Why Are Shiba Inu Picky Eaters? Answered

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Most Shiba Inus are naturally picky eaters, so they tend to nibble their food bit by bit until it’s over. They don’t eat at a go like most other dogs. Instead, Shiba Inus can leave the food inside the bowl for a couple of hours before returning to eat.

There are several reasons why your Shiba Inus could become a picky eater. These reasons include a change of schedule, a change of diet, or adulting.

Shiba Inu is a picky eater and shouldn’t worry you a lot unless there are additional signs of sickness. But picky eating alone is the norm with Shiba Inu.

Therefore, this Shiba Inu picky eating guide tells you why Shiba Inu have this behavior and what actions you should take.

Why Are Shiba Inus Picky Eaters? Causes

  • Shiba Inus Are Naturally Grazers
  • Mealtime Add-Ons Can Be a Cause
  • Transition From One Food to Another
  • Routine Change
  • Age

What’s more;

Shiba Inus Are Naturally Grazers

Shiba Inus are naturally born grazers and like eating at their own pace. They can regulate the amount of food they take without overfeeding or starving themselves.

That said, free feeding is more likely the best feeding method if you have a Shiba Inu. However, if you have other heavy-feeder pets around, like bulldogs, free feeding isn’t something you can try.

So, it’s pretty hard you find an oversized Shiba Inus unless they don’t exercise. With normal free feeding plus exercise, Shibas maintain a proportionate body shape throughout their lives.

If your Shiba Inus has sporadic eating patterns, it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Despite leaving the food in the bowl for hours, your Shiba Inu will eventually eat the amount they feel is enough for them.

Eating when they’re hungry and not based on your schedule is such a Shiba Inu thing. Thankfully, they self-regulate and thus are free from bloating issues and other risks.

Mealtime Add-Ons Can Be the Reason

There are a variety of mealtime add-ons available for dog foods. These are things that owners add to their dog’s meal to spice it up.

Why are Shiba Inu picky eaters

So, your Shiba Inus can easily develop a bad habit of wanting the add-ons before the meal making them wait to eat.

In addition, if you constantly have different meal add-ons, they may start to wait and see what new goodies await them.

Mealtime add-ons aren’t bad; however, ensure they come some minutes after your Shiba Inu is done eating.

Transitioning Between Different Foods

The transition from one food brand to another can, in one way or another, affect your Shibas appetite.

So, when interchanging brands, you should make it a gradual transition so that your canine friend still has some access to previous food as you try the new brand.

That way, you can tell if your Shiba Inu prefers the former or the new food brand. In addition, different brands contain different ingredients. Always check with precision, as Shibas are prone to food allergies.

When transitioning from one brand of food to another, ensure to split your Shibas meals 3 or 4 times a day. More small means can help with improving appetite.

Routine Change

The routine change affects your Shiba Inu a lot. Shiba Inus are creatures of habit, so they don’t like someone to disrupt their routine.

On distracting their schedule, your Shiba Inu may react by refusing to eat and going on a hunger strike. Shiba Inu can go on a hunger strike for even more than a week nibbling their food.

Activities that trigger a routine change in Shiba Inu include moving to a new home. This is due to the unfamiliarity with the new environment and surroundings.

Also, transferring to a new family is a routine change and can affect your Shiba Inu mood. When they’re in a dull mood, Shibas often refuse to eat.


Age is a crucial determinant factor affecting Shiba Inu eating behavior. Shiba Inu tend to eat a lot during the puppy and growth stages.

However, after your Shibas 1st birthday, they’ll likely begin eating less food. They eat more during the first twelve months to supplement body requirements.

The end of body growth causes Shiba Inu to change their eating behavior. Therefore, they may turn around and become picky eaters.

How To Remedy Shiba Inu Picky Eating Behavior

  • Avoid Meal Toppers
  • Exercise
  • Regulate Snacks and Treats
  • Check If It May Be Lack of Appetite
  • Change The Diet

Let’s explore each below;

Avoid Meal Toppers

Shiba Inus aren’t the best with meal toppers. So, if you hope to add them to your Shibas diet, you may want to rethink that decision.

In fact, you should remove and avoid adding anything to their meal unless it makes them hyper-happy.

Meal topovers can work either way. They can work to your canine friend’s advantage or disadvantage. So, it’s up to you to identify their impact on your Shiba.

Always be aware that Shiba Inus are among the most opinionated dogs. So, however much good you may wish and want for them, they can hold a different opinion and stick to it.

Thankfully, Shibas will always tell you through body language what they’re happy with and not happy with.


If you may have missed exercise, you should immediately embark on it as it somewhat helps with Shiba Inu picky eating behavior.

Although not in all Shiba Inus, exercising helps heat the body and possibly trigger metabolism for already ingested food.

That said, you should try to exercise your Shiba Inu and see whether there is any difference. Shiba Inu eating and failure to exercise causes discomfort hence causing picky eating.

Properly exercising your Shiba Inu and taking some time (like an hour) before you feed them could help.

Regulate Snacks & Treats

You shouldn’t let your Shiba Inus have a field day with treats. Everything in excess is dangerous, and so are treats.

Plenty of treats can influence your Shibas appetite, thus causing picky eating. So, regulating the amount of treats your Shiba eats daily is necessary.

Also, Shiba Inus tend to get bored with what they have in excess; this includes the daily food they get. So, don’t provide treats in excess.

Associate treats with good deeds and successful command adherence. That way, your Shiba won’t get plenty of them that it’s recommended.

Check With Lack of Appetite

Lack of appetite in Shiba Inu isn’t a new thing. This breed can lose appetite abruptly without any prior signs.

So, if your Shiba Inu abruptly starts picky eating, you can check with the vet for assistance to identify if it may be an appetite issue.

There are various supplements you can use to improve your Shibas appetite. So, if you identify a lack of appetite, consider changing your Shibas diet or using supplements that improve appetite in dogs.

Change The Diet

As mentioned earlier, Shiba Inus can get bored with the diet they have been feeding since a young age.

When this happens, they suddenly lose the desire to eat and will only have a handful. You should consider adjusting the diet with another familiar one.

In changing diets, you should identify what works for your Shiba Inus and what doesn’t. That way, you’ll finally have enough brands to rotate within.

Rotating your Shibas diet has numerous pros and keeps them happy when they hear it’s eating time. In addition, rotating foods avail crucial body nutrients needed for healthy growth

Conclusion On Why Are Shiba Inu Picky Eaters?

Shiba Inus are naturally picky eaters and prefer to eat alone. This often starts when your canine friend starts adulting.

If your Shiba Inu is showing picky eating behavior and has signs of an illness, you should contact your vet right away.

However, if your Shiba Inu isn’t showing any signs of sickness like diarrhea and change in behavior, give them time as you make an observation.

Lastly, you can try feeding your Shiba Inu fewer snacks in a bid to counter picky eating.

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