Doggie Hacks: 5 Effective Ways Minimize Excessive Shedding in Dogs
First thing’s first: why do dogs shed? Just like humans, shedding hair is completely natural and occurs on a daily basis. Many dogs shed during a season/temperature change. Fur functions as protection for skin as well as temperature control during colder seasons. During the spring, dogs often shed to get ready for the warmer summer months. Dogs that stay warm in the home year-round have little need for a winter coat, so they may shed more regularly all year-round. Hormones, and especially pregnancy and lactation also cause shedding. Dogs may even shed if they are overly stressed due to moving or a change in routine. If your dog has hair, it will shed (even hypoallergenic dogs shed to some degree), and there is no way around it. But taking care of your dog can minimize excessive shedding and help keep your home fur-free. To minimize excessive shedding, follow these five recommendations:
Consider your dog’s nutrition.
You are what you eat, and one of the greatest signifiers of an unbalanced diet or other health problems (for both dogs and humans) is the appearance of the skin and fur. A healthy dog should have a coat with a subtle shine and good color. Some shedding is normal, but excessive shedding could mean brittle fur and dry skin, which can be an excellent indicator of an unbalanced diet. Often pet owners see this for dogs who eat primarily dry food. Dry food often contains an excess of fillers and zero moisture, which can lead to dry skin. Consider changing up your dog’s diet to include more moisture and essential fats and proteins. A fatty oil supplement can improve dry skin and fur if your dog’s diet seems otherwise balanced. Talk to your veterinarian for recommendations on diet changes.
Brush your dog regularly.
This is probably the most effective way to control normal shedding. A regular brushing (sometimes every day) simply catches loose fur before your couch does. Brushing also prevents matted hair, which can grow bacteria and infest the hair follicles. Determine which type of brush (sometimes you need more than one kind) and which brushing routine is right for you and your dog. A regular brushing is also good for blood flow and the distribution of natural oils from the skin to the fur. The key is regularity. A longhaired dog will need a brushing almost every day while a shorthaired dog will only need a brushing once or twice per week. If you are unsure how often to brush your dog, start brushing every day and determine what is necessary based on the amount of fur that comes off in the brush.
Bathe your dog regularly.
Regular baths (at least once a month) are an important part of your dog’s skin and fur health. Of course, dogs don’t need baths nearly as often as humans, and actually bathing them too frequently can dry out their skin and cause even more shedding. Make sure you use a dog-specific shampoo and dry their fur with low or no heat. Talk to you veterinarian about shampoo options that are specifically targeted toward excessively shedding dogs. If shedding is occurring due to dry skin, ask your veterinarian about skin-soothing shampoos for your dog.
Take your dog outside more often.
If your dog is a seasonal shedder, there is no way around the loss of his winter coat. Take advantage of the changing season and spend more time outside with your dog. Longer walks and more outdoor time will help keep the hair your dog sheds outside. The added exercise will lead to better health and can help improve your dog’s skin and fur. Also keep in mind that more outdoor time might mean a need for more frequent baths.
Control allergies and fleas.
These problems can make your dog itchy, which means more scratching, and more scratching means more shedding. Keep your dog happy and your house clean by scheduling regular checkups with your veterinarian to check for fleas and allergies. Just like you, your dog can have seasonal allergies to dust, mold, and pollen, and these can sometimes go unnoticed.
Even if you take care of your dog to minimize shedding, it will still happen. Here are some additional helpful “hacks” to keeping your home clean of dog hair:
- Vacuum often: the sooner you do it, the less time it has to get pushed deep into the fibers of the fabric.
- Use a window squeegee to remove fur from the carpet (do this before vacuuming).
- Inflate a balloon and use the static electricity to attract and clean up hair.
- Rub a fabric softener sheet along the baseboards of your house. Not only will this clean up dust and hair, but also it actually leaves behind a coating that will repel dust and hair in the future.
- Never underestimate the power of a good lint roller.
What other tips do you have for reducing dog shedding? Leave a comment for us!