We all have a similar problem when it comes to our K-9. How to stop shedding? Even if your dog is not a big shedder, it sometimes still gets irritating. You may be in a hurry to get to work and throw your suit coat or blouse on just to find out that you have dog hair everywhere. You have to take the time to take a lint roller to yourself or even find a different outfit. So Let’s discuss some ways to prevent this problem, we all deal with.
Different dog breeds shed in different amounts. Some shed seasonally, while others shed year-round. This depends on the type of fur your dog has. A Golden Retriever, has a thicker, double-coat, which makes it more likely to shed year-round.
For dogs that shed seasonally, you will notice that most shedding occurs in the spring and fall. In the spring, your dogs fur will become lighter, in preparation for the warm weather. In the fall, getting ready for winter, you will see a change in your dogs fur as well and a higher incidence of shedding.
For dogs who shed often, it is important to brush them. sometimes weekly, maybe even a few times a week, or sometimes daily throughout heavy shedding.
Even if your dog is not a big shedder, it is still important to brush and groom them regularly, but how often you groom depends on their coat.
Dogs With Short Coats
You can do a fine job of loosening dead hair and setting it free with a natural-bristle brush or even a mitt/glove with bristles on the palm. First brush the coat in the opposite direction that it grows, to pull dead hair out, then brush in the direction that it grows naturally. Repeat this process a few times to get out all the hair and to distribute the natural oils from the skin all over the coat. If you are using a hound mitt or glove, massage the coat in a circular motion to loosen hair, then brush in the direction the hair grows. Repeat this process a few times, especially when shedding is heavy.
You need a tool that can reach down under that outer coat to grab the undercoat and pull out the dead hair. Slicker brushes are excellent tools for such dogs. Go over the coat in both directions, until you are pulling out less and less hair from the brush.
When shedding really picks up, especially with the thick-coated breeds, switch over to a coat rake or shedding tool. They all work a little differently, but basically you pull the tool along the coat in the direction the hair grows, then pull up and away. For shedding tools with blades, don’t press too hard. If you run across any tangles or mats, pick these out with a steel comb or use a mat splitter.
Allergies & Hormones May Cause Shedding Problems
It is also possible your dog may have allergies, and this can cause skin and shedding problems. If you think your dog may have a skin problem, talk to your veterinarian. Otherwise, the most effective method to combat shedding is to remove dead hair with regular brushing, combing, the use of pore and follicle dilating shampoos, and baths. Some dogs can even be vacuumed!
Your dogs hair could be falling out because of an allergic reaction to any of the following:
- Food- An allergy to a single ingredient in a kibble or canned food.
- Something in the air like a household cleaner, or even a dog bed could cause a reaction.
- A new soap or shampoo.
- Pest bites
Elimination is the best way to diagnose an allergic response. With veterinary assistance, remove all possible allergens from your dogs life until their fur grows back. Then slowly introduce items one by one till you figure out what was causing the problem.
Imbalances in your dogs thyroid can cause hair to become brittle and fall out. Hypothyroidism is a common condition among dogs, and can be readily treated with medication. Other hormonal issues involving the over or under production of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can cause a dog to shed more than usual.During pregnancy and lactation, many dogs will lose some hair. This is normal, but if it is excessive, see a vet about supplements.
Seasonal shedding occurs with some breeds, usually in the spring, but may also happen in the fall. Seasonal shedding occurs evenly across the whole body, and will happen every year on a cycle. This type of shedding is typical among cold weather breeds like Huskies or wolves. It is not something to be alarmed about. It’s perfectly natural and can be managed through daily grooming with an undercoat rake.
Managing Excess Shedding
Excess shedding can be difficult to manage as pet hair clings to furniture and upholstery. The best way forward is to brush your dogs hair using the right brush. Depending on the type of coat it can be anything from a slicker brush to a glove brush.
Also, consider adding healthy fat to your dogs diet. You should also increase the frequency of bathing during the hot summer months. This will help you rinse off the dead hair from your dogs body, which will significantly reduce the number of hair around the house.
Grooming is essential for eliminating excess fur dropping from your dog. Keeping your dogs coat well-maintained will help reduce the amount of fur you find on your hands, your clothing, your floors, and the furniture within your home. Be sure to brush your dog on a regular basis. This helps eliminate excess fur that has already pulled out of your dogs skin and is just waiting to be removed. You can purchase bristle brushes for short haired dogs or rake brushes for long haired dogs to brush out their undercoat and get out the excess fur before shedding becomes a problem. Dogs with thicker coats or an undercoat may require shedding tools when groomed. While you are grooming your dog on a regular basis, be sure to bathe them as well. Giving your dog a bath with a high-quality hypoallergenic shampoo can improve his coat as well as his skin, which can help keep the fur in place longer. Fur that has become detached from the skin can easily be washed off in a bath without too much fuss from your dog. Regular grooming will help to prevent shedding because you will be taking off excess fur through bathing and brushing during the grooming process.
There are a few supplements you can give your dog to improve their coat and their skin. Flax seed oil added to your dog’s meals contains omega-3 fatty acids, which improve dry, flaky skin and creates a soft and smooth coat. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be added to your dog’s food via olive oil or flax seed oil, or you can give him supplements purchased from your veterinarian or local pet store. Be sure you are buying high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplements to avoid any health problems related to poor quality products. Supplementing your dog’s diet with healthy, natural oils can prevent shedding more effectively if your dog’s diet is also healthy with a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
When You Should Be Concerned
Fur loss due to sickness is not really shedding, but rather loss of hair due to a factor other than the general rhythms of hair growth. In the case of adrenal diseases, illness related traumas, or infections, you will probably see patchy hair loss, as opposed to more shedding. In some cases, as with a hypothyroid dog, the hair loss will be symmetrical, but isolated to certain parts of the dogs body.
Unusual hair loss is one of the best indications that there is an underlying health issue. If you notice any of the issues below, you should explore the reasons with your dogs veterinarian.
- Fur that breaks or falls out unevenly.
- Fur has become dry and brittle.
- Bald patches or clumps of hair loss.
- Hair loss along with another skin problem.
- Dog is tender to the touch, or resists being touched where they’re losing fur.
A variety of skin conditions can affect hair loss including mange, mites, dermatitis, ringworm, and bacterial or fungal infections. If hair loss is spotty and patchy, with rough or tender skin beneath, see a vet. Treating the skin condition will generally resolve the fur issue.
The absence of a well-balanced diet could certainly result in unwanted hair loss. Blood tests can help a veterinarian determine if there is a mineral deficiency or overdose.
If there has been a big change in your home, your dogs body could be reacting to stress. Do not ever rule out a dogs emotions. Sometimes dogs have physiological responses to a change in homes, family altercations, or a death in the family. In this case, some extra tender, love, care, and a few supplements may help your dogs hair grow back.
Though you may not be able to rid your home of all the dog fur that comes off your dog, you can really reduce the amount of shedding you are seeing with proper grooming and a healthy, high quality diet. There is no magic pill for shedding. Maybe you picked a specific breed for the characteristics and fun they bring to your family. Heavy shedding came as a bonus. Shedding is a natural for owning any dog, but there are ways you can both incorporate fun time with him and reduce the amount of fur within your home. Happy Tails, Happy Trails!