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Shiba Inus are known for being a dog breed that is strong-willed and independent.

They are also known for being a dog that knows what it wants and doesn't want. 

These preferences can extend into their eating habits, making some Shiba Inu owners think that they simply  have a picky dog.

However there are a bunch of factors that influence appetite including a Shiba’s temperament, meal time preferences, and food preferences.

In this article, you’ll learn the reasons why your Shiba may be a picky eater and how to address this issue.

red shiba inu on beach sand

A Shiba Inus Instinctual Diet Preferences

The Shiba Inu is a primitive breed from Japan that likely thrived on a diet rich in proteins, especially fish, and other fresh ingredients that the Japanese people ate themselves.

This is why presenting them with low-quality, commercial kibble may not seem appealing to them.

Being a breed that is well tuned to nature and balance, Shiba Inus likely possess natural instincts that help them discern what types of food are healthier.

Just as how dog’s gravitate to eating grass for health reasons, a Shiba Inu who naturally possess a high self esteem will gravitate to premium, nutritious foods.

Your Picky Shiba Inu - A Matter of Basic Preferences

Shibas are known for being stubborn, dramatic, and hard-to-please.

This can extend into their eating habits, where they may refuse food that doesn’t fit their expectations at the moment.

It’s important to understand your Shiba Inus personality so you can determine the reasons why your Shiba is refusing food at the time.

All Shibas have individual preferences when it comes to feeding.

Some Shibas don’t like to eat early in the morning, while others don’t mind eating all day long.

Then there’s Shibas that have various preferences when it comes to food texture, moisture levels, as well as likes and dislikes of certain foods.

Certain Shibas Inus are much more sensitive than others. These types of Shiba Inus are very perceptive to their human's moods.

So if there’s negativity, stress, and or sadness in the air, they’ll probably not be in the mood to eat. 

two shiba inus sitting at a dining table with food

Learning and Adapting To Your Picky Shiba Inu's Needs

Once you learn your Shiba’s individual preferences, you’ll lessen the chances of having a picky Shiba which can be annoying at times. 

Oftentimes, a Shiba’s reluctance to eat food is not due to the food itself but simply due to the Shiba not feeling like eating at that exact moment - for whatever reason they may have.

Don’t stress about too much and get frustrated. 

Moreso, don’t try and spoil your Shiba with even better food offerings as your smart Shiba will likely learn that refusing foods will lead to better options. 

As long as your Shiba Inu doesn’t have an underlying health issue, they will eventually eat when they are hungry enough.

A Picky Eater and Health Considerations

If you notice that your Shiba Inus is consistently not eating foods that they have in the past and this has lasted for more than two days then you should make an appointment with your vet to be safe.

Seeing a vet is especially important if you notice that your Shiba is losing weight or displaying any other behaviors that are not normal such as decreased thirst, increased thirst, salivating, tiredness, breathing issues, etc. 

pensive red shiba inu dog

Dealing With a Picky Shiba Inu

If you know that your Shiba Inu’s picky eating habits are not due to any health issues then yes, you likely just have a picky eater.

The best way to address this is to stick to a consistent schedule that your Shiba Inu prefers, whether that be certain times of the day or how many meals during the day.

Provide your Shiba a fresh, nutritious, and varied diet. Keep tabs on your Shiba’s food preferences so you develop a weekly meal plan that is balanced.

Giving your picky Shiba Inu meals that only include their favorite ingredients will quickly lead you to an even pickier Shiba Inu.

You can also utilize various food “toppers” of your Shibas favorite ingredients to make “less exciting” meals a bit more enticing. Just don’t overdo it.

When feeding your Shiba Inu, make sure you have the right attitude and not hold any stress or anger within you. 

As mentioned earlier, Shiba Inus that are picky due to sensitivity will pick up on your emotions quickly and will not likely want to eat when you’re in a bad mood.

In Summary

While Shiba Inus can display preferences and behaviors that could be mistaken for picky eating, it's important to understand the underlying factors influencing their appetite.

Once you understand your Shiba’s unique preferences,  feeding them won’t be such an uphill battle that can lead to frustration and unnecessary stress.

Remember, a Shiba Inu is a highly-evolved dog that understands their needs and desires.

So long as there are no health issues involved - having a selectful palette is not the worst trait in the world for a dog to have.

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