Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Its an unavoidable part of being a dog owner - coping with the dog hair! Your dog loses its dead or damaged fur to make room for new, healthy fur to grow. Most dog breeds shed, whether that’s all year, seasonally or only a little. You can’t stop it, but Harris Hounds have put together some steps you can take to help minimalism it….
Using a quality brush suited to your dogs coat to regularly brush them will get rid of that loose hair in a controlled way - you can be on hand to clean it up before it spreads! Plus, a good brush stimulates the hair follicles encouraging a smooth, vibrant and shiny coat. Different coats need different types of brushes, just give us a shout at Harris Hounds and we can advise on which would suit your dog, but a general rule is -
Bristle Brush – This brush is good for all coat types, but a brush with more widely spaced and longer bristles should be used on dogs with a longer coat. Coarser hair may require stiffer bristles.
Wire-Pin Brush – This type of brush is good for curly, woolly coats that range in length from medium to long.
Slicker Brush - Made with fine wire bristles, a slicker brush is useful for removing mats and tangles.
Rubber Curry Brush - Massages your dog’s skin and help to remove dead hair from short-haired dogs.
Food & Water
Feed your dog the best food you can afford! The independent site All About Dog Food provides great nutritional information. If your dog eats a complete and balanced diet they will take in the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep their hair follicles growing strong and resilient from breakage. Increasing your dogs Omega-3 fatty acid intake is an easy way to improve their diet, it will help calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve overall coat texture -
You can add olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog's food. One teaspoon (5 mL) per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight is a good place to start.
Add some fatty fish to your dogs diet - salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and tuna are all great options. (Never feed your dog the bones though!)
You can purchase Omega-3 supplements, talk to your vet about which ones would suit your dog.
It can be difficult to know how much your dog is drinking, but dehydrated skin is a major cause of hair loss! The general rule is that a dog should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. If you think upping your dogs water intake could help then trying mixing some in with their dinner.
Control itching and scratching
Scratching can increase the amount of hair dogs shed, so make sure they’re being treated regularly with a quality tick and flea treatment. If you notice your pet’s skin looks irritated or they’re scratching at it a lot, take them to your vet for a checkup.
Giving your dog a regular bath will really help retain the glossiness of their coat and keep their skin free from irritation by not only cleaning their fur but removing that dead hair too.
At Harris Hounds we use all natural, eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners tailored to your dogs coat type and condition. They contain moisturisers and omega fatty acids to hydrate your dog’s skin and fur to create healthier, stronger follicles. These shampoos and conditioners can also help to loosen and remove your dog’s excess undercoat. The maximum amount of shedding occurs just after a bath, so the powerful blow dryer we use in the salon really help blast that fluff away!
One of the first signs of stress in dogs, along with panting, is actually hair loss - or stress shedding. Essentially, anywhere your dog is anxious and out of his element can cause a nervous shedding response - trip to the vet, during fireworks or thunderstorms, in new situations like a training class or when there are unfamiliar people or animals in your home.
Adrenaline is one of the primary stress hormones in dogs, and while you can’t prevent it from flowing, you can help to minimise stressful events instead -
Using natural remedies like over the counter Aromatherapy (Consult a practitioner or vet as some oils are toxic to dogs).
Using a product like Adaptil which replicates Dog Appeasing Pheromones.
Making sure your dog has somewhere he can feel secure to retreat to at home when you have new visitors.
Calm reassurance and training exercises.
Training can help in many ways—not only learning new behaviours (manners or obedience commands), but gaining overall confidence in learning new things.
For chronic or repetitive events, such as a new home or weekly dog classes, learning and time will go a long way in reducing the stress response and could help excessive shedding decrease. Go slowly, and allow him to feel confident before moving to the next step. As new situations and events become routine, your dog will learn that there is nothing to be worried about. Praise from you, and extra attention like walks or play, or even a cuddle on the sofa, help him to know all is well.
Visit the vet
The tips we have put together are for general advice, Vets are the experts so if you have any questions or concerns, if your dogs shedding seems excessive, or you spot any of the following you should have a chat with your Vet -
Bald patches or thinning
Skin irritation, including redness, bumps, rashes or scabs
Open sores of any kind