You may love your pooch, but not the globs of hair that come off of him and get all over you and everything around him. Dogs shed their hair naturally but this doesn't have to mean that everything in your home needs to be covered in it. Regular grooming and a healthy diet can help your keep your pup's coat shiny and healthy, while reducing his shedding to a minimum.
Daily brushing removes your pup's shed hairs before they wind up on you couch or clothes. Use a brush appropriate to your pup's hair type, using a longer-bristle brush for pooches with long to medium-length hair and one with shorter bristles for those with a short one. You want that brush to reach down to the undercoat and remove all the excess hair to reduce the shedding and prevent it from knotting up and forming painful mats in the coat. Make grooming sessions short and fun, giving your pup a treat to positively reinforce the experience. Brushing will not only remove the fur, but it also allows the two of you to bond and stimulates your pup's skin circulation, according to the Banfield Pet Hospital. Most dogs find brushing relaxing, helping to reduce stress, another factor in excess shedding.
Regular bathing not only removes loose hair from your furry buddy's coat but helps to deter parasites like fleas, which can contribute to excess shedding. It also washes away potential environmental allergens like pollen that can increase shedding. Bathe your pup once a month with a soap-free dog shampoo that won't dry out his skin or coat. Massage the soap into the fur with your fingers to get down to the skin and undercoat, loosening up the dead hair as much as you can to prevent it from shedding outside of the sink. Finish the bath with a few spritzes of a leave-in, moisturizing conditioner to keep the fur soft and easy for you to brush out when it's dry, allowing you to remove as much of the loose fur as possible to cut down on shedding.
Dogs need a diet rich in animal proteins and fats that is specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs. If your dog isn't getting the proper balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals he needs, his fur will begin to look dry and dull, shedding more than usual due to malnutrition. Prevent such issues by choosing a food for your pup, whether canned or dry, that meets or exceeds the nutritional profiles set up by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. You'll find this information on the label of the food, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Look for food that contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which keep your pup's fur shiny and silky, while also reducing shedding.
Visit the Vet
While shedding is to be expected with any breed, excessive shedding, skin irritation or balding patches aren't. If your pup is shedding much more than usual, it could be the sign of a medical issue. Bring your furry friend to the vet for an exam to rule out this as the cause of his excessive fur loss. Parasites, skin infections, immune system issues, cancer, kidney problems and allergies could all lead to your canine companion's excessive shedding. Once your vet determines the underlying condition plaguing your pup, devising a treatment plan for it, his shedding should soon be under control.
- WebMD: Dog Shedding and Grooming
- Cesar's Way: How Often to Bathe a Dog
- 2ndchance.info: Why is My Dog Shedding and What Can I Do About It?
- ABC News: How Pet Owners Can Cut Down on Shedding
- VetInfo: 6 Tips to Manage Dog Shedding
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Shedding
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
- Banfield Pet Hospital: Grooming
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.