While visiting a sibling with a shedding dog, I vacuumed the house thoroughly in hopes of minimizing my allergies. To my astonishment, in less than 24-hours there was just as much hair as before. I tried everything from mopping to covering the furniture I wanted to sit on, but nothing worked.
One solution which certainly crossed my mind was having a Roomba (robot vacuum) follow the dog around from room to room and clean up after it.
For dog breeds that shed seasonally, you can expect it to be worst in the spring and fall. In the spring the dogs coat will become shorter in preparation for warmer weather while in the winter it will grow thicker to prepare for the cold.
Shedding is one of the downsides of having a dog, but so long as you’re willing to take the time and make the effort, the effects can be minimized. When you consider the loyalty, affection, and entertainment your dog provides, it’s a worthy trade off.
Tips to Reducing Dog Shedding:
- Brush your dog on a daily basis: Being proactive with brushing is most effective way to reduce the shedding.
- Add moisture to your dog’s diet: dogs fed only dry food have fur which is less strong and more likely to die. One of the best solutions is feeding your dog Flax Seed Oil.
- Bathe your dog regularly: giving your dog a bath helps remove clotted and matted up fur, and there are plenty of anti-shedding shampoos and conditioners to choose from as well. Your veterinarian will know what shampoo and conditioner you should use based on your dogs breed.
- Keep the vacuum and lint roller ready: Just like brushing your dog daily, it’s important to vacuum and have your lint roller ready to go at all times. Being proactive minimizes the buildup of fur and makes it less work to clean up at one time.
The most important tool for combatting dog shedding is the proper brush.
Choosing a Brush for your Dog
For dog breeds with short coats:
- First brush the coat in the opposite direction of hair growth, to pull dead hair out, then brush in the opposite direction to remove it from their fur. It’s important that you repeat this a few times to distribute the natural oils from their skin to their coat.
- If you are using a hound mitt or glove, massage the dogs coat in a circular motion to loosen the hair, then pet (eg brush) in the direction of hair growth. This should be repeated several times, especially during periods of heavy shedding.
For dog breeds with longer coats:
- You’ll need a tool which can get under the outer coat to grab the downy undercoat and pull out dead hair. Slicker brushes are ideal for these dog breeds. Continue going over the hair with the brush until you’re removing less and less each time.
- When shedding increases significantly, especially if you have a double-coated breed, switch to using a coat rake or shedding tool. They’re not all the same, but accomplish the same goal by working along the coat in the direction of hair growth, then pull up and away. If the tool has a blade, don’t press too hard. When you hit any tangles or matting, pick them out with a steel comb or mat splitter.
- If the amount of shedding seems out of the ordinary, it may be worth talking to your veterinarian. Endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism or congenital problems like follicular dysplasia can cause excessive shedding. Ironically, your dog may have allergies and these can cause skin and shedding problems.
If you think your dog may have a skin problem, it’s important you talk to your veterinarian.
The most effective way to combat shedding is to be proactive in removing dead hair with regular brushing, combing, and using pore and follicle-dilating shampoos and baths.