The Ultimate Guide to What Shiba Inus Can (and Can’t) Eat

The Ultimate Guide to What Shiba Inus Can (and Can’t) Eat

Every dog owner wishes to give their dog the “best” food available. You want your dog to feed on healthy and nutritious food.

Shiba Inus need food that is rich in nutrients and of good quality to stay healthy. Select a dog food for your Shiba Inu that mainly has real meat, like chicken or beef, as its ingredients. Chicken, beef, fish, and lamb are excellent sources of protein.

Shiba Inus are small but muscular dogs. Even though they have a rich hunting lineage, Shiba Inus today are not as active as their predecessors. This fact also helps determine what they can and can’t eat. Here is a closer look at the Shiba Inu’s nutritional guidelines.

ShibaInu’s Dietary Requirements

The Shiba Inu is not regarded as a high maintenance dog. This means that they do not need extra feeding besides their regular meals unless they are training. The Shiba Inu will still do well with a low cost, low maintenance diet.

Keep in mind that there is no one size fits all solution as far as feeding your Shiba is concerned. The daily rations are determined by their unique size and weight.

Protein Requirements

Proteins help to build and strengthen the Shiba’s muscles and tissues as well as repair them. Additionally, they help in the creation of new cells and new hair growth. Proteins regulate the dog’s endocrine system.

The size and weight will determine the amounts of proteins the dog needs. When the female dog is pregnant or lactating they need a lot of proteins. If your Shiba Inu exercises a lot then you should feed him a lot of proteins to help build their muscles.

On the other hand, an injured or older dog requires fewer proteins. On average a dog requires about 10 amino acids, protein is composed of 22 amino acids.

Some dogs can produce amino acids while others don’t. Therefore, you should feed the dog with the right quantity of protein for necessary amino acid provisions.

Carbohydrate Requirements

They contain glucose which is vital in providing energy in your Shiba Inu. Ordinarily, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugars) to help the cells function normally. Also, sugars help the Shiba Inus brain and the extensive nervous system to function properly.

That said, you need to be careful not to feed your dog with too many carbs. If the broken-down glucose is in excess it is converted to fatty acids which can cause obesity. Alternatively, if you have been feeding your dog on too many carbohydrates then you should ensure they exercise more.

Fat Requirements

Just like carbohydrates, fat is used to produce energy in the Shiba Inu’s body. In essence, they are vital in the production of fatty acids in the body. Normally, dogs do not produce fatty acids on their own.

Fatty acids are important in two key roles; they carry soluble vitamins easing the process of their absorption into the body. Secondly, they help in maintaining healthier cells in the body.

Fatty acids also contribute to the development of a healthy coat and skin in your Shiba Inu’s body. Your dog requires two fatty acids; Omega -3 and Omega -6.

Vitamins and Minerals

A lot of times, dog owners underestimate the power of vitamins and minerals. Essentially, they contribute immensely to various aspects in Shiba’s body including the maintenance of healthier bones, neuron system, and enzymes.

The following are the minerals your Shiba Inu needs to stay healthy: iodine, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, sodium, magnesium, copper, zinc, chlorine and Iron. Similarly, Shiba requires vitamins in the right amounts.

However, vitamins should not be in similar portions as Protein and Carbohydrates. That said, you should ensure your dog gets the following vitamins in the right quantities: Vitamins A, D, and E.

The amount of energy a dog requires will be determined by their lifestyle –if they exercise a lot they require more energy-producing foods. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side you can consult a veterinary or nutritionist to advise you accordingly.

Special Diet Considerations for Shiba Inus

Dog lovers are tempted to share reasonably tastier human foods. But sometimes they share food which is not healthy or even nutritious to your dog. In this section, we will look at some of the food you should not feed your ShibaInu.

Avoid Too Salty Food

You might have heard that popcorns are not good for dogs. Well, one of the reasons they are not recommended is because of salt additives. Unlike in humans, salty food might cause a condition known as sodium ion poisoning.

Furthermore, when a dog has had too much salty food they get thirsty easily. Typically, the signs and symptoms of intake of too much salty food are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures.

Your dog will have stomach bloat from taking in salty food. Ideally, salt should be well managed or maintained to a bare minimum to avoid fatal reactions on your Shiba Inu.

Avoid Too Sweet Food

A dog’s metabolism is quite different from the human one. Shiba Inus or dogs, in general, can’t be described as one with a sweet tooth. Of course, too much sugary substances is not so good for human either.

The Shiba Inu is at the same risk as yourself when you eat too much sugar. Therefore, you should not feed your Shiba food that is too sweet. 

Avoid Greasy Foods

In human greasy foods tend to be a normal indication of the hassles and bustles of life. However, in dogs, it is not part of deliciousness or best nutrition practices. Why? Greasy foods increase the chances of getting pancreatitis, a serious condition that affects dogs that eat fatty or greasy foods.

If you notice that your Shiba is acting weirdly, perhaps exhibiting signs such as drooling, seems unfocused, pacing around, seems sleepy sweaty paws then it could be they’ve eaten greasy foods.

Furthermore, they could be having fever, diarrhea, and pale gums, vomiting or howling. You can keep them safe by keeping them away from greasy foods that are mostly part of human foods. Don’t allow them to eat from your plate.

Vegetables That are Good for Shiba Inus

Indeed there are fruits and vegetables a Shiba Inu can eat. In actual sense, they are quite a number and all of them deserve separate posts. It is highly recommended that you should add fruits and vegetables to enrich Shiba’s diet. In the next section, we’ll highlight some of the fruits dogs can eat. Nevertheless, here is a list of vegetables that are good for Shiba Inus:

  • Broccoli; are rich in vitamins and fiber. Ideally, they should be served occasionally and in small quantities. Though, broccoli contains chemical compound isothiocyanates which are known to cause minor to serious gastric irritation in Shiba Inus.
  • Carrots; are high in fiber and contain beta carotene that produces Vitamin A.  And they are not just nutritious, they are good to dogs’ dental formation through crunching.
  • Celery; it’s a rich vegetable that contains Vitamin A, B, and C. It is highly recommended because it helps keeps cancer and heart diseases at bay.
  • Green beans; are low calories, high fiber and contain a myriad of minerals and vitamins. You can feed your Shiba all types of green beans including canned, raw, chopped or even streamed. But if you go for the canned ones ensure they are no salt or low salt.
  • Spinach; your Shiba Inu can eat them. But it should be your number one vegetable choice. It contains oxalic acid which limits the dog’s to absorb calcium which can lead to kidney issues.

Very Useful Fruit for Shiba Inus

There is a long list of fruit that are healthy and nutritious for most dogs, including popular ones such as apples, mangos, and oranges. Here are some of the very useful fruits for your Shiba Inus.

  • Apples; are a good source of fiber, Vitamin A and C. Since they are low in proteins and fats they are great for older Shiba Inus.
  • Bananas; contain various minerals including copper and potassium. Also, they are high in fiber and vitamins. They are best fed in moderation and should never be included in the main diet. Remember, they got a lot of sugar which we said earlier on should be taken with caution or in minimal amounts.
  • Blueberries; if you are looking for a great source of antioxidants than blueberry is a great choice. Antioxidants are useful in both man and dog through preventing cell damages.
  • Cranberries; it is safe to feed your Shiba Inu with cranberries. However, they should be fed in small quantities.
  • Cucumbers; come packed with K, B1 and C plus a host of minerals including potassium, biotin, copper, and magnesium.
  • Mangos; even though they are highly nutritious they should be taken occasionally as treats. They contain minerals such as potassium plus other rich minerals such as Alpha-carotene and Beta Carotene.Besides, they go 4 types of vitamins including A, B6, C, and E. The hard pit contains cyanide and so they should be removed before feeding them to your Shiba Inus.
  • Oranges; they come packed with Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. You should, however, feed them in small quantities. Normally, dogs are not big fans of any fruit that has strong-smelling citrus.

Other fruits that your Shiba Inu can take include peaches, Pears, Pineapple, Raspberries, strawberries, and watermelons.

Food That You Should Never Give Your Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus like most dogs might be tempted to want to eat from your plate and this is highly discouraged. One of the reasons, it is discouraged is because most of what we consider as delicacies could be useless or potentially dangerous to dogs. Their dental formula and digestion systems are not even designed to handle some of the human foods.

Here are just a few examples of foods that you should never give your Shiba.

  • Garlic and onions; as explained here onions and garlic come from the allium family plant which breaks down red blood cells leaving any dog anemic.
  • Yeast; your Shiba is a high risk of stomach upsets but it can also leave the small intestines blocked. Interestingly, though if normal fermentation continues in the stomach the dog might get drunk. This brings us to the next food type you should not feed your dog; alcohol.
  • Alcohol; the alcohol effects in humans are similar in dogs especially the deteriorating state of the Shiba Inu liver. But in a dog, the effects take shape faster than they do in humans. So do not participate in creating a sideshow with your Shiba Inu.
  • Candy and gum;typically gum and candy are laden with sweeteners known as xylitol which is known to cause an insulin spike. An insulin spike can potentially cause liver damage and it is bad for blood sugar.
  • Macadamia nuts; they can cause poisoning in your Shiba Inu. The symptoms are visible through vomiting and in severe cases there’s paralysis.
  • Caffeine; even though it’s rare to find dogs sipping coffee, caffeine can be found in sodas and energy drinks. You should keep these types of drinks far away from your dog as far as possible because this is poison. Caffeine contains a substance referred to as methylxanthines. If ingested by your Shiba Inu the dog will show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and tremors or in extreme cases death.

Foods That Are Okay, Food You Should be Very Careful

When it comes to your Shiba Inu diet,some human foods are okay to feed in moderation, while there are others you need to be very careful with or avoid entirely.

Foods That Are Generally Okay

  • Lean Meats: Unseasoned, cooked beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Eggs: Scrambled or hard-boiled eggs are great sources of protein.
  • Rice: Cooked white or brown rice.
  • Oatmeal: Great source of fiber.
  • Peanut Butter: Choose all-natural only.

However, remember that treats should not exceed 10% of your Shiba’s daily calories, so go easy on these.

Foods to Be Careful With

Human foods can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or weight gain if fed too often or in large portions:

  • Dairy: Small amounts of plain yogurt or cheese are okay.
  • Grains: Bread, pasta, crackers.
  • Sugary Fruits: Grapes, mangoes.
  • Meat Fat/Bones: Can cause pancreatitis.
  • Salty Foods: This can lead to excessive thirst/urination.

So you’ll want to limit these foods to no more than once or twice a week at most.

When in Doubt, Don’t Give It

As a general rule, if you aren’t sure if a person’s food is safe, don’t feed it to your Shiba Inu without first consulting your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health. Stick to their regular kibble as the main source of nutrition.

Should a Shiba Inu Eat Dry or Canned Food?

You can feed your ShibaInu with either canned or dry food –the choice will be determined by your preferences and budget. However, canned food taste better and can be used as a reward for progressive behavior in your Shiba.

Nevertheless, it is more expensive than dry foods and its higher water presence as well. On the other hand, dry foods are great for puppies and they require more water for the easier absorption of nutrients within the body.

Should a Shiba Inu Eat a Grain-free Diet?

Pups with digestion problems or even allergies can have a grain-free diet because grains are not so easy to diet. Normally, when the digestion process is affected your Shibas’s allergies are intensified. Historically, dogs have a carnivorous lineage which usually doesn’t have grains as an option, that’s why they are hard to digest.

That said, one dog might be able to handle the digestion issues with ease while another might not, it depends on the dog’s genes or general disposition.

How Much Should You Feed Your Shiba Inu? (Puppy, Adult, Senior)

The caloric needs vary quite a bit between puppyhood, adulthood, and senior years.

Puppy (8 weeks – 1 year)

  • Typical range – 1/2 to 2 cups per day total
  • Split into 2-3 meals
  • At 3 months old, switch from 3 meals to 2 meals


  • 2 lb puppy = 1/2 cup per day
  • 15 lb puppy = Around 1 1/3 cups per day

Adult (1-8 years)

  • Typical range – 1/2 to 2 cups per day total
  • Split into 2 meals


  • 16 lb adult = 3/4 cup per day
  • 25 lb adult = 1 1/4 cups per day

Senior (8 years+)

  • Typical range – 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups per day
  • Split into 2 meals
  • May need less if less active
  • Monitor weight closely

These are just rough estimates. You’ll need to tweak amounts based on your individual Shiba’s needs.

Gradually transition to adult portions at 1 year old.

Key Feeding Tips

  • Track your Shiba’s weight and body condition score. Increase or reduce food accordingly if they start gaining or losing.
  • Make gradual food transitions over 4-7 days if they need to switch their diet.
  • Stick to the same feeding times each day.
  • Use a standard 8 oz. measuring cup to portion out food.
  • Give frequent small treats? Reduce food portions accordingly.
  • Provide constant access to clean, fresh water.

How Often Should You Feed Your Shiba Inu? (Puppy, Adult, Senior)


  • 8-12 weeks old – Feed 3 meals per day
  • 3-6 months old – Feed 3 meals per day
  • 6-12 months old – Transition from 3 meals down to 2 meals per day

Puppies should eat smaller portions but more frequently. Their tiny tummies can’t hold much food at once.


1-8 years old – Feed 2 meals per day

Two meals work well for adult Shiba Inus to maintain consistent energy.


8 years+ – Feed 2 meals per day

Seniors can stick to two meals per day. But if they begin losing interest in food, switch to 3 smaller meals.

Feeding Time Tips

  • Try to space meals about 6-8 hours apart. For example, breakfast at 7 am and dinner at 5 pm.
  • Pick a feeding schedule and stick to it every day. Consistency prevents begging.
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows the set meal times.
  • If you need to feed just once a day, choose evenings when Shiba Inus is more active. But twice daily is best.
  • Don’t leave food sitting out. Pick up bowls after 15 minutes.

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