Ideas to Minimize Sheddingby Susan Paretts
Shedding is a natural process for all dogs, as their old hair falls out and their new hair grows in. While cleaning up hair is a part of owning a dog, there are things you can do to minimize how much fur your pup loses to make tidying up after Fido a little easier. Regular grooming and a healthy diet can all help reduce your pup's shedding.
The best way to reduce your dog's shedding is to brush him daily. Brushing removes the fur that your dog is ready to shed from his coat before it ends up around your home. It also stimulates his blood circulation and distributes his skin's natural oils throughout the coat, according to the Furminator website. By keeping his coat healthy and well-moisturized, less hair is shed because of conditions such as dry skin. Regular brushing of your pup's fur also prevents the hair he sheds from tangling in his coat and forming painful knots. Use a slicker brush and metal comb to brush your pup's entire body, including his back, tummy, legs, neck, tail and face, to remove excess fur, keeping it silky and mat-free.
By regularly bathing your dog every four to six weeks, you can wash away any excess fur that he sheds, recommends Dogster. Use a soap-free shampoo to avoid stripping away Fido's natural skin oils. Apply a conditioner after the bath to replace any moisture lost during the bathing process and to reduce shedding. During the bath, use a dog bathing mitt with rubber nubs to massage the soap into his skin and remove excess hair from the coat. Bathing also removes any parasites, bacteria or fungi from the coat, all of which can result in excess shedding and hair loss, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A poor diet can result in a dry, brittle coat or an overly thick undercoat that sheds more than usual, according to "Oh My Dog: How to Choose, Train, Groom, Nurture, Feed and Care for Your New Best Friend." Feeding your pup a diet that follows the nutritional guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials ensures that he gets the proper balance of nutrients to support a healthy coat that won't shed excessively. There are also supplements available, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help reduce your pup's shedding, recommends DogChannel.com. Consult with your vet before giving your dog any supplements to determine if they are appropriate.
Treat your pup with a flea preventative regularly to avoid infestations with fleas or mites, which can increase your pup's shedding. If Fido suddenly starts shedding more than usual and his coat looks dull, dry or brittle, bring him to the vet for a checkup. Increased shedding can indicate an underlying health issue such as cancer or thyroid, kidney, adrenal or immune system diseases, warns the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Excessive shedding also is caused by contact or food allergies, so watch your dog for signs of dermatitis or itchiness. Your vet can determine what could be the cause of any excess shedding and treat the issue.
- Better Homes and Gardens: Manage and Minimize Your Dog's Shedding
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Shedding
- Martha Stewart Living: Control Pets' Shedding
- Furminator: The Science of Fur
- TLC Grooming and Supply: Frequently Asked Questions
- Animal Behavior College: Grooming Basics
- Dogster: Dog Grooming Basics -- Tools and Techniques
- Oh My Dog: How to Choose, Train, Groom, Nurture, Feed, and Care for Your New Best Friend; Beth Ostrosky Stern and Kristina Grish
- DogChannel.com: Excessive Shedding in Your Dog
- Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images