Don’t you wish that you could stop your pets from shedding all over the house? Shedding is a natural occurrence in all dogs and cats, except hairless breeds. Some shed their coats more often than others; some breeds shed seasonally and others rain fur all over your house all year. I currently have three dogs, two of which seem to shed enough for at least a dozen dogs! While, it isn’t possible to stop shedding altogether, there are some preventative measures you can take to keep the hair in your house to a minimum.
Diet and Supplements
Feeding a pet food that contains high quality ingredients and nutrients can be your first defense against shedding. Try adding foods or supplements rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to your dog’s food. These fatty acids help build a healthy, shiny coat. They also help fight allergies and arthritis, and provide many other health benefits. You can find Omegas in many types of supplements and foods, but most people prefer to add a fish oil supplement to the dog’s food. Be wary of supplemental products that boast to stop shedding forever. Shedding is a natural and necessary evil for the health of your pet, you can curb it, but you can’t stop the shedding cycle altogether.
The next most important step to keeping the hair explosion under control is to brush your pet frequently, especially when shedding is at its worst. There are a variety of brushes that you can use depending on the type of fur your dog or cat has. It’s important to match the brush that you buy to the type of hair to do the best job. Deshedding brushes or shedding rakes work by targeting the undercoat and removing hair that is dead or dying before it has a chance to fall out. In my personal experience, I’ve had better luck using deshedding brushes on dogs that are double coated, like a Husky or a German Shepherd Dog. For my short haired dog I use a rubber tipped brush or grooming glove because the static created by the brush helps the short hairs cling to it. After experimenting with a variety of different brushes on my Border Collie Mix, I’ve come to the conclusion that a slicker brush with long bristles does the best job on her long, fine hair.
While not for cats, regular bathing can rid your dog of the dead hair that would normally fall off during day to day activities, as well as removing dirt, dander, pests and excess oils. The debate over how often to bathe your pet rages on. The truth is that it really depends on your individual pet and their grooming needs. I have one dog that requires a bath every 1-2 weeks (usually because she’s caked in mud or has rolled in something particularly offensive), while my short haired dog doesn’t get a bath more than every month or two, though sometimes he gets a wet wipe bath to freshen up. If your dog has a “doggy odor” or is visibly dirty it is definitely time for a bath. If you notice your dog starting to get dry, itchy patches, you may be bathing them too often and stripping them of too many of their natural oils, so leave a little more time between baths to see if it improves. Use shampoos and conditioners specially formulated for dogs for the best and safest results.
I once knew someone who hated cleaning up dog hair so much that she had her dogs wear doggie pajamas while they were in the house. That method isn’t for everyone, or for every dog, but it does help to contain the dropped hairs within the clothes.
Penn Plax now offers an accessory that you can add to your home vacuum. With the right training and acclimation, this might be an option to help with the mess of grooming. Some people also have their dogs shaved for the summer which seems to help minimize the mess, although it may just be an illusion as it is a shorter length of hair that is falling out.
Keep in mind that some breeds, like double-coated dogs, should not be shaved; their fur acts as an insulator that actually keeps them cooler during hot weather. Talk with your vet or groomer before resorting to any drastic measures.
If you’re reading this because your pet has suddenly started shedding excessive amounts of hair it may be best to get them to the vet for a checkup as soon as you can. Your pet’s hair that can tell you about their health before other symptoms arise. Sudden hair loss can be a symptom of a bigger health problems, so it’s best to get them checked out just in case. Even abnormally dry and dull fur can be a symptom a larger issue. A healthy pet will have a shiny, bright coat that unfortunately, still sheds from time to time.
Last week, I bumped into a woman who raises and breeds Pugs, (notorious shedders) while I was out walking my own two pugs. She told me to feed them dog food that does NOT contain any corn. That it would really cut down on shedding. Not sure if it pertains to other breeds but certainly worth a try. (Interesting – when you actually read the ingredients on dog food bags, some sort of corn seems to be on there.)
Great blog I really enjoyed it.