Winter Dog Grooming Guide: How to Minimize Dog Shedding

Key Points

  • Proper grooming, temperature control, and supplements minimize dog shedding in winter.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin and coat and reduce dog shedding in winter.

  • Smaller dogs and short-haired dogs are more prone to getting cold.

  • Signs that your dog feels chilly include trembling, huddling close to furniture, low energy, restlessness, and cold extremities.

  • Choose an animal-sourced omega-3 formula, such as fish or krill oil, for the best results.

Winter is a magical time for many people, but it’s a season of relentless dog shedding for pet owners. You may wonder why dog shedding in winter is significantly worse. As temperatures change, dogs shed more, leaving hair all over your clothes, furniture, and floors.

Although there is no way to eradicate shedding completely, many ways exist to minimize it during the colder months. This grooming guide explains why dog shedding in winter is so extreme and provides tips on how to keep it under control.

Dog Shedding 101: Why Is Your Dog Losing Hair?

Just like you lose your hair, dogs shedding their fur is a natural process that helps them get rid of old, dead hair to allow new hair to grow. Dogs have different hair growth cycles than humans and tend to shed more during certain times of the year.

There are two main types of shedding for dogs — seasonal and non-seasonal. Understanding the difference between the two types of shedding is crucial to identify the cause and finding the appropriate solution.

Non-Seasonal Shedding

Non-seasonal shedding happens daily; unless you have a hairless dog, all dogs shed their hair to some degree. Although genetics play a significant role in how much your pooch sheds, other factors contribute to various degrees of shedding.


Your dog exhibits stress symptoms in many ways, such as excessive barking or digging. Excessive shedding is another common stress symptom. If your furry friend experiences anxiety or distress, they may spend hours licking and biting their fur to soothe themselves. As a result, your pup may start to show bald spots and shedding issues.

Brushing dog hair


A balanced diet is crucial to maintain a healthy coat. Your dog's diet requires high-quality proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals for new hair growth and fur maintenance. When your pooch's fur becomes brittle and they're shedding more than usual, it may be a sign that they’re not getting all the proper nutrients.


There are two ways allergies cause shedding. Dogs with food allergies cannot properly digest and absorb the nutrients from their food, resulting in poor health and nutrient deficiency. Like humans suffering from food allergies, dogs may exhibit itching, irritated skin, and hair loss.

On the other hand, environmental allergies, such as pollen, dust mites, and mold, also lead to skin problems and excessive shedding. Your pup may have an allergy if they persistently scratch their fur or lick their paws.


Certain diseases and illnesses cause dogs to lose their fur. If your fur baby has a severe condition, such as Cushing's disease, thyroid problems, kidney failure, or mange, they may experience extreme hair loss.

Seasonal Shedding

Seasonal shedding occurs as the temperature and humidity change, causing dogs to adapt. As the temperature drops in late fall, your dog sheds their old hair to make room for their new winter coat.

Shedding in the dead of winter increases because your dog's undercoat is at its maximum density, making it easier for them to lose their fur.

However, the beginning of spring is the peak shedding season when the temperature rises, and your pooch sheds their winter hair to stay cool. If you’re wondering why your dog is shedding in January, spring may be coming early.

Problem With Indoor Temperature

Winter months are usually the peak shedding season for most dogs; even if you live in an area with mild winters, it’s not uncommon to see your furry friend lose hair during this time of the year.

The shedding cycle disrupts your dog's natural equilibrium when the indoor temperature remains warm, especially at night. Consequently, they can’t shed their old hair properly, leading to excessive fur loss.

Suppose you live in an area where the temperature fluctuates wildly and requires air conditioning during summertime. In that case, the extra cold indoor temperature also throws off your pooch's shedding cycle, tricking their body into growing out their winter coat.

Dog grooming with comb

Problem With Humidity

Humidity is another factor that contributes to shedding. Humid air makes your dog's skin damp and irritated. These undesirable conditions create the perfect breeding ground for fungal and bacterial infection, resulting in increased shedding.

On the other hand, dry air causes their coat to become dehydrated, brittle, and prone to breakage.

Importance of Reducing Excessive Shedding

Even if you don’t mind having excessive fur on your furniture and clothes, minimizing your dog's shedding is the healthiest for them.

Excessive shedding usually goes hand-in-hand with irritated skin and skin infection. Once bacterial or fungal infection occurs, the problem quickly spirals into complications and often requires intensive medical attention.

Problems With Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Seborrhea is one of the biggest health problems from fungal and bacterial skin infections. It causes excessive sebum secretion, clogging up your pup's skin pores, leading to fur loss, body odor, and further skin irritation.

Therefore, reducing your pup's shedding is the key to their health and well-being.

Hair and Dander Affect Your Health

If you find that you and your furry buddy are constantly sneezing and feeling congested, the dog hair and dander may be the culprit to the respiratory problems.

According to the American Lung Association, "pet dander and other pet allergens may linger in the air for a longer time than other allergens. This is because they are microscopic and jagged in shape, making it easy for them to become airborne and stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics, and even be carried on items into and out of the home."

During warmer seasons when you allow fresh air to come through open windows, you may not feel the allergens' full effect. However, during colder seasons, when you close all your windows and circulate your warm air with your central heating system, the dander and hair circulate to every corner of your home, bombarding you with allergens and making it hard to breathe.

Calming Dog Ad

Shedding Husky

Tips for Reducing Winter Dog Shedding

Dogs are loyal friends who brighten your life no matter what the season. You want them to be happy and healthy, especially during the cold winter months. These simple tips allow your furball to stay comfortable and reduce excessive shedding.

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming significantly decreases the amount of shedding your pet goes through during the winter. Brushing fur helps control molting and distributes natural oil throughout the hair to keep the coat strong and healthy. It also removes dirt, allergens, and dander that irritate their skin.

Grooming is an excellent bonding opportunity between you and your dog. Caressing and cuddling reduces your dog's stress and anxiety, promotes well-being, and strengthens your bond with them. Win-win, right?

Proper Grooming Tools

Using the right grooming tool makes a world of difference between an uncomfortable experience and a pleasant one for you and your canine. Your best brush options depend on whether you have a long or short-hair breed dog.

A slicker brush is excellent for longer coats, removing loose hair, debris, and dirt without tugging at their skin. On the other hand, a bristle brush is ideal for short-hair breeds because it won't dig into the skin.

Picking suitable shampoos and conditioners is also a must. Select products according to your pup's coat type; some products may be too intense for breeds prone to dry skin. Instead of choosing products that smell great, opt for natural ingredients that focus on cleansing the coat while preserving the skin's moisture.

Trimming dog hair

Control Indoor Temperature

Controlling the indoor temperature may be the simplest solution to minimize winter shedding in dogs. Whatever dog breed you own, their average internal temperature is around 101.5F.

What is the happy medium where both you and your dog feel comfortable? The answer depends on the dog breed and size of your pet.

Breed Temperature Needs

Most dogs feel comfortable around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but as you may have guessed, short-haired breeds are prone to lose more body heat than long-haired breeds.

If you have a greyhound, a beagle, or other single coat short-haired breeds, keep your home at a slightly warmer temperature. If you have a longer coat breed, such as a golden retriever or a collie, you may need to dial your thermostat to a slightly lower temperature to keep them from shedding excessively.

Then there are the cold-temperature-loving breeds, such as huskies, Samoyeds, and Newfoundlands. As much as you love their extra fluffy coats, they won't need extra warmth during winter unless you live in extreme weather conditions.

Consider temperature-zoning different areas of your home for these breeds to keep everyone happy. When you need to spend time with your furball, throw on a thick sweater or an extra layer of clothing, and you'll be both comfortable.

Size Temperature Needs

Body fat is a wonderful insulation system, so bigger breeds need less warmth than their smaller-breed counterparts. Smaller dogs, such as dachshunds, French bulldogs, and Chihuahuas, are notorious for getting cold quickly.

Dog with shedded hair

Keeping your home between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit is best if you have a pup this size. Another way to work around this problem is to put a sweater on your dog. You'll have a warm and adorable pooch, a more comfortable home, and a lower electric bill.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Cold?

You may need trial and error to create the perfect environment for everyone. How do you know if your pet needs more warmth? Here are some common signs that your pup is feeling chilly:

  • Trembling and shivering

  • Huddling close to furniture and walls

  • Low energy levels

  • Restlessness or anxiety

  • Tail, paws, and ears are cold to touch

Use of Supplements

Supplements often help to reduce shedding. Formulas enriched with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that boost skin and cell repair and growth are helpful for winter shedding. If you’re new to dog supplements, look for supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids, biotin (also known as vitamin B7), vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.

Animal-Sourced Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for building healthy skin and coat, reducing inflammation, and regenerating cells from the inside out.

When selecting an omega-3 supplement, choose an animal-sourced formula such as fish or krill oil. Although plant-based formulas exist, dogs don't process and absorb these nutrients as well as animal-sourced supplements.

Always Consult With Your Vet First

No matter which supplements you decide to purchase, always discuss them with your veterinarian before incorporating them into your dog's diet.

Your vet can prescribe the right supplementation plan by performing a blood test to analyze your pet's health.

Dog shedding

Enjoy Winter Without the Nonstop Shedding

Winter is a double-edged sword for dog owners. On the one hand, it means cozy cuddles with your fur baby, and on the other, you get hit with the reality of winter dog shedding. It's a phenomenon that leaves your home looking like a fur bomb exploded.

Fortunately, with the proper grooming routine, temperature control tips, and supplement use, you don't have to suffer endless shedding during the cold months. The key is to stay ahead and take preventative measures before it's too late. This way, you and your pup spend more time enjoying winter.

Visit BreedExpert for more dog-related tips.

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