Updated May 11, 2023
For many dog owners, shedding can be a never-ending battle. Though regular grooming such as brushing and bathing is important to reduce the buildup of loose fur and dander, adding supplements to your pet’s diet may help in controlling excessive shedding.
That being said, knowing how to choose the right supplement for your furry friend and understanding how it works are key steps toward managing their shedding more effectively. Supplements are designed to promote a shiny coat and reduce shedding by providing essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that benefit the skin and coat of your pet.
To learn more about how to use dietary supplements for reducing dog shedding, here are some tips.
How Much Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and so does their shedding. The amount of shedding varies greatly between breeds. Some are notorious for shedding year-round, while others may only shed seasonally. However, if you noticed your four-legged friend shed excessively, a supplement may be beneficial.
For example, smaller dogs with smooth, short hair, like Poodle or Bichon Frise, shed very little if at all, while large double-coated breeds such as German Shepherds can shed enough to make a noticeable difference in the house. Medium-coated dogs tend to fall somewhere in between these two extremes; long haired dogs like Golden Retrievers, for example, are known to have moderate shedding that can be kept under control with the right grooming regimen.
Regardless of dog breed, owners need to be aware of their dog's shedding patterns, as excessive shedding can be a sign of:
- Poor nutrition - A diet lacking in essential healthy omega fatty acids can result in dry, flaky skin and increased shedding.
- Health problems - Some medical conditions that can cause excessive shedding in dogs include allergies, parasites, hormonal imbalances, skin infections, and thyroid disorders.
- Sex - Female dogs shed more due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or heat cycles.
- Stress - When the body experiences stress, it releases a hormone called cortisol that can interfere with the natural growth cycle of a dog's fur.
Understanding why dogs excessively shed is crucial for any pet parent. Not only can it indicate an underlying health issue, but regular shedding can also result in a home covered in pet hair.
How to Control Shedding
While shedding is a perfectly normal process, it can still be challenging for pet owners to manage. While it is a natural way for animals to maintain their coats, it can create a mess in your home and lead to allergies for some people. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce shedding and keep your home fur-free.
Brushing your pet regularly is one of the most effective methods. Not only does brushing remove loose fur and prevent it from spreading around your home, but it also distributes natural oils throughout your dog's coat, promoting healthy skin and fur.
When it comes to brushing, frequency and technique are key. Depending on your pet's coat type, you may need to brush daily or a few times a week to prevent matting and tangling.
Use a slicker brush for longer coats and a bristle brush for shorter coats. When brushing, be gentle and move in the direction of hair growth to avoid causing discomfort or damage to the skin.
A nice lukewarm bath removes dirt and dander which can reduce shedding. Like brushing, bathing your furry friend can help loosen and remove dead hair before it starts spreading around your house.
It is, however, important to choose the right shampoo for your dog's specific needs and to avoid over-bathing, as this can cause skin irritation and lead to more shedding. You should also be sure to thoroughly dry your pet afterward.
Flea & Tick Control
Not only do these pesky parasites cause your dogs' skin irritation leading to rashes, sores, and even bald spots, but they can also infest your home and put you and your family at risk. Talk to your vet about the best flea and tick medication for your dog, taking into consideration their age, weight, and overall health.
There are plenty of options available, from topical solutions to collars and oral medications. Additionally, regularly grooming your dog and keeping their living area clean can help minimize shedding and prevent the spread of parasites.
Keeping your furry friend well-hydrated is crucial to maintaining healthy skin and coat, and combating shedding. When your pet is dehydrated, his skin can dry out and reduce excessive shedding.
To prevent this from happening, make sure your pet drinks plenty of water daily.
As a responsible pet owner, it's important to understand how your dog's food impacts his overall health, particularly your dog's skin and coat. The key is to opt for a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet that's free from fillers and other non-nutritional ingredients.
Some consider switching to a raw diet that closely mimics what their ancestors would have eaten in the wild, and some prefer to stick with commercial dog food.
Whatever your choice, keep in mind that providing your furry friend with healthy, high-quality nutrition is one of the best ways to reduce excess shedding and keep them looking and feeling their best.
Keep Allergies in Mind
Be mindful of where your dog is allergic to. Dogs can develop various allergies to different substances such as pollen, dust, and food. This also includes certain types of fabrics or cleaning products.
Identifying these allergens and taking appropriate measures can help reduce shedding. If you notice skin irritation, flaking, or excessive shedding, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine if allergies are the cause.
Dog Shedding Supplements for Your Furry Friend
Supplements have been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to improve overall health and address specific concerns, such as dog shedding. There are several supplements available with the right nutrients and essential fatty acids that can help reduce shedding and promote healthy skin and coat. A good quality supplement should help improve the skin's natural oils, making it less prone to dryness and irritation.
Choosing a supplement should primarily depend on your dog's individual needs and health. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing supplements to your pet's diet.
Here are a few examples:
- Coconut oil - hydrates the skin resulting in fewer hot spots, reduces dandruff, prevents ticks and fleas, and strengthens the coat.
- Fish oil - contains the three main omega-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It helps reduce inflammation and provide relief for allergy-related itching, ultimately preventing unnecessary shedding.
Additionally, fish oil has numerous other health benefits, including promoting heart health, supporting brain function, and improving skin and coat health.
- Flaxseed oil - derived from flaxseed, which is known for its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids – essential nutrients that have been shown to promote healthy skin and coat.
- Salmon oil - extracted from the fatty tissues of the salmon fish, and is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Like the flaxseed oil, salmon oil helps to nourish the skin and strengthen the coat.
A great example is the wild Alaskan salmon oil which is a natural source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce shedding due to seasonal allergies.
- Vitamin E - manages your dog's skin health. It helps maintain moisture and protect against damage from environmental stressors. Vitamin E also has potent antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and support overall immune function.
It works by helping to increase blood flow to the skin and aid in the repair of damaged cells, which can be especially helpful for those experiencing excessive shedding.
- Yellow dock root - This natural ingredient has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is known for its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. When given to dogs, yellow dock root can help reduce shedding and make your dog's coat shine.
- Natural wheat germ oil - Extracted from the germ of wheat kernels, this natural oil contains high levels of vitamin E and essential fatty acids that can help promote healthier skin and coat for dogs. Unlike other supplements, natural wheat germ oil has no synthetic additives, making it a safe and effective option for pet owners looking to reduce shedding in their furry friends.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before starting any supplement regimen to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure that the coat supplements are safe for your pet to use. With the right supplements and proper care, pet owners can help keep their furry friends healthy, happy, and shed-free.
If you want to manage shedding, remember that it is not a one size fits all solution and we definitely recommend discussing dietary supplements with your veterinarian before introducing any new dog shedding supplements to your pup’s diet.
Depending on the root cause of hair loss or shedding, supplements may be able to help in providing necessary nutrients. Only when the underlying issue is addressed, nutritional supplementation could help create a healthier and shinier coat.
For these reasons, when looking at adding supplements to your dog's existing diet make sure to do research, talk to your vet, and choose a high-quality shedding supplement from reputable brands. With proper nutrition, grooming, and care you can help keep your pup’s coat looking healthy and shed-free.
Ultimately, there is no silver bullet for managing shedding - each dog will have their own individualized needs, which means some trial-and-error may be necessary for finding what works best for them. But when used properly, nutritional supplements can absolutely be a beneficial element in keeping your four-legged friend healthy and happy!