Your Dog Shedding is another of those somewhat annoying traits that your dog may have.
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How to Stop Your Dog Shedding
Your dog is likely to be one of the most loving and important relationships you have in your life. If that sounds strange, it shouldn’t – after all, dogs have for tens of thousands of years been Man’s Best Friend! Across the globe, human cultures have had a love affair with dogs, and for good reason.
From Argus waiting two decades for his master Odysseus to return in Homer’s Odyssey to the master/dog dynamic duo of Lance and Crab in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona to the heart-rending Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows, the loyalty of dogs to their masters is well-chronicled in both classic and children’s literature.
Of course, it’s more than just fictional characters who have known what great pets dogs can make. Dogs have proven to be some of the most popular pets for the rich and powerful throughout history as well.
The history of dog shedding
We can thank the Ming Dynasty for Shih Tzus, there have been a great many Presidential pooches to occupy the White House Residence, and who could forget about the Queen and her corgis? Some of the most iconic figures in pop culture over the past century have likewise had a love affair with canines, from Marilyn Monroe and Salma Hayek to Bob Barker and Dorothy Parker.
In fact, Parker went so far as to write “Verse for a Certain Dog,” immortalizing the feelings of love, adoration, and occasional exasperation with which every dog owner can identify.
And after all, that’s the classic dilemma of every dog owner – we love our dogs, we just don’t always necessarily love what they tend to do to our homes. From “forgetting” where go to the bathroom to tracking in mud to shedding all over the home, dogs can be a nightmare when it comes to maintaining your home’s cleanliness.
That last point can be especially problematic. You can probably think of different solutions for making your dog go to the bathroom outside, and you can clean up muddy puppy paw prints every now and again, but what if your dog is shedding up a storm?
Never fear – this guide can help you answer the question of how to stop your dog shedding.
Some Causes of Excessive Shedding
First of all, it’s vital to say from the outset that, like barking, shedding is just part of the life of a normal dog. Unless you have a dog who has been specifically bred to shed less, chances are you’re going to have to deal with at least some shedding. That being said, there is a big difference between a normal amount of shedding and shedding excessively.
The first step to figuring out how to stop your dog shedding, therefore, is to determine the cause, and whether it’s natural or not. There is no hard and fast rule to determine whether your dog’s shedding is normal or excessive.
Is shedding naturally?
As such, you and, if necessary, your vet will have to determine whether your dog’s shedding is natural or if it’s being aggravated by something else. As a rule of thumb, a bit of shedding here and there might be normal, but if the rate at which your dog has been shedding has increased dramatically of late, or they’re shedding enough to create a small army of tribble-sized puffs of fur all-around your house, chances are there’s a problem.
Some of the most common problems which can cause excessive shedding in dogs to include the following:
- Parasites, especially fleas
- Infections of a bacterial or fungal nature
- Kidney and liver problems
- Pregnancy and related lactation
- Resulting side effects from medications
- Problems with their immune system
Of course, these are just some potential reasons. There are many more run of the mill reasons why your dog might be shedding excessively, such as mild skin irritation. As such, before you worry about some of the more alarming items on this list, you’ll want to take your pet to see the vet.
Brush Your Dog
Now that we have listed some of the most common causes for your dog’s shedding, it’s time to start talking about tangible steps you can take to combat the problem. Let’s start with one of the most common ways you can help stop your dog shedding excessively, namely, by brushing them properly.
Even if your dog isn’t shedding up a storm, it is always important that you give them a good brushing every now and again. A dog’s coat needs to be kept smooth and clean. Allowing it to become dirty, mangy, or clumped together is to invite a whole host of problems. For example, this is one of the leading causes of those aforementioned skin irritants which can lead to both discomforts for your dog and an excessive amount of shedding.
As such, you are going to want to brush your dog frequently. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s coat at least once a day. In addition, brushing your dog’s coat can help keep it softer, smoother, and cleaner, and can improve its overall appearance. In addition, you’re going to want to make sure that you are using the right brush for your needs.
There is a wide range of different brushes on the market, with some of the most popular brands being Slicker Brushes, Matbreakers, and Love Gloves. Using one of their offerings or another high-quality brush can help ensure that you and your dog get the most out of your brushing sessions, thereby cutting down on the chances of your dog shedding everywhere.
What’s more, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right type of brush for your dog. As the saying goes, for every job there is a proper tool. This is true for brushing your dog as well, so you’ll want to be sure to check and see what types of brushes are recommended for your dog as well as what types of dogs those aforementioned brush makers design their brushes for. It’s often the case that more than one type of brush is needed, with smaller brushes being necessary for brushing your dog’s facial area, for example, while larger brushes can help take care of their body.
Feed Your Dog Right
Another well-worn saying that’s pertinent when it comes to trying to stop your dog shedding is “you are what you eat.” That’s true for dogs as well as humans and points to yet another good starting point for trying to get your pet to shed less. A poor diet can leave the fur on your dog’s body lose, thin, or otherwise unhealthy, which can, in turn, make their coat especially susceptible to shedding.
As such, you’re going to want to make sure that your pet is being fed a proper diet. This means making sure that your dog is getting enough protein. If you feed your dog meat, be sure that there is an adequate amount of protein in the portions you are giving them. If you feed your pet dog food or nutritional supplements, you’ll want to check into the amount of protein those products contain, and, if necessary, add or switch to another more protein-rich formula.
A Word on Allergies
Then there’s the question of allergies. Given how many humans have allergies to pets, we know firsthand how difficult living with allergies can be. The same holds true for our four-legged friends. When it comes to dogs, allergies can stem from a wide range of sources, from dietary to environmental to congenital causes. You’ll first need to determine which of these (if any) are bothering your dog, after which you’ll need to look into an appropriate method of treatment.
For example, if your dog is allergic to something in their food, the easiest course of action is naturally to stop feeding them that food. That said, if the allergy is broader (say, to ingredients which are common in many types of dog food) you may need to shop around or ask your vet for a special dog food formula.
If the cause is environmental, the pattern is much the same. You and your vet will need to work together to determine what is your dog’s environment is causing them to have an allergic reaction, remove the source of the allergens to whatever degree that is possible, and determine if it is necessary to give any extra medication. If your dog’s allergy is congenital, your options are likely more limited, and it becomes all the more important to talk to your vet to see what, if any, treatments are available.
As we’ve mentioned, fleas, mites, and other parasites can be one of the most troublesome causes of your pet’s shedding. Not only does it leave you with clumps of fur all over your home, but it leaves your dog in a constant state of discomfort as well. If your dog is shedding because they are infested with fleas, mites, or other parasites, chances are that they are even more miserable about their predicament than you are. It is thus of the utmost importance that you show your dog some extra love and compassion as you find them an anti-flea treatment.
Bathing Your Dog
We all know how important it is to bathe our dogs. Not only is it important for their personal hygiene, but let’s be honest – no one wants that unbathed dog smell lingering in the carpeting and corridors of their home. That being said, if your dog is shedding excessively, you may need to up your dog bathing game to another level to help combat it.
For example, you may need to bathe your dog more frequently. This is especially true during the long, hot summer months. During the summer, your dog – like everyone else – can sweat a lot more, which in turn can lead to their coat becoming greasier, more matted and, thus, ripe for the kinds of irritation which can lead to increased shedding. You may also want to consider looking into specialty soaps which can help treat dogs with special skin or fur conditions that lead to excessive shedding.
One of the most common causes for human beings losing hair is (as if any of us need a reminder) too much stress. The same holds true for dogs. As such, if your dog is still shedding excessively and you’ve already tried some of the methods above, your pet’s problem may be as much a psychological as a physiological one.
If this is the case, you’ll want to do whatever you can to remove any sources of stress from your dog’s life. There is a wide range of potential causes for your dog to suddenly be more stressed, with some of the most common triggers for canine stress being as follows:
- Seeing something on your property or outside a window which is unknown to them
- Seeing another animal (particularly a dog or cat) in or near the home
- Hearing strange noises without being able to identify their source
- Noticing a sudden change in your home’s look, smell, or routine, particularly if a new pet is involved
These are broad categories, and you’ll have to do some work to figure out the specific cause of your dog’s stress. Once you have done that, you’ll have a better chance at more effectively addressing it.
For example, if you have just gotten a new pet, your dog may be disturbed by the sight, sound, and smell of a strange animal in “their” home. Remember, at their core, dogs still have animal instincts and are thus prone to territorial tendencies, especially when they feel they are being threatened or otherwise provoked.
In this example, it may be best to keep the pet in question away from your old dog as much as possible and to likewise keep their toys, odor, and any indications of their presence hidden from your dog. You will then want to gradually reintroduce the two, taking care to give both pets treats when they are in one another’s presence.
This will help both pets – particularly your old dog – come to create a positive association with one another in their minds, thus reducing the amount of stress they feel. This can also help preemptively stop any “turf wars” that your pets might otherwise have as a result of the newcomer’s arrival.
That’s just one example of how to combat dog stress to limit shedding. You’ll want to speak to your vet and, if necessary, a specialist in dog behavior if the stress-related shedding continues.
Means of Protecting Your Home against Shedding
No matter how effectively you guard against shedding, some are very likely to still occur. Even if this is natural shedding, you are going to want to take whatever steps you can to protect your home. Some of the best and most effective ways of protecting your home against shedding include the following:
- Investing in furnishings which are either resistant to or can otherwise mask dog fur
- Investing in rollers which can pick up dog fur with ease
- Investing in seat covers which can effectively guard your furnishings against dog fur
- Vacuuming early and often so as to avoid the nightmare of a massive buildup of dog fur littering your home
As stated throughout this article, your most important ally in trying to find a way to stop your dog shedding is, of course, your vet. But before you start spending money on vet bills take a look at my book. As established above, there are many potential causes for your dog to be shedding this much.
Trying on your own to figure out why your dog is shedding so much can lead to a tedious trial and error period at best and a cycle of failed non-solutions at worst.
As such, the most important step you can take in trying to fight your dog’s excessive shedding is to contact your vet and get their opinion. They can help give you insightful answers for nearly all of the above conditions.
If your dog is shedding due to dietary problems, they can suggest new nutritional supplements. If they are shedding due to stress, they can suggest a litany of effective means by which you can combat that. If they are shedding due to allergies or other medical problems, they can tell you what you can do about it yourself while giving your dog any extra treatments which might be necessary.
When it comes to investing in means by which to protect your home from your dog’s shedding, they can “put you on the scent” of some of the most effective anti-dog fur options on the market today.
Above all, you want to show your dog the same level of love, loyalty, and compassion that they show you. Your dog doesn’t mean to shed excessively. They are still the same good dog they always have been.
With the right help from your vet, they can be a good dog that no longer leaves your home a fur-ridden mess.