeding schedule

Alter Their Diet

If your furry friend’s food lacks nutritional value, then they will not gain their weight back. Make sure you give them meals that are high in fat, calories, and protein. And use nutritious treats to supplement their calorie intake for the day.

Providing your Shiba Inu with a high protein and fat diet will help them gain weight steadily. You should already notice an improvement in their weight within a few weeks.

You can find dog food that has a higher protein percentage. Or, you can add some chicken or other sources of meat to their food bowl. Make sure that your Shiba Inu is not allergic to the meat you are giving them.

But with any change in diet, a gradual transition is a must so as not to upset your buddy’s stomach.

Begin the transition by feeding them 90 percent of their old food and 10 percent of their new food. Keep increasing the percentage of their new food until your Shiba Inu can eat it on its own. This transition period may take 10 to 14 days, so you can expect their stomach to get upset a little.

Avoid Table Scraps

It may be tempting to be generous with your Shiba Inu and share your meals with them. You are supplementing their diet this way, and this makes sense. But keep in mind that the quality of what your feeding them also matters.

Your Shiba Inu needs a well-balanced diet to gain a healthy weight. But table scraps offer little to no nutritional value to your poor pooch.

By doing this, you are putting your Shiba Inu at risk for a nutritional imbalance. Instead of gaining weight, this may cause them to lose even more weight.

Have Them Eat Fresh or Wet Food

Compared to dry food, fresh and wet food are more appealing to your Shiba Inu. They have a stronger scent, which will get them drooling, especially if you heat the food up.

Other than that, wet and fresh food are also softer for them to munch on. This further increases the palatability of their meals. And it will encourage your buddy to eat more if they have dental issues.

But keep in mind that both of these food options spoil fast. With this, make sure that you serve them immediately after opening.

And because of their short shelf life, you need to keep them refrigerated. Your Shiba Inu may not like cold food out of the fridge. But you can always heat it in the microwave.

Add Pumpkins and Sweet Potato to Their Diet

While you should increase your furry friend’s protein intake, you need to be careful. You do not want to give them excessive protein, so you should look for more ways to help them gain weight. With this, you can always give them pumpkin and sweet potato.

These are also great foods to help your Shiba Inu gain a healthy weight. Pumpkin and sweet potato are also high in fat and fiber. So this will boost your buddy’s digestion as well.

Change Their Feeding Schedule

If you watch your weight, you would know that eating a few hours before bed can encourage weight gain. Although your buddy is a different species, the same applies to them!

You can help your Shiba Inu gain weight by feeding them right before bedtime. This encourages their body to store the nutrients as fat. This is because they will be inactive, so they will not use the calories for movement.

So if your Shiba Inu eats twice a day, you can make some adjustments. Start by giving smaller meal portions during the morning. And then give them a bigger bulk of their food before bed.

But another method you can try is to give them smaller, more frequent meals. So if you feed them twice a day, increase this to three or four meals in a day. By doing so, your Shiba Inu gets nutrients throughout the day to help put on weight.

But keep in mind that your Shiba Inu should not get active soon after eating. Thus, you should wait for at least 30 minutes after their meal before letting them exercise.