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How to Prevent Dog Shedding

It’s everywhere! Dog hair has an uncanny knack for appearing in the oddest places – your dinner plate, refrigerator, bathroom soap dish, and on your pillow. Unless you possess a completely hairless dog (like the American Hairless Terrier), there is no such thing as stopping a dog from shedding. It is this natural loss of hair that makes way for new coats to emerge. Depending on the breed of dog you possess, you will find that shedding can greatly vary. In order to prevent the problem from taking over your life and home, consider a couple of the methods listed below:

How to Prevent Dog Shedding

Why Do Dogs Shed?

With the exception of a select few breeds, dog shedding is the natural process of removing dead hair that permits the growth of a new coat and that allows a dog to better adapt to climate changes in temperature that occur on a seasonal basis. For example, some breeds experience shedding in the spring, as they lose their winter coats.

While normal shedding occurs once or twice, some dogs seem to shed all year round, which is common in dogs that spend most of their time indoors. Usually, when indoor dogs step outside their home, they experience unexpected changes in weather. This is why some dogs naturally enter a period of continuous shedding in an attempt to appropriately regulate their overall body temperature.

In some cases, physical issues can cause a dog to shed a great deal of hair. A visit to the veterinarian can rule out or diagnose a skin infection, ringworm, mange, cancer, or stress. Also, keep in mind that it is not normal for a dog’s coat to thin out, as it grows older. Bald spots often characterize abnormal hair loss, which is a call for immediate action.

When looking for a new dog and you prefer a light shedder, try considering a Maltese, Scottish Terrier, Toy Poodle, Bichon Frise, Airedale, or Cockapoo. While most of these dogs possess short hair, do not mistake this as a sure sign for light shedding. Jack Russell Terriers are constant shedders despite their short hair [1]. As for the worst, keep in mind that breeds with double coats (such as Great Pyrenees and Siberian Huskies) possess a soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat. These heavy shedders remove excess hair once during the springtime and again in the fall.

Dog Shedding Prevention

No matter how much you try, dog hair has a way of showing up in the darndest places within a household. If you want to stay ahead of the shedding – proper grooming is the key to prevention. Instead of allowing the hair to cover your entire residence, taking care of the removal process yourself can prevent excessive shedding in the home. For starters, begin by brushing your dog at least once a day and then consider the following prevention tips:

a) Slicker Brush:

One of the best tools for keeping loose hair from falling out of your dog’s coat is to use a slicker brush. A thorough grooming session using this type of tool is suggested for once per week.

b) Stock Up on Common Grooming Tools:

Having an assortment of hair grooming tools in your possession is a good way to prevent unnecessary shedding. A shedding comb is pulled through the hair until the coat becomes smooth. Dog breeds with double coats work best with an undercoat rake, which pulls out loose undercoat. Some dogs experience a matting of the fur, in which a dematting rake cuts through the clumps of hair and acts as a detangler.

c) Buy a Grooming Mitt:

To prevent shedding in shorthaired dogs with a single coat, a grooming mitt (sometimes referred to as a “hound mitt”) is a glove with little nubs that works out loose hair. It is recommended to follow up with a bristle brush to remove the loosened hair.

d) Horse Shedding Blade:

Sounds gruesome – but dogs with short, thick double coats can benefit with the use of a horse shedding blade – easily found at feed stores, tack stores, and mail order catalogs. With little pressure, simply pull excess hair with an uncomplicated glide of the tool.

e) Wool Cloth:

Some double coat breeds of dog respond well to wool cloths rubbed onto their coats on a daily basis.

f) Vacuum:

Some pet owners have trained their dog to accept the disturbing sound of a vacuum cleaner, where some of the brush attachments have been known to work wonders on a shedding dog [2].

g) Visit the Veterinarian:

Some shedding problems are not normal and a visit to the vet can rule out underlying health concerns, such as a thyroid imbalance.

h) Infrequent Baths:

Frequent washing of a dog’s coat can strip away natural oils that can transform a shiny, lustery coat into a harsh, dry, and brittle mess. When a bath is needed, make sure to use mild soap, baby shampoo, or coconut-oil shampoo in order to decrease the hair loss that comes from a dry coat [3].

Resources

[1] http://www.dogtrainingschools.org/dog-house/dog-house/common-dog-diseases-illnesses-and-how-to-house-train-your-dog-conditions.html
[2] http://www.wonderpuppy.net/canwehelp/shedadvice.htm
[3] The Complete Dog Book by the American Kennel Club (pg 651)

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