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The No Shed Myth

One of the most widely spread myths about dog ownership is that there are breeds that don’t shed, or that you can completely stop a dog from shedding.

All animals with hair or fur, dogs included, must shed. (1) Not only is this important for temperature regulation with season changes, but it’s a part of a natural and healthy hair cycle, just like how we lose and grow hair follicles regularly.

Especially in the first few weeks of fall, […] animals seem to shed their summer coat for their warmer autumnal models.

HuffPost

Yes, it is true that some dog breeds shed less, or some shed more, but no dog completely stops shedding unless they are hairless. Even then, hairless cats for example, still have skin dander that must be groomed – but don’t think too hard on that.

The fact is, shedding fur is a part of pet ownership, and while it’s bothersome, it doesn’t compete with the love we feel for our furry family members. Keeping the house clean just moves a little higher up on the priority list for people with pets in the household.

Why Does Your Dog Shed Excessively?

If your dog is shedding excessively, it may be cause for concern. Excessive shedding can result in bald patches on their skin, or be the result of over-grooming, stress, allergies, or an underlying medical condition or unmet dietary need that should be addressed immediately by your vet.

While excessive shedding could be a sign of these problems, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, your vet will find nothing wrong with your pooch, coming to the conclusion that their new rate of shedding is brought on by seasonal changes, or a new stage of puppyhood.

Changing medications, food types, and environments can also bring on a temporary bout of excessive shedding, as the pup’s body is reacting to the stress or dietary and hormonal changes brought on by these new factors.

The appearance of more hair may also be released when the puppy is excited, as dancing motions and rubbing against surfaces can dislodge hairs that are loose or already free in the undercoat but not yet knocked loose from other layers of fur, making frequent grooming a necessity for pet owners who want to control the level of fur in their home and on their clothes.

Some amount of shedding is always normal, and depending on the breed and length of fur, your pooch may leave behind more hair than others.

Benefits of Preventing Excessive Shedding

There are several benefits to preventing excessive shedding, with quality of life in the household being the top choice for many pet owners, tied with an increase in overall pet health and better-quality bonding time between owner and pet as there is less worry about pet hair.

Fortunately, household cleaning doesn’t have to be such a chore for all pet owners. In recent years, many have turned to robot vacuums. (2) These mini vacuums can help remove dust and pet hair from floors once or twice a day depending on how often you program them to run, allowing you to focus on the more thorough but less frequent cleaning routine.

If you’re not ready to take the plunge on a robovac, and if your home mostly has hard floors, a good dust mop is a great option.

NY Times

Another benefit to controlling pet hair in the home is the joy of hosting events or feeling comfortable in your space without as many allergens in the air, keeping the air cleaner for everyone, including pets.

How to Stop My Dog from Shedding

You might be reeling from the news that all dogs shed and that even your hypoallergenic or “low-maintenance” breed that has been marketed as a safe choice for those with allergies will shed. Fortunately, some breeds do shed less than others, but no dog is truly “shed-free.”

Now that we’ve debunked the shedding myth, let’s cover the top options for keeping pet hair under control in the home and preventing excessive shedding.

We’ve scoured cleaning hacks and tips from across the internet to test the best ones that have real merit in controlling the level of pet hair in your home.

Make Brushing Bonding Time

It’s no secret that dogs love their humans. Brushing them is a great way to provide them with easy, low-energy relaxation and bonding time that you could even do while watching television in the evening.

By keeping your brush nearby and giving your pooch some loving cuddle-time, they’ll be much happier, but you’ll also be able to keep their coat better under control.

Ensure Your Dog Has an Optimal Diet

Keeping your dog healthy and fed can be a challenge for some pet owners, especially with a picky eater. It’s important not to just pick any bag of food up from the grocery store aisle, however, and instead look at the ingredients and nutrition information.

Whole food or kibble derived from real food is better than ground meal and by-products, and your pet needs protein, carbs, and other nutrients in different ratios depending on their weight, breed, and stage of life.

If you’re unsure about what your pet needs, consider consulting your vet for more information on what they should be eating to provide them with an optimal diet at home.

Provide Enough Moisture in their Diet

Dry skin is one of the top culprits of excessive shedding. We all know that dog that might chow down on a whole bowl of dry kibble and only laps up a little bit of water to wash it down, whereas other dogs might be lapping away happily for minutes at a time.

As a result, the dog who drinks less water almost always has problems with excessive shedding because there’s not enough moisture in their diet.

Providing enough water can become a challenge for the average pet owner, especially if your pet isn’t fond of it. Switching to wet food or dampening the dry kibble with water is one of the easiest ways to provide your pooch with more water throughout the day.

Filling their water bowl with different types of water – distilled, filtered, spring water, you name it – may also help encourage them to drink more, as they may not like the taste of water.

Contrary to popular belief, different types of water have different tastes based on the minerals and additives in it, with tap water almost always ranking poorly. Furthermore, dogs have more sensitive taste buds than humans and can taste much more than we can. Taste is one of the most important senses to dogs after smell, which is why it always seems like they’re on a quest for flavor (even if it’s the floor or a piece of rotten food.)

Control Fleas

Fleas are difficult to deal with, both for you and your pet. Fleas cause itchiness that can cause your pet to feel miserable and over-groom or scratch their fur out, leaving them with blisters, dry skin, and bald spots in the fur.

Once they’re in your house, it’s a costly carpet cleaning and flea-control process that can easily wipe out your savings.

Your vet, however, will happily provide you with a prescription flea, tick, and heartworm medication for your dog that will help control fleas in your home and prevent them from taking up residence in your dog’s fur.

Not only that, but it’ll also help keep your dog healthier, preventing heartworms and ticks from causing health problems and generating costly medical bills.

It’s important to note, however, that most over-the-counter flea control solutions are often ineffective, and not vet-approved. Over-the-counter flea collars and topical solutions are often recalled after endangering pet health. Using vet-prescribed medication is the only way to keep your pet healthy and safe.

Stay on Top of Grooming

It is important to stay on top of your grooming routine, even throughout the winter. This is especially true with breeds that grow a second coat layer for the winter and shed it during the summer.

While your groomer might keep their undercoat for the winter, the dedicated brushing will keep your dog’s coat lush and growing healthily throughout the season. You’ll also be less likely to catch all their warm weather shedding on your couch, as the groomer will help brush out loose hairs and keep the fur controlled during their natural shedding season.

Some dogs, however, don’t need this undercoat, so undercoat grooming is not as much of a concern. Small, short-hair dogs like a chihuahua, for example, may need less grooming than say, a Siberian husky. Dogs with minimal grooming requirements still benefit from having their fur brushed and conditioned to keep it healthy.

Try an Omega 3 Supplement

Every dog is different, and some dogs shed more because they aren’t getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet.

Even if they are given an optimal diet for their breed or weight, they might be missing key ingredients, especially if they have a faster metabolism or get an above-average amount of exercise.

Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial not just in keeping your dog’s energy levels up, but it can also help keep their coat healthier. Dry skin or brittle follicles can lead to premature shedding of fur.

If you notice this in your dog, it might be a lack of fatty acids. By adding dog-approved Omega 3 to their diet, you’ll notice an improvement in the softness and fullness of their coat, with less shedding, all in just a few weeks. Your pet will feel better too, feeling more energetic and lively throughout the day.

See the Vet

If you notice your dog shedding excessively, especially if they begin developing rashes, hives, itchiness, or bald spots on their fur, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately. The vet may be able to identify other symptoms and signs of underlying medical conditions, viruses, or parasites that could be causing the excessive shedding.

Furthermore, seeing the vet will give you a chance to get a refill on your prescription for flea, tick, and heartworm medication or talk about any other concerns you may have about your pup’s behavior.

Annual checkups can also help keep shedding under control by helping your vet keep on their health over time and familiarize them with your pet’s medical history.

Overall, it’s important to ensure that your dog is healthy and preventing problems before they become a real concern. This type of preventative action is healthy, even without excessive shedding to prompt it.

There’s Dog Hair Everywhere! How Do I Clean It?

In this guide, like many of our other lint roller guides, we made sure to test different types of rollers for the purpose to help pet owners find the perfect solution to their needs.

What we found is that a lot of pet owners don’t know how to keep pet hair at bay. Feature-riddled, expensive solutions are always a disappointment, and the bottom-of-the-barrel options can’t stand up to the test of time.

In our experience, a good mid-range lint roller is the perfect solution, combining an inexpensive price point with simple-yet-upgraded technology like extra (or ultra) sticky sheets from Pet Lovers. These lint rollers outperform just about any other brand on the market based on our testing.

Plus, refill packs make it easy to reuse the durable handle so you can reduce your plastic waste while keeping your home clean.  

References:

  1. HuffPost, How to Get rid of Pet Hair: Testing 7 Odd Ways, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/7-ways-to-get-rid-of-pet-hair_n_964554
  2. NY Times, Pets Shed Constantly. Here’s How to Keep Up, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/smarter-living/wirecutter/pets-shed-constantly-heres-how-to-keep-up.html