How to Reduce Shedding in Dogs

Shedding is a natural phenomenon in dogs, and it’s always a mess when it happens… But is it preventable?

In reality, dogs shed for a variety of reasons. And once you understand and learn about these factors, you can actually reduce shedding to a large degree.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that contribute to shedding, and what you can do to mitigate it:

1. Breed

Some breeds shed considerably more than others, Labrador Retrievers, for example, are a breed noted for shedding a lot.  Meanwhile, there are plenty of non-shedding dog breeds, such as the Shih Tzu. These are dogs who have hair much like a persons – Instead of shedding, it grows and grows, and requires regular trips to the groomer for cutting.

On top of this, the non-shedding breeds must be brushed once or twice daily to prevent painful hair mats from forming.  These dogs actually do shed, but it is fairly unnoticeable compared to what are traditionally thought of as shedding dogs.

Finally there are “hairless” breeds of dogs, such as the Mexican Hairless. These dogs usually have a thin peach fuzz type of hair and require special skin care. 

2. Genetics

Even within a breed, some dogs have more shedding than others simply by having different genetics. This is also something to bear in mind with mixed-breed dogs. If you are buying from a breeder, ask to look at the parents of the pup you are considering.

3. Time Of Year

Dogs shed more in the spring and fall. Additionally, a mother dog who has recently had pups will tend to shed her coat.

When dogs go through a period of significant shedding, an owner can either do a major groom of the dog himself, or take it to a dog groomer and have its coat “blown out”. Typically, the groomer will have the dog bathed, scrubbed, and blown dry by hand to remove the loose hairs. 

4. Poor Diet

The one thing an owner can do most to prevent excessive hair loss, is to feed their dog a good quality food. Sadly most owners do not know how to determine if a dog food is good or not, since all foods market themselves as “the best”.

Any dog food with “byproducts” listed as an ingredient is poor quality food. Further, any dog food with “corn” listed as the top ingredient is likely poor quality food. 

At the end of the day, while dogs are not carnivores, they still require a decent meat source in their food. Lower quality ingredients such as byproducts and corn make the food harder to digest, and as such they contribute to more shedding.

As a general rule, none of the dog foods available in a grocery store are good quality. But when you feed your dog a a higher-quality, more expensive food, you actually can feed less because it is more digestible.

5. Grooming

Daily brushing of your dog will not only remove lose hairs but will improve the dogs overall skin condition, thus resulting in less hair loss. 

How often do you brush your own hair? Different breeds require different ways of being brushed, there are many good products to use depending on the length of hair your dog has. 

A rubber curry comb used in a circular motion works great on larger short-haired dogs, like a Labrador, whereas a slicker brush used in the opposite direction of the dogs coat will work better on a fluffy dog, such as a Pomeranian. 

6. Stress

Although it is a bigger problem in cats, a stressed dog will tend to shed more. Stress could be caused simply by leaving a dog alone too much during the day, or when a dog is not receiving enough mental stimulation. 

7. Trimming And Grooming

One way of controlling shedding is by giving a dog a hair cut. However, while this is important to do in non-shedding breeds, it can interfere with what a shedding dogs’ coat is supposed to do for them – That being protection from the sun, heat, or cold. 

Generally hair cuts are not recommended for dog breeds who naturally shed, although you may wish to trim the longer hairs on the belly, tail and legs. 

8. Parasites

Finally, shedding may also be a problem in a pet who is suffering from parasites, such as fleas or lice. So if you notice significant shedding, it’s probably a good idea to check for bugs and pests in your dog’s coat too.