By Courtney Emken
co-written by Bart Emken, CPDT-KA, Jen Larson, KPA-CTP, and Amanda Ott.
Throughout the year, and especially during the sweltering summer months, dogs shed their excess fur to keep their coat fresh and clean. Humans actually do the same thing, but we don’t quite create the mounds and mounds of lost hair as dogs do.
For most owners this just entails a few extra housecleaning sessions, but for people with excessively shedding dogs or dander allergies, shedding can pose a real problem. While you can never completely eliminate your dog’s shedding, you can certainly take steps to reduce it. Here’s how:
#1 Regular Grooming And Brushing
Just like with house cleaning, regular maintenance will keep your dog’s coat cleaner in the short term. To prevent widespread shedding, simply brush your dog often and then dispose of the lost hair. This may mean daily or weekly brushing, depending on the thickness of your dog’s coat.
Generic dog brushes will certainly help reduce shedding, but if you want a more dramatic reduction in shedding, you’ll need to purchase a brush specifically tailored to your dog’s coat. Here’s a quick guide to matching coat types and brushes:
- Wire Pin Brushes– these brushes can come with rubber tips, and are intended for medium to long length fur. Example: Golden Retrievers.
- Bristle Brushes– bristle brushes vary widely, and can be used on any dog’s coat. If your dog has coarse hair, you’ll want stiffer and thicker bristles. Example: Irish Terriers.
- Slicker Brushes– the wire bristles on slicker brushes are thinner and more fine than other wire pin brushes, use these on matted fur.
- Combs– Grooming combs come in all shapes and sizes, and most are created with a specific purpose in mind like de-matting or skin massaging.
You can also get a more thorough dog hair “remover.” These devices specifically target the loose hair hiding in your dog’s undercoat, and many claim to reduce shedding by 90%.
#2 Know Your Dog’s Coat Type
During the hot Texas summer it can be tempting to just shave off your dog’s coat entirely. While it may seem logical that a thick coat will make your dog hotter, be careful about going too far. Many dog breeds have double coats, which use two layers of fur work together to insulate them from the heat. For most dogs, you don’t need to shave their coat at all.
Though shaving a dog’s coat definitely reduces shedding, it may do so at the expense of their health and safety. Breeds like Huskies, who have white fur and blue eyes, are especially at risk. Without the protection of their coats, these dogs can sunburn and overheat quickly in the summer.
#3 Use Specialized Shampoo And Bathing
While not as effective as regular grooming, specialized shampoos and conditioners can help reduce shedding as well. These shampoos hydrate your dog’s fur, making them less likely to become brittle and break. However, hydration can actually increase shedding in some dogs, so consult a vet before you decide to use a deshedding shampoo.
To use the shampoo, lather your dog’s entire coat before the bath. Make sure you thoroughly work the shampoo into their fur, letting it reach the skin. Afterwards, wash it out and give them a quick brushing to clear out remaining fur.
#4 Seek A Professional Groomer
If you don’t have the kind of time that regular grooming requires, you can pay a groomer to clean your dog’s coat. When you go in, ask for a FURminator treatment. Using the fur remover, groomers can pull garbage bag’s worth of shed hair from your dog’s coat.
Groomers generally recommend getting a FURminator treatment around once a month at first. Each successive trip will strip more hair from the undercoat and drastically reduce shedding. However, these are a temporary fix and will need to be repeated multiple times a year to maintain effectiveness.
#5 Evaluate Their Diet
Certain diets can negatively impact your dog’s skin and follicle health, causing dry skin and increased shedding. Watch out for harmful ingredients like,
Dogs can’t digest these substances and their nutrition will suffer, potentially causing their coats to dull or dry out. Instead, try to incorporate Omega fatty acids into their diet. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids bolster your dog’s skin and follicles and prevent shedding.
#6 Evaluate Their Stress Level
Stress can induce shedding as well; watch for excessive shedding and other signs of anxiety. Evaluate their environment and look for what could be causing their stress. After identifying potential causes, remove them from the stressful situation and see if their shedding decreases. If not, consult a vet asap, as excessive shedding could be a sign of something more serious.
If you have any more questions about reducing your dog’s shedding, or just want to know our favorite brushes, please contact us today. We want to help every dog have a safe and comfortable summer- and a clean coat does just that!
Hairy Dog by NBphotostream
Dog Shedding by Elaine Ashton
Dog at Goomers by Anson Chappell