We’ve all heard the horror stories about Shiba Inus being sent to the vet because they ate something their body was allergic to. It’s not as common for Shiba Inus, but it does happen. If you’re a Shiba Inu owner who is worried about your Shiba Inu’s food allergies, here’s what you need to know!
Shiba Inu’s are known for their extreme food allergies. With more than 130 different types of food they can be allergic to, it is no wonder that many Shiba Inus have been suffering.
Due to the lack of information on this topic, we will explore what you need to know about your Shiba Inu’s diet and allergies to not end up with an unhappy Shiba Inu!
Intro to Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is a Japanese dog breed that was originally bred for hunting purposes. The Shiba Inu has a high prey drive and can be quite destructive if not properly trained. A brilliant breed, the Shiba Inu, will need to be challenged with mental stimulation to avoid boredom.
The Shiba Inu is a small breed that stands about 13-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 31-45 pounds. Their lifespan averages 12 years, but they are generally healthy with no known major health problems. They have a double coat that sheds twice annually; therefore, regular brushing will be required to keep their fur looking nice. The Shiba Inu has an alert expression on its face and dark brown eyes, which give them their charming appearance!
One of the most distinctive features of Shiba Inus is the red-colored tongue (known as “bucho”) and rich tan points over white fur in summer months; these markings fade during winter months due to lack of sunlight exposure. A relatively new Japanese dog breed developed from the native hunting dog of Japan, the Shiba is a popular companion for those who want an intelligent and loyal pet.
Intolerance to Certain Ingredients
Three primary types of allergies can affect your Shiba Inu. The first is an intolerance to certain ingredients.
This type of allergy will cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, but it does not usually result in life-threatening reactions like the other two types.
True Food Allergy
According to some estimates, the second type is a true food allergy, affecting less than five percent of people with canine companions.
These allergic reactions range from mild itchiness at best to full-blown anaphylaxis in worst-case scenarios; they’re much more difficult for vets to diagnose because the Shiba Inu’s immune system doesn’t always produce histamines or tryptase when reacting – so there could be several false positives before we find out what exactly triggered the reaction.
Intolerance to Specific Proteins
A third type is an intolerance to specific proteins in the food, which can be difficult for vets to diagnose because they don’t always produce the same symptoms seen with a true allergy.
These allergies will cause chronic diarrhea or vomiting and skin irritation like itching and hair loss; some Shiba Inus may also have intestinal inflammation (leaky gut) even when their diet doesn’t contain any triggers.
Shiba Inus who suffer from this type of aversion will usually eat other foods but not those containing certain proteins, or they’ll refuse all foods if there’s only one protein source available – sometimes it takes months before we figure out what caused the problem.
Manage Shiba Inu Food Allergies
The best way to manage food allergies without knowing what causes them is through a hypoallergenic diet. It’s usually recommended that you feed your Shiba Inu a meat-based, grain-free diet with limited ingredients and no preservatives or additives of any kind.
What’s safe? We recommend feeding dry kibble foods from these brands in order of preference: time, Hill Science Diet A/D (with chicken), Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Original Recipe (with venison).
If those are not available at the time, we would also suggest Natural Balance LID Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food – but only if it doesn’t contain any wheat.
There is also some evidence that canned foods might contain less wheat gluten than dry ones because it is mixed into a wet mixture during manufacturing rather than added as a preservative after the fact (which would happen if you mix meat with grains).
Medicines for Shiba Inu Food Allergies
This covers the various food allergies that Shiba Inu dogs may have and their safe (and unsafe) foods. The first step you’ll want to take if your Shiba Inu starts showing signs of an allergy is visiting your vet because their exact diagnosis will determine which course of action you need to take next.
For example, if they are sensitive to things like beef or chicken, it’s best to stay away from those foods. If the allergy is more severe and you know that your Shiba Inu has something called alpha-gal sensitivities caused by ticks, your vet will probably advise using an Apoquel drug on a long-term basis.
Similarly, if there’s been a history of seizures in their family (or epilepsy), then prednisone may be recommended as well since these can also lead to food allergies.
In any case, talking with your veterinarian about what course of action will help alleviate symptoms while still keeping them healthy for life should always be the first step!
Best medicines for Shiba Inu food allergies:
Keep in mind to check with your veterinarian about any food allergies your Shiba Inu might have before making a purchase or administering first aid treatment.
- Benadryl (diphenhydramine) – This is an antihistamine that helps reduce symptoms and can be used as a treatment when other drugs are not available.
Note: the dose of Benadryl to give Shiba Inus is much higher than what people typically take, so it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before giving this medication to your Shiba Inu.
- Prednisone – A prescription steroid from veterinarians has been FDA approved for treating animal skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, or autoimmune diseases pemphigus foliaceus. It refers to both hydrocortisone and prednisolone.
- Atopica – A prescription drug that’s a type of immunosuppressant medication that can be used as an alternative to corticosteroids when they are not tolerated or effective in treating allergies and other autoimmune disorders in Shiba Inus.
- Apoquel (oclacitinib tablet) – Both FDA approved for use with pets, this nonsteroidal antiallergic also reduces itching by inhibiting histamine release through blocking leukotriene synthesis and preventing mast cell degranulation. It’s been shown to be safe even at high doses over long periods of time. Note: This medicine will need to be given twice daily until symptom-free, then once per day thereafter.
- Cyclosporine – works similarly to Apoquel. Still, this drug has been shown to cause higher levels of liver enzymes when used for longer than three months, so it’s best reserved for severe cases or animals with pre-existing conditions like diabetes.
As with humans, it’s important to avoid any of the foods that your Shiba Inu is allergic to so they don’t get sick. If you suspect or know for a fact that one (or more) of their allergies include food, be sure not to give them anything unsafe, and make sure you’re aware of that can trigger an unexpected allergy reaction as well.
Treatments may vary from avoiding certain types of food altogether to changing their diet or switching out some ingredients to help manage symptoms better. The good news is many Shiba Inus find relief after just two weeks on a new plan!
Consult your veterinarian
A veterinarian should see Shiba Inus with food allergies to try and diagnose the cause of reactions. They may need to undergo tests for common triggers like beef, dairy products, or corn to get an accurate diagnosis if they haven’t had any other symptoms that point toward one specific allergen.
A veterinarian might also recommend allergy shots as a form of treatment once we know what caused the problem – these work by gradually exposing your Shiba Inus immune system to tiny amounts of avoided substances so it will become desensitized over time.
If you notice any strange behavior from your Shiba Inu while eating (whether it has been triggered already or not), consult with a vet about their diet immediately! You’ll want them on board before
What’s safe and what’s isn’t
As you can see, there are many different things to consider when dealing with Shiba Inu food allergies. If your Shiba Inus shows any new symptoms after eating (whether they’re the result or not), speak up immediately!
You’ll want them on board before trying anything else out. As always, be sure to get in touch if you have any questions about what we’ve discussed today – we’re happy to help!
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