It is normal for dogs to shed just as it is normal for us to lose some of our hair every now and then. But if you have a Labrador retriever, Golden retriever, German shepherd, Siberian husky, or even Chow Chow, then you know that even so-called normal shedding can seem like being showered with snow made of dog hair. If it really is a great concern to you, worry not since there are plenty of natural ways by which you can minimize dog shedding. Here are 10 of them:
1. Bathing Your Hound At The Appropriate Frequency
Giving our pets a much-needed bath can help a lot in removing excess fur. It also helps improve circulation in the skin, leading to healthier hair as each strand gets a fair share of oxygen and nutrients. And if you use dog shampoos that contain certain ingredients designed to nourish and strengthen hair, you will further improve the health of your pet’s hair. This is how you minimize shedding.
A more important question is how often you should bathe your pet. While you can easily bathe your dog on a daily basis, doing so might lead to excessive drying of its skin especially if you use ordinary shampoos that contain soap-like ingredients. For best results, a once-weekly bathing is recommended if you have a pet with a coat that easily gets dirty. However, it is important to use dog shampoos that have specific moisturizing ingredients to help nourish your dog’s skin, prevent matting, and minimize shedding. If your dog’s coat is otherwise healthy, a once-monthly bathing is enough.
2. Regularly Brush Your Dog’s Coat
Experts recommend daily brushing of dogs with double coats or those with moderate to very thick undercoats. However, a more crucial factor is using the right type of brush.
If you have a dog that has medium to long fur or with curly hair, you can brush its coat using a slicker brush. This type of brush is excellent for Golden retrievers, Saint Bernards, Yorkshire terriers, and Cocker spaniels, the first 2 of which are known to be heavy shedders. This brush is perfect for removing mats, too. For dogs that are very prone to dead undercoat and tangles such as Chow Chows and German Shepherds, then rakes should be great. For short-haired breeds as well as smooth-coated hounds, bristle brushes should be perfect. A dog shedding brush also works as this already addresses your pet’s need for grooming, detangling, dematting, and deshedding. At the very least, you should brush your pet’s fur twice a week.
3. Invest In A Well-Balanced Diet
Nutrition is an important component of healthy cells and tissues. Nutrients must be delivered to these cells for them to grow normally. However, even with adequate blood supply if your dog is simply not getting the right amounts of the correct nutrients that its body needs, then you can always expect shedding to be a major problem.
While it is easy to say that a high-protein diet will help your pet minimize shedding, a more important consideration is the quality of the protein being included into its food. We are not against vegans, but if one has to consider the ancestral diets of our dogs, then you know that veganism is not the way to go. Plant proteins lack certain essential amino acids that can play a role in the maintenance of your pet’s overall cellular integrity. That is why we are one with pet nutrition experts advocating for the use of high-quality animal-based proteins in dogs’ diet. If you truly want to minimize your hound’s shedding, then this is the way to go.
4. Consider Supplementing With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Some online resources will tell you to give your pet omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, many of the dog food that our pets are receiving today are already filled with a lot of omega-6 fatty acids. While this type of fatty acid is also beneficial, having too much of it that it already overshadows the levels of omega-3 fatty acids is also dangerous and can have the opposite effect of its anti-inflammatory properties. As such, if you want to minimize shedding in your pet, then you should invest in high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements especially those coming from fish oil.
When combined with the benefits of using a dog deshedding brush, moisturizing dog shampoos, and well-balanced, high-quality protein-rich dog food for shedding, you’ll know that supplementing your dog’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids will help minimize shedding in your pet. For more options head over to our guide on supplements for dog shedding.
5. Groom Your Pet Regularly
We already tackled bathing and brushing as two of the natural ways you can minimize shedding on your dog. These activities are actually important aspects of regular dog grooming. That being said, you should also strive to clean your pet’s ears, paws, and even eyes every time you schedule them for a bath. If you are going to use a dog deshedding brush to help remove excess hair, manage mats, and even remove tangles, be prepared to give your pet a proper trim. This also helps in minimizing shedding.
More importantly, grooming your pet gives you the chance to examine its body more closely, helping you identify possible problem areas. As you may already know, excessive hair shedding in dogs can be brought about by a variety of factors and not only due to nutrition and hygiene.
6. Visit Your Vet Regularly
With reference to where we left off in Item number 5, there are certain health conditions that are known to cause excessive shedding in dogs. For instance, the presence of parasitic organisms can cause shedding because the nutrients that are supposed to go to the fur are redirected to these parasites. Bacterial and fungal infections as well as diseases of the kidneys, thyroid gland, liver, and adrenal glands can also bring about signs of excessive shedding. Cancer and some immunologic problems can also result in shedding.
It is for this reason that your vet should also be involved in your care of your pet’s excessive shedding problems. Your veterinarian can help determine what is causing this excessive shedding in your dog so a more appropriate treatment can be initiated.
7. Control Fleas, Ticks, And Other Ectoparasites
One of the possible reasons why your dog may be showing excessive shedding is because it has plenty of ‘guests’ both in and on its body. Fleas, lice, ticks, and mites can all bite your dog’s skin causing a localized inflammatory reaction. Unfortunately for some dogs, this reaction may lead to something more systemic – an allergic reaction. This can also pave the way to hair loss in canines.
Some intestinal worms like tapeworms are ingested by fleas. When a dog grooms itself and accidentally ingests this tapeworm-carrying flea, then it can also get tapeworm infestation. Tapeworms are known to feed off of their hosts, drawing as much nutrients as possible. These nutrients no longer reach their intended destination – the cells of your dog. Therefore, controlling fleas and other ectoparasites helps in minimizing dog shedding. If you are looking for more options, check out our guide on Flea Treatments for Dogs.
8. Do Everything You Can To Reduce Stress In Your Dog
You might laugh but there is this general observation connecting stress to hair loss. While the exact mechanism is still poorly understood, the observation is that highly-stressed or highly-anxious dogs tend to shed more excessively than those that are in a relaxed and carefree mood. There have been a lot of studies correlating a variety of hair loss patterns with anxiety; albeit these studies were on human subjects.
We may not really be certain whether the same benefits of stress management on human hair loss can be replicated in dogs, but it seems it is worth the try. Besides, would you rather care for a highly-anxious dog than one that is more relaxed and calm? So, as your pet’s parent do everything you possibly can to make its life less anxious and relatively stress-free.
You may also like our article on Anxiety Supplements for Dogs.
9. Train Your Pet To Be Vacuumed
Not all dogs like to be vacuumed. It is somewhat similar to having a hair dryer being passed over their coats after taking a bath with the best dog shampoos; the only difference of course is the inward motion of air. But if you can train your dog to like being vacuumed, this can be a very useful way to getting rid of excess shedding. You can think of it as using your dog deshedding brush, only noisier.
10. Vacuum and Protect Your House
While this will not really minimize dog shedding it can help protect you and your family. Remove all visible hair from your couch, carpets, and other surfaces in your home. You can use a vacuum for dog hair. You can also protect the surfaces by covering them with appropriate materials. Some actually recommend using fabric softener or conditioner on fabric surfaces to help provide a slicker surface so that dog fur will not easily stick onto them.
There are many ways you can minimize shedding in your dog. We just presented 10 of them. What’s crucial to understand is that shedding is a normal phenomenon. But if it is already causing you distress, then you might want to have a talk with your doctor and vet about it.
- Karen Tietjen, 6 Natural Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Coat & Reduce Shedding, IHeartDogs
- Excessive Shedding in Dogs, PetMD
- How to Prevent Your Dog from Shedding, WagWalking