There’s a popular saying among Shiba owners – “the Shiba Inu breed only sheds twice a year, but it goes on for six months at a time.”
It’s incredibly funny until you’re the one cleaning the couch every day. Well, it’s still quite amusing since Shiba is a delightful companion to have as a dog.
Originating from Japan, this compact breed has undoubtedly charmed its way into the hearts of dog lovers.
However, with the lush, protective double coat comes a challenge: shedding. And not just a light, here-and-there kind. I am talking about a tufts-around-your-house-everyday scenario.
Due to their thick double coats, the Shiba Inu dog breed is notorious for shedding a lot. Additionally, shedding in Shibas isn’t restricted to seasonal. There are the “blowcoat” periods where they shed their undercoat semi-annually. But Shibas tend to lightly shed all year round, regardless.
To first-time Shiba owners, all of this can seem daunting, and rightfully so. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything you should know about grooming your mutt.
How to manage your Shiba’s excessive shedding?
Generally, a properly executed bath can help effectively manage excessive shedding in a Shiba Inu. Give your mutt a warm bath to loosen their fur and promote shedding. Next, take it outside to thoroughly brush the coat and take out all the excess fur.
Additionally, set up a quick and short brushing routine every week. These two will remove A LOT of loose hair and save your household from the menace of Shiba fur.
Take your doggo outside because you’ll take out an unimaginable amount of fur.
1. Grooming Techniques
While Shiba Inus are often paralleled with cats due to their self-grooming habits, a proactive grooming routine is important for managing excess fur.
A. Ideal Tools for Managing Shiba Inu Shedding
For grooming, your toolkit should include:
- Slicker brushes
- Deshedding tools
- Dog-safe shampoos and conditioners.
For maintaining a neat space, consider investing in the following:
- A high-quality vacuum cleaner with pet hair features
- Lint rollers
- Rubber brooms
II. Grooming Techniques for Shiba
Brush your Shiba with a slicker brush during the short once-a-week sessions to remove loose fur and stimulate the skin. Also, increase the frequency to twice weekly during the semi-annual shedding seasons.
III. Grooming Tips
While sticking to the following basic tips, remember every Shiba is unique and might require specific attention:
- An occasional extra bath, especially during heavy shedding seasons, will help loosen and remove excess fur.
- Use a pet-friendly vacuum or a blow dryer (in a cool setting) to help with dandruff and remove fleas.
- Ensure your brushing is gentle to avoid skin irritation. Shiba Inus have sensitive skin, and harsh brushing can lead to discomfort or even skin issues.
- Inspect and clean your Shiba’s paws and nails during grooming sessions. Ensure the nails are trimmed and the paws are free from debris or matting.
- Rewarding your Shiba with treats post-grooming can make the experience positive and something they may look forward to.
- Be consistent. Being a hunting breed, Shiba looks forward to routines and schedules. Being consistent will help you with grooming and everything involving your doggo.
2. Nutritional Support
Malnutrition can also lead to unnecessary shedding in sick dogs.
Ensuring a diet rich in essential fatty acids, particularly Omega 3 Fish Oil and probiotics, can promote a shiny, healthy coat and potentially reduce excessive shedding.
After consulting with the veterinarian to ensure optimal health, incorporate supplements like fish oil capsules or probiotic powders.
3. Veterinary Care
Regular check-ups facilitate early detection and management of potential underlying health issues contributing to excessive shedding.
Finally, be vigilant about skin conditions, allergies, or unusual hair loss, and consult your veterinarian promptly to ascertain and address any issues.
How long does Shiba shedding last?
Generally speaking, the Shiba Inu breed noticeably sheds twice a year, known as “blow coat” periods: during Spring, when they shed heavy winter coats, and in fall, when they shed a lighter summer coat during Fall. Each “blow coat” season often lasts between three to eight weeks. Additionally, Shibas shed lightly all year round.
As you must’ve realised by now, the Shiba breed’s shedding is heavily influenced by primal instincts and environmental factors. And it persists even though they don’t live in the wild anymore.
Additionally, other facts, such as age, play an important role. Shiba puppies will transition from their softer puppy coat to an adult coat, which can also involve a noticeable shedding period.
In comparison, senior Shibas will experience variations in their shedding due to health factors and skin elasticity changes.
How often should you bathe your Shiba?
Ideally, Shiba Inu must be bathed approximately once every three months unless they come home after a romp in the mud. The coat / fur of Shibas is popular for being resilient to water and dirt, so it stays clean for a long. The best time to bathe your Shiba is between groomer visits.
Disclaimer: Do not bathe your Shiba Inu often because excessive washing could lead to a loss of natural oil in their fur. This can dry up their skin and cause allergies.
Tips for Bathing Your Shiba:
- Opt for High-Quality Shampoos: Due to their sensitive skin, it’s best to choose a hypoallergenic option or one specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
- Use a Gentle Brush: To maximise the bathing process, a gentle brush can enhance the cleanliness and offer a pleasant massage-like feeling.
- Dry Thoroughly: Your mutt will shake off excess water, but I still recommend using a towel or a low-heat dog-friendly hair dryer to efficiently remove moisture.
- Reward and Reassure: Offering treats and verbal praise during and after the bath. Additionally, take them out and let them play around before bath.
- Keep Eyes and Ears Safe: I recommend using a gentle, damp cloth to clean these areas separately.
How often should you trim a Shiba Inu?
Generally, Shiba Inu doesn’t require frequent trims due to a self-maintaining coat. However, sporadic haircuts are required around the paws, backside, and ears. Ideally, most Shibas will only need trimming approximately two to three times a year; any more could prove detrimental to their well-being.
You must understand that haircuts are not a “frequent” event for a Shiba Inu. And unnecessary trims could affect their health negatively.
Why certain areas may require trimming:
- Excessive fur between the pads can accumulate dirt and affect their movement.
- Keeping the fur neat around the ears accentuates their perky, alert expression. Plus, it aids in preventing possible ear issues by ensuring optimal air circulation.
- A neat trim around the hindquarters prevents sanitary issues, especially in males.
When should you be concerned?
I know I have been saying it’s common, and you shouldn’t worry about it. And it’s mostly true. A little fluff here and there around your home is expected from a Shiba.
However, keeping a regular check on their shedding is still a good idea to avoid an unwanted surprise.
Your Shiba’s shedding is considered more than excessive. It may require a veterinarian’s attention if shedding is localised to a specific area, leading to bald patches. Your dog is showing physical symptoms like redness, bumps, or irritation on the skin.
There are other reasons to look out for, such as if their fur begins to look dull, feels dry to the touch, or if the hairs are brittle and break easily.