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Is your dog shedding all over the house? Here are 14 solutions to reduce excessive shedding in dogs.
Are you a dog guardian/parent? If yes, then you must have experience with dog hair lining almost every part of your household, be it the bed, sofa or floors. However, if your dog is shedding more than normal limits, it can be a cause of concern. Read on to find out the causes behind excessive shedding and how to reduce the same.
Dogs belonging to certain breeds like Newfoundlands, Golden retrievers , German Shepard’s, Pekingese etc. tend to shed a lot. On the other hand, breeds like Border Terriers, Dachshunds, Poodles, Basenji shed negligibly.
Different breeds of dogs shed in different manner. Some breeds shed all year round while others shed seasonally. The shedding tendency depends on the type of fur coat your dog has been endowed with. For example, a Golden retriever has a thick double coated fur, as a result of which these dogs shed all year round.
|Delta has a single fur coat, thus he tends to shed less. Click here to know the story of Delta|
Why does shedding happen?
Shedding is a natural process by which dogs lose their old and damaged hair. The amount and frequency of shedding depends on the health of your dog and his/her breed types. Breeds which are known to shed seasonally mostly shed during spring and fall. During spring time, the coat of your dog will become lighter. This happens in preparation of the warmer weather. Similarly during winters, again a higher incidence of shedding can be noticed.
Dogs who mostly stay indoors are observed to undergo lesser fluctuations in the coat thickness and shed equally all year.
Factors behind excessive shedding
Lack of proper nutrition:
Lack of proper nutrition is one of the major causes of shedding in dogs. Absence of essential elements like fish oil, vitamins and minerals can have a harmful effect on the dog’s fur.
Females shed more when they give birth. The process from pregnancy to lactation (the birth process) uses up a lot of minerals, calcium and energy thus, leading to a post-partum condition wherein the female sheds heavily.
Spaying and neutering :
Neutering and spaying promotes changes in the fur coat of your dog. If you notice your dog’s coat to have bald patches or sparse fur post neutering or spaying, your dog might be suffering from a health issue as a result of the procedure. Thus, make an appointment with your vet at the earliest.
Various hormones can cause excessive shedding in dogs. Low or high levels of any of the following hormones viz. estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, progesterone , thyroid and growth hormone can lead to excessive shedding.
Stress and anxiety:
Stress and anxiety have similar effects on humans and dogs. Dogs tend to shed more if they are experiencing stress. A few symptoms of your dog being under stress are:
- Ears pinned back
- Destructive behavior
Get that shedding under control:
Even though we love our dogs more than words can possibly convey, we would be so much happier if our floors can be devoid of the tufts of dog fur. However, their might be times when your dog is shedding more than his/her normal limits. This can lead to development of bald patches on your dog’s body if the excessive shedding is not brought under control in time. If the shedding causes the skin to look abnormal or irritated , you must fix an appointment with your vet at the earliest.
There are a few preventive measures which you can take to keep a control on your pup’s excessive shedding tendencies.
Brushing at regular intervals, daily or every 2-3 days (depending on the breed of your dog) with a type of brush which suits the fur type of your dog can remove the dead and loose fur in a controlled manner. Regular brushing will also stimulate the hair follicles of your dog, thus keeping his/her coat shiny, smooth and matte free.
While brushing, be gentle and take your time. Brushing is also a good opportunity to check your dog’s skin for anything unusual. During brushing, you can check for hidden cuts, wounds, lumps or bumps. Lumps or bumps are mostly related to tumor. In case you notice anything abnormal, make an appointment with your vet.
Control fleas and allergies:
Allergies and fleas tend to cause a lot of itchiness. Regular scratching can cause more hair shedding than is observed normally. It is also a sign that your pup could be suffering from some allergic condition. In case the excessive scratching is due to flea or ticks, make sure that you are bathing your pup with an anti flea and tick shampoo. If you notice any abrasions on the skin or redness, consult your vet as soon as possible
Use the right kind of shampoo:
Shampoos and conditioners which are specific for de-shedding not only clean the coot, they also remove the dead hair which might be stuck to the skin. De-shedding shampoos and conditioners contain omega fatty acids and moisturizers which hydrate the skin and fur, allowing the hair follicles to grow strong and healthy.
Oatmeal shampoos reduce excessive shedding. Bathe your dog with oatmeal shampoo once every week or once every fortnight depending on the breed of your dog. Keeping the coat regularly brushed and healthy will reduce excessive shedding.
After drying, use a grooming brush or a de-shedding tool to remove the remaining dead hair.
Proper well balanced diet:
Diet plays a major role in keeping the fur coat healthy and shiny. A dog who regularly eats a well balanced diet will get all the necessary nutrients and vitamins he/she needs for a proper growth of hair follicles and keep them resistant to breakage.
Most of the currently available commercial cost effective dog foods contain fillers like grains, cereals, corns and various plant derived fibers. These fillers provide a tough time to the digestive system of dogs and also comprise of miniscule or no nutritional content. Meat must be there primary source of food on account of them being facultative or scavenging carnivores, even though they are capable of surviving on plant diet.
Then, the recommended meal for all dogs is always enriched with meat. The only drawback of high quality meat food is its expensiveness but its metabolic benefits far outweighs the price factor.
Increase your dog’s water intake:
It is tricky to understand how much water your dog needs. However, if you notice that your boy/girl is shedding moon than normal, you may way to keep checking his/her water intake. As per the general rule, a dog should drink one ounce of water per body weight (in pounds) every day. If your dog is drinking less water, it can lead to dehydration of the skin. Dehydrated skin tend to shed more hair.
If you are facing problems in making your dog drink adequate amount of water, try the following tips:
- Add flavoring agents like bone broth or chicken to the water.
- Always make sure that the bowl and the water is clean.
- Provide ice critics as treats.
- Keep multiple bowls of water scattered all around the house.
If you have an otherwise healthy pup, who is only shedding excessively, try out the following supplements after consulting your vet.
Excessive shedding can also be caused by a absent of fat component in your dog’s diet. Thus, adding certain dietary oils to your pup’s food might help reduce shedding.
Omega 3 fatty acid:
It helps to lubricate the skin and causes reduction in itchy and scaly skin. Omega 3 fatty aids include gamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, linoleic acid and dihomogamma linolenic acid. Omega 3 fatty acids are most abundant in fishes like salmon and tuna. These two can be added to your dog’s diet if you give him/her home-cooked meals.
Omega 6 fatty acid:
Omega 6 fatty acids iodide ecosapentanoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and alpha linolenic acid. It helps in retaining the moisture in dull and dry coats.
Promotes development of a healthy coat and supports the immune system.
Vitamins A and D
Boosts the quality of coat and skin.
It is an antioxidant which helps to reduce free radicals, thus keeps the skin looking healthy and young. There are 3 ways to use vitamin E for your pup:
- Apply directly to your dogs skin
- Add vitamin E to water and bathe your dog.
- Administer vitamin E pill orally.
In case you decide to administer the pill orally, consult your vet regarding the dosage.
Home remedies to reduce excessive shedding in dogs?
Add olive oil to your dogs food:
Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the meal of your dog. Olive oil contain omega 3 fatty aids which will condition your dog fur coat from the inside.
A small amount of plain yoghurt given as a snack or administration of acidophilus pills can help prevent yeast from infesting the skin of your dog and reduce excessive shedding.
Add molasses to diet:
Give one teaspoon of molasses per 10 pounds body weight. Molasses are known to help reduce shedding. Molasses contain vitamin B16 which has essential roles in the digestion of fat, synthesis of haemoglobin and is responsible for the metabolization of amino acids present in proteins.
Coconut oil is a superfood for dogs. The plethora of benefits of coconut oil include reduction in allergic reactions, improvement in the fur coat, better digestion and so much more. Click here to know the complete benefits of this super oil for your pups. Start with ¼ teaspoon everyday for small dogs and I teaspoon per 10 pounds body weight for larger dogs.
Flaxseed oil is one of the prominent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. It usually contains linolenic acid which can viperous the eye, skin ailments and provide luster to the fur coat. Thus, it is a great addition to the diet of your pup.
Apple cider vinegar:
There are 2 methods in which ACV can be used to reduce shedding
- Add a small amount of ACV to your dogs drinking water. You will notice the improvements within a month.
- Make a solution of ACV and water. Rinse your dog’s coat with this solution after bath and allow the coat to air dry.
When to visit the vet?
Certain medical conditions can also cause your dog to shed excessively like:
- Parasitic infection
- Fungal infection
- Emotional/physical stress
- Hormonal issues
- Skin allergies
If your dog is exhibiting hair loss leading to patchy baldness or exceptionally high hair loss, take him/ her to the vet soon.
It is not possible to solve the problem of shedding all at once but you can definitely work towards reducing it. Sometimes excessive shedding can be the cause behind diseases like Cushing’s disease which affects dogs of senior dogs. If your dog sheds excessively despite of all your efforts, then it is time to pay a visit to your veterinarian.