All dog owners have had their fair share of hair in their household, and that’s just something you need to accept when living with a furry animal, isn’t it?
While some pet shedding is normal, excessive and long-lasting shedding can be indicative of an underlying medical problem that needs to be checked by the vet. Additionally, sometimes shedding can be caused by improper nutrition, allergies, or fleas.
The good news is, there are some simple home remedies to stop dog shedding that will in the long term create benefits for your dog’s overall health and wellness.
When is dog shedding normal or not normal?
How do you know your dog’s shedding isn’t normal?
You need to be acquainted with your dog’s breed characteristics and whether he or she has a thick undercoat that actually mostly creates the mess. Some breeds, like the American Eskimo, Alaskan Malamute, Border Collie Australian Shepherd, Chow Chow, etc. have naturally very thick fur coats and during the shedding season (mostly spring and fall) can leave behind clumps of hair if not properly groomed.
Labradors and Huskies, for example, are equipped with a thick and dense undercoat that helps them endure very low or high temperatures, as well as repel water. Needless to say, these breeds are shedding masters and it’s perfectly normal to see them drastically change throughout seasons.
That said, dogs shed all year round and sometimes your pooch may be losing more hair than supposed to. Try out these seven quick and inexpensive home tricks to help your dog (and your home) deal with shedding.
Introduce beneficial ingredients into your dog’s diet
A well-balanced and high-quality diet is essential not only for your dog’s coat, but overall health and wellbeing. Before suspecting any other causes for your pooch’s hair loss, make sure the dog food you are feeding him contains enough protein, omega -3 fatty acids, and fibre.
You can purchase dietary supplements with omega-3 fatty acids, or include fish in their daily meals. Tuna, Sardine, Herring, Salmon, etc. are rich in good fats and great for strong and shiny hair (that goes to humans too). Make sure, though, to get rid of all of the bones, as dogs are not very skillful and can choke on a sharp, pointy fishbone.
Flaxseed, olive and coconut oil
Another effective way to improve your dog’s diet is by adding unrefined oil in their food. Flaxseed, olive and coconut oil are amazing resources of amino-acids and healthy fats, and you can dose them precisely, too. Add a teaspoon of oil for every 5 kg of body weight. This way you know how much healthy fat your dog will get.
With proper nutrition goes along proper hydration. It goes without saying that your dog needs to have access to plenty of freshwater.
Dehydration causes skin dryness, which makes it susceptible to skin conditions and hair fall. A dog will intuitively reach for water if it needs it, so you can’t do much about that, but you can make sure the food you provide is not too dry.
Kibble is usually very dry, so maybe switch things up a little and introduce wet food from time to time. Homemade dog food is always richer in moisture, so if you have time, try looking for some dog food recipes that are properly nutritionally balanced.
Sometimes what your dog actually needs to help normal shedding is good old brushing. Regular (and in some cases more often) brushing is very effective in pulling out the dead hair, thus creating more space for new hairs to grow.
The best coat brushes have stainless steel bristles, which are strong and durable, but at the same time don’t rip the hairs and evenly distribute natural skin sebum, necessary to moisturize the fur and keep it healthy. When brushing, try not to pull the hair abruptly, make short but deep strokes that reach the undercoat layer.
Using a blow drier after your dog’s bath helps the remainder of loose hairs to be removed. Brushing is the most effective in dealing with shedding, but after a proper wash, there’s always some more hair hanging on there. Use a brush and a blow dryer simultaneously and you’ll get the best results.
A friendly tip: don’t use high heat on your dog, cool air setting is just enough to do the job. Too much heat may also damage and dry out the skin, so better be safe than sorry.
Look for fleas
These pesky little creatures may be giving your dog a hard time if you catch them scratching, biting its own skin and pulling hair excessively.
There are various medicinal or home-made remedies for fleas, both being very effective depending on the extent of infection.
What goes without saying is, of course, strict hygiene, regular washing, and anti-flea shampooing. Thoroughly vacuum your dog’s sleeping area and everything that may be infected, then clean the vacuum cleaner and dispose of the bag before vacuuming the rest of the house to stop the infection from spreading.
You can help reduce itching and skin irritation by making a natural anti-flea collar. Add a few drops of Lavender, Eucalyptus or Tea tree essential oil on your dog’s collar which will affect the fleas and stop them from spreading.
Keep the allergens away
Some allergic reactions may cause itchy skin and irritation which can lead to hair falling out. The same goes for dogs, so check with your vet if your furry companion is allergic to something.
To prevent any common allergens causing problems, consider getting an air purifier. It gets rid of dust and allergens while you sleep and it can be a life-changer for you and your dog.
These natural remedies and maintenance tips are great for keeping the problem under control and avoiding heavy medication when it’s not truly necessary. If your dog experiences major discomfort over excessive shedding and you notice there’s a skin condition, then the underlying problem may be more serious, so consult your vet immediately.
Catherine Bono is a blogger, who is passionate about dogs and cats. She created Crittersitca.com to shares her experience as she studies to become a qualified vet.