While some shedding is perfectly natural and to be expected, many pet parents would prefer if their pooch shed just a little less. Of course, some dogs shed extremely, and although certain breeds are more prone to this (hello Golden Retrievers!), often this can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency or skin and coat irritation. Whatever the reason for your dog’s excessive shedding, you’ll be pleased to know it’s possible to minimize it. Grooming is essential here, but we’ll suppose you’re already brushing and grooming your canine companion often and regularly. Another thing that can greatly affect your dog’s health and by extension their shedding habits is their diet. Foods specifically formulated to reduce dog shedding provide all the necessary nutrients a canine needs, especially those required for a shiny, healthy coat.
To help you find the best dog food for shedding, we’ve done the research and created this top 10 list of canine foods that tick all the right boxes. Read on to find the right formula for your dog today.
Best Dog Food for Shedding Guide & FAQ
So there you have it – some of the best dog foods that help with shedding in one place. All that’s left now is to pick the formula you think is best suited for your dog. Of course, we understand if you’re having a hard time picking the right kibble – after all, all products promise the best quality ingredients and perfectly balanced nutrition, so it can be a bit difficult to the find the right food. We hope the following chapters will help you determine exactly what it is your furry friend needs in order to stop excessive shedding, and therefore which kibble is the right kibble for him.
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Important Considerations When Buying Dog Food for Shedding
Before you purchase a dog food marketed to reduce shedding or help with skin irritations, make sure the formula actually contains proper nutrients that support canine overall health and wellbeing, including skin and coat health.
Canines thrive on a good-protein diet, especially if they’re very active. Proteins are the building blocks of the animal’s entire body and they are absolutely necessary for daily function. If your dog has not been getting enough protein, he can start developing all kinds of health issues, including dry and irritated skin and excessive shedding.
So make sure the formula you’re feeding your pooch contains enough protein, however, not too much of it – after all, dogs are omnivores and do best on a balanced diet (carbs, fat and protein), so it’s important to have all the macronutrients in place.
- Essential Fatty Acids
Dogs are unable to produce omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, but since they’re essential, it’s crucial they have them in their diet. Dog foods that contain little to no omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can lead to a host of health problems, including excessive shedding, so make sure the formula you’re feeding your dog contains plenty of them.
- Vitamins and minerals
If your pooch has a bland diet for health or other reasons, it’s crucial the kibble you either supplement with or intend to use as the main food in the future contains many naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as added ones. Some of the micronutrients you want in a dog food are B vitamins, A, D, E and K vitamins, as well as zinc, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, choline, iodine and others.
Benefits of Using Dog Food for Shedding
If you’re feeding your pup with a dog food for shedding, it’s highly likely you’re killing two birds with one stone as the formulas marketed for minimizing excess shedding are highly nutritious and full of good-quality ingredients.
For a formula to be able to reduce dog shedding, it needs to contain enough protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates – in other words, it needs to provide a balanced ratio of fats, proteins, and carbs, as well as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It also needs to contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals as they’re necessary for healthy skin and shiny coat.
So, if your canine friend is eating such formula, not only will her skin and coat be better and she’ll shed less, but her overall health will be in top shape.
Causes of Excessive Shedding
As most dog owners know, some shedding is absolutely normal and even necessary, and some breeds are simply prone to more shedding than others. However, if your furry companion starts shedding more than she usually does, or she starts developing bald patches or tender skin on areas where she sheds the most, it’s time to take her to the vet. It’s also a good idea to change her diet and switch to dog foods formulated to control shedding, and to up her grooming routine. A good dog shedding brush can help a lot with this, as can regular and gentle bathing.
But if we’re talking about the root cause of excessive shedding, it’s good to know that there can be many potential factors at play, but it usually comes down to:
- Poor diet
Just because you’re buying an expensive dog food doesn’t mean your pooch is getting all the nutrients he needs. Look for formulas that contain a good ratio of protein/fat/carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. It’s also a good idea to use only fortified foods and avoid those with many fillers and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
Like humans, dogs can develop allergies, but in their case, it’s food allergies we’re talking about the most (although certain air pollutants can also play a role). Although your dog may love chicken and has been eating it for years, he can suddenly develop an allergy to chicken. The same thing with pork, beef, fish dairy, eggs, soy, and grains – of course, your dog cannot have allergies to all of these ingredients, but it’s entirely possible to develop one or two, seemingly out of nowhere.
You know how your hair starts shedding more than usual after a stressful event, or a series of stressful events? It’s the same with dogs – if there’s stress at home, such as tension with other animals or frequent yelling, your pooch can start feeling stressed out, and as result develop digestion issues, skin irritations and finally problems with excessive shedding.
Q: How much shedding is normal?
A: All dogs (except for the American Hairless Terriers) shed at least a little, so it’s not possible to completely stop dog shedding no matter how much you try. But how much shedding is normal? When should you let your dog be and when should you worry?
- Year round shedding: if your dog is generally healthy and just sheds a lot, there’s no reason to worry. Normal shedding happens all the time and is visible on your furniture and clothes but should not be visible on your dog’s body.
- Seasonal shedding: some breeds shed seasonally, usually in the spring and fall. This type of shedding should occur evenly across your pet’s entire body and happen every year on a cycle.
However, if your dog develops bald patches or you notice his fur is missing, it’s time to go to the vet.
Q: Can food actually reduce dog shedding?
A: If you’re already feeding your pooch healthily and maybe even supplement with fish/salmon oil and other food toppers, dog food for shedding can help a little, if at all. But if your dog is not getting enough nutrients or is nursing/under a lot of stress, good dog foods designed for minimizing shedding may be able to help a lot.
Q: When will puppies shed their “baby” coat?
A: All puppy coats are eventually replaced by adult fur. No matter how soft and fuzzy, that puppy coat is temporary and must turn into adult fur as the puppy grows. The timing of this varies, but it usually happens between 3 and 6 months of age. This depends on the breed, puppy’s health and climate. Whenever it happens, the process looks similar: puppy’s coat becomes shaggy and may fall out before adult fur manages to replace it. This is completely normal and should not be taken as a sign of a health problem.
Our Top Pick
Although all dog foods for shedding that ended up on our Top Pick list are excellent, the Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach takes the first place. This kibble is specially formulated to help with digestion and irritated skin, and as a result, can greatly help all dogs shed less (if they’re shedding excessively, of course). It has a great protein to fat to carbohydrates ratio, as well as omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. It’s also fortified with all important vitamins and minerals and contains naturally occurring prebiotic fiber. Equally important, it doesn’t contain any unnecessary fillers, including wheat, corn, and soy, and there are no artificial colors or flavors. Furthermore, you’ll find no meat by-product here, which is a major bonus for canines with super-sensitive immune systems.
Best of all? It’s highly palatable and most dogs go crazy for it, so it’s easy to feed them a healthy, well-balanced diet with this formula. Also, it’s affordable, so it’s a win-win product all around.