Nitya Ramachandran

Nearly every dog sheds regardless of his age or breed. Shedding is a common phenomenon not just in doublecoated breeds like German Shepherds who shed prolifically, but also in many shed-resistant dog breeds. It is a natural process helping your pet to get rid of old and damaged hair.

Unwanted pet hair in the house can be somewhat a task to get rid of. Hours spent on vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning don’t seem to help much as new tumbleweeds of hair seem to appear out of nowhere. The amount of hair shedding is based on several factors – weather, coat type, overall health of the dog, etc. If you notice any change in the
normal shedding patterns get in touch with your vet at the earliest.
Excess hair shedding can be a symptom of an underlying health
condition. It is also common for pets to have hair shedding in
stressful situations.

How to reduce hair shedding?
While shedding isn’t something that can be stopped altogether, the amount of loose hair can  certainly be reduced through the usage of effective hair removal techniques and tools.

Healthy Diet
Your pet’s coat is a reflection of what he eats. Healthy and nutritious diet is one of the best ways to reduce excessive shedding. Some variants of dog food are made of fillers such as corn and grains which are difficult to digest for the dogs. Make sure to check the ingredient list of packaged dog food before purchasing. Providing nutrients that are more easily digested and absorbed, they also help control  shedding and prevent dry skin by promoting overall health. Dogs who are allergic or sensitive to particular food items are more prone to diet
related shedding. You might have to experiment with different food
items in order to find one that’s right for your pet. It is best to seek a veterinarian’s advice in such cases.

Omega – 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids present in oils and fish helps soothe  skin inflammation and decrease dandruff, while improving the overall coat texture. Olive oil and flaxseed oil are the best sources to curb shedding. Omega-3 dietary supplements are also available in capsule or powder form. The dog’s omega-3 fatty acid intake can also be increased by feeding it boneless salmon, tuna, or other fish rich in these fatty acids. Don’t give any supplement without consulting your vet.

Occasional
‘human food’ snacks

Seedless apple slices, cucumbers,carrots, bananas, cooked lean meats (boneless) can be given. These moisture-rich foods help
your pet stay hydrated. Also the healthy nutrients are effective in maintaining the shine and luster of the coat and reduce shedding.
Such food should only be given as occasional treats and not to be confused as full meals.

Lots of water
Make sure your pet has access to clean fresh drinking water always.Dehydration can often lead to dry skin, thereby causing excessive shedding. Incorporating moist food into the dog’s diet can up their water intake. Wet dog food contains higher percentage of moisture than dry dog food and can be a good way to ensure that the dog stays hydrated.

Reduce shedding through grooming
Regular brushing is one of the best things pet parents can do to keep their pets and homes tidy. Dogs with short hair benefit from weekly brushings, while most medium or long-haired breeds might need to be groomed several times a week. Brushing makes the pet’s coat cleaner, softer and less likely to shed. It gets rid of matted fur, stimulates circulation, and you can also look out for cuts, wounds,and abrasions (if any). Different types of brushes are available at the pet parent’s disposal as per the dog’s fur type:

  • Bristle Brushes: Suitable for short-haired and smoothcoated dog breeds, such as Pugs and Terriers, these brushes look no ifferent than bristle brushes for human hair.
  • Slicker Brushes: Best suited for medium or curly hair breed,such as St. ernards, Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels. The tiny, tightly-packed short wire pins of these brushes help in detangling the hair.
  • Dematting Rakes and Shedding Blades: Best for dog breeds with long hair and thick undercoats, such as German Shepherds and Border Collies. Care must be taken while buying a rake to ensure that its pins are roughly as long as the dog’s fur to ensure that it adequately thins dead undercoats.
  • De-shedding and Grooming Glove: This glove is popular among many pet parents as it makes their pets think that they are getting petted rather than brushed. This glove brush reduces the dog’s tendency to resist or fight grooming. Besides helping loosen hair and dirt, it also stimulates circulation.
  • Bathing schedules: Giving regular baths to the dog encourages the fallout of loose hair outside the house or in the bathtub instead of on urniture or clothes. However, pet owners should refrain from over-bathing as it can lead to dryness of the skin, which can cause more fur fall out. The bathing schedule for the dog should be decided based on its breed, or after  consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Controlling fleas: Light blow-drying after a bath can be helpful in removing loose fur for dogs with long coats. However, the dryer should only be used at its lowest heat setting or a cool setting, if it has one. Controlling fleas helps minimise incessant scratching in dogs, which causes hair to fall out. Regular flea removal will prevent skin irritation, dandruff and excessive shedding of fur

Common ways to deal with fur shedding

In the house

  • Using furniture throws to cover furniture will keep the furniture looking (and smelling) better, and make the home more inviting to guests.
  •  Car seat covers are also an excellent investment as they help in
    preventing dog fur from sticking to the car seats.
  • Washable bedding covers or blankets that can be easily laundered can be laid over their favourite resting spots prevent fur fallout on the bed.
  •  Hardwood or tile flooring is the preferred type of floor to deal with pet hair. Carpets should best be avoided as they are a magnet for pet hair.
  •  Having flooring or carpets that match the pet serves to decrease the visibility of pet hair by a great margin. The hair is still there, but it is not as obvious.
  •  Damp mopping is another effective method to remove fur from tile floors.

Removing fur from furniture and clothing

  •  Rubber Gloves can be used to deal with hair on the furniture. Just a single swipe of the glove in one direction helps remove a lot of pet hair.
  • Dry sponges can be used to remove hair from
    furniture. The sponges can also be dampened for more effectiveness.
  •  A micro fiber cloth, either dry or dampened, aids in easy hair removal from furniture.
  •  Velcro-type lint brushes are a great tool to pick up
    fur from clothes and upholstery.
  •  Hair rollers are a portable and handy tool to remove
    dog hair on the go.
  •  Hiding clothes in a place where the pet cannot lie down or sit on them is a commonly used tactic that prevents fur from latching itself onto the fabrics.
  • Avoiding dark coloured clothing is the favourite ammunition of pet parents to tackle dog fur as it makes the fur much less obvious.