Dogs shed. It’s
simply what they do! Shedding is normal
year-round and while some breeds shed less than others, most will typically
shed more – sometimes a lot more - in spring and fall with the changing of the
The amount and frequency of shedding will be affected by the dog’s breed, their overall health, the season of the year, and the environment. Most dogs have a top coat that you see and feel, but many also have an undercoat of shorter, softer fur. This undercoat is what causes seasonal shedding as the heavy winter undercoat falls out to make way for the lighter summer undercoat and vice versa. Excessive shedding can be caused by stress, so consider if there has been a big change in the dog’s environment – maybe a move, loss of a companion pet, or change in owner’s routine. Sometimes excessive shedding might be due to an underlying health condition, so be sure to contact your veterinarian if you are concerned.
While you can’t eliminate shedding, following are three things that you can do to control and reduce shedding.
1. Regular bathing and brushing is the easiest and most effective thing you can do to help keep your home free from hair. Bathe your dog often – once a week isn’t too much. This washes away excess hair and using a shed control shampoo can also help. Contrary to popular belief, frequent bathing does not dry out your dog’s skin, provided you use a gentle, natural shampoo. Brushing every day will help make your pet's coat softer, cleaner, and less likely to shed.
2. Food makes a difference! Food that is high in meat protein and fat may help reduce shedding while also resulting in a healthier coat. Focusing on a meat-rich diet, with fruits and vegetables will help improve the strength and resistance of the hair follicles as well as promote better overall health. When thinking about your dog’s diet, it’s important to know that dry dog food will always have a lower percentage of protein and fat than fresh or fresh frozen food. This is because dry food must include a significant percentage of carbohydrates to serve as a binder. But from a nutrition standpoint, dogs have very little need for carbohydrates at all! If you use dry food, choose one that contains no more than 40 percent carbohydrates. And don’t be fooled by dry food with meat listed as the first ingredient. Ingredients are listed by weight, and meat is 75% water. So, when the water is taken out, meat is no longer the primary ingredient. Lack of water can also cause excessive shedding, so be sure your dog drinks plenty of water—especially if they eat mostly dry food.
3. Increase your dog’s intake of Omega-3 fatty acids by feeding salmon, tuna, sardines or other fish rich in these fatty acids. Alternatively, you can supplement with olive oil, salmon oil, krill oil, or flaxseed. These fatty acids are fantastic for improving the strength and texture of your dog’s hair, which helps it to not fall out as quickly.
Of all the reasons people love dogs, shedding isn’t one of them! Taking steps to reduce and prevent shedding will obviously save you time and effort vacuuming and cleaning, but it will also help your dog be more comfortable and have a healthy, shiny coat.