How to Reduce Shedding in Dogs

Jan 11th, 2009
For many people there are two aspects of dog ownership they dread. One is cleaning up doggie poops, the other is dealing with shedding. Here are some ways to reduce shedding in your pooch.

1.  Breed.  Some breeds shed considerably more than others, Labrador Retrievers are one noted for shedding a lot.  There are non-shedding dogs, such as the Shih Tzu, these are dogs who have hair much like a persons, it grows and grows, and requires regular trips to the groomer for cutting. As well, 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.  Some dogs within a breed have more shedding than others simply by having different genetics.  If you are buying from a breeder ask to look at the parents of the pup you are considering.  If you are buying from a pet store, chances are the dog has lower end genetics.

3.  Time of Year.  Dogs shed more in the spring, and fall.  Additionally a dog who has recently had pups will "blow her coat".   When dogs go through a major time of shedding an owner can either do a major groom of the dog - or take it to a dog groomer and have its coat "blown out".  Typically the dog is bathed, scrubbed, and blow dried by hand to remove the loose hairs. 

4.  Poor Food.  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 "By-Products" listed as an ingredient is poor quality food."  Any dog food with "CORN" listed as the top ingredient is poor quality food.  Dogs are not carnivores (cats are) but they still require a decent meat source in their food.  Lower quality ingredients such as by-products and corn, make a food harder to digest, as such they contribute to more shedding.  As a general rule none of the foods available in a grocery store are good quality - but when you feed a good food, you actually can feed less because it is more digestable.

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 hairloss.  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 type brush used in a circular motion works terrific on a large short haired dog, like a Lab, where as a slicker brush used in the opposite direction of the dogs coat, works great on a fluffy dog such as a Pomeranian. 

6.  Stress.  Although a bigger problem in cats, a stressed dog will shed more.  Stress could be simply a dog left alone too much during the day, or a dog who is not receiving enough mental stimulation. 

7.  Hair cuts.  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.  Hair loss may also be a problem in a pet who is suffering from parasites, such as works, fleas, or lice. 

Pomeranian_600.jpg

This is a Pomeranian - photo from Wikimedia - if you do not want to be bothered with daily brushing and hair loss, then this is not a breed for you. 

Brenda Nelson
Brenda attended Olds College to study Horses, working with Arabian horses for several years.  She later went into Animal Welfare and worked in an SPCA for five years.  She wrote a weekly pet newspaper column before moving to a hobby farm. Says Brenda…
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