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All dogs shed at least a little bit (well, apart from the few hairless breeds). And some dogs shed A TON. No matter where your dog falls on the spectrum, you probably wish they would shed a little less.
Now, you’re wondering if changing your dog’s diet might help with excessive shedding. Nothing will stop a dog from shedding entirely. However, choosing a dog food for shedding may help noticeably reduce your dog’s hair loss.
We’ve compiled all the information you need to learn about excessive shedding in dogs, how you can reduce it, and the best dog food for shedding.
Best Dog Food for Shedding Reviews
With quality ingredients and great reviews, here are our top 5 picks for the best dog foods that help with shedding.
The first 3 ingredients of this food are all meat-based, and it also contains raw, freeze-dried turkey. Additionally, it includes fruits and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale for a natural source of vitamins.
Notable Features and Characteristics:
- High in protein
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
- Includes freeze-dried raw turkey
Top Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Freeze-Dried Turkey, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Broccoli, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Taurine
Customer Reviews: Like most foods, there are a handful of complaints about dogs not liking the taste or getting sick from it. Most of the complaints, however, revolve around the raw bits not being evenly distributed throughout the bag. Overall, dogs love the taste of this food and do really well on it.
Bottom Line: If you would like to introduce some raw meat into your dog’s diet without making a full switch, this dog food is probably the best way to go. Your dog will likely love the taste and thrive. You just may want to transfer it to another container and stir in the raw bits more evenly.
If you’re looking for the benefits of a raw diet with the convenience of kibble, this is the best dog food for shedding. It’s made primarily from fresh meat, organs, and bones and air-dried to retain maximum nutrition. Three portions of raw ingredients make one portion of finished air-dried, so you feed your dog less. That means they’ll poop less, too.
Notable Features and Characteristics:
- Slow and gentle air-drying method naturally preserves food without artificial fillers while retaining nutrients and maximizing flavor
- Recipes made up of 96% fresh meat, organs, and bones, as well as powerhouse superfoods including green mussels, organic kelp, and green tripe
- 100% ethically and sustainably sourced meats and seafood from New Zealand’s free-range farms and pristine blue waters with no added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants
Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast), Salt, Parsley, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid)
Customer Reviews: Most of the complaints about this food are actually quality control issues rather than anything to do with the food itself. However, even the pickiest of eaters LOVE this food. The biggest downside is the price, so many people use it as a treat or food topper rather than their dog’s primary food source.
Bottom Line: If you can afford it, this may be the best commercial dog food for shedding you can buy for your canine. The high protein and high fat should build healthy skin and fur that doesn’t shed excessively. One caution is that some dogs don’t do well on high-fat diets like this one.
This dry dog food contains fruits and vegetables, and the first three ingredients are all meat. It’s made in the USA and uses meat, organs, cartilage, and bone. That provides high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and other benefits.
Notable Features and Characteristics:
- Made in the USA
- Nutrient-dense and high in protein, with whole ranch-raised beef, Yorkshire pork, and grass-fed lamb
- Fresh Regional Ingredients are supplied by regional farms, ranches, and waters, and delivered fresh or raw
Ingredients: Deboned beef, deboned pork, beef meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, pork meal, beef fat, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, deboned lamb, pollock oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, beef liver, beef kidney, pork liver, pork kidney, beef cartilage, salt, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, whole pumpkin, collard greens, carrots, whole apples, zinc proteinate, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried pork liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rose hips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product
Customer Reviews: There are reports of quality control issues making dogs sick. However, most dogs love the taste and do well on this food. There are many comments about how much the dog’s coat and shedding improved after switching to this food.
Bottom Line: As long as you don’t get a bad bag, this is a top choice for dog food for shedding. This protein-rich food is a great choice for most dogs.
This food has several meat sources and also contains fruits and vegetables for natural nutrition. It’s made in the USA and contains probiotics for digestive health. It’s also made with the most scientifically advanced food safety protocols.
Notable Features and Characteristics:
- Contains antioxidants, fatty acids, and probiotics
- Made from trusted sustainable resources
- Made in the USA
Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, egg product, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, natural flavor, tomato pomace, potato protein, pea protein, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid. Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.
Customer Reviews: Most of the reports of dogs who got sick were from dogs who had been fine for as many as several years before getting a bad bag. While quality control seems to be an issue, most dogs do well on this food and generally enjoy the taste.
Bottom Line: This food is a solid choice for a dog food for shedding. It’s made with high-quality ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, and probiotics.
The Six Fish variety of this food has more omega-3 than most other commercial dog foods. Omega-3 is crucial for skin and coat health, making this a great choice for a dog food to control excessive shedding.
Notable Features and Characteristics:
- Rich and varied in fresh, whole fish ingredients from Atlantic mackerel, herring, monkfish, Acadian redfish, flounder, and silver hake
- Biologically appropriate and grain-free
- Made in the USA
Ingredients: Whole Atlantic mackerel, whole Atlantic herring, monkﬁsh, Acadian redﬁsh, ﬂounder, whole silver hake, mackerel meal, herring meal, blue whiting meal, sunflower oil, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, cod meal, pollock meal, safflower oil, whole green peas, whole green lentils, whole navy beans, lentil ﬁber, natural cod ﬂavor, whole chickpeas, pollock oil, freeze-dried cod liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, pumpkin seeds, sunﬂower seeds, dried kelp, zinc proteinate, D-calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product
Customer Reviews: A few dogs got sick from this food, and many people don’t like the fishy smell. However, TONS of people commented on how much their dog’s allergies, skin, and coat improved after switching to this food.
Bottom Line: While this is one of the most expensive foods on the list, it may be the best dog food to improve your dog’s skin and help with shedding.
What to Look For in a Dog Food for Shedding
There aren’t many commercial dog foods specifically made to reduce excessive shedding from your dog’s coat. So how can you make sure to pick the best dog food that helps with shedding? Here are the quality ingredients you should look for in a dog food to prevent shedding.
1. Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6)
As the name implies, essential fatty acids are a required part of your dog’s diet. Dogs don’t make fatty acids on their own, so they need to eat foods that contain omega-3 and omega-6.
Fatty acids help build healthy skin and a strong coat. Dry skin and weak fur can increase shedding, so fatty acids are crucial in reducing your dog’s shedding.
Look for foods that are high in omega-3 and omega-6. Salmon and other types of fish are an excellent source of essential fatty acids. Dog food with fish as the main ingredient is one example of a great choice for dog food to reduce shedding.
2. Vitamins and Minerals
Humans and dogs alike need quality vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Dog food manufacturers are required to meet minimum amounts of vitamins and minerals.
However, it’s best to find food that gets vitamins and minerals from natural ingredients. Why?
Many dog food manufacturers spray a chemical concoction of vitamins and minerals onto the kibble. Does that sound healthy to you? Now consider a quality dog food that gets vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and other healthy ingredients.
When shopping for a dog food, you should look for the following vitamins and minerals:
- B vitamins
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K
Animal protein is the primary building block of skin and a healthy coat. A dog food that’s low in animal protein may lead to dry skin and a brittle coat. Fur that’s prone to breaking and dry, flaky skin can contribute to shedding.
Some dogs don’t do well on very high-protein diets, but many dogs will thrive on diets with high protein levels.
4. Natural Ingredients
Some commercial dog foods are chock full of artificial ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Wouldn’t you rather trust your dog’s health to natural ingredients than lab-made concoctions?
Make sure to look for quality ingredients such as whole meats (no by-product or meal) along with fruits and vegetables.
5. No Fillers
Why are some dog foods so much cheaper than others? It’s because they contain filler ingredients that don’t add any nutritional value. You need to feed your dog more kibble to get the same nutrition, and more kibble equals more poop.
Expensive diets usually contain fewer fillers and quality ingredients, and you can often feed your dog less. This helps even out the cost and may reduce how much your dog poops.
Benefits of a Food for Dog Shedding
Dog food that reduces shedding is highly nutritious as the nutrients listed above are required to strengthen skin and hair. In addition, with a high-quality dog food, your dog’s overall health may improve. You may notice your dog has more energy and better poop.
Reduced shedding may be only one of the benefits your dog will see from using a quality dog food for shedding.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is the natural process of old hairs being replaced by new hairs. All dogs shed at least a little. Some dog breeds shed their coats a lot, especially when the seasons change. Shedding and hair loss is normal, but sometimes it can be excessive.
What Causes Excessive Shedding?
There are a lot of things that can cause excessive shedding in a dog’s coat. If you can control some of these things, you may be able to reduce excessive shedding in your dog.
Your dog’s skin and coat need nutrients to be strong and healthy. If your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients from their diet, they can have dry skin and brittle hair. These factors can contribute to increased hair loss.
All commercial dog foods are required to meet basic nutritional standards. These basic standards will keep your dog alive. However, they may not be enough to help your dog thrive.
Some dog foods are full of fillers with no nutritional value. Others include poor ingredients or artificial ingredients.
To help reduce shedding, you should feed your dog a high-quality diet that’s rich in protein and natural ingredients. A good diet will also help keep your dog in good overall health.
You may have noticed that you start to lose more hair when you’re stressed out. The same goes for your dog.
Have you recently moved, or are you packing to move? Has a child left home to go to college? Have you added a new person to the household?
These are just a few examples of things that can cause stress for your dog. Dogs thrive on routine. The more you can keep their routine the same and their home environment calm, the happier and less stressed your dog will be.
Less stress may result in less shedding.
Irritated or Dry Skin
Dry, irritated, or itchy skin can cause increased shedding for two reasons.
First, the skin itself has a harder time holding onto fur, so the fur falls out more easily. Secondly, irritated or dry skin often causes your dog to scratch and chew on themselves. The more your dog scratches, the more fur they will kick loose.
A healthy skin and coat are crucial to help reduce shedding. To improve your dog’s skin, try changing their diet, adding a fish oil supplement, or discovering and treating allergies.
Just like humans, dogs can be prone to allergies. They can have environmental allergies, like grass. But food allergies are becoming an increasing problem in our pets. Food allergies can cause irritated skin, diarrhea, chronic ear infections, and hot spots, among other things.
The most common food allergies in dogs include:
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, the best thing to do is to find a limited ingredient diet with a unique protein. Unique proteins can include things like buffalo, kangaroo, and duck. You should also stop giving your dog treats that contain potential allergens.
Once your dog’s symptoms have cleared, you can start adding ingredients until you discover what your dog is allergic to.
For environmental allergies, your vet may recommend Benadryl or prescribe steroids to relieve your dog’s symptoms.
Hormone imbalances can lead to things like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or Addison’s disease. Dry, flaky, and irritated skin can be symptoms of either disorder along with increased shedding. Both of these conditions will cause other symptoms apart from increased shedding and dry skin.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Flaky skin
- Thin, dull coat
- Black patches of skin
- Weight gain
- Muscle loss
- Ear infections
- Slowed heart rate
- Intolerance to cold
Other symptoms of Cushing’s disease include:
- Increased hunger or thirst
- Thin skin
- Frequent urination (including “accidents”)
- Increased panting
- Skin infections
- Tired and inactive
Other symptoms of Addison’s disease include:
- Weight loss
- Excessive thirst
- Poor appetite
- Slow heart rate
If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms along with increased shedding, you should take them to the vet. Hormonal problems are treatable with medication but may be fatal without treatment.
How Can Dog Food Prevent Shedding?
There are a few ways dog food can prevent shedding, depending on what’s causing the shedding.
Switching from a low-quality to a high-quality dog food with the qualities previously highlighted can increase their nutrition, leading to healthier skin and stronger fur. Better nutrition can also help your dog be healthier all around.
Another way dog food can reduce shedding is if the shedding is caused by a food allergy. Switching to a hypoallergenic dog food that doesn’t trigger your dog’s allergies can improve their skin and decrease shedding.
Other Tips to Reduce Dog Shedding
To really reduce how much fur is flying around your home, you should do more than change your dog’s food. Here are some other tips to help reduce dog shedding.
No matter what, your dog will always shed. The best thing you can do is brush your dog every day. The more hair that comes out in a brush or comb, the less will come out on your furniture and clothing.
Bathing your dog helps loosen hair that’s about to shed and lets it come out in the tub. For the best results, check out 5 Best Dog Shampoos For Shedding : Lint Rollers Be Gone! For the best possible results, combine a shampoo for shedding with a high-velocity dryer to blast out loose fur.
Best Dog Food To Prevent Shedding FAQs
There’s a lot to know about preventing dog shedding so we’ve answered some of your top questions.
Should I Take My Dog to the Vet if They’re Shedding More than Usual?
Some health conditions can cause increased shedding. That’s why it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet if they start shedding more than usual. Increased shedding can indicate any number of health problems, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can Dog Food Help with Shedding?
Up to a point, yes, dog foods for shedding can certainly help. Nothing can stop shedding entirely. However, the right dog food can help lessen how much your dog sheds.
How Much Shedding Is Normal?
This is a difficult question to answer. Some dogs only shed their coats a little bit, while some dog breeds shed a ton. Double-coated breeds, in particular, will “blow” their undercoat two to four times per year.
The best thing to do is to see how much your dog sheds on a normal basis. Then, look for signs that they’re shedding more than that.
If your dog ever develops bald patches, take them to the vet. Shedding until they’re bald is an indicator of a health problem, like:
- Parasites (mites, lice, fleas)
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Certain medications
- Kidney, thyroid, liver, or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s)
- Immune disease
Also, take your dog to the vet if they experience any of the following symptoms in addition to excess shedding:
- Open sores
- Skin irritation, including bumps, redness, rashes, or scabs
- Dry, dull hair that pulls out easily
- Constant face rubbing or foot licking
- Bald spots or thinning coat
Which Dog Breeds Shed the Most?
On the one hand, you have short-haired dog breeds that shed more than you expect throughout the year. That includes dogs like:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Great Danes
On the other hand, you have dogs with thick double coats that shed a little bit all year. However, they shed a lot more when the seasons change.
For some dogs, the seasonal blowout happens only twice a year, in the spring and fall. Other dogs blow their coat 4 times per year (or sometimes more). Examples of double-coated dog breeds that shed a lot include:
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
Then, you have dog breeds that people don’t expect to shed. Poodle mixes, in particular, shed more than people expect because they’re marketed as “hypoallergenic.” Labradoodles, especially first-generation, can shed as much as Labrador Retrievers.
Which Dog Breeds Shed The Least?
Any dog breed that has fur sheds at least a little bit. However, some breeds retain their shed fur in their remaining coat. The shed hair needs to be brushed out regularly; otherwise, it can cause severe matting.
Hairless dog breeds and those whose shed hair gets trapped in their coat ( or don’t have any hair to shed) include:
How Do I Transition My Dog to a New Food?
Many times, when a dog has a bad reaction to a new food, it’s because they weren’t transitioned properly from their old food. For best results, you should start by adding a little bit of the new food to your dog’s current food. Gradually increase the amount of new food your dog gets and decrease the amount of old food.
It should take at least a week or two to transition your dog to the new food for the best results.
Wrapping Up the Best Dog Food to Help with Shedding
Hopefully, we’ve given you useful information to find the best dog food for shedding in your own breed. Remember that nothing will stop shed hair entirely. However, with the right diet, daily brushing, and regular baths, you can significantly reduce the amount of hair floating around your home.