While entirely normal, dog shedding can still be a pain.
Imagine you’ve just spent the whole Saturday cleaning the house and vacuuming the carpets. Then, Biscuit enters the room and covers everything with her hair. At this point, you’ll have two options — live-long therapy sessions to deal with the traumatic experience or finding a way to keep up with your fluffy friend’s coat.
We can only help with the second. Let’s learn all about shedding in dogs — why it happens and how to deal with it. Finally, we’ll focus on some concerning conditions and environmental factors, like parasites, allergies, and liver complications, which can cause excessive shedding.
Table of Content
- Why Do Dogs Shed?
- How Often Do Dogs Shed?
- How to Reduce the Shedding of Your Dog
- When Is Shedding a Concern?
- What Might Be the Cause of Excessive Fur Loss?
- Which Dog Breeds Shed the Most?
- Our Best Shedding Tips
Why Is My Dog Shedding So Much?
Fur keeps our doggies warm during the colder months and protects them from sunburn in summer. And with that much hair on their bodies, shedding is unavoidable.
How much your dog will shed depends on its breed. Some dogs like the Bernedoodle shed very little, while others like the Alaskan Malamute are heavy shedding dogs.
You should also consider the time of the year, your dog’s health, and diet. Even though it can be highly frustrating for owners, shedding is entirely normal.
When Do Dogs Shed?
Knowing when to expect the start of your dog’s shedding season can be helpful. It makes it a lot easier to prepare mentally for the struggle of finding dog hair everywhere.
But not all dogs shed seasonally. Some breeds shed all year round, which might sound horrifying, but it’s not much of a difference.
A dog’s shedding season usually occurs twice a year — once in fall, when the light summer coat is discarded to make space for a thick winter one, and once in spring when the opposite happens. It can result in big locks of hair being shed at once. So you find carpets of dog hair twice a year every day over a few months.
Dogs that shed year-round do it gradually and in smaller quantities. So you’ll always have some hair on the floor, but you can easily remove it by vacuuming once a week.
It’s up to you to decide which one you prefer before choosing a dog breed — a seasonal shedder like the Samoyed or a year-round one like the Golden Retriever.
Dog Shedding Solutions
No matter which breed you choose, your pup’s going to shed. So how can you make it less frustrating?
As I mentioned before, the amount of hair your dog sheds depends on several factors:
- Breed: Some pups, like the Affenpinscher, shed just a little, while others, like the Afghan Hound, come with excessive shedding.
- Age: As dogs grow older, their hair becomes weaker and sheds more. Dog shedding products, such as specialized shedding brush, can help you handle the situation.
- Health: Some conditions and allergies might result in heavier shedding.
- Climate: Expect more shedding with rapid weather changes.
- Living conditions: An outdoors puppy will shed more, as it has to adapt to temperature changes constantly. A doggie that lives inside has the luxury of warmth in winter and refreshing coolness in summer, so it won’t shed as much.
Even though you don’t have control over all of these factors, some tricks can help your pet shed less.
What helps with dog shedding is exercise. Generally, a doggy that’s active daily will stay healthier, which equals less hair fall. It’s the same with humans, so we’re not that different after all.
Dog shedding highly depends on the food your pooch consumes.
A poor diet can often lead to poor gut health, and the gut microbiome is essential for our bodies. From eczema to severe conditions like multiple sclerosis, many diseases have all been linked to an unhealthy gut microbiome.
A diet rich in omega 3 and 6, olive oil, fresh meat, vegetable, and fruit can do wonders with your doggie’s shedding. Try to avoid filler ingredients like rice, soy, and corn, and focus on high meat protein content.
Dog shedding season is hard on all dog owners, but understanding the importance of proper hydration can help.
When dogs are dehydrated, their skin becomes dry and itchy. This affects the production of healthy fur — hairs become brittle and fall easily when your pooch scratches its itchy skin.
Generally, one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight a day is optimal for all doggies. But bear in mind that your pup will need more water to stay healthy and happy during the hot months.
How long does dog shedding last? Sometimes it seems like your dog’s just a big fluffy hair factory. It’s normal to some extent, but when heavy shedding continues for too long, you might want to look into it.
When doggies are stressed out, their bodies start secreting adrenaline, resulting in more shedding. If you think your pup might be stressed, it’s good to investigate what might have contributed to this. Here are a few questions for you to answer:
- Did you visit a new vet recently?
- Have you changed the home?
- Did you get a new pet?
- Is your dog exercising too much?
- Is your pet eating less? Or not eating at all?
Brushing And Shedding Tools
Choosing the right dog brush for shedding can save you lots of unnecessary nerves.
Brushing your doggy should be a priority and not only when Fluffy is shedding. Grooming prevents fur from becoming tangled or matted. Also, it removes the dead hairs and dandruff. Plus, brushing helps with the distributing natural oils your pup’s skin produces, making the fur shinier and softer.
If your dog is shedding in clumps, a shedding tool can be beneficial, especially during the shedding season. They’re usually made of closely-spaced steel tines that remove the hair before it hits the carpet.
One of the most recommended dog brushes on the market is the Ruff ‘N Ruffus Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. It’s suitable for dogs with longer coats, but it works wonders for short and medium-length hair, too. You won’t have any trouble cleaning it, and it comes with free nail clippers.
Bathing is a helpful dog shedding treatment, and it also eliminates unpleasant dog smell. That’s a win-win in my book.
Taking your pooch to a grooming salon every month can get expensive. So if Doggo isn’t incredibly dirty or matted, you can wash him at home.
Always use a specialized dog shampoo. Dogs’ skin is more sensitive than ours, and even gentle baby shampoos can lead to dry skin and fur.
One more useful tip is to use warm water and give your fur baby a good four-five minute shampoo massage. That’s how you’ll make sure that all dirt and dead hair are removed.
What helps with dog shedding is using the proper dog shampoo. Here are some things to consider when deciding which one to get:
- Avoid artificial fragrances. They can result in allergies and skin irritations, so try to find a shampoo with natural scents.
- Avoid artificial colors. Just like fragrances, dyes can damage your puppy’s skin barrier and irritate.
- Make sure you have a shampoo at the right pH. While our skin’s pH is around 4.7 (slightly acidic), doggies’ skin is more alkaline (up to 7.2). Acidic shampoos can harm the skin and make it susceptible to infections.
The FURminator is arguably the best dog shampoo for shedding canines. It’s enriched with Omega 3 and 6, vitamin E, and natural fragrances like calendula extract. That will help with deshedding and make your puppy smell nicely.
If you want to step up your shedding game, you can also add shedding supplements to your dog’s food. Healthy fats and vitamins can significantly improve hair fall.
A great dog shedding supplement is the Shed-X’s Dermaplex liquid. It’s rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from Norwegian anchovies and sardines, making hair shiny and healthy. It also contains Zinc and Biotin to improve dull and dry hair and calm irritated skin.
Home Remedies for Dog Shedding
Dealing with a shedding dog can be frustrating, especially when you start finding hairs in your food. Thankfully, there are some home remedies that, when applied correctly, can make your life as a dog parent way easier.
- Olive, flaxseed, and coconut oil: Rich in healthy fats and Omega 3s, these ingredients will moisturize the hair, make it stronger and less prone to fall.
- Wet food: Adding wet food to your dog’s meal plan can boost hydration, and that will make their skin and hair less dry, decreasing shedding.
- Fish oil for dog shedding: It’s also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that make your dog’s fur stronger and healthier, resulting in decreased shedding. Adding tuna or salmon to your dogs’ diet can do wonders. Remember to remove all bones and be careful with the introduction — some dogs can’t tolerate fish.
- CBD oil: It’s controversial oil, but it might be highly beneficial for your doggie’s shedding hair. While it’s derived from the cannabis plant, don’t worry. It won’t make your pup high. CBD oil contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and linoleic acid, which are essential for healthy coats.
- Plain yogurt: The healthy fats and protein in yogurt can benefit your pooch’s overall health, which in turn will decrease dog shedding. Ensure the yogurt doesn’t contain any sweeteners or flavors, as they can be harmful and irritating for your pooch.
Pet Hair Remover
Even with the best shedding practices, there’ll always be some hairs lying around. That’s why hair removers and lint rollers are every pet owner’s friends.
A great option is the pet hair remover by ChomChom. It’s easy to use and doesn’t need refills. Additionally, it’s eco-friendly and can be used on both clothes and furniture.
How to Stop Dog Shedding
Spoiler alert: You can’t.
No matter what you do, your dog will continue to shed. It’s normal and healthy. So the best thing you can do is to just deal with it. After all, dog care comes with a few compromises. And hair-covered clothes and sofas are just one of them.
When Is Shedding a Concern?
While hair fall is normal, sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious issue.
Excessive shedding can be caused by many health conditions, allergies, and toxic substances. It’s important to contact your vet if you think your dog might be shedding too much.
What Might Cause Excessive Dog Shedding?
Let’s discuss the most common health and environmental factors that might be causing excessive fur loss.
- Parasites: If your pup’s contracted fleas or other parasites, they might be causing its skin to itch. Your doggy will be scratching vigorously, which increases hair fall. If that’s the case, it’s worth investing in a good flea collar or pills against common parasites.
- Fungal infections: Ringworm and fungal dermatitis are two of the most common fungal dog infections. They can cause skin crusting, itching, and excessive shedding. Early detection is key, so check your dog for signs of flaky skin, brittle nails, ear infections, and intense itching.
- Allergies: If you’re wondering how to deal with dog shedding and nothing seems to work for you, it’s worth investing in an allergy testing kit for dogs. Food, flea, and environmental allergies are not uncommon in dogs, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Liver conditions: If your dog’s been losing weight without being on a diet, or it’s been drinking way too much water and urinating too often, it might be showing early signs of liver disease. Heavy hair loss is a common side effect. Regular vet visits can help with early detection.
- Thyroid or adrenal issues: If your dog has been shedding in clumps this might be a sign of a more serious condition. Excessive shedding is among the symptoms of hypothyroidism (deficiency in some thyroid hormones) in dogs, along with exercise intolerance and lethargy. If your pup’s showing any of these symptoms, it’s worth mentioning it to your vet. They’ll know what tests to run to check for the most common conditions.
- Pregnancy: Dog shedding during and after pregnancy is normal. Many hormonal changes occur in the body of a mama dog at this time, and some of them can lead to shedding. During lactation, calcium and other essential minerals for healthy fur are also lost. Your vet can recommend the best supplementation for your pregnant pup.
- Medication side effects: Antibiotics, birth control pills, and corticosteroids are only a few of the drugs that contribute to excessive hair loss. So, if your dog is shedding more than usual after starting a medication, check the information leaflet for the most common side effects.
- Sunburn: Fur keeps humanity’s best friends warm in winter and protects them from sunburn in summer. But if your dog spends too much time under the sun, its skin might burn. That’s highly unpleasant for the doggy and will probably result in excessive shedding. Always make sure there’s plenty of shadowy areas for your pet to hide under when going outside in summer.
Which Dog Breeds Shed the Most?
While shedding is normal for dogs and humans alike, some breeds can make you desperate to find out how to reduce your dog’s shedding. My Golden Retriever’s constant shedding resulted in a burned vacuum once… just saying.
Here are the absolute winners of the shedding competition:
- Alaskan Malamute
- German Shepherd (a.k.a. German Shedder)
- Labrador Retriever
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Golden Retriever
Which Dog Breeds Shed the Least?
On the other end of the spectrum are the breeds that shed just a bit or not at all. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- American Hairless Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Giant Schnauzer
- Afghan Hound
According to allergy statistics, dog and cat allergies are pretty common, affecting 10-20% of people worldwide. Interestingly, some hypoallergenic dog breeds, like the Affenpinscher, are less likely to cause allergic reactions because of their mild shedding.
Dog Shedding Tips
- Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner. Consider the ones that are specifically made for dealing with dog hair.
- Visit the vet if you notice excessive shedding. It might be a symptom of a serious illness.
- A good tip on how to reduce dogs shedding is to treat pre-existing conditions or deficiencies first.
- If you can afford it, take your puppy to a professional grooming salon once or twice a year for a deep deshedding.
While shedding in canines is perfectly normal, seeing dog hairs everywhere after you’ve just vacuumed can be frustrating. That said, you can do a lot to manage the amount of fur your doggy releases daily.
For starters, you can improve your dog’s health by increasing exercise and enriching its diet with high-quality protein and healthy fats. Adding regular baths, grooming, and plenty of water for good hydration can do wonders for dog shedding.
But excessive shedding can also be a sign of illness. So if you think your dog’s shedding way too much — to the point of coat thinning — take it to the vet. It’s always better to seek professional advice if you’re concerned with your puppy’s health.