Do Shiba Inus Shed a Lot?

by Life With Dogs

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The Shiba Inu is probably one of the most popular dog breeds on the internet, thanks to their highly expressive faces and oftentimes endearing stubbornness. Another characteristic that many people find irresistible is their soft and thick fur, giving them their distinct fluffy appearance. However, if you’re planning on adopting a Shiba Inu puppy, one question that you might find yourself asking is whether these dogs shed. In this article, we will discuss Shiba Inu’s shedding patterns, grooming recommendations, and tips to keep your pets’ coats looking their best.

Shiba Inus Shed Their Undercoats Twice a Year

The Shiba Inu is a shedding breed, especially since they have double coats. Like the Akita and the Chow Chow, a Shiba Inu’s coat consists of an undercoat, which is made up of short, wool-like fur, and an outer coat, made up of longer hair. While double coats make pets look cuter and fluffier, these are actually designed to protect them from both the heat and the cold. You’ll notice that many breeds with double coats typically originate from countries that have cold winters, like the Siberian Husky, the Shetland Sheepdog, and the Great Pyrenees.

However, while these coats are extremely useful for winter, these dogs shed their undercoats when the weather becomes warmer. This means that Shiba Inus have heavy shedding periods twice a year, wherein they need to “blow their coats” to make way for their thinner and lighter coat fit for hotter weather.

This is what happens when they shed their coat towards the beginning of spring. Heavy shedding is to be expected for about three weeks, wherein your pet is going to need a lot of brushing to assist him in shedding off his winter undercoat. This process also happens before winter begins, during autumn, in preparation for the winter season, wherein your pet is going to need a thicker coat to withstand colder temperatures.

In addition, Shina Inus also shed frequently during ordinary days, making brushing and combing necessary for removing loose hair and dead skin. However, make sure not to bathe your dogs too frequently, since this can dry their fur and skin out, leading to itchiness or other uncomfortable skin conditions.

Are Shiba Inus Hypoallergenic?

Another question you might have with Shiba Inus is whether their coats are hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, this breed is not hypoallergenic since you’ll be dealing with a whole lot of fur and shedding – which may aggravate your pet allergies if you suffer from them. One quick way to determine whether a pet is hypoallergenic is to note which ones have hair instead of fur. Some hypoallergenic breeds include the Havanese, Shih Tzu, Maltese, and the Groodle.

Eight Tips and Recommendations for Shiba Inu Grooming

If you’re bent on adopting a Shiba Inu or you’re already in the process of dealing with a shedding Shiba Inu, here are a few tips and recommendations that we can share with you. These include:

1. Brush Your Pets Twice a Week During Shedding Season

One of the best practices you can do for your Shiba Inu pup is to regularly brush their coat with the right type of dog brush. During regular days, you can brush them once every week or even once every two weeks since they won’t be shedding too much fur during these times. Just make sure that you do full-body brushing to loosen dead hair in all parts of their body.

During shedding season, however, you may need to brush your dog twice to thrice a week, depending on how much your pet is shedding. Use a de-shedding brush or a furminator to effectively reach your Shiba Inu’s undercoat and loosen the fur enough to be removed faster. Another type of brush that you might need is a slicker brush, which not only helps to remove loosened fur, but also helps with avoiding mats or tangles in your Shiba Inu’s coat.

Remember that brushing is an important part of maintaining your Shiba Inu’s health and fur quality. By making sure that you brush your Shiba Inu’s fur regularly, you can make shedding season a lot easier on you and not look as excessive.

2. Do Not Bathe Your Shiba Inu Too much – Once a Week or Twice a Month Is Enough

While it might be tempting to bathe your Shiba Inu to get rid of their loose undercoat faster, it’s not recommended. Bathing them too much can lead to fur dryness and even flaking of their skin, which may be highly uncomfortable for your pet.

If you’re looking for the perfect bathing time, you should remember that once a week or twice a month is enough for your Shiba Inu.  

3. Clean Your Dog’s Bed and Crate Regularly During Shedding Season

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During shedding season, it can be expected that your home is probably going to be full of fur for the next three weeks whether you like it or not. While it might be tempting to just let the fur lie around until the three weeks are up before you clean it, this is highly unsanitary for both you and your pup. Clean your home regularly and remove any remnants of fur, including their bed and crate. This will help keep your pets comfortable while they’re resting and make sure that you don’t suffer from any allergies that may happen during shedding season.

4. Consider Visiting the Groomers

Shedding season is a fairly easy thing to navigate, especially for experienced pet owners and Shiba Inu parents. However, if you’re a new pet parent and you’re not quite sure how shedding season works or you’re not yet comfortable enough to groom your pet on your own, there’s always the option of visiting the groomers, so that they can help you remove your pet’s undercoat. Visit your pet’s groomer regularly to keep your pet’s coat even, shiny and well-taken care of during shedding season or even during ordinary days.

Remember that groomers are highly professional and they usually have all the equipment they need to loosen your pet’s undercoat faster and easier without hurting them. They are also highly skilled and have the experience to properly take care of your pet. At the same time, groomers tend to cut your pet’s nails and clean their teeth — talk about hitting two birds (or three!) with one stone!

5. Start Your Shiba Inu on a Brushing Habit Early On

Young dogs are typically full of energy — either running around or just really not staying in one place at long intervals. This may make full-body brushing challenging, especially for new owners. If you’ve recently adopted a Shiba Inu puppy or you’re planning on adopting one, we recommend introducing brushing times early on. Maybe give them a few treats during brushing sessions to make it a positive experience for them and not make them too fussy.

In addition, help your pets get accustomed to you handling areas in their body that they would otherwise not want to be brushed, including sensitive parts such as their abdomen or face. 

6. Use the Right Dog Products for Your Shiba Inu’s Coat

Whenever you’re handling your pets or introducing new products, it’s absolutely crucial to determine which are safe for your pets and which are specifically designed for dogs. Dog shampoos and conditioners are generally formulated to be as compatible as possible for your dog’s skin and coat. Shampoos are designed to remove dirt and grime that your pet might have gotten during an aggressive mud bath or walk, while conditioners are designed to lock in moisture to keep your pet’s coat shiny and soft.

At some point, you might be tempted to try out human shampoo and conditioner on your dog, but this may be a bad idea since some chemical ingredients in human shampoo may be irritants to your dog. Make sure you use dog shampoo and other products to keep your Shiba Inu’s coat healthy. 

7. Give Your Dogs Supplements for Their Coat

Your dog’s coat provides them protection from heat and cold, making them crucial for maintaining your pet’s health and overall comfort. Support their coat health by giving them supplements that help keep their coats and skin protected and in optimal condition. What’s great about coat supplements is that they not only target coat health, but they also offer other health benefits for your Shiba Inu, including immune, cardiac, and cognitive support, especially since a lot of them include healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

This is especially useful for Shiba Inus since they may be afflicted at some point in their lives with atopy, or atopic dermatitis, which may make their skin and ears extremely itchy. By providing them with adequate nutrients to support their health, you can help curb this predisposition.

8. Give Your Pets High-Quality, Species-Appropriate Dog Food

Your pet’s coat is highly influenced by a large number of factors, including their food. While you might think that it’s perfectly normal for your Shiba Inu to shed fur, their diet may be making them shed fur faster than normal. Feeding an unhealthy diet to your Shiba Inu — such as purely dry food — may make their coats brittle, exacerbating fur loss. Consider giving your pets meat-rich diets with a few additions of vegetables to give them adequate amounts of protein and the essential nutrients they need daily.

Shiba Inus Are Shedders, But Are Perfectly Manageable With Care and Dedication 

Shiba Inus are shedders because of the quality of their fur. While this might seem a bit daunting for new pet parents, it’s easily manageable if you know what you’re doing. Before the start of summer, consider stocking up on grooming supplies so that you won’t be taken aback when your Shiba Inus starts blowing their undercoats. 

Not only will this help you navigate shedding season easily, but it will also make your puppy all the more comfortable as he or she sheds her coat. Follow the recommendations and tips we mentioned in this article to keep your pup clean, happy, and healthy all year round. Trust us, this will be highly rewarding, especially when you see your beautiful pup with his or her fluffy coat in the winter or their healthy thin coats in the summer.