As dog parents, we know that there are some things we can just count on. Maybe your pooch greets you at the door every day when you get home from work, his tail wagging so wildly that he can’t keep his hind legs under control. Or maybe you know that when you sit down on the couch, he’s sure to hop up next to you looking for a pat on the head or an ear rub.
Just because they’re predictable, though, doesn’t mean that we always understand what’s going on in those little doggy brains. And even though we love our furry best friends more than words can say, there are some aspects of dog parenting that we would improve if we only knew how.
That’s why I’m so excited to announce the launch of “Dear Labby” as a way to help dog parents get answers to their most confusing canine questions. To start, I’m tackling an issue that most dog parents can identify with – shedding. As much as we love our dogs, wearing a layer of their fur isn’t the way we choose to proclaim our dog parent status!
If your dog puts the “fur” in furniture, read on for some great tips to reduce shedding and keep the hair under control.
Why Does My Dog Shed So Much?
Shedding is both normal and healthy. When dogs shed, it helps to keep their skin and coat healthy.
Your dog’s coat plays an important role in regulating his body temperature. The hair provides insulation that helps to keep him warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It also protects his skin from extremes in temperature, sun damage, and water.
Dog shedding is part of the natural cycle of their hair growth. When the hair stops growing, it is shed to make room for new hair growth. However, there are a number of factors that may affect how much your dog sheds.
Most puppies lose their “baby coat” when they are somewhere between 4 and 6 months old. This makes room for their new adult coat.
Anxiety and stress can cause your dog to shed more than usual. Possible stressful events include:
- a trip to the vet or groomer
- the addition or loss of a family member (human or animal)
3. The Time of Year
Many dogs grow a thicker coat to prepare for cold weather and then shed it when it gets warmer. Dogs with double coats tend to lose their undercoat in the spring and fall.
Some breeds shed more than others. A few of the heaviest shedders include these breeds:
- Saint Bernard
- Great Pyrenees
- Chow Chow
- Siberian Husky
- Golden Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Alaskan Malamute
If you’re wondering how to stop your dog from shedding… you can’t. But there are some tried and true ways to keep dog shedding under control.
How to Reduce Dog Shedding
Although you can’t completely stop your dog from shedding, you may be able to reduce his shedding significantly.
Good nutrition is essential to your dog’s skin and coat health. A high-quality diet will provide the protein and fats that your dog needs for a healthy coat and may also reduce shedding. In addition, a high quality supplement can deliver even more coat-healthy nutrients. I give my own dog, Chilly, Vetericyn’s ALL-IN™ life-stage supplement. It comes in three formulas to give dogs in any life stage exactly what they need to keep them as healthy and energetic as possible. When I started supplementing Chilly’s diet with ALL-IN, I noticed that he had more energy, and his coat became shinier too.
In addition to good nutrition, regular bathing is a must if you want to keep your dog’s shedding under control. A bath will loosen and remove fur that is ready to fall out, sparing you the work of cleaning it off of your floors and furniture. You could take your dog to the groomer for his baths, but if you would rather do it yourself, a good shampoo and a shower attachment designed for bathing pets will make your job much easier. I love Vetericyn’s FoamCare Shampoo. It comes in a convenient spray bottle so it’s a cinch to apply. And it rinses off quickly and easily too.
Between baths, regular brushing will also help to remove loose hair before it ends up flying around your house. And as an added bonus, brushing can be a great way to spend some time bonding with your dog. There are many dog brushes for shedding. A pair of grooming gloves is a great option, especially if you have a pup with shorter fur. Gloves will gently groom your dog while you’re petting him. He may not even realize that you’re brushing him.
If your dog has short hair, you may find that you only need to brush a couple of times every week. But for dogs with longer hair, daily brushing will go a long way towards reducing shedding as well as keeping their fur free from mats and tangles.
Pups with longer hair or double coats need dog brushes designed for their type of hair. A grooming rake will detangle down to the undercoat and prevent matting. It will also catch and remove any loose hair.
A shedding blade is another great brush for dogs with medium or long coats. It will remove excess hair from the outer coat, which helps to reduce shedding and promotes shinier fur.
Keeping the Hair Under Control
Even with the best nutrition and regular brushing and bathing, you’re bound to have some dog hair that ends up in your house. A smart cleaning routine will minimize the fur that stays on your floors and furniture (and ends up all over you). A quick clean up every day is much less time consuming than trying to remove a week’s worth of hair all at once.
When it comes to cleaning up after pets, not all tools were created equal. Even the broom you choose could make a huge difference. A rubber broom like this one attracts pet hair and can be used on carpets in addition to floors. It also has a squeegee that’s great for cleaning up liquids. It’s easy to keep the broom itself clean too, since you can just rinse it off in the sink before you put it away.
A broom is great for a quick cleanup, but you’ll also need a good vacuum, especially if your home has carpets or upholstered furniture. The best vacuum for dog hair will pick up hair from floors and carpets and have convenient attachments designed to remove hair from furniture. This vacuum by BISSELL® is cordless, so it’s lightweight and super convenient to grab and use. But it’s also designed with pets in mind. Its tangle free roller brush eliminates the “hair wrap” problem. It also converts to a handheld for upholstery cleaning and has a crevice attachment for hard-to-reach spaces.
For pet homes with lots of hard floors, a combination vacuum and steam mop is the perfect way to remove hair and clean muddy paw prints off your floors at the same time. I love this one, because you can use it with washable microfiber pads or disposable ones.
Many dogs shed in the car, often due to anxiety. If that’s the case with your pup, a specially-fitted shirt or onesie like the Shed Defender can contain the loose hair on your dog while your travel and keep your car a little more fur-free. The form-fitting shirt also works to comfort your dog and calm his anxiety during the drive.
There you have it! Shedding may be unavoidable, but you can keep it under control with good nutrition, regular grooming, and a dog-friendly cleaning routine.
Do you have a canine conundrum of your own? Go ahead and submit it to “Dear Labby” today!
Chew on this: I may receive a small commission for affiliate links, but all products I “dig up” are ones I paw-thentically love!