My Shiba Inu Won’t Eat, What To Do?

Is your Shiba Inu refusing his tasty dinner, the same one which he has enjoyed until recently? Many things can be the reason why Shiba Inu dogs won’t eat, from being fussy eaters to being sick.

If Shiba won’t eat, you should check if the dog is sick. Your dog will also refuse to eat if his stomach is full. In case you feed your Shiba Inu with larger portions than it’s necessary, you might think he doesn’t eat enough or if you share with him table food he can lose interest in dog food. Your Shiba Inu might be perfectly healthy but be a fussy eater. Any adult Shiba Inu that refuses all meals for 24 h or more, needs to go to the vet.

In case signs of infection or sickness like vomiting, diarrhea, or absence of bowel movement are accompanied with a lack of appetite, take your dog to the vet for urgent examination!

Why My Shiba Inu Won’t Eat?

Before you decide how to help your dog that has stopped eating, you need to find out the reason why your Shiba Inu won’t eat so you have to go through these questions :

  • Does he show any signs of illness?
  • Is your Shiba Inu on some medications currently?
  • Does he eat treats but won’t eat a meal?
  • How old is your Shiba Inu? Older dogs might eat less than usual… while puppies can be quite a fussy eaters
  • Have you noticed some behavioral changes in your Shiba?
  • Is there any change in your Shiba’s routine recently for some reason ( vacation, moving to another house, new baby in your home…)?

Main Reasons for Shiba Inu Not Eating :


If your Shiba shows some other signs like vomiting or diarrhea, he might have caught some kind of infection. You should visit the vet.

Absence of bowel movement combined with lack of appetite may indicate conditions like bowel obstruction. Again, visit the vet as soon as possible.

Another reason for yor Shiba Inu to refuses to eat, could be a liver disease. If he displays symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures together with appetite loss, rush to the vet.

Conditions like cancer or kidney failure may cause a lack of appetite. If your Shiba Inu urinates more than usual but also drinks more water than usual, it’s recommended to check his kidneys.

If you notice abdominal swelling, abnormal odors that come from your Shiba’s mouth or ears, or abnormal discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose may indicate cancer.

It doesn’t have to be cancer, as these symptoms might be signs of many other illnesses but still, it’s necessary to take your dog to the vet without delay.

Pain will also cause a lack of appetite in your dog. If he has any kind of problems with his teeth or gums ( broken tooth, abscess, gum disease…), he will refuse his delicious kibbles.

On the other hand, if your Shiba Inu is on therapy, and taking some medications, that could also be the reason why he eats less. Some medications simply decrease appetite in dogs.

In case of recent vaccination lack of apetite may occur. One of the adverse reactions might be appetite loss.

Routine Changes/ Separation Anxiety

Shiba Inu like routine like any other dog. They are creatures of habit. If someone or something disrupts their routine they might react by refusing to eat.

What does the routine change mean in the mind of one Shiba Inu?

  • Moving to another home. Big change, new environment, unfamiliar place, he needs some time to adapt.
  • Moving to another home with another family. This is a huge change.
  • Someone moves out of the house. Either dog’s owners went through a divorce /break up or one of the kids left home to go to college. In any case, Shiba Inu could show signs of separation anxiety and suffer from appetite loss.
  • Vacation. A beautiful trip, carefully planned… but it might trigger anxiety in your Shiba as it breaks his routine.
  • Someone new comes to the house. This might be your new partner or your newborn baby. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the situation in the house is different from yesterday.

I think you got the point. Dogs like routine so much that even a change of their food bowl location might result in appetite loss.

The time when you usually feed your dog is also important. He must get his meal at approximately the same time every day.

Being left alone for many hours on daily basis may trigger separation anxiety in Shiba Inu. Although these dogs are independent by nature and can be left alone in moderation, if you constantly leave alone your dog every day, eventually he might start suffering from separation anxiety.

Also if you used to work during the day and then change the shift and start working during the night will also upset your pet and provoke reduced appetite.

The Age of Shiba Inu

Like in humans, senior Shiba Inu may have reduced appetite. It’s quite normal. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs, decreased sense of smell and taste, lower levels of energy.

Older dogs require a lower-calorie diet. But be careful here, a lower-calorie diet doesn’t mean a low protein diet, on contrary, senior dogs need high-quality proteins.

Low protein food can cause muscle mass loss. The food for your senior should be low in fat but high in fibers to ensure good health of the gastrointestinal tract.

Make sure that diet contain some supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin ( both are claimed to improve or maintain joint health)

Always check nutritional values on the food pack and make sure you choose a high-quality brand.

Shiba Inu pups might become fussy eaters because their owners can not resist their pupy eyes. Puppies quickly learn that if they refuse to eat dog food for long enough, their owners will remove the dog food, and give them something they think is a lot tastier.

To fix this habit feed your Shiba Inu puppy several times a day at the same time each day, for 10 minutes at a time. If he doesn’t finish his meal, just take it away. He’ll be hungry for his next mealtime. When he’s happy to eat dog food, you can make his diet diverse by adding a range of treats. Keep mealtimes enjoyable. By doing this, you’re establishing good eating habits from the start.

Fussy Eater

If your adult Shiba Inu is used to getting treats all day long, he will not be interested in his main meal. The same goes for table scraps. If you feed your Shiba Inu with too much human food, he will lose interest in his kibble.

Sometimes dogs may become bored with their food. If they eat the same every day, they may have decreased appetite. In that case, try to change something, add some tasty topping, soak his kibbles in the warm water, add unsalted chicken broth, offer him wet food if he used to dry one…

How Long Can Shiba Inu Go Without Eating?

Adult Shiba Inu can survive up to 5 days without food but that’s not normal and you shouldn’t let your dog that long without a meal.

As previously said, if your Shiba Inu won’t eat for 24 h or more, you should take him to the vet.

Bear in mind that water intake is more important than food as dogs can go far less without water than without food.

How Can I Stimulate My Shiba’s Appetite?

First of all, rule out any health issue as a reason for appetite loss. In case your Shiba Inu shows some signs of compromised health like diarrhea, absence of bowel movement, pain, teeth problems, nausea, etc you should take him to the vet.

But if you have a perfectly healthy Shiba Inu then you should try to find the right way to stimulate your dog’s appetite.

In case your Shiba Inu is coping with separation anxiety or he needs some time to adapt to a new situation ( a new home, a new person in your home, etc), be patient with him. Spend more time with him, try hand-feeding.

Helpful tips for stimulating your Shiba Inu to eat:

It can happen that your dog is either bored with his food or is simply a picky eater. In that case, do some of the following:

  • Make sure your Shiba Inu doesn’t get any treat nor table scarps
  • If possible let him has his meals in different time then yours
  • Stick to the feeding schedule
  • If your dog is a picky eater, give him a small quantity of food and wait for 10 minutes, then remove the bowl, no matter if he hasn’t eaten. Bring the bowl back on time for the next meal. Don’t give him any food in between. Once he starts eating from his bowl increase the quantity of the food. Praise him every time when he takes the food from his bowl.
  • Make sure your Shiba’s bowl is always clean. If the food bowl is made of stainless steel or glass, do replace it with a ceramic one as dogs usually don’t like to see their reflection.
  • If your dog is bored, maybe he needs some fun. Put some lid on the food bowl and let him try to remove it. Or serve the food in some kind of toy ( KONG, puzzle, snuffle mat). This will make the mealtime more interesting. The problem you might have with feeding toys is that their capacity is rather small, so you have to refill them several times during one meal. You can even sprinkle kibble on the floor and let your dog eat like that and not from the bowl.
  • If your dog won’t eat, try hand-feeding
  • Take your dog out before a meal, exercise is great for working up the appetite. Don’t forget to wait at least one hour though before you feed your pet to avoid bloat.
  • If you think that your Shiba Inu is bored with current food, try to find alternative. Stick to the high-quality brand that will fulfill all his nutritional needs but also will have a more appealing meaty smell. Just make the transition slowly, step by step, combining old and new food for at least 10 days
  • You can also soak your dogs food into the warm water ( to change a food texture and make food more appealing) or warm up his wet food. Some nice, tasty topping over his food can improve its flavor and become more interesting for your dog
  • Although Shiba inu adore thier human families and they are very friendly and loyal dogs, do provide a calm place for mealtime for your dog. If your kid is trying to play with a Shiba Inu when he needs to eat or your dog is distracted in some other way, that’s not good.
  • If you have a senior Shiba Inu, raise his bowl as it might be challenging ( and painful as well) for him to bend down to eat. If you raise his bowl about 12 inches off the ground, that might reduce joint stress.
  • Of course, always check if your dog’s food hasn’t been spoiled before your serve it to your Shiba Inu.


If your Shiba Inu refuses to eat, it might be a sign of some disease. They can also become picky eaters especially if you let them. So you might have a perfectly healthy Shiba Inu with a bad appetite.

Remember that dogs can survive eating up to 5 days but you shouldn’t let them starve to death. Rush to the vet if your dog refuses to eat for 24-48 h.

I hope this article will help you find the right cause of appetite loss in your dog and what to do about it.

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