Your Husky, German Shepherd, or Corgi is the love of your life but they just can’t keep their hair on and it’s making a mess. Why? In this guide, we explore the measures you can take to keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding.
Why do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is a natural process that allows dogs to get rid of old or damaged hair and replace it with new growth. The amount and frequency of shedding can vary depending on factors such as breed, genetics, overall health, and environmental conditions. While it’s impossible to completely stop shedding, you can significantly reduce it with the following techniques.
Stop a Dog from Shedding with Grooming
Frequent baths and brushing are the best thing you can do to control shedding. The reduction in shedding even after just one bath is night and day! Frequent, regularly scheduled baths for your dog (whether you hand them off to a groomer or take it into your own hands) will do wonders. Let’s take a look at how grooming can ease shedding:
Regular shampoo will help considerably with shedding, but de-shedding shampoo has some added ingredients to attack the shedding issue more effectively. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and other substances that are known to promote healthy growth of dogs’ fur.
In general, most dogs can have a bath every four to six weeks. If you bathe your dog more frequently than this, you could give them dry skin and increased shedding. Consult your groomer to discuss how often your dog should have baths, and if de-shedding shampoo is a good option for your dog.
Brushing the coat of a dog is often neglected by dog parents. It’s essential for long-haired dogs; not only does it reduce shedding, but it prevents painful knots from forming in the coat. It also removes loose and dead hair before it ends up on your furniture and clothes! Our lead groomer Lisa helped us write an article about brushing benefits and tips. Lisa’s go-to is a long-pinned slicker brush, but you can also use wire-pin brushes and bristle brushes of varying lengths. Whatever works best for you and your dog’s coat. Caution: don’t brush too hard! If you use too much force, you will irritate your dog’s skin and could potentially make them bleed! As Lisa says, “Let the brush do the work.”
With short-haired dogs, you can use a grooming glove on their coat. Many dogs love getting scratched with the grooming glove so this will be a pleasurable experience for you both!
Stop a Dog from Shedding with Diet
Dogs need a balance of high-quality digestible proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins as part of their regular diet. Diet has major effects on the health of your dog’s skin and coat. A poorly balanced one can be the cause of shedding, dry skin, and other conditions. This article by PetMD is an excellent comprehensive breakdown of a well-balanced diet for a dog.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are proven to help maintain a healthy coat. Some dog foods have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fortified into the food, but it can also taken as a supplement. Fish oil is a great supplemental source of Omega-3.
Other supplements your dog can take to improve coat health include biotin and zinc.
Medical Conditions, Stress, and Exercise
Stress and anxiety can be factors contributing to shedding. Ensure your dog receives regular exercise, mental stimulation, and quality time with you to manage their stress levels. This can include daily walks, play sessions, and training exercises.
While shedding is expected in every dog, there may be underlying health issues if it’s excessive. Hair loss can be the result of fleas, bacterial infections, allergies, kidney problems, cancer, and more.
Take your dog to the vet on a regular basis to keep up with their overall health, including the health of their coat. If hair loss is excessive, ask your vet about possible solutions.
Keeping the Home Clean
Removing shed hair from the home won’t reduce the amount of shedding, but you of course want to keep your home clean! This can be done with frequent vacuuming, especially in areas where your dog spends a lot of time. Another solution done by many of our pet sitting clients is to use removable, washable covers for furniture and bedding. Especially if you can’t say no to your dog who wants to jump up on the couch with you, it makes your life easier to be able to throw that dirty sheet in the wash.
Regular brushing and grooming, a nutritious diet, and keeping up with general health are essential factors in maintaining a healthy coat and reducing shedding. Your vet and groomer will be happy to help you and your pup maintain a beautiful, healthy coat.