All dogs shed to some extent. Parasites or allergies as well as a number of more serious medical issues may cause shedding. So the first thing to do if fur loss becomes a concern is take your dog to the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis. However, losing fur is natural and most shedding can be dealt with regular brushing and monthly bathing. But there also are some steps every owner can easily take to minimize fur loss. One of the best ways to reduce shedding is to maintain a nutritious diet to achieve healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat.
The right food for your dog has to have the correct balance of protein and fat and a number of other essential nutrients. A healthy adult dog generally needs at least 20 percent protein and 10-15 percent fat. The protein should be from meat and the primary source should be the first ingredient. There need to be sufficient omega-3 and 6 fatty acids as well.
High Quality Food
Most high quality commercial dog foods and careful homemade diets will give a dog these nutrients, but the percentages and protein quality might vary. Diets too high in just one protein, like chicken, may not provide the omega-6 fatty acids. Most gamier meats and fish will have the requisite amount. It is essential to know the amount of ingredients needed to keep your dog's coat, skin and activity level healthy. A variety of proteins and fats, including organ meat, should keep the skin supple and the coat shiny.
Adding the Omegas
Dogs on weight control, limited ingredient diets or low protein for health conditions may benefit from natural supplements that will help reduce shedding. The main concern is the fatty acids. Adding sardines once or twice a week can do the trick and they are a deliciously smelly treat for most dogs. For dogs already on a diet featuring plenty of fish, you can add safflower or sunflower oil. A tablespoon in each meal is good for large dogs. Small dogs should be fine with a teaspoon daily. Coconut oil is also rich in nutrients that will improve your dog's coat and help clear up skin problems. The recommended dose is 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds two times a day with meals.
For people who prefer supplements, there are plenty of both dog and human grade omega 3 and combination omega-3, 6 and 9, which are usually a combination of fish and flaxseed oils. If problems persist, ask your veterinarian about trying a prescription diet for maintaining healthy skin and coat.
Kat Toland has worked with animals for over 20 years. She's been employed in the pet industry, but more significantly has been involved in all aspects of rescue, working with cats, dogs, horses, even spending time with rescued wolves. She currently volunteers with a group that runs with shelter dogs.