One of the facts of life we have to acknowledge as dog owners is that our pets shed — unless you’ve got a hairless breed. Dog hair will always be part of our homes, our furniture, our clothes, our vehicle, and almost everywhere our dogs go.
Dogs are never going to stop shedding. But that doesn’t imply we should let our dogs shed everywhere. But dogs are not supposed to shed too much either. You shouldn’t see your dog’s bald patches or thinning hair.
Here are the reasons why dogs shed, when to know they are shedding too much, and what to do about it.
Why is my dog shedding so much and how do I know if it’s excessive shedding?
There are two general and acceptable reasons why a dog may shed excessively:
More than other breeds, these breeds are known to shed a lot: German Shepherd Dog, St. Bernard, Labrador Retriever, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Chow Chow, Boston Terrier, Corgi, and Newfoundland.
Dogs can shed a lot when weather shifts from cold to warm particularly dogs that develop thick undercoats during cold weather. That’s because when spring arrives, they shed their winter coats.
If you cannot trace your dog’s excessive shedding to either of the two reasons, then look for the following behavior or conditions that your dog may be exhibiting:
- One or several bald spots
- Fast and severe thinning of her coat
- Bumps, redness, rashes, or scabs
- Open wounds
- Extreme face rubbing or scratching
- Excessive licking of one spot
These could be symptoms of an underlying medical condition that needs special treatment.
What do I do if my dog sheds excessively?
If you notice that your dog is doing or displaying the symptoms above, the best and first move you should take is to bring your pet to the vet as quickly as possible. Your vet can perform a thorough examination of your pet’s condition. Delaying the examination may make your pet very uneasy and make her sickness worse.
Your vet can determine if your pet’s excessive shedding could be from the following reasons:
- Nutritional imbalance
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Flea, mite, or lice infestation
- Allergies and other skin irritations
- Diseases affecting her kidney, liver, or immune system
- Hormone issues like imbalanced progesterone or hypothyroidism
- Reaction to a medication
Based on the exam’s results, your vet can advise you on which treatment would be best for your dog.
What can I do to stop my dog from shedding excessively?
If your dog’s excessive shedding does not need medical treatment, then you may consult your vet about these home remedies that could help prevent your dog from shedding a lot or help alleviate her excessive shedding condition.
1. The best home remedy you can provide is to provide adequate nutrition for your pet. For overall health, she should get high-quality protein. Whether you give her kibble, wet dog food, or raw food, make sure she gets enough minerals and vitamins.
Foods high in fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are known to promote good skin and coats. These are mostly found in fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, so try to include them in your dog’s diet, whether as your kibble’s key source of protein, wet dog food, raw food, or as treats.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can also be found in olive oil, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil. You can add a teaspoon to a tablespoon (depending on your dog’s size) of any of these oils to your dog’s regular food to boost its minerals.
You can give the fatty acids to your dog through supplements like the following:
- Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats for Dogs, which is highly-recommended by owners whose pets scratch a lot;
- Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet – Fish Oil Liquid for Cats and Dogs, which can be added to dog food; or,
- Amazing Nutritionals Omega 3 Chews, which has antioxidants not just for healthy coats but joints and brain health as well.
Again, be sure to consult your vet before offering your dog new food as your dog may be allergic to them. Or if you already give her dog food that is enriched with omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, or other minerals that increase hair development, she might not need them.
2. Reduce her stress
Like humans, dogs can get stressed too. They are sensitive to even the slightest changes to their routines and environments. They might lose hair as a reaction to the stress.
To reduce your dog’s stress, try to provide a predictable daily routine to her life. If you leave her alone, make sure that you leave and arrive at the same time every day.
If there are changes in her surroundings such as new individuals (a new addition to the family or a new person coming to your house frequently) or new neighborhoods, make sure that you reassure your dog that you still love her despite the changes.
Introduce the new person slowly. Make that person give your dog treats.
Take your dog for calming walks so that she can get used to her new environment.
Play with your dog so that she can de-stress and turn her anxious energy towards a more positive activity.
3. Groom her fur regularly
Brushing can help your dog remove loose hair and old undercoats. This type of grooming will make her change her coat faster. It also stimulates new hair to grow properly.
It can also stop your dog from shedding everywhere since all the excess hair will be collected in the brush. This will significantly reduce clean-up time.
You have a wide range of brushes to choose from:
- Slicker brush – the most versatile brush like the Petpawjoy Slicker Brush and the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush can be used on any coat.
- Bristle brush – like the Greenbone All Natural Bamboo Pet Grooming Brush is used on dogs with short coats.
- Pin-wire brush – like the Oster 2-in-1 Combo Brush has bristles on one side and pin wires on the other side for deep brushing of long, silky hair.
- Rake – can remove old topcoats or undercoats; an example of this type is the GoPets Dematting Comb.
- Grooming glove – like the Delomo Pet Grooming and Deshedding Gloves can easily brush away hair and the fur sticks to the rubber or silicone tips of the gloves so shed hair can be easily put into the trash bin.
However, a blade-on – a-handle comb is the most significant brush for shedding. This type of comb has very thin metal teeth that are also explicitly intended to remove old fur and trap loose hair. You can choose from several brands:
- The Oster Shedmonster has two types of curved blades that help shed, untangle, and take out matted fur.
- The FurGOPet can remove undercoats and trap loose hair. It comes in two sizes: for smaller breeds and puppies, and large dogs. It is more affordable than other brands.
- The Furminator DeShedding Tool for Dogs has various sizes so it can groom even the thickest undercoats. Unlike other brands, it has a one-click way of cleaning up after use.
You’ll need to brush her every day, every week, or every month based on your dog’s coat. Remember, a properly brushed, glossy coat implies your dog will lose less hair and has a healthier coat.
You might also want to cut your dog’s hair regularly so that you can see where the bald spots are, to cut down on loose hair, and prevent matted hair.
4. Bathe her regularly
Again, bathing can be performed daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the breed and amount of activity of your dog. It is often necessary to bathe dogs who are very active or love to play outdoors. Except during the shedding season, dogs with thick undercoats do not need to bathe a lot.
The main consideration is that your dog’s fur has natural oils that help maintain her healthy skin and coat. Bathing will strip your dog’s body of these oils so it should not be done often.
For your dog’s excessive shedding problem, use a specially-formulated dog shampoo that has the following ingredients:
- Vitamin E for healthy skin and
- Natural ingredients, no synthetic chemicals
- Moisturizers to keep your dog’s skin and coat hydrated
- Omega-3 and/or omega-6 fatty acids for healthier coats
Try these shampoos:
- Furminator Deshedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs contains omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and natural ingredients like papaya and calendula extracts, which promote hair growth. It has no synthetic chemicals. It is considered affordable compared to other brands.
- Earthbath Shed Control Green Tea & Awapuhi Dog Shampoo is good not just for shedding but for dry skin as well. It has aloe vera and shea butter, which soothe and moisturize skin.
- TropiClean Lime & Coconut Deshedding Dog Shampoo contains awapuhi and pomegranate, which help reduce shedding. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, plus coconut and oatmeal for additional moisture.
These shampoos may not completely stop shedding, but they may help control excessive shedding and improve your dog’s skin condition.
You may also want to use some tools for bathing that also assist shedding. Try the QBMY Dog Grooming Brush. This brush has a container where the shampoo can be placed. As you use the brush over the body of your dog, you can squirt the shampoo easily. The brush is intended to remove the loose hair of your dog while bathing gently. It also doubles as a massager.
5. Put some clothes on her
Consult your vet if you can put clothes on your pet. This will not stop shedding, but it might contain the hair in the clothes. In this way, she will not shed all over the place.
You may not be able to stop your dog from shedding. But you can stop your dog from shedding excessively.
First, determine if it is shedding season and your dog comes from the breed of high shedders. If she doesn’t fall under the two conditions, then bring her to the vet.
If the fur is still flying all over your house and everything you own, remember that the lint roller and vacuum are your friends. Happy cleaning!