Adding a dog to your family is a significant event that will change your life in a number of (mostly good) ways. And 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.
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, this amounts to nothing more than a minor nuisance, but for others (especially allergy sufferers), it can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can implement to help tame your dog’s shedding problem. We’ll discuss these and other aspects of shedding below. 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.
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 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 breeds or not, you can take several steps to help mitigate the problem. Some of the best ways to do so 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 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 supplements 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 problem under control, but you may have to brush serious shedders on a daily basis. However, this 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 remove 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 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.
Dogs suffering from food allergies often shed more than their unafflicted counterparts do. Such dogs not only suffer itchy skin, they can even 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 one that lacks the allergic triggers that trouble 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 hair your dog sheds, 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 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. 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.