If you have a furry pet, you must know how frustrating pet hair is. Dogs particularly, seem to shed year round. Shedding in dogs is a natural process for dogs to remove dead hair and allows new hair to grow. Thus, you can’t do anything to stop your dog from shedding. But there are certainly ways to reduce excessive shedding. The ways to reduce dog shedding fall mainly into two categories: nutrition and grooming.
a) High quality diet
The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ applies to dogs too. Some dog owners believe that their dogs tend to shed more if they are fed with poor quality dog foods. Most cost effective dog foods in the market often contain fillers like corns, grains, cereal by-products and other plant derived fibres. Not only are these fillers offer little or no nutritional value to dogs, they are also hard to be digested by dogs. Since dogs are scavenging or facultative carnivores, meat should be their primary food source although they can survive on plant material alone. Hence, dog food that is rich in meat is recommended for all dogs. High quality dog food with more meat content may be a bit costly, but they are better for your dog for many reasons.
b) Supplements and vitamins
Some of the human foods like tuna and salmon contain essential nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acid that helps to maintain a shiny and healthy coat in dogs. You can consider adding tuna and salmon in your dog’s regular meal. However, not all human foods are safe for dogs to consume. Always consult your vet if you want to feed your dogs human food as additional supplement. A specifically formulated vitamin is your alternative supplement. No matter what kind of supplement you want to give to your dog, remember that moderation is the key. Too much vitamins for instance, can lead to Hypervitaminosis (vitamin poisoning).
Related article: 10 human foods that are dangerous for dogs
Like humans, most of a dog’s body is composed of water. Thus, adequate water intake is important to keep your dog’s body to function properly. Lack of water intake can lead to dry skin which contributes to shedding as a result of dehydration. The concern is if you want your dog to drink a lot of water, but will it listen to you? It seems like dogs drink water only when they are very thirsty. If you are having problems in getting your dog to drink a lot of water, here are some tips for you.
- Prepare multiple bowls of water in your house.
- Add some flavouring such as chicken or bone broth to water.
- Offer ice cubes as treat.
- Purchase a dog water fountain (Some dogs love to drink moving water).
- Make sure the water and the bowl is clean.
a) Brush and comb your dog's hair regularly
Brush your dog’s hair regularly to remove excess or loose fur on dogs. You can use different type of brushes depending on your dog’s fur type. When you are brushing your dog’s hair, take your time and be gentle. Brushing is also a good way to check your dog’s health. While you brush, you can check your dog’s body condition at the same time. Is there any hidden cuts or wounds? Or any lumps or bumps on your dog? Lumps or bumps are often related to tumour. If you notice anything unusual on your dog’s body, make an appointment with your vet to do a thorough checkup.
Bathing is another great way to loose excessive fur of your dog. Through bathing, loose fur will fall inside the tub instead all over the place. Bathing your dog once or twice a month is adequate unless your dog is dirty or smells bad. Bathing your dog too frequently will dry out your dog’s skin and hence worsen the shedding problem. While you’re bathing your dog, make sure you use pet-friendly shampoo—the one that doesn’t contain excessive chemicals and cause discomfort to your dog.
c) Get rid of fleas and ticks
Fleas and ticks are one of the culprits that contribute to dog shedding. Dogs with fleas and ticks problem tend to scratch, bite, or lick their bodies more often and this causes their fur to fall out. Therefore, solving the fleas and ticks problem might solve dog shedding issue as well. Flea and tick control products are available in stores. If you don’t want to use chemical products to control fleas and ticks, you can opt for natural home remedies as an alternative.
Be mindful that it is not possible to solve the dog shedding problem once and for all, but there are many ways to control and reduce it. Sometimes, excessive shedding may be a symptom of disease such as Cushing’s disease especially if your dog is in its senior years. If your dog still shed excessively despite all the effort you have done, it is time to visit your vet.