June 8, 2019
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 by:
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.
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 are washable.
Wash them separately from your own laundry once or twice a month depending on your dogs needs.
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!