From their bubbly personality to unique aesthetics, it’s easy to see why Shiba Inus are so popular. Another trait that many find irresistible is their soft and thick fur, which gives them a distinct fluffy appearance. But this leads to concerns about Shiba Inu shedding.
Shedding is one part of dog ownership that most people don’t like. And no matter how much you love your furry friend, having to deal with fur all over your house can be quite frustrating, not to mention it can greatly affect allergy sufferers. For this reason, it’s important to understand a particular breed’s shedding tendencies, so you know whether or not they are the right fit for you and your family.
So, do Shiba Inus shed? Yes, they do. In fact, they not only go through the typical daily shedding of old, dead hairs but also shed their entire undercoat in spring and fall to prepare for the upcoming season. These dogs are generally heavy shedders and can be a challenge to those who constantly want a spotless home or have severe allergies. On the bright side, regular maintenance can help keep the shedding to an absolute minimum, so you enjoy the companionship of this wonderful pet.
Before bringing any dog home, it’s best to understand what you’re getting into regarding care and maintenance. Understanding the Shiba Inu’s shedding is particularly important because their coats contribute to their physical appeal and overall health.
This article will examine this dog’s daily shedding, when they shed the most, why they shed, what you can do to keep the shedding to an absolute minimum, and much more. Rest assured that you’ll be ready to take care of the lovely Shiba Inu by the end of reading this article. Without further ado, let’s jump right in:
How Much Do Shiba Inus Shed?
There’s no getting around the fact that Shiba Inus are heavy shedders, although not the heaviest in the dogdom. Expect to find hairs on your couch and floors all year round as this dog’s topcoat falls out. And the less you maintain their coat and find ways to manage the situation, the more excessive the shedding will seem.
As if that wasn’t enough, this is a double-coated breed, and it undergoes the blowing of coat season. This is when double-coated dogs shed their entire undercoat during certain times of the year in preparation for seasonal changes. On the bright side, this season is short-lived, usually about three weeks, and you can manage it with regular grooming, among other things.
Keep in mind that the exact amount of shedding will vary between dogs. Factors such as diet, overall health, and the environment come into play in determining the dog’s shedding frequency and intensity.
Why Do Shiba Inus Shed?
Shedding is a natural occurrence that’s linked to the hair growth cycle. Like humans, dogs will continuously lose old, dead hairs and replace them with new, healthier growth. The fact that Shiba Inus are double-coated makes the situation worse. In addition to the daily shedding, these dogs also undergo seasonal shedding. This happens because the body prepares itself for the weather change that’s about to happen.
Aside from the above natural forms of shedding, your Shiba Inu could also be shedding due to a health issue. As a pet owner, it’s important to know your dog’s shedding tendencies. That way, you know when something is amiss that needs urgent attention. Keep reading to learn more about unhealthy shedding.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
Most Shiba Inus owners will rank their dogs as moderate to heavy shedders. These canines tend to shed fairly evenly year-round, but their shedding seems to explode two times a year.
For about 3-8 weeks during spring and fall, your Shiba Inu will shed their undercoat to grow something better suited for the upcoming season. They will grow a thick coat in fall to help stay warm in the cold winter months. And come springtime, they will get rid of the heavy jacket to stay cool in summer.
Expect to find hair all over your furniture, floor, carpeting, clothing, and beddings during seasonal shedding. During this time, it is advised that you groom your pup daily to help minimize shedding. You may also want to keep them away from people with severe allergies because they can cause damage. Thankfully, things should be back to normal in a few weeks.
If your Shiba Inu is an indoor dog, they may not experience seasonal shedding. This is due to the controlled light and heat, which makes them not need a special coat for the changing weather.
While shedding is standard for all dogs, there are certain instances when it could be a sign of a problem. Worrying is probably unwarranted if your Shiba Inu is shedding a lot in spring and fall. But if they are doing so other times of the year, you may want to know the cause.
There are other signs that your canine is shedding unhealthily, including having bald spots, lots of itching, open sores, large clumps of fur lying around, dull fur, dry skin, etc. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to see the vet, who will carry out a series of tests to determine the cause and offer possible solutions.
Some of the common causes of unhealthy shedding in dogs include parasites, fungal and bacterial infections, malnutrition, stress, hormonal imbalance, allergies, etc. Most of these problems are considered mild and easily treatable, especially in the early stages.
But there’s a myriad of more severe health problems like skin cancer, which can cause excessive shedding. The good news with unhealthy shedding is once you resolve the underlying problem, it stops.
What Type of Coat Does a Shiba Inu Have?
Understanding the qualities of this dog’s hair will help you understand why do Shiba Inus shed. Their fur is a glorious thing, and there are a few dogs like them with fluffy coats, color, and overall beauty. These dogs are double-coated, meaning they have two layers of fur: a topcoat and an undercoat. The thick layers and deep undercoat keep them well insulated, so they don’t get cold or overheated during winter and summer weather. The topcoat is straight and stiff, and its primary purpose is to provide additional protection against the elements, injury, and even pests. This layer has a medium length and can bear a slightly different color from the undercoat.
How to Manage and Reduce Shiba Inus Shedding?
Taking care of your dog’s hair while it is shedding is critical. Otherwise, it will shed profusely more than just the 4-6 weeks of the seasonal shedding season. Here are a few simple steps you should take all year round to ensure your Shiba Inu’s fur is in its best possible condition:
- Providing a proper diet
- Using supplements, etc
Shiba Inus Grooming
These dogs do shed a lot. But thankfully, their coats are not high maintenance. In fact, they don’t require any special grooming beyond what most dogs need, thanks to their rugged topcoat, which consists of tough, straight, fairly short guard hairs.
The hair isn’t prone to mats, tangles, or knots, so brushing once a week can be enough to keep it clean and healthy. However, you may need to increase the frequency of brushings to daily during seasonal shedding to keep up with the increased shedding.
You’re probably wondering how brushing reduces shedding. It allows you to capture loose hairs trapped in the topcoat before they fall off and spread all over the house. It also helps distribute the skin’s natural oils evenly to keep the coat looking healthy and shiny. And healthy hair only sheds when necessary. While you’re at it, check the skin for parasites, rashes, lumps, or infections, and the fur for any signs of ill-health and damage.
You can use several tools to groom your Shiba Inu, but a de-shedding tool will quickly become your best friend, especially during times of heavy shedding activity. This tool protects the dog’s skin from scratches and scrapes while being able to rake deep into the undercoat to remove all loose fur.
Shiba Inus Diet
For your animal to have healthy, beautiful skin and fur and over health, they need a nutritious and balanced diet with lots of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Fruits like apples, mango, strawberries, and watermelon are essential for keeping the dog hydrated and providing essential nutrients needed for a healthy coat, like vitamins and minerals. Be sure to provide fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration, which would otherwise lead to dry skin prone to shedding.
Keep in mind that dogs can also be allergic to certain foods, which can cause itching and, in turn, shedding. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on what your pup is eating. Any new food should be offered individually, and watch the dog’s reaction. Something you may want to avoid is food with fillers and by-products.
The Shiba Inu is generally clean. They regularly clean themselves the way cats do. So, bathing is only needed every few months. In any case, over bathing your dog can strip off their skin’s natural oils, leaving it dry, irritated, and prone to shedding.
Like brushing, bathing allows you to capture loose fur trapped in the topcoat and also helps to distribute important oils to keep the coat looking shiny and healthy. Be sure to use quality dog shampoos and conditioners with as few chemicals as possible to avoid irritating the Shiba Inu’s delicate skin.
Another way of supporting your dog’s fur health is by giving them supplements. Olive oil, salmon oil, and flaxseeds are all great for your dog’s skin as they help to deal with inflamed skin and dandruff, thus reducing shedding. Consult with your vet about other great supplements for your Shiba Inu to help with shedding.
Are Shiba Inus Hypoallergenic?
Aside from how much do Shiba Inus shed, another question you might have about this breed is whether or not they are hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, they are not. As heavy shedders, they produce a lot of hair and dander, which are the leading causes of canine allergies. Dogs’ saliva and urine trigger some people’s allergies, and since Shiba Inus produce these elements as well, they are not hypoallergenic in the least.
Does this mean you have to give up on your dream of owning a Shiba Inu? Probably not. You can do a couple of things to reduce the number of allergens it produces and even those in your environment, thus lowering the chances of an allergic attack. For starters:
- Keep them out of places you spend a lot of time in, like your bedroom
- Regularly groom your Shiba Inu to reduce shedding. Be sure to do it outside to avoid loose fur and dander from falling in your home.
- Provide a proper diet
- Regularly clean and vacuum your home, including your furniture, carpets, and the dog’s beddings, to remove allergens
- Invest in a HEPA air filter to capture allergens in the air
- Teach your pup to pee in a designated area
- Exercise them daily to help release stress and encourage overall health, which in turn, prevents excessive shedding
That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this dog to those with severe allergies. Being near them can be life-threatening, so it’s best you avoid them. The good news is there are many allergy-friendly breeds that you can consider that are just as beautiful and friendly as the Shiba Inu. This includes the Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Coton de Tulears, and the Maltese, to name a few.