Why do Dogs Shed?
The big trade off to our dog’s unconditional love that makes our lives complete is constantly cleaning up their messy shedding. It’s a nuisance and a lot of extra work getting rid of unwanted fur in our homes. Shedding is a normal process for dogs, but the frequency and shedding amount often depends upon their health and breed type. And it can depend on the time of year, as many dogs develop thick coats in the winter that are then shed in the spring. Dogs who are always kept indoors, however, tend to shed fairly evenly all year round.
Dogs will also shed broken or damaged fur, and if their skin is irritated from conditions such as allergies, they will also shed excessively. Keeping your dog’s skin and fur healthy will reduce shedding and help in your cleaning efforts. While we cannot stop a dog from shedding, we can learn how to minimize dog shedding and effectively remove the fur.
Most importantly, you need to be diligent about vacuuming. Frequent vacuuming is the best way to keep your home hair free and there are many vacuums on the market especially made for pet hair. Be sure to remove hair from upholstery and your dog’s bed sooner rather than later, when it’s easy to pick up and before it works its way into the fabric. Use a dryer sheet along the baseboards to leave a coating that repels dust and pet hair.
Utilize Seat Covers and Furniture Throws
Upholstery is a magnet for pet hair, and removing pet hair from furniture or car seats can be a tedious task. If you allow pets on your furniture or bed, you would be wise to invest in a few furniture throws. Throws will keep your furniture looking (and smelling) better, and make your home more inviting to guests. Car seat covers are also an excellent investment and are highly recommended.
Find the Healthiest Food
Your dog needs to consistently eat healthy food with plenty of nutrients to have a healthy coat that doesn’t shed too much. Make sure it’s high quality, grain-free and contains good, digestible protein. Excessive shedding can often be prevented through proper nutrition. Quality pet-food manufacturers include the right amount of nutrients so that supplements are not needed, but dogs with allergies and/or sensitivities still might need to experiment with different brands and formulations to discover which food works best for them. Consult your veterinarian for advice on what foods will best suit your dog.
Use Olive Oil and Molasses
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your dog’s food every day. It contains omega-3 fatty acids which conditions their skin and coat. Healthy coats equal less fur equals win-win. Or you can give him a fatty acid supplement for a healthy coat. Another pantry item, molasses, will reduce a dogs shedding. They will probably like the taste too, give 1 tsp per 10 lbs.
Brush Your Dog Regularly
While you cannot stop a healthy dog from normal shedding, you can reduce the amount of hair in your home by brushing your dog regularly. Your veterinarian or groomer should be able to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type. Regular, even daily, brushing is the best thing you can do to keep your home free of hair. Brushing will also make your pet’s coat softer, cleaner, and less likely to shed. Most pets need more than one type of brush to remove all the dead hair. Slicker Brushes, Shedding Blades, Matbreakers and Grooming Gloves each have a specific function and work best on the type of coat they are designed for.
Bathe Your Dog Regulary
Bathe your dog every two months minimum and more during the summer. A clean dog will have a healthier coat. A gentle oatmeal shampoo can be used as often as once a week or so and will clean without drying the skin and rejuvenate a lackluster haircoat.
Help Avoid Allergies
If your dog sleeps in your bedroom with you and you are susceptible to allergies, get a good air purifier. Also, make sure your dog is getting proper allergy relief. To prevent itching and scratching from fleas use Drs. Foster & Smith Fiprotrol™ Plus for Dogs or K9 Advantix ® II to prevent and control infestations. this purifier
Regular Vet Checkups
A change in your dog’s skin or haircoat can often signal disease. Regular visits to your veterinarian will help identify problems early, and provide more effective treatment.
What Would Make a Dog Shed Excessively?
What seems like excessive shedding can be normal for some dogs, but it can also be the result of stress, poor nutrition or a medical problem. Your veterinarian can best determine if your dog’s hair loss is part of the normal shedding process or is a symptom of an underlying disorder.
Excessive hair loss or bald patches may be due to one of the following:
- Parasites (fleas, lice or mites)
- Fungal or bacterial infections
- Inhalant or food-related allergies
- Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s)
- Pregnancy or lactation
- Certain medications
- Self-induced trauma due to licking
- Immune disease
- Contact with irritating or caustic substances
If you notice any of the following conditions, or if your dog’s initial skin problem persists for more than a week, consult with your veterinarian for treatment.
- Skin irritation, including redness, bumps, rashes or scabs
- Open sores of any kind
- Bald spots or thinning of coat
- Dull, dry hair that pulls out easily
- Constant foot licking or face rubbing
Remember that routine brushing and grooming are an important part of every pet’s care. By paying attention to your pet’s diet and following these tips, you can significantly reduce the amount of pet hair in your home, on your furniture, and in your car.
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