There is one thing any dog owner learns how to live with, but would love to take it away if possible, and that is pet shedding. We love our dogs. That is a fact. But shedding, oh well, we learn to live with it. Most owners will tell you they would love to eliminate the shedding. Living with a dog means you find dog hair in the strangest places, like the closet you open and close once per year.
With that in mind, how to stop dog shedding? Can you manage it? Can you reduce it? Of course, you can. Before we go any further, you have to understand that dogs will shed no matter what. Of course, unless you have some hypo-allergenic breed. While you cannot eliminate shedding completely, you can make it more manageable.
Why do dogs shed?
Remember the times when you didn’t have a dog. Did you find hair all over the house? Yes, you did. When you take a bath, was there hair left? Of course, there was. Humans shed as well. It is just the normal cycle of hair growth. There are four phases of hair growth, one of which is shedding of hair.
The difference between humans and dogs is that dogs have their entire body covered with hair and fur. We have only our head. That is why there is that much more hair with a dog around.
In addition to the regular hair shedding, dogs shed excessively during two periods of the year. Those are during spring and autumn. Your pet is preparing his fur for the hotter days during spring, and for the colder days during autumn.
Your pet knows that winter is coming and that he needs more fur to keep himself warm. And he is preparing by shedding summer hair and growing winter hair.
Should you talk with a vet about shedding?
All dogs shed occasionally. However, if your dog is shedding more than the normal amount, you should call a vet. Fur loss is a sign of several health issues. For starters, a stressed-out dog is often more prone to shedding. When your dog is under stress, he sheds excessively.
Other health issues might be related to shedding. If the shedding is excessive, schedule an appointment to the vet to check the issue.
How to stop dog shedding
Brush your pet
Brushing is the best way to reduce shedding. No, you won’t eliminate it, but it will control shedding to a large degree.
Just remember, you have to get the right brush for your dog. There is no one-brush-to-rule-them-all. Every dog is unique, has his specific needs, and requirements.
With that in mind, here are some general rules:
- For dogs with a shorter coat, get a natural-bristle brush or even a hound mitt. A glove with bristles will do the trick as well. Brush the coat in the opposite direction of hair growth first, and then brush in the direction of hair growth. The first action will pull dead hair out and the second will eliminate it. Repeat the movement a few times to remove hair and distribute natural oils through the coat
- For dogs with a longer coat, you need a tool that can reach down under the outer coat and grab and pull dead hairs from the undercoat. In other words, slicker brushes. Go over the coat in both directions a few times, until you are pulling less and less hair from the brush. When the shedding is excessive (during coat change season), get a coat rake or shedding tool
Feed your dog a healthy diet
Do not underestimate the power of a healthy diet and its ability to prevent shedding. It is the same as humans. Do you know what is often the cause of hair loss in humans? Vitamins and minerals deficiency, namely, iron. It is the same with dogs.
Get your dog a high-quality food, packed with ingredients for optimal hair growth and coat care. Be careful, dogs with allergies require special food. They have more sensitive skin, and they require food that will not cause any irritation.
To recognize high-quality food, look for one that has meat as the main ingredient. Better quality foods might cost more upfront, but they are much better investment long-term.
Be careful with vitamin supplements. Unless your vet recommends some supplements, do not feed your dog any additional vitamin supplements.
Olive and flaxseed oil
Your dog requires omega-3 fatty acids to keep his inflamed skin calm, reduce dandruff, improve coat texture, and reduce shedding. Olive oil and flaxseed oil are safe for your dog, and you can mix one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight into his diet.
If your dog is on a fish-based food, you might not need any additional omega-3 fatty acids. You could also feed your dog fishes like tuna, salmon, or other omega-3 rich foods.
Provide clean water
Dehydration is the cause of dry skin, which causes excessive shedding. You do not want your dog to be dehydrated, right? Always provide access to clean and fresh water for your dog.
You can also up hydration by adding moist foods into your dog’s diet. For example, you can give him some treats like watermelon, a fruit extremely high in water.
Buy the right fabrics
This might not help reduce pet shedding in general, but it will make it less visible. And it will help you prevent shedding from spreading. When you are shopping for slipcover for your sofa or some clothes for you, think about the fabrics.
For repelling pet hair, slick silk-like fabrics and tightly-woven microfibers work best. Knit fabrics and lush piles, on the other hand, attract pet hair. And forget about nylon, it is just a magnet for dog hair.
Regular baths are just as important as regular brushing for controlling shedding. Baths encourage loose hair to fall out in the tub, much better than on your furniture. Just be careful, you do not want to bathe your dog every week or so.
Over-bathing can cause dry skin, which as we mentioned, causes shedding. Check with a vet or groomer to discuss a regular bathing schedule for your breed. Generally speaking, once every two months is enough. Some breeds, however, require more frequent baths.
Use cleaning products for pet hair
Your regular vacuum cleaner might not get the job done. Pet hair is much harder to vacuum, so you might need to change your home cleaning products.
The good news is you can find a lot of cheap options at stores like Walmart. You might also have to change your dusters and every other product you use for cleaning the home.