It doesn’t matter what kind of dog you have or what type of fur they have; you’re used to seeing dog hair on every surface in your home. Dogs with short hair shed, and so do dogs with long hair. We can relate to the frustration of having dog hair everywhere, and soon it becomes the bane of every canine owner’s existence. You may not be able to stop your dog from shedding altogether, but you can prevent it from happening so much. For that, let’s first try to understand what makes your dog shed so much.
What is Dog Shedding and How to Stop it?
Shedding is an utterly common occurrence for practically all dogs. Dogs naturally lose their old or damaged hair and gain new fur as seasons change. What might seem excessive shedding for some breeds could be normal for others. The following are the most common reasons why dogs shed:
- To Grow New Fur
Just like humans, hair is something that keeps on growing over time in dogs. Shedding is considered a healthy turnover of hair, which allows old or damaged hair to be replaced with new healthy hair. This keeps your dog’s coat in tip-top condition.
- Seasonal Change
Shedding is especially prominent during the change of seasons. The transition from winter to summer coat is usually the time of most substantial fur loss for dogs, so don’t fret when your long-haired, double-coated friend starts losing giant clumps of fur come spring.
- Some Breeds Shed More Than Others
If you are a parent to a hairy dog, the amount of hair that can fly around might be higher than that of a short-haired dog. Poodles and Poodle mixes are usually known for shedding very little. Heavy-coated breeds like Huskies shed so much that you’ll be surprised your dog has any fur left. Some short-haired dogs, however, tend to shed quite a bit as well.
Apart from shedding due to season changes, dogs kept inside the house may keep on dropping little amounts of fur throughout the year. Whether you’re tired of dealing with hair all over the house or are allergic to dog dander, shedding can become a dog owner’s nightmare, and reducing shedding is a big priority for many dog owners. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce shedding to a minimum. Below we’ll cover the five most efficient ways to deal with shedding and make your home fur-free.
A high-quality diet is one of the best ways to improve your dog’s overall health, including their coat. Since a dog’s digestive system quickly absorbs proteins, a healthy diet with high-quality protein as the primary ingredient will improve your dog’s overall health, including a healthier coat and skin.
Some foods could cause skin problems, so avoid foods your dog may be allergic to. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids help smooth your dog’s coat, moisturize their skin, and keep fur from falling out. Look for foods with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, as they will help soften and smooth your dog’s coat giving it a beautiful, healthy sheen.
Keeping your dog hydrated is imperative for healthy skin and coat as much as it is for overall health. If your dog’s skin is overly dry, fur may shed more than if they were hydrated, so make sure your pooch gets plenty of clean water to drink.
The process of brushing or grooming your dog can split into three main steps:
- Get the right brush
Though some universal brushes exist, you may require specifically designed brushes to keep your dog’s unique coat healthy. Visit a pet store to look for and purchase the right brushing tools for your dog. The essential brushing tools available include bristle brushes, slicker brushes, pin brushes, mat breakers, and grooming gloves.
While bristle brushes are universal and suitable for all types of coats for everyday use, slicker brushes have bent wire bristles designed to untangle hair and remove loose hair from the undercoat. Pin brushes are generally used for long-haired dogs. Finally, grooming gloves are just brushes designed to slip over your hand like gloves, and they’re a great choice for dogs with short or medium length hair.
- Start brushing early
You should start brushing your dog as early as possible so they get accustomed to it. Treat and pet your pup to make it an enjoyable experience for them and to keep them interested while grooming. Use a friendly but assertive tone and encourage your pup to stay still while being brushed. Avoid sounding aggressive as it can turn out counter-productive.
- Set up a regular or daily brushing schedule
Try brushing your dog every day to keep shedding to a minimum. Choose a time when your dog is calm and cooperative (e.g., after a walk) and try to maintain the routine. Make sure the brushing spot is comfortable for both you and your pup, and cover the area with a sheet to catch stray hair.
As it turns out, regular brushing is the best way to reduce shedding. Even if your pup isn’t a heavy shedder, it always helps to brush them regularly. Instead of letting the hair drop around the house, it’s better to capture it in a brush and dispose of it properly.
In addition to providing quality food, exercising is equally important to maintain your dog’s overall health. A healthy dog has a healthier coat. While exercising helps keep your dog’s coat healthier, there are numerous other benefits. Regular exercise is proven to reduce mental and physical stress, so your dog is less likely to bite, scratch, and engage in self-destructive behavior.
A brisk walk twice a day is a good goal to aim for. Exercising also includes playing with your dog in an open area, preferably a park or a garden, where your puppy has enough space to run around. This turns out to be one of the most fun parts of having a dog, and it makes a world of difference for your dog.
Controlling Unwanted Guests
Every dog gets fleas at some point in their life. It’s good to stay on top of this with the right flea treatment. Flea-infected dogs have irritable skin, which leads to severe scratching and chewing, causing hair loss, inflammation, and secondary skin infections.
Sometimes a flea treatment in conjunction with a flea comb doesn’t solve the problem, and your dog may need more attention. It is essential to give your pooch nice and warm baths and choose the right shampoo that isn’t harsh on your dog’s skin. A proper drying session after every wash ensures your pup is flea-free.
Some pets are hypersensitive to the flea’s saliva, and just a few flea bites can cause skin irritation for your pooch even weeks after you get rid of those nasties! They may also lead to problems like flea allergy dermatitis, which turns out to be the most common dermatologic disease in household dogs throughout the US. In case you notice patchy balding, redness, or scabs, contact your vet immediately.
There are a couple of supplements that you can give your dog to improve their skin and coat. Flaxseed oil, olive oil, and cod liver oil contain the necessary Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D.
You can also give your furry companion supplements purchased from your veterinarian or local pet store. Be sure you are buying high-quality supplements to avoid any health problems related to inferior quality products. Remember that supplementing your dog’s diet with healthy, natural oils (e.g., olive oil) can prevent shedding more effectively if your dog’s food is healthy and has the right balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Keep in mind that your dog needs to take these supplements for three to four months before you see significant results. Make sure you discuss the correct dosage with your vet because giving too many supplements can become problematic.
When Everything Fails, Go to the Vet
While shedding is a normal process in dogs, excessive shedding could point to hidden troubles, like an underlying medical problem that is causing damage to the skin. These could be parasites, skin infections, allergies, pregnancy/lactation, stress, and so on. If you see redness, balding, scabs, or notice foul-smelling spots on your pup, you may need to visit your local veterinarian soon.
Realistically, you may not be able to rid your home of all the dog fur, but you can significantly reduce the amount of shedding you see with these five simple methods. Shedding comes as a natural consequence of owning any dog, and as we have seen, there are ways you can incorporate fun time with your pooch and reduce the amount of fur around you.