No matter how much you love your pet, finding fur all over your clothes and furniture can be a giant pet peeve. Unless you have a hypoallergenic or even hairless breed, shedding is going to be a normal part of life.
In fact, shedding is a completely normal, necessary part of skin and fur health for dogs and cats alike. Through shedding, your furry friend is able to remove old, damaged, or otherwise unwanted hair. That being said, it’s important to be aware of your dog’s normal shedding amounts, and take note when things don’t seem quite right.
How Much Do Dogs Shed?
The amount of fur your dog sheds varies depending on his breed. For example, Huskies and Labrador Retrievers shed much more than Dachshunds and Poodles. Some dogs also have double coats, which mean they shed even more than some of their canine counterparts.
Shedding amounts also depend on the time of year. While some breeds shed year-sound, others shed on a more seasonal basis. If you notice more shedding than usual in the spring, it means your pooch is lightening his coat for the warmer months. In the fall, you may also notice higher amounts of shedding as your pup changes to a heavier coat of fur in preparation for the colder months.
Pay attention to how much your dog sheds on average, and whether he’s shedding more than usual. Along with the change of seasons, excessive shedding can be a result of:
- Poor nutrition
- Health problems
- Sex — female dogs tend to shed more than males
If your dog is shedding an abnormal amount and resulting in hair loss or bald patches, talk to your vet to rule out any underlying health issues.
How to Manage Shedding
Unless your dog is hypoallergenic or hairless, shedding is inevitable. Fortunately, there are ways to make shedding more manageable.
Regular brushing is a great way to groom your dog and keep his shedding under control, as it allows you to pick up any loose or dead fur before it ends up around your house. Plus, brushing can remove dirt and debris, as well as activate and distribute natural oils for a sleek, shiny coat.
Because different coats have different care needs, be sure you’re using the right brush for your furry pal. For example, long bristles are best for long-haired pups, while stiff brushes or even combs are better for short-haired dogs. Some pet owners also use shedding tools specifically designed for removing dead hair from the coat prior to being shed.
Depending on how much your dog sheds, brushing can be a daily, weekly, or monthly activity.
With enough brushing, baths become less necessary. As a general rule, dogs should be given baths about once per month—too much, though, and you could strip his natural oils from the coat and dry out the fur.
Like brushing, baths can help to remove excess and dead hair before it falls. Plus, the right shampoo can provide some extra pampering for your pup. Depending on your dog’s needs, you may also want to invest in a high-quality shampoo specifically designed to help with shedding.
In addition to helping with shedding, brushing and bath time can be a great opportunity for some quality time between you and your pooch. It also gives you a chance to conduct an at-home health check to monitor the skin for any abnormal lumps and bumps.
Flea & Tick Control
Fleas, ticks, mites, and other parasites can irritate the skin, leading to issues such as rashes, sores, and even bald spots. Some dogs may also over groom themselves in an effort to ease their discomfort, which can also lead to excess shedding.
Talk to your vet about appropriate flea and tick medications for your dog, whether they’re commercial products or at-home remedies.
Make sure to keep your pet hydrated in order to keep him well-nourished from the inside out. Dehydration can lead to dry skin, which contributes to shedding.
Generally speaking, on a daily basis dogs should drink about one ounce of water per pound of body weight.
Good nutrition affects nearly every aspect of your dog’s health, including his skin and coat. If your dog is eating poor-quality dog foods with lots of non-nutritional fillers, he may be more prone to shedding.
A well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet leads to stronger hair follicles and minimized shedding. Some pet owners opt for raw diets, which consist of fresh, uncooked meats and vegetables similar to what your dog’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild. Others prefer commercial dog foods, sometimes using a combination of wet and dry foods.
Ultimately, the right diet for your dog depends on his health needs along with your time, energy, and budget. If you’re considering a shedding-motivated diet switch, talk to your vet before making any major changes.
Supplements to Help With Shedding
Along with a healthy diet, supplements can add an extra boost to your dog’s health.
Supplements that can help with shedding include:
Coconut oil, which can hydrate the skin, reduce dandruff, prevent ticks and fleas, and strengthen the coat—all of which can help to reduce shedding.
Flaxseed oil, which helps to improve the skin and coat of many furry pets.
- Fish oil, which contains EPA, DHA, and Omega-3 fatty acids. If your pup is dealing with allergy-related itching, fish oil can provide relief and as a result, reduce excessive shedding.
Help soothe your dog’s skin with PetHonesty’s Advanced Allergy SkinHealth Chews, which use natural ingredients to promote healthy skin and immune health.
Boost your dog (or cat’s) skin health with Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, which contains EPA, DHA, and Omega-3’s for skin and coat support.