You can't stop your dogs shedding — but you can reduce it.
When your dogs hair falls out, thats called shedding. Shedding is totally
natural, and happens to all dogs at different rates. Even supposedly “shedless”
dogs shed a little throughout the year. Some breeds of dogs shed significantly
more than others.
German Shepherd's, for example, produce a lot of hair. If you have more than one
of the same breed of dog, the effect is multiplied. Even short-coated dogs, like
Pit Bulls and Hounds shed fur, which can easily accumulate on clothes, furniture,
carpet and electronics when not kept in check. Some breeds of dog shed seasonally
(these include Border Collie's, most Shepherd's, Spaniels) and you cannot stop
these breeds from shedding seasonally, no matter what.
However, even if you can't stop your dogs shedding for good, there are many ways
you can reduce or better manage your dogs shedding before it becomes a problem.
Some options are as simple as changing your dogs diet, while others involve
changes to his grooming, routines, or lifestyle. You can several techniques
simultaneously for the best possible results, and adjust for what fits you.
As with people, your dogs health starts with his nutrition. What you put into
your body is what your body uses to build new cells, and the same is true for
your dog. Feeding your dog a high quality diet should be the first place you
start when you're trying to reduce your dogs shedding.
For dogs, a high-quality diet is one rich in protein and fat, with very little
carbohydrates. Your dog is an obligate predator, meaning he can only extract the
nutrients he needs from certain foods, and if he doesn't get adequate amounts of
these foods in his diet, it will be impossible for him to be healthy. Excess
shedding, like bad breath, oily skin, and dry fur, can all be signs of
nutrition-deficiencies or deeper health concerns. You can improve your dogs diet
Feed your dog at set meal times only. Don't allow him to “free feed” on dry
kibble throughout the day.
If your dog is overweight, reduce the amount of food you feed him by 1/3.
Upgrade your kibble. Choose a brand that lists quality sources of protein and
fat high up on the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed by weight — the
closer to the first in the list the ingredient, the more of it in your dogs food.
Add more fresh, raw meat into your dogs diet. Doing “half raw, half kibble”
can be a cheap way to start feeding raw.
Walking or jogging with your dog will allow him to shed hair outside of your
house, which can make a big impact on the amount of dog hair on your floors and
furniture. Although exercising your dog doesn't necessarily reduce his shedding,
it does make it more likely that fur and dander will fall off outside.
Exercise has many other benefits, and is absolutely free. A regular walk in the
morning or before your dog eats dinner can make a noticeable difference in his
coat in as little as a week. This is because exercise makes the heart pump harder,
helping circulate blood throughout the body and stimulating the growth of new
hair follicles. Regular exercise helps to maintain your dogs healthy skin and
coat by strenghtening his heart and muscles, and can be very helpful in
preventing or stopping many behavior problems.
Dogs need exercise. It doesn't matter how big or small your dog is, a walk will
do both of you good. If your dog suffers from allergies that exacerbate his
shedding or cause him to itch, walk him when there's little wind or try an
indoor doggy daycare, which can provide healthy ways to keep your dog busy in
an enviornment free of many natural allergens.
3. Brushing & Grooming
To help keep your dog clean and parasite free, it's a good idea to brush him
once per day. While this isn't a hard rule, basic grooming goes a long way in
reducing your dogs shedding, and is arguably the #1 way to reduce his shedding
overall on this list.
Like exercise, brushing your dog stimulates the blood flow that helps maintain a
healthy skin and coat. It also takes off a lot of loose fur and dander in one
go, allowing you to dispose of it before it sheds off on your floors. If you
brush your dog every day (or at least, every week) your brush will remove less
and less fur each time.
You don't need any special tools to brush your dog. Any regular dog brush is
fine, but there are also special brushes for different purposes. If you have a
plush or long-coat dog, be prepared to have at least a few of them handy at all
times. Some popular grooming products for dog owners include:
To reduce the buildup of oil and dead skin cells on your dogs fur, wash the
blankets and beds that he sleeps on regularly. Every 2 weeks to 1 month is
ideal for most circumstances, more if you have young children who might like
to sleep with the dog!
Even relatively clean dogs can accumulate dirt and dander from regular walks or
hanging out in the backyard. Your dog lays on the floor, sniffs bushes, and
likely rolls around on whatever looks interesting, so it's a good bet he tracks
it into where he sleeps. Parasites and odor-causing bacteria can easily
accumulate in beds and blankets, so make sure to only purchase dog beds that
Wash them separately from your own laundry once or twice a month depending on
your dogs needs.
5. Good Housekeeping
If your primarily goal is to reduce the appearance of dog hair around your
house, in addition to making a few changes to your dogs lifestyle, you can
easily incorporate a few housekeeping strategies into your routine.
If you sweep at least once per week, the appearance of your dogs shedding will
be greatly reduced. The reduction of shedding can even have a positive impact
around the house — dust and allergens that may have been causing your dog to
shed more have now been swept away, leaving your floors clean for even longer!