Dog owners are easy to spot--just take a look at their clothes. From car seats to furniture, it’s almost impossible for those black suit pants to not pick up any dog hair. Nearly every dog sheds and therefore every owner must find their way of managing it. Most commonly people are concerned with dog hair covering their clothes and house, making a mess of everything in sight. Though other times dog shedding is excessive and cause for alarm. Most dogs shed at least some as a natural process of releasing old and damaged hair. Dog health, breed type and season of year are all determining factors in how much a particular dog will shed. This article gives you dog shedding tips plus what else you should know.
The breeds that notoriously shed the most are: Labrador Retrievers, Akitas, Chow Chows, Siberian Huskys, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, and Pekingese, among others. These breeds have coats and genetics that predispose them to shed more than others. Shedding is a function of both the length and thickness of hair (which makes it more noticeable) as well as the frequency at which the hair sheds.
Excessive Dog Shedding
While it is normal and healthy for dogs to shed, excessive shedding should be considered an issue and may require a trip to the vet. Shedding that could be considered worrisome is when the coat becomes patchy and bald spots appear. Excessive shedding can be caused by a multitude of things including:
- Fleas and ticks
- Sunburn and skin infections
- Autoimmune disease
- Inadequate nutrition and lack of supplements
As a rule of thumb, a dog’s coat is a representation of what it eats, so first and foremost you should confirm your dog is getting adequate nutrition. Sometimes people notice their dog sheds more after switching to cheaper, low-quality dog food.
Dog Shedding Tips
After getting ready for work in the morning, the last thing you want is to be covered in dog hair. And most of us have experienced the irritation of needing to wipe-off our pants after sitting on a couch that a dog has been sleeping on. Keeping up with dog hair requires diligence and experimentation. While you can’t keep a dog from shedding, you can manage to keep the hair at bay with these simple tricks.
Tips for Controlling Shedding
Most people have heard of brushing a dog as a way to minimize shedding. It holds that this is the most surefire way to keep dog hair from getting all over your house. It also requires the most work.
The idea of a brush is to remove hair from your dog first so that it doesn’t get everywhere else. As hair naturally breaks and falls out, it accumulates in your dog’s coat. To remove all this hair, first brush your dog’s coat in the opposite direction that the hair grows in. Next, brush in the natural direction that it grows. Brushing this way first stirs up and releases loose hair and then removes it. The more you brush your dog the better, with daily being the best and then biweekly or weekly. Brush-like devices come in many forms, with new ones frequently popping up on the market, but in general you can get a dog grooming tool in the form of a:
- De-shedding tool
You’ll want to choose a tool that works best with your dog’s coat. For instance, long tooth combs work better for longer hair with an undercoat whereas a de-shedding glove may be best for extra short and fine hair.
Cleaning Your Clothes, Home and Furniture
With a dog, a vacuum becomes your best friend. And the more often you put it to use, the better. Daily vacuuming and removal of hair from fabrics and surfaces will help keep your house looking clean. Getting hair off of couches and clothes is usually best done with tape or a pet hair roller (high-quality lint roller). The key is to remove dog hair as soon as possible--the longer dog hair stays, it becomes worked into fabric and more difficult to remove. To prevent hair from settling in the first place, it’s best to cover your furniture and car seats with fabric (a sheet or blanket will do). Hair clings to certain fabrics and surfaces more than others so be sure to cover areas that you notice are especially hair-attracting.
Keeping a clean home in general and overall will allow you to spot and address hair as it lands, thus helping you stay on top of it.
Tips for Preventing Shedding
Prevention is always king and there are some measures you can take to prevent and limit shedding from its source so that you’re not constantly behind the ball and trying to keep up with it. A healthy dog will shed their natural amount but even then you can help limit it with proper health and coat maintenance.
Health & Coat Management
Interesting enough, dog health plays a big role in the amount and frequency that they shed. First and foremost, make sure your dog is getting adequate nutrition. Most of the cheapest bulk dog foods don’t provide the nutrition a dog needs for optimal health. Simply put:
- High-quality dog food and limited table scraps
- Control allergies, fleas and ticks
- Get regular checkups at the vet
- Add hemp oil to their food
Aside from owning a shed-free dog, your diligence and attention to dog health can ensure that your house and clothes are nearly free of dog hair.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained or made available through the ColoradoDog website is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice or veterinary advice.