Although we are nearing the half way point of 2018, many dog lovers are still unaware that according tho the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, we are in the year of the dog.

More specifically, 2018 is the year of the Earth Dog.

But of course we prefer to think of it as the Year of the Shiba Inu! In fact, human beings born during the Year of the Dog are said to be loyal, honest and selfless. 

But they can also be stubborn, cold and critical (just like a Shiba Inu!).

The Chinese Lunar Calendar can be traced back to the 14th Century B.C. Legend has it that Emperor Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor, invented the Chinese Lunar Calendar in 2637 B.C., designing it to follow the cycles of the moon. 

year of the doge shibe inu

The Chinese Lunar Calendar is closed tied to Chinese astrology, which is used to count years, months, days, and even hours! Each of the 12 animals in the zodiac stands for a year in a 12-year cycle, a single day in a 12-day cycle, and for every two hours in a 24-hour day. 

Each birth year is assigned a different animal sign, check out which one you are:

Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960

Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961

Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970

Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

What Can You Expect During the Year of the Earth Dog?

The traits of the animal in question (in this case, the dog) are often intimately connected with the year’s predictions.  

The year of the Earth Dog is no exception. While the predictions for the year are often extensive, we can break down 2018’s predictions using common canine traits:

  • Perceptive: Because our canine friends are so perceptive they are highly communicative with us. Strong communication skills will be an important component of financial and relationship success in 2018.

  • Playful: Dogs are notoriously playful creatures (and Shibas are chief among them, especially with their beloved humans!) The Year of the Earth Dog will bring fun and joy and a sense of joviality.

  • Protective: The Chinese tend to view dogs as auspicious animals that can lead to times of peace. This may be due to their protective (defensive rather than offensive) natures. The Year of the Earth Dog should bring harmony- something that will make us all very happy!

  • Cooperative: Dogs are highly social and cooperative creatures. Their “pack mentality” shows an extreme knack for collaboration and the ability to put the needs of the group over the needs of the individual. Being generous, hardworking, and considerate of the needs of others will reap great benefits throughout 2018.

While 2018 is expected to be a good year on the overall, it will also be full of contradictions. The dog’s sensitivity to others and devotion to equality, while excellent traits that bring success in interpersonal relationships, may also lead to disappointments, feelings of sadness, and a sense of  fragility.

How to Make the Year of the Dog Special for Your Shiba

The Year of the Dog (which won’t come around again for another 12 years) is the perfect time to reflect on the care you give your Shiba Inu and think about how you can improve your relationship with your special canine companion.

Maybe your Shiba Inu doesn’t get out for walks as much as you’d like, or you’ve noticed they aren’t as enthusiastic about their kibble as they used to be.

Here are some tips on making the Year of the Dog the best year ever for your Shiba Inu:

Better food: 

Have you ever really considered what kind of food your feeding your Shiba Inu?

Many of us simply feed our dogs based on recommendations from friends or past experience.

But there’s actually quite a science to canine nutrition, and it’s our responsibility as conscientious Shiba Inu owners to provide them with the best nutrition possible. 

black and tan shiba looking at savory dog cake

We at My First Shiba Inu, believe in feeding organic, homemade cooked or raw food. However, we know that not all Shiba Inu has the resources or time to feed this way.

So, instead we recommend for dog owners to do diligent research and look for the best dog food available.

Here are some traits to look for when researching dog foods. You can use the following hints to check the food you current buy, and, if necessary, when shopping for a new one:

  1. High protein content. High-quality dog foods list meat (not meal meal, which is different) as the first ingredient. If meat isn’t the first or second ingredient in your dogfood, look elsewhere! Dogs are carnivores and require a meat-heavy diet to stay healthy.
  2. Grain Free. Many Shiba Inus are sensitive to grains, so a grain free food is often a safe choice. If you don’t want to go completely grain free, look for foods that contain high-quality grains such as rice (rather than corn).
  3. Oils. Look careful at which oils are present in your Shiba Inu’s food. Many commercial dog foods use canola oil, which is a cheaper yet nutritionally inferior oil. Look for salmon oil, which has more nutrition, is more carefully selected, and is better for your Shiba Inu.
  4. Fillers. There are a ton of nutritionally useless foods (fillers) in many commercial dog foods. A high-quality dog food will have relatively limited ingredients, which leaves little room for “fillers”. Some examples of fillers are : tomato pomace, wheat, and corn.
  5. Carbohydrates. Most dog foods, even if they are grain free, have some sort of carbohydrate. You should look for high-quality and digestible carbs such as potato, sweet potato, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  6. By-Products / Rendered "Mystery" Meat. Did you know that commercial dog foods can legally include road kill and euthanized animals? They can. To avoid this, stay away from cheap, grocery market brands and ingredient listings that mention "by-products" and "meal". Instead, look for whole proteins. Beef should be listed as "beef".  

More Exercise / Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Making sure your Shiba Inu gets regular exercise is important for two reasons: it will help keep their weight down (which is crucial for illness prevention, especially as your Shiba Inu gets older) and mental stimulation.

Shiba Inus that aren’t exercise properly can become bored (which, as most dog owners know, is almost always a recipe for disaster).

Do your Shiba Inu’s brain and waistline a favor: commit to taking them out for longer, brisker walks in 2018!

Mental stimulation 

Shiba Inus are highly intelligent dogs and thus require a great deal of mental stimulation to be happy and heathy.

When the Shiba Inu was developed in Japan as a hunting dog, the Japanese wanted a small, intelligent, and independent dog to assist them on their small game hunts.

In order to fulfill all of these criteria, the Shiba Inu had to be quick, both mentally and physically. 

adult shiba inu playing a puzzle game

Now that the vast majority of Shiba’s are lounging on the couch rather than hunting in the underbrush, it’s easy to forget that our little fox-like little pets are indeed hunting dogs and may become bored without adequate mental stimulus.

Those hunting instincts, coupled with the Shiba Inus innate intelligence, means that they are particularly susceptible to boredom.

Investing in some puzzle games for your Shiba Inu is a great way to keep their minds sharp in 2018. You can also try playing interactive games with your Shiba, such as “hide and seek”.

Training is also another great way to keep your Shiba’s mind active. Even if they already know all the commands, a training session a day (it doesn’t need to be any longer than 5 or 10 minutes) is a great way to refresh their memory and keep them on their toes.

Love and fun

If your reading this article, the chances are pretty high that your Shiba Inu gets all the love they could ever want!

But what about fun?

There are plenty of ways to have fun with your Shiba Inu, including walks, games, and training sessions.

shiba inu and women owner

If you really want to go the extra mile in 2018 to celebrate the Year of the Dog, you can consider enrolling your Shiba Inu in a dog sport.

There are tons of dog sports available to you such as flyball, agility, and obedience training.

Enrolling your dog is a great way to foster the bond between you and your beloved Shiba. They’ll get exercise, mental stimulation, and get to spend a ton of time with their favorite person: you!

Health care

Shiba Inus are pretty healthy dogs and rarely require more than an annual trip to the vet and the occasional vaccine booster.

But if your Shiba Inu were to seriously become ill, would you be prepared?

Make it a priority to be financially prepared for any veterinary healthcare emergencies in 2018.

Consider enrolling your Shiba Inu in pet insurance, which can greatly lessen the financial burden of vet bills in the event of an accident or serious health issue (careful- these plans rarely cover genetic illnesses).

You should also pay special attention to your Shiba Inu’s teeth. While we (hopefully!) remember to brush our own teeth, it can be difficult to remember to brush your dog’s teeth as well.  

shiba inu pet dog insurance

But regular dental care at home can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, as professional dental cleanings and tooth extractions at the veterinarian’s office can be extremely expensive.

More importantly, poor dental care can lead to a variety of other serious health issues, including infection and heart problems.

So many 2018 the year in which you begin seriously taking care of your Shiba Inus teeth (if you aren’t already).

How To Celebrate The Year Of The Dog With Your Shiba Inu (And Your Human Friends)

Even if you aren’t a true believe in zodiac signs and horoscopes, the Year of the Dog is still the perfect excuse for a party.

Hosting a dog themed party on your Shiba’s birthday is a great way to involve your friends (and possibly even your friend’s dogs) in celebrating the Year of the Dog!

shiba inu and friends picture

Make Shiba Inu shaped cupcakes, invite your friends and their furry buddies, and enjoy the Year of the Dog!

A quick google search of “Shiba Inu Party” will give you plenty of ideas (trust us, we did it).

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