When it comes to a new dog, how to stop dog shedding is a common question owners ask.
There is no magical way to stop your dog from shedding.
Shedding is a natural and healthy way for your dog to get rid of old and unneeded hair.
There are home remedies to prevent dog shedding that make shedding season easier to tackle.
You come home after a long day and give your pet a big cuddle, only to pull back and realize you are covered in their hair or fur. Suddenly that warm feeling of love is filled with frustration.
It’s annoying when your furry friend is shedding. Not only does their fur end up all over your clothes but your furniture, cars, and even your food can be victims, as well. It’s all enough to leave you wondering how to stop dog shedding.
Shedding is a normal and healthy part of your dog’s life. Most dogs shed at least a moderate amount. This doesn’t make it easier to deal with, though. If you’re struggling with your dog’s shedding and want answers, read on.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
It probably feels like your dog is shedding crazy amounts but the truth is that many breeds are genetically inclined to shed a lot. There are even breeds that shed all year round – especially if they live indoors.
Shedding as a Natural Function
In healthy dogs, shedding is a natural way to get rid of the old or damaged hair comprising their undercoat. As winter progresses, many breeds grow thicker winter coats. In the spring they shed them to help regulate their body temperature. What many owners aren’t aware of is that sudden spikes or dips in temperature cause this process to start at any time of year.
A good rule of thumb to live by is that your dog’s shedding is likely healthy and natural if it occurs uniformly all over the body. If your pet is getting bald spots, take that as a sign that they are not normally shedding.
The most common time that your dog sheds is in the spring. During this time they are ridding themselves of all the excess insulation they created in the winter. During the fall months, they are growing their undercoat. This pushes out older hairs, which leads to some shedding in the winter.
The length of your dog's fur doesn't determine the amount they shed. Some of the shorter-haired breeds are the biggest culprits of mass shedding: Akitas, Siberian huskies, corgis, Newfoundlands, and various types of terriers.
Shedding From Poor Nutrition
Some dogs are sensitive to ingredients in the same way that people are. Other dogs are simply not getting the nutrients they need from their diet to maintain healthy coats. To prevent your dog from shedding because of poor nutrition, ensure your dog food is high quality and made for canines.
Even if the food meets the minimum quality requirements, it is possible to not have enough animal protein or minerals to maintain your dog’s optimal health. These dog foods are great in a pinch, but they are not meant to be consumed long-term.
You likely need to consult your vet and experiment with different foods before finding the right one for your dog. A vet knows what kind of foods to recommend to increase your dog's health. Keep in mind that for the most part, your dog cannot have human food. Human food is a good way to mess up your dog’s gut.
Dehydration is another factor that leads to excessive shedding. Make sure your dog always has access to clean and fresh water.
Shedding From Allergies
Just like people, it is possible for your dog to have or to develop allergies to pollen, mold, fleas, dust mites, and other airborne pollutants. Dogs also have allergies to common foods that most big brands use, including beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, corn, or soy. The ASPCA has a list of foods that are harmful to your pets.
If you notice your dog is scratching or biting at an area on their body and does not let up, check to see if their skin is red. If so, they are likely allergic to something. Allergies are often treated in dogs with changes in diet and medications. Make sure to check with your vet about any new medications because certain allergy meds cause dogs to shed.
The No-Shed Myth
There is an entire set of people that fully believe that some dogs never shed. This simply isn’t true! All dogs — regardless of the breed — shed.
Some dogs significantly shed only once or twice a year like clockwork. Other breeds shed from different parts of their body at different times, making it seem like they are constantly shedding. Other dogs shed all the time.
Dogs who shed less are often mistaken as non-shedding breeds. This isn’t the case. They shed, but at a lower and more infrequent pace. These breeds, like doodles, often require greater grooming needs than those who shed more frequently.
If someone is telling you that their dog does not shed at all, they’re lying. Just because it isn’t noticeable doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Understanding Your Dog’s Coat
To combat your dog’s shedding, you need to know the kind of hair or fur that you’re dealing with. What works for one owner may not work for you because of the differences in your dog’s coat. Dog coats vary in length, texture, thickness, and growth patterns. Your dog’s fur even varies on different parts of their body!
There are five main types of coats to expect when you bring home your new dog:
The hair on these dogs is sleek, shiny, and close to the body. Common breeds with this type of coat are beagles, bulldogs, and boxers. To reduce shedding these breeds need to be brushed daily. These dogs are often the kind that shed year-round.
This type of coat has a thick undercoat beneath a longer topcoat of guard hairs. Typically, dogs with double coats need help getting rid of all the extra hair when it comes time to shed. Grooming takes significantly longer with double-coated dogs.
Just like human hair, your dog’s hair ranges in textures from coarse, wiry, and smooth. Typically, dogs with a wire coat shed less than other dogs, but they tangle far easier and are prone to matting if not brushed frequently. Think of a sheep: A sheep's wool tangles together and when it is shaved off, it comes off in one piece. Unlike a sheep, the matted fur on a dog pulls and rips the skin.
Dogs with silky coats have longer hair, but it is typically straight. These coats need daily brushing to avoid matting and tangles. Dogs with silky coats are also prone to being oily and need a grooming routine to keep the hair looking silky and smooth. Common dog breeds with this coat are cocker spaniels, Afghan hounds, and Chinese crested dogs.
These coats range from tight curls to beachy waves. Dogs with this type of coat, like the Pumi, need dramatically different grooming needs than other dogs. Most people think of Poodles when they think of curly-coated dogs. For good coat quality, a good clipping every two months is recommended.
If you are struggling to figure out your dog’s exact coat, talk to a groomer. They know how to help you figure out what grooming your dog needs to keep them healthy and happy.
Tips for Reducing Shedding
Shedding is going to happen, but there are ways to reduce the impact shedding makes. Know what your dog’s shedding process looks like before you settle on anything. Look into what breed your dog is. Doing a little research into the breed gives you the insight you need before you start anything.
Start a Grooming Routine
It’s imperative to start a grooming routine as soon as possible with your new dog. This goes for puppies and older dogs acquired through adoption. The older the dog is, the longer it may take to convince them that grooming is a happy time. Be patient with them. Using positive reinforcement is a great tool in helping you show your dog that grooming is good.
It’s best to set up shop outside or in your garage so you don’t have fur flying around your house. Place your dog on a table for both your and your dog’s comfort. Don’t stress too much if they hate the process at first.
Use the Right Tools
Keeping your dog well groomed reduces the dead hair accumulation that sticks to your favorite black shirt and your furniture. You just need the right tool for the job to handle everything first.
You are likely going to need more than just one dog-shedding brush. If your dog has curly hair, use a slicker brush and some spray dog conditioner to make removing the dead hair and tangles easier. For the most part, grooming tools tell you exactly what you need to know on the packaging. However, if you are struggling to find what you need, ask a groomer.
Before you go all out on the super expensive grooming tools, you have to know your dog’s comfort level. If you are constantly tugging on the skin, it’s likely your dog won’t enjoy their grooming session and run to hide when you get the tools out.
Try Home Remedies
It is possible to try home remedies to help stop your dog from shedding so much. Before you rush to see if your dog stops shedding with a home remedy, know that it isn’t the case. Your dog is always going to shed, but there are remedies to make it easier on your home.
The top home remedy for your dog is a good bath. Seriously! Bathing removes loose hair more thoroughly than just a brush. Use a de-shedding shampoo with oatmeal in it; the oatmeal helps soothe any irritation shedding causes.
If you’re already bathing your dog regularly, consult your vet about adding fish oil to your dog’s food. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen your dog’s hair follicles. These fatty acids keep your dog’s coat moisturized, as well.
Limited Coconut Oil
There are several places online that claim coconut oil isn’t good for your dog. They claim it causes leaky gut or even metabolic endotoxemia – which both sounds and IS scary. These are serious claims that truly affect your dog’s health.
Coconut oil has long been proven to keep your dog’s coat healthy. It’s rich in healthy fats that improve their overall health. However, like with any supplement, don’t overdo it. Digestive issues are common when too much of a supplement is given. Some dogs are allergic to coconut oil, so use it sparingly.
If you notice that your dog’s stool is runny after receiving coconut oil, then cut back or eliminate it.
Accepting Some Shedding
The simple truth is you have to accept that shedding is going to happen. There is no magical cure that prevents your dog from it. It’s a natural and healthy process for any creature with hair.
As tempting as it seems to just shave your dog, it isn’t a great solution. Depending on your dog’s coat, a shave can seriously damage it. That damage is long-lasting and your dog’s coat rarely grows back the same way again.
Use the right tools and make sure that you are working with your dog’s coat, rather than against it.
Work smarter, not harder.
Home Maintenance for Shedding Pups
If you’ve tried all of the above and are still frustrated, you’re in good company. Many people feel the same way. The truth is that your routine changes when you introduce a fluffy pet into your life. This means you need to adjust how you clean and how often you have to do it.
Remember: It isn’t your dog's fault that they’re shedding.
Vacuums are Your Best Friend
Vacuums: the mortal enemy of dogs everywhere. Living with a dog means your vacuum is going to get a workout. Not only do you need to vacuum at least twice a week but you need a machine that handles pet hair.
Invest in a quality vacuum that handles sucking up dog hair from couches, carpets, wood floors, and any other surface that might hold on to dog hair easily. If you hate this task, consider getting a robot vacuum to handle hair on the floor. Your dog might hate this machine. Train your pup by leaving them alone with the vacuum to ensure that cleaning runs as smoothly as possible.
Remove Hair as Soon as Possible
Dog hair that was just shed is far easier to remove than hair that has been there a while. When you leave the hair, it embeds into the fibers of whatever it is attached to. It is a struggle to get it all out if you leave it too long.
Staying on top of removing the hair from yourself and your furniture makes a world of difference. It does feel tedious but in the end, it saves time.
Shedding Isn't a Hairy Situation
While there is no magical cure for shedding, rest easy knowing there are ways to handle it. While it easily feels overwhelming and never ending, it comes down to possibly needing to change a few things.
Grooming your dog is a critical part of pet ownership. Keeping up a good routine prevents loose hair from flying around your house. If you notice that your dog is suddenly shedding more than normal, something is wrong. If you have questions about why your dog is shedding, don’t be afraid to consult your vet.