Shiba Inu Oral Health: Understanding Dental Issues

Shiba Inus, known for their fluffy coats and bold facial expressions, have distinct personalities. As a Shiba Inu owner, you may wonder if your dog is prone to dental problems. Like any breed, Shiba Inus can experience dental issues. Maintaining their dental health starts with regular brushing and dental check-ups.

shiba inu sitting in the car after a dental trip

Maintaining your Shiba Inu’s dental health starts with a solid routine. This includes regular teeth brushing, dental chews, and dental check-ups with a vet. Keeping up with these practices is essential to ensure your furry friend’s mouth stays clean, healthy, and free of complications.

Common Dental Conditions

Just like humans, your Shiba Inu can experience dental problems too. Understanding common dental conditions can help you care for your pet’s teeth and oral hygiene better.

  • Poor oral hygiene in Shiba Inus can lead to plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is a soft, sticky film that forms on the teeth, while tartar is hardened plaque. If not treated, plaque and tartar can cause bad breath, inflammation, and infection in the gums.
  • Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, often a result of plaque accumulation. It’s essential to address gingivitis in the early stages, as it could progress to a more severe form of gum disease. Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that may bleed during brushing.
  • More serious gum disease, known as periodontal disease, causes inflammation and infection and could also involve bone loss in severe cases. Look for signs like receding gums, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath in your Shiba.
  • Tooth decay or cavities are another concern for Shiba Inus. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars from food into acids that erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities. If left untreated, cavities can lead to more severe issues, such as abscesses and tooth loss.
  • Broken teeth can occur from accidental trauma or chewing on hard objects. They may cause your Shiba Inu discomfort or pain, and leave them vulnerable to infection. If you suspect a broken tooth, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How To Prevent Your Shiba From Developing Dental Problems

  1. Establish good dental hygiene habits for your Shiba Inu early on.
  2. Brush your Shiba Inu’s teeth regularly at least two to three times a week using a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush.
  3. Schedule routine check-ups with your veterinarian for dental examinations at least once a year.
  4. Provide dental toys and treats for your Shiba Inu to help clean their teeth and gums as they chew.
  5. Maintain a balanced diet for your Shiba Inu by feeding them high-quality, well-balanced dog food to prevent dental issues and support their overall well-being.

Good Dental Hygiene At Home

How To Take Care Of A Shiba Inu’s Teeth

Start by regularly brushing their teeth. Begin with twice-weekly sessions and increase to daily brushing as your dog gets used to it. Praise and reward your pup for good behavior during brushing. Provide dental chew toys and stick to a balanced diet to prevent plaque buildup.

The Best Doggy Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Opt for one with soft bristles and a small head that fits comfortably in their mouth. Consider using a finger brush or one with an angled handle for ease of use. Stick to dog-specific toothpaste as human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs. Enzymatic toothpaste with a mild flavor is a great choice.

Go For Regular Dental Checkups

Scheduling regular dental checkups for your Shiba Inu is crucial. Veterinarians can detect potential dental issues early on and suggest appropriate treatments. Aim for at least one visit per year, but more frequent checkups may be necessary if your dog has a history of dental problems.

Professional cleaning during these visits will help keep your pup’s teeth in top condition.

How Are Dental Problems Usually Treated?

When it comes to treating dental problems in your Shiba Inu, the first step is usually a thorough dental cleaning performed by a veterinarian. They’ll remove plaque and tartar buildup from your dog’s teeth, even the hard-to-reach places. This is typically done under anesthesia, as it helps ensure your Shiba Inu’s comfort and safety.

Tooth extractions may be necessary if your Shiba Inu has particularly damaged or infected teeth. In these cases, the troublesome teeth will be removed surgically by a veterinarian. Anesthesia is also used during tooth extractions to minimize pain and discomfort for your dog.

Sometimes, X-rays are used to get a clearer picture of your dog’s dental health. This allows the veterinarian to assess the severity of dental problems and plan the appropriate course of treatment. X-rays can also help detect any hidden issues, like tooth fractures or bone loss, that are not visible during a visual exam.

Should your Shiba Inu need dental surgery as part of their treatment plan, rest assured that it will be performed by a skilled and experienced veterinary surgeon. Anesthesia will be used during the surgery not only to prevent pain, but also to allow the surgeon to work with precision.

To maintain your Shiba Inu’s dental health and prevent future issues, it’s important to keep up with regular dental cleanings and routine examinations. As a responsible owner, you can also do your part by brushing your dog’s teeth at home and providing dental chews or toys that help promote good oral hygiene.

Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings are essential for maintaining your Shiba Inu’s oral health. Regular cleanings can help prevent dental issues like plaque buildup, bad breath, and tooth decay.

For starters, you should brush your Shiba Inu’s teeth daily using a dog-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush. This simple routine can go a long way in keeping your dog’s teeth clean and reducing the risk of dental problems. Additionally, dental chews and toys can also help to keep their teeth in good shape.

It’s also a good idea to take your Shiba Inu for professional dental cleanings at the vet, usually once a year. During these appointments, the vet will examine your dog’s teeth and gums for early signs of dental issues and conduct a thorough cleaning.

Here are some tips to make dental cleanings a breeze for both you and your dog:

  • Start early: Introduce dental care routines when your Shiba Inu is young, so they get used to teeth brushing and other oral hygiene practices.
  • Make it fun: Reward your dog with treats and praise during dental cleaning sessions to create a positive association.
  • Be patient: If your Shiba Inu is resistant to tooth brushing, start slow and gradually increase the duration and frequency of brushing sessions.

Remember, taking care of your Shiba Inu’s dental health is not just about keeping their teeth sparkling clean, it’s also about ensuring that they stay healthy and free of painful dental problems. So, don’t skip dental cleanings and make them a regular part of your dog’s healthcare routine.

Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions might sound intimidating, but they’re common for Shiba Inus with dental issues. If your Shiba Inu is experiencing pain, discomfort, or infection due to a problem tooth, your vet may recommend an extraction.

When your Shiba Inu has a build-up of plaque and tartar, it can lead to dental conditions like periodontal disease. In severe cases, this can cause teeth to become loose, painful, and prone to infection. Your vet will remove the problematic teeth to relieve your Shiba Inu’s pain and prevent further damage.

During the extraction process, your vet will use anesthesia to keep your Shiba Inu comfortable and pain-free. The damaged tooth will be carefully removed; your vet may need to stitch the area afterward. Most times, your Shiba Inu will be able to return home the same day, but you’ll need to follow your vet’s instructions for any aftercare.

Post-extraction care is vital for your Shiba Inu’s recovery. Some essential tips include:

  • Offering soft food for easier chewing
  • Giving medications as prescribed by your vet
  • Monitoring the extraction site for infection or excessive bleeding
  • Gently cleaning the mouth with prescribed oral rinses
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments with your vet

Following your vet’s guidance and providing proper care after a tooth extraction will help your Shiba Inu recover and maintain their dental health in the long run.

Other Dental Procedures

When it comes to your Shiba Inu’s dental health, there are several other dental procedures that you can consider to prevent and treat problems.

Firstly, dental cleanings are essential for maintaining your Shiba Inu’s oral hygiene. Regular professional cleanings can help remove plaque and tartar that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Ideally, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian at least once a year.

In addition to cleanings, dental x-rays can be used to identify any hidden issues that may be present. This technology allows your veterinarian to examine your Shiba Inu’s teeth, roots, and bone structure to detect any potential concerns. Make sure to discuss with your veterinarian whether dental x-rays would be beneficial for your pet.

Another procedure that can improve your Shiba Inu’s dental health is tooth extraction. In some cases, a tooth may be too damaged or decayed to be saved. In such instances, your veterinarian might recommend removing the tooth to prevent further pain or complications. While this may seem daunting, tooth extractions are typically well-tolerated by your Shiba Inu and can provide them with relief.

Finally, consider providing your Shiba Inu with dental chews and toys designed to promote oral health. Select products that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to ensure their effectiveness. These items can help through:

  • Encouraging chewing, which stimulates saliva production
  • Scraping off plaque as your Shiba Inu chews
  • Providing a fun and interactive way for your Shiba Inu to maintain good dental health

Always consult with your veterinarian before implementing new dental procedures or treatments for your Shiba Inu. By remaining proactive and attentive, you can ensure that your furry friend’s teeth and gums stay in top condition.


As a Shiba Inu owner, it’s crucial to understand dental issues that are specific to this breed. Shiba Inus are prone to various dental problems, and knowing these issues can help prevent or address them early on.

Periodontal disease, tooth crowding, dental trauma, and oral tumors or growths are some of the dental issues that can affect your furry friend’s health. Regular dental check-ups, brushing their teeth frequently, and keeping an eye on their chewing habits are some ways to maintain their dental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Take Care Of A Shiba Inu’s Teeth?

Keep your Shiba Inu’s teeth healthy with a dental care routine. Brush their teeth at least 2-3 times a week with dog toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Provide dental chews and toys for teeth cleaning while they play. Maintain regular vet check-ups to ensure oral health.

Do Shiba Inus Have Sharp Teeth?

Shiba Inus have relatively sharp teeth, as do most dogs. Their teeth are designed to effectively tear through meat and chew various other types of food. Always be cautious when playing with your Shiba Inu to avoid accidental nips.

What Dogs Have The Most Dental Problems?

Dog breeds that are more likely to have dental problems include small and toy breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Pugs, as well as brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds like Bulldogs and Pekingese. Nonetheless, any dog can develop dental issues, so it’s essential to prioritize dental care for all breeds.

Do Shiba Inus Tend To Have Oral Health Problems?

Shiba Inus are less prone to dental problems than other breeds, but they still require proper dental care to prevent issues like plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay. Regular brushing and dental check-ups can help ensure your Shiba Inu maintains good oral health.

What’s The Best Way To Care For A Shiba Inu’s Teeth?

To keep a Shiba Inu’s teeth healthy, brush their teeth with dog toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush at least 2-3 times a week. Give them dental chews made for dogs and schedule regular check-ups with a vet.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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