Have you found yourself wondering how all your black clothes became white, or how all your white clothes became black? Has your furniture become less of a seating area and more of a collection spot for fuzz? If so, your pup’s shedding tendencies may have taken over your home.
Why is my dog losing hair? Some dog breeds shed hair regularly. This process is called shedding, and it’ll usually affect a dog breed with lots of fur, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Samoyed. If your furniture and furry friend have started to match, you might be wondering how to reduce your dog’s shedding.
Good news: as a dog owner, you no longer have to color coordinate your outfits to your dog’s fur. This article will explore shedding solutions, including brushing techniques, dietary choices, and supplements to keep your dog’s fur problems in check. Read on for methods on how to stop a dog from shedding.
First, Rule Out Any Serious Health Conditions
While healthy dogs can still shed enough excess fur to knit a sweater with, it’s important to first make sure your dog isn’t experiencing excessive shedding or losing hair due to a severe medical condition.
Any prolonged pet problem should typically earn you a trip to your local veterinarian. There, proper testing can be done to assure that your dog isn’t dealing with something bigger than shedding, including:
- Poor nutrition – The most common reason for pet shedding is poor nutrition. This can occur in recently rescued pups who haven’t had enough nutrients to help maintain a healthy coat. Additionally, take a closer look at your dog food. Certain dog food brands aren’t isn’t rich enough in vitamins and minerals, which may lead to poor nutrition for your pet and, thus, extra shedding.
- Infection – Both bacterial and fungal infections can cause skin irritation and even hair loss for some dogs. Typically, these infections can be treated with topical lotions and shampoos or oral medication. Your vet may check for inflamed or infected skin to determine if your pup is dealing with an infection.
- Skin trauma – Your pup might start shedding fur due to trauma. This can include a sunburn or exposure to caustic chemicals. Additionally, over-licking a certain area can cause injury, and your dog may start shedding more than normal.
- Parasites – Have you noticed your pup scratching or rubbing themselves a little more often than usual? Itchiness and excess hair loss are some of the more common side effects of a parasite problem. If you’re worried about the potential for parasites, rest assured that a vet will do a thorough examination to find any creepy-crawlings lingering on your pet.
- Allergies – While some people are allergic to dogs, some dogs are summer from the same allergy ailments that plague us, humans. Whether your dog is hypersensitive to pollen, dust, food, or anything else, allergies can frequently cause a skin condition, such as skin irritation, leading to hair loss.
Stress – Although as a pet parent we may sometimes envy the life of a dog—eating, getting pets, and playing all day long? Yes , please!—that doesn’t mean your canine friend doesn’t have worries of his own. A change in environment such as a move, a trauma, or even just a trip to the vet can cause stress for your pup. The resulting stress hormones can make a physiological impact on their bodies, which in turn can lead to excessive dog shedding.
- Pregnancy – Your vacuum might be working overtime on fur-covered carpets if your pet is expecting! When a dog becomes pregnant, her body directs calcium and minerals to her growing pups instead of maintaining her fur coat, resulting in a bit of extra fluff on the couch.
Some dogs with significant hair loss may be suffering from particularly frightening diseases such as cancer or an immune disease. Before you start panicking, these scenarios are particularly rare and involve other obvious symptoms. The truth is, if your dog is experiencing a lot of shedding , but appears perfectly healthy, there’s no need to worry yourself.
What Else Causes Shedding?
Beyond medical conditions, what else could cause shedding?
- Your pet’s genetics – Shedding is a completely natural canine function, particularly so for certain dogs. Each breed listed below is known to be a prolific shedder:
- Bernese mountain dog
- Boston terrier
- German shepherd
- Siberian husky
- Chow chow
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retriever
- The shedding season – Just like we put away our winter coats when the weather starts to thaw in spring, your dog is in his shedding season during the winter to get rid of his heavier fur and enjoy the warmer season.
So while shedding can sometimes be a sign to look closer at your pet’s health, in all likelihood , that extra fur around the house is all par for the course for your pup.
Ensure A Nutritious Diet With Supplements and Vitamin-Rich Foods
Wondering how to make a dog’s coat shiny in addition to reducing shedding? A healthy diet supports strong hair follicles that are resistant to breakage and shedding.
Ensure that you’re feeding your dog the right diet, including food that are high in vitamins like Omega-3s, protein, and fat.
- Omega-3s – Frequently found in fish products such as cod skins or salmon, Omega-3s offer a plethora of benefits for your pup. Besides improving skin and coat health, Omega-3s have been linked to stronger immune systems, reduced inflammation, as well as kidney and heart health. If you’re already taking omega-3s yourself—they’re quite popular with humans—consider sharing this powerful nutrient with your dog as well.
- Protein – Chicken, beef, and fish are typically the main protein sources in your dog’s diet. After being broken down into essential amino acids, proteins provide the materials needed to repair cells, build hormones, and support your dog’s immune system. When it comes to hair health, protein is a major factor.
- Fat – Your dog is always burning fat. Whether they’re chasing after birds or playing a leisurely game of fetch, fat is used to give them the energy they need to keep going. If a dog receives adequate fat from their diet, you may begin to see side effects, including increased shedding. Make sure you’re giving your dog everything they need to keep up with their active lifestyle—that includes a healthy portion of fat.
Also, ensure that your pup is absorbing the nutrients they are eating. Malabsorption can be caused by bacteria, disease, or genetic predisposition and can cause your dog to constantly lack the protein, iron, zinc, or other vitamins they need.
Sometimes, your dog may simply need a boost to help them reach their full puppy potential. Vetericyn’s ALL-IN is an expertly-pioneered supplement that supports your dog’s health at every stage of its life. It contains natural ingredients, is jam-packed with antioxidants and prebiotics, and is clinically proven to be absorbed in your dog.
Keep Your Pup Hydrated
Dehydrated dog’s skin can lead to more scratching, dry patches, and hair loss and will keep you as a dog owner asking , “ why is my dog losing hair? “. The average pup needs about an ounce of water per day per pound of body weight; for example, a 20-pound dog would need just over 2 cups per day. So keep an eye on your furry friend’s water bowl to make sure they’re hydrated and happy.
If you feel you can’t get your dog to stay hydrated, here are a few tips to encourage them:
- More bowls – Dogs typically love to be around their owners. While you probably appreciate the company, sometimes this can keep a dog away from their water bowl. By placing more water bowls around your home, including in the rooms you spend the most time in, your dog may feel more inclined to drink more often. They’ll be able to stay in your sight while staying hydrated.
- Moving water – While some pups prefer simple, standing water, others may be a little pickier. Consider investing in a water bowl that cycles or bubbles the water to garner a little extra interest from your pet. They may start to enjoy the water in a whole new way with the right device.
- Icy options – Heat is a major factor in dog dehydration, some give your dog something to cool them off and keep them healthy. You can create regular ice cubes, free broth, or even freeze a canine-friendly smoothie for your dog. With some ice-cold options for your four-legged friend, you might see a major improvement in their water intake, even if it’s a little unorthodox.
It’s important to pay special attention to your dog’s hydration levels in the hotter months. A particularly hot day can be potentially life-threatening for a dog. Be sure to give them a place in the shade, plenty of H20, and perhaps even some air-conditioner time, while they can’t say thank you, they will certainly appreciate it.
Plus, a well-hydrated dog can be significantly less vacuuming and lint rolling for you.
Keep The Fur On With Exercise
Most dogs love being active. Whether they’re chasing a bunny or chasing a tail, a healthy dog should be getting daily exercise. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the time to dogs for the long walks they want or extend playtime for hours on end. If your dog isn’t getting the exercise they need, you might begin noticing some physical side effects, including hair loss.
Some clear signs that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise can include:
- Excess biting and scratching – Notice your pup nipping at themselves or using the world as their own personal scratching point? This could be a sign of restlessness. It’s perfectly normal for some amount of scratching—everyone gets itchy after all—but if it ramps up to full-on biting that causes damage to hair follicles, it might be time to go for a walk.
- Destructive behavior – If your furry friend turns into a tiny terror, it may be another sign that they’re not getting the exercise they need. Nobody likes walking into their living room to find their couch torn or their pillows ripped open, but don’t take it too personally. It may just be your dog’s way of saying they’re desperate for some playtime.
- Weight gain – A plumper pet may mean more to love, but weight gain can also mean your dog isn’t receiving adequate exercise. As much as we love a jolly pup, pet health should always be the top priority, so consider extending your walk or giving your dog more opportunities to burn off their extra energy.
Again, it’s important to reiterate that if you believe that something else could be causing hair loss or see irritated skin, bugs, or dull fur that pulls out easily, visit your local vet to check everything out. Otherwise, make sure you walk your dog as often as is necessary for its breed and size and pack in plenty of playtime.
Grooming and Brushing Your Pup
If you have been wondering how to get mats out of dog hair , regular brushing can help. Routine brushing is an essential part of cutting down on shedding, especially if your pup experiences excessive dog shedding. As an added bonus, it’s the perfect way to bond with your pup.
Some dogs may need to be brushed once a month, while some may need a few more regular brushing sessions, even up to multiple times daily. It all depends on your dog’s coat and breed type. However, you can use the following brushes, or a combination of them, to control both short hair and long-haired dog coats.
- Comb – This round brush is best for short to medium-haired dogs. Its rubber teeth whisk away excess fur, dirt, and dust, while massaging the skin beneath and promoting healthy oils that make new growth shine.
- Undercoat rake – A heavy-duty brush that looks like the rake you use to collect leaves. If your pup sheds in clumps of fur, this tool is extra handy at reaching into that undercoat.
- Bristle brush – With short, densely packed bristles, a bristle brush is perfect for dogs with long, fine hair. It’s also the perfect “finishing” brush to even out the coat after coming through with an undercoat rake or wire-pin brush.
- Slicker brush – Do you often find tangles or mats in your dog’s fur? A slicker brush, with its fine wire bristles, may be right for you. Just make sure you brush gently, as the wire teeth in slicker brushes can be sharp
- Wire-pin brush – If your dog has a curly or wooly coat, a wire-pin brush can keep them tangle-free. These brushes tend to be gentler than slicker brushes.
When it comes to brushing techniques, down and out is the way to go. Brushing backward can be uncomfortable for your pup, so always check that you’re going with the fur instead of against it.
If your dog is in particularly dire straits when it comes to their fur, it may be necessary to talk to a groomer. A professional dog groomer can clear up matted fur and provide a detailed service that you and your dog will appreciate. Consider it a personal-care day for your furry pal to experience a little R&R.
While some dogs love a good scrub in the tub, others are a little hesitant to jump in the water, even if you’ve warmed it up to perfection.
You should be bathing your dog at least once every four weeks, unless a skunk or mud puddle gets in the way of that plan. A good bath will leave your pup squeaky clean as well as wash away any dead hair or loose dog hair that has accumulated on their coat.
If your dog is putting up a fight during bathtime, we have a few tips are tricks to get them washed, so their coats can stay healthy, shining, and thick:
- Get organized – It’s definitely not practical to have to leave in the middle of bath time to grab something you forgot, so be sure to bring everything into the bathroom before you dip your dog. That includes shampoos, towels, brushes, treats, and anything that can make your dog feel safe and comfortable. A favorite stuffed animal perhaps?
- Brushing – You should already be intimately familiar with your brush options , after the previous section. We recommend slow even strokes to work out any tangles without causing any discomfort for your pup. Brushing should be a calming activity to prep them for their bath.
- Scrub time – Once your dog is thoroughly brushed, coax them into the water calmly. At this point, you can use a gentle nudge and some treats to get them in. After they’re in the tub, begin massaging shampoo into their fur and gently scrubbing their body with a washcloth. Be sure not to get any soap or shampoo in their ears, eyes, or nose, and try to have fun.
- Thorough rinse – Leftover soap can irritate, so once you feel your dog is squeaky clean, give them a good rinse with the showerhead. In the case of an extra-messy dog, you can apply another round of shampoo to ensure you’ve gotten all the dirt.
- Towel off – Some dogs might dry off in several minutes, while others may need a helping hand to get all the moisture out of their hair. Be sure to dry between skin folds or wrinkles, as they can be particularly problematic areas when it comes to skin issues.
Make bathtime a regular part of your doggy routine, and you may see fast results when it comes to shedding. While knowing the best way to get your pup in the bath is a top priority, you may also be wondering about products designed to ensure a maximally comfortable bath for your pooch.
So, if you have been curious about how to care for dog hair, the secret is utilizing a nourishing, healthy dog shampoo such as Vetericyn’s FoamCare® Pet Shampoo. Our shampoo is amazing for spot-cleaning, as well as for full baths, and is formulated for your pet’s health.
Here are a few benefits of our quality formula.
- pH balanced
- Safe for all animals
- Free of chemical dyes and parabens
Our shampoo is spray-on and foams instantly, so no sudsing up or dealing with slippery bottles. FoamCare® uses a deep-conditioning formula that nourishes your dog’s skin and coat and leaves behind a clean smell and a gorgeous shine.
Vetericyn FoamCare® Pet Shampoo is suited for all coat types, but this high-quality shampoo comes in three formulas, so that you can personalize it based on your pup’s needs.
- FoamCare® Pet Shampoo for all coat lengths and needs.
- Extra-long coat? There’s a FoamCare® Shampoo specifically for thick fur.
- Vetericyn FoamCare® Medicated Pet Shampoo treats and relieves itching, hot spots, dry skin, dermatitis, and more.
FoamCare® Pet Shampoo makes bathtime fun, quick, and easy. And the results are nothing to bark at.
Shed No More with Vetericyn
Cleaning up after your dog is a natural part of being a pet owner, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend all of your time fighting against shedding. Most dogs experience normal shedding, but there are ways to cut shedding to a minimum and promote healthy skin and fur.
With a combination of a healthy lifestyle, frequent brushing, Vetericyn’s FoamCare® Pet Shampoo , and Vetericyn’s ALL-IN supplements, you can reclaim your home from dog fur , and excess shedding-and make your pup a lot happier, too.
Reviewed by Dan Richardson, Veterinarian
Dan Richardson has been a practicing veterinarian for over 10 years. He specializes in surgery and orthopedics. Dan is originally from rural western Nevada and attended the University of Idaho for undergraduate study and Oregon State University for Veterinary School. The Richardson Family enjoys camping and spending time on the water fishing, paddle boarding, or digging their feet in the sand somewhere warm.
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- AKC Pet Insurance. 6 Tips to Control Dog Shedding. https://www.akcpetinsurance.com/blog/6-tips-to-control-dog-shedding
- Stop My Dog Shedding. 7 Real Ways To Stop Your Dog Shedding Excessively. https://stopmydogshedding.com/stop-your-dog-shedding
- D for Dog. The Best Brush for Your Dog. https://www.dfordog.co.uk/blog/the-best-dog-brush-for-your-dog.html