Nashville veterinarian James R. Talbott said it best in a video for eHow: “Dogs are going to shed, no matter what.” You can’t cure shedding -- dogs naturally lose hair -- but you can control or decrease it. Once your vet rules out a medical condition, learn the various ways to cut down on the fur balls you constantly vacuum.
High-quality, nutritious dog food can help decrease shedding. High-quality food typically contains the right mix of supplements dogs need to keep their coats healthy. Nutritious food contains about 10 to 15 percent fats. They also should have vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein. When a dog eats food with cheaper ingredients, such as corn and byproducts -- what’s left of the meat that isn’t fit for human consumption -- he won’t be able to process the food as well. This means he won’t be as healthy, and neither will his coat, which increases shedding.
Brushing your dog is one of the best ways to remove excess hair. Brushing removes excess hair on the topcoat, which is the most obvious benefit. It also increases oil production, which puts more moisture into the skin. When the skin becomes dry, the hair follicles release more hair. And if you have a specific type of brush, you can remove the hair from the undercoat, which can also decrease shedding.
Bathe your dog to help remove excess hair. You can bathe most dogs weekly, but once every one to three months is usually sufficient. It’s best to use a dog shampoo, but it’s also OK to use a human baby shampoo. Avoid heavily perfumed human shampoos because they might irritate a dog’s skin. Use warm water to get your dog wet, and then shampoo him. Rinse out the shampoo well; otherwise, his coat will look dull. Towel-dry him before letting him out of the tub. You’ll probably notice hair in the bathtub -- hair your dog would have shed in your home. Blow-drying, which is optional, can remove even more hair.
Your dog might benefit from taking supplements if he has excessive hair loss. Retinoids, a vitamin A derivative, help diminish shedding. Melatonin stimulates hormone production, which could also help. Fatty acids from fish oil, which include omega-3 and omega-6, keep a dog’s skin from drying out. This helps prevent excessive shedding. Talk to your vet before adding any supplements to your dog's diet.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.