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Updated July 18, 2019 With New Tips to Stop Dog Shedding
While many new and would-be dog owners are prepared to feed their pup a good diet and are willing to walk their pooch morning, noon and night, there are always a few surprises, like excessive dog shedding.
For example, some dog breeds shed unthinkable amounts of hair – a fact that many new owners fail to consider when choosing a breed.
For some owners, heavy shedding amounts to nothing more than a minor nuisance, but for others (especially allergy sufferers), it can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a few dog shedding remedies you can try at home.
We’ll discuss tips to stop dog shedding at home and other aspects of excessive shedding in dogs below.
And if you have any questions or have developed your own ways of coping with your dog’s shed fur, let us know in the comments below.
While humans only have one layer of hair, many dog breeds have two: a topcoat and a downy undercoat.
Like the hair on your head, the hair in the topcoat of a dog sheds a little bit at a time as each hair is replaced by a new one. Most of a dog’s shedding is actually caused by the undercoat, though.
Undercoat grows in to help protect a dog from the elements, usually during the winter and summer. Dogs who live in climate-controlled homes, however, may grow and “blow” their undercoat as often as four times per year.
A certain amount of shed hair is normal, but dogs with dry skin, poor diets, or health conditions like Cushing’s disease may shed even more than normal. If you’re concerned about how much your dog is shedding, or they start shedding more than usual, talk to your vet.
As stated above, some breeds shed more hair than others do. Typically, long-haired breeds cause more problems, but even some short-haired breeds will shed enough hair to cover everything you own.
Conversely, there are several dog breeds that shed relatively little and make great choices for homes sensitive to dog hair.
If you suffer from allergies or you are not comfortable wading through waist-deep piles of fur, avoid the following breeds:
On the other hand, the following breeds shed very little and make great choices for allergy sufferers and other homes averse to copious amounts of hair:
Whether your pup is one of the infamous high-shedding dog breeds or not, you can take several steps to help mitigate the problem.
Some of the best ways to stop dog shedding include:
Skin and coat problems can cause any dog to shed more frequently or in greater amounts. Accordingly, you’ll want to ensure your dog’s skin and coat remain as healthy as possible to reduce the prevalence of these types of problems.
One good way to do this is by feeding your dog a diet that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Most high-quality dog foods contain ingredients rich in these acids, such as salmon oil, canola oil, and flaxseed.
However, you can also purchase standalone fish oil supplements for dogs that can be added to Fido’s food, or you can simply add about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to your pup’s dinner every day.
If your dog is a moderate shedder, you may only need to brush him a couple of times per week to get the shedding problem under control, but you may have to brush serious shedders on a daily basis.
However, brushing your dog outside will significantly reduce the amount of hair that ends up on your floors and furniture, and most dogs love a good brushing.
Like brushing, bathing is a great way to stop shedding by removing some of your dog’s hair in a controlled manner.
You’ll want to use a good drain guard to keep from clogging up your pipes, and you may find it necessary to clean wet fur from the walls of your bathroom once you are done, but this is still easier than cleaning fur spread throughout your house.
Always use a proper dog shedding shampoo to avoid irritating your dog’s skin and hair follicles. Additionally, it is important not to bathe your dog too frequently, as this can lead to coat and skin problems.
Limit your dog’s baths to once a week or less frequently, unless your veterinarian advises otherwise.
SEE ALSO: How To Clean Your Dog Between Baths
Dogs suffering from food allergies often shed more than their unafflicted counterparts do. Such dogs not only suffer itchy skin, but they can also develop bald patches.
If you believe your dog may be suffering from food allergies, speak with your vet, who can confirm the diagnosis and recommend a treatment strategy.
Fortunately, food allergies are sometimes easy to correct. You simply need to change your dog’s diet to a hypoallergenic dog food that lacks the allergic triggers, which can be troubling for your pooch.
Some of the most common allergens include chicken, beef, eggs, artificial colors, artificial flavors, corn, wheat, and soy.
No matter what you do to reduce the amount of dog shedding, you’ll still need to clean up the hair he does deposit around your house.
While any vacuum cleaner will prove helpful in this regard, those designed specifically for homes with pets are usually far better suited to the task.
Many vacuums designed to deal with pet hair provide very powerful suction and special attachments to help remove the hair from your carpet, curtains, and couch.
Additionally, most of the best pet vacuums also possess powerful filtration units, which help to remove the smallest bits of dander, which often cause allergy-sufferers’ symptoms to flare.
While the occasional flea won’t cause your dog much distress, full-blown flea infestations can often cause a dog to experience coat and skin problems leading to shedding dog hair. Some dogs may even develop a sensitivity to the flea bites (called flea allergy dermatitis), which can lead to redness, swelling and hair loss.
The best way to eliminate flea problems is through the use of a preventative flea medication. There are a variety of different options on the market, and most are affordable, effective and easy to apply.
The simplest brushing tip to reduce dog shedding is to use more than one type of brush on your dog. Varying types of brushes work in different ways and get out different layers of fur, so having more than one tool can help you remove more shedding hair.
It’s also important to keep in mind that dogs have sensitive skin that can be damaged by brushing that is too rough or repetitive. Don’t make more than three strokes in the same place with the same tool before moving on, and stay mindful of how much pressure you are using.
Here are some more specific tips to control dog shedding based on the coat type of your dog.
The best, gentlest brush you can use on a dog with short hair is a rubber curry-style brush like the Zoom Groom. Since short-haired dogs shed year-round, a rubber brush is gentle enough to use every day to help reduce how much fur your dog leaves around your home.
Another tool that can help gently remove loose hair is a greyhound comb. This can help you remove a deeper layer of undercoat than a rubber brush.
The final tool you will want is a deshedding tool like a FURminator. This tool can remove an amazing amount of hair, but it can also be tough on your dog’s skin and even cause bald spots with overuse. Don’t use a FURminator more than once a week, don’t use too much pressure, and don’t go over any one area too many times.
The first brush you’ll want to use on this type of fur is a slicker brush. As long as you aren’t too rough with it, you can use a slicker brush every day. A slicker brush is an especially good tool to use when your thick-coated dog is blowing out their undercoat in tufts.
Another great tool for dogs with thick coats is an undercoat rake. While it functions like a comb, it is much easier on your hands to use for the length of time you’ll need to use it when your dog is blowing their coat.
The first tool you should use on dogs with this type of coat is a slicker brush. Not only will it help remove undercoat, but it’s the best tool to remove mats that aren’t too tight.
After using a slicker brush, you will want to use an undercoat rake in this style, followed by one of this style. Rotating between all three of these tools will remove the most amount of undercoat from your dog.
The best tool for removing loose hair from your dog is not a brush at all – it’s a high-velocity dryer. This dryer is nothing like the one you use on yourself. Instead of using heat, it uses forceful air to blast fur and/or water off your dog.
While some dogs don’t like the sound or the feeling of a high-velocity dryer, it is the most efficient way to remove loose hair from your dog. As long as you don’t use one with a heat setting, it’s gentle on your dog’s skin as well as easier on your hands than using any type of brush.
A high-velocity dryer can be used on a wet or dry coat. Either way, it’s best to use it outdoors or in a garage, if you can, because the fur will fly everywhere. If you can’t blow your dog outside, keep your bathroom door closed tight with a towel blocking the crack underneath to prevent the fur from blowing around your entire home.
One tip – you should keep the nozzle as close to your dog’s skin as possible (well, it should still be at least a couple of inches away from the skin and not touching it). This directs the most force toward your dog and blasts out the most amount of undercoat.
For our high-velocity dryer recommendations, be sure to read the 5 Best Dog Hair Dryers for Home Use (2019).