Shed-Up With Dog Hair
By Honor Tarpenning, NextDayPets.com Staff
Nobody likes having their furniture and carpets covered with enough fur to make another Fido. Although one must remember that a certain amount of seasonal shedding in most breeds is normal, there are some things to consider that can help you downgrade to a more casual relationship with your lint brush.
First of all, excessive shedding can be a sign of health problems, so if Rover’s fur is falling out in clumps, if he has bald spots, or he is shedding more than he has in the past, a visit to your vet is in order. He could have allergies, thyroid issues, parasites, or other health problems, in which case excessive shedding is just a symptom.
Many dogs shed twice a year, in the spring and fall, but the bodies of dogs who spend the majority of their lives indoors don’t sense the changing seasons so they may shed all year round. There is, however, some relief to be found by those who can’t take the constant vacuuming and furry couch cushions any more.
Start by feeding your dog a high-quality food. Dog food is one of those products you just can’t skimp on because you really do get what you pay for. Choose a food that contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, or add a fatty acid supplement to your dog’s food. Fatty acids improve the health and beauty of your dog’s skin and coat. Also, supplement your dog’s diet with antioxidant vitamins A and E, they too have positive effects on skin and coat. You can also feed your dog an anti-shedding supplement like Shed No More or Shed-Stop, which contain these beneficial nutrients. They limit non-seasonal, non-productive shedding without interfering with your dog’s natural shed cycle.
If your dog has fleas, a flea allergy could be the culprit. Add brewers yeast with garlic to your dog’s food daily. Brewers yeast with added garlic has tons of health benefits; it helps your dog maintain a sleek, shiny coat, and is believed to ward off fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. In addition, talk to your vet about treating your dog monthly with a spot-on flea treatment.
Don’t use shampoos that contain harsh detergents. Detergents strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin and fur, resulting in dry, irritated skin and hair loss. Instead use a gentle shampoo containing oatmeal, fatty acids, or green clay, all of which improve the condition of your dog’s skin and fur.
One of the best ways to limit the dog-hair tumbleweeds in your living room is regular grooming. Brushing your dog’s hair spreads natural oils throughout his coat which keeps it shining and healthy. If you have a double coated dog, one with a softer, downy undercoat closer to the skin with a stiffer coat of guard hairs on top, an undercoat brush will help. Undercoat brushes are made to pull out the loose, fluffy undercoat hairs that are ready to be shed, so you can avoid them falling out on you and your furniture and carpets. Shedding brushes are also extremely beneficial. Try the FURminator brush, or the 2 in 1 Deshed Brush, which is a sturdy, metal brush made specifically to help control your dog’s shedding.
It also helps to establish a “home base” for your dog. Purchase a comfy dog bed with a removable, machine washable cover and train Fido that that is where he is to lay. During the times of year your dog naturally sheds, you’ll still have fur to deal with, but at least you’ll be able to sit on your couch without breaking out the double-sided tape every time you get up.