While shedding is a big complaint for dog owners, many just don’t take advantage of the helpful tips to reduce the problem.

Through the years, I have had many heavy shedders and I’ve learned quite a bit about what contributes to the problem (or at least slow it down).

Normal shedding is seasonal and happens twice a year. Come spring, dogs lose their thick winter coats which are replaced with a shorter, thinner coat for summer. When fall returns, dogs rid their summer coat to accommodate a heavier coat for winter.

Unfortunately, seasonal hair loss is often overcome with heavy shedding all year and this can happen for a number of reasons:

  1. Nutritional needs are not being met
  2. Parasites such as fleas cause scratching and if the dog is sensitive to a flea bite, flea allergy dermatitis develops
  3. Sensitivity to chemical flea and tick treatments (please don’t use these)
  4. Environmental or food allergies can cause excessive hair loss for dogs
  5. Health problems including a weakened immune system
  6. Stress and fear

What Can You Do

  1. First and foremost – feed a good brand of all natural dog food with high quality protein as the main ingredient.
  2. Add an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement.
  3. Use only all natural flea treatments.
  4. I’ve found that food allergies and sensitivities were easily corrected when a decent, quality food and diet were introduced.
  5. Environmental allergies were also easily corrected by regular grooming including hygiene.
  6. When dogs have ongoing health issues, they will definitely shed more. If you’re uncertain whether or not you dog has any health concerns, a trip to your holistic vet, probably isn’t a bad idea. Once the health problem is corrected, you should see a reduction.
  7. Stress and fear can be triggered by a variety of things including thunder phobia and loud noises, fear of yelling or of a particular person, fear of being hurt, fear of other animals, etc.
    Stress and fear can cause the dog to shed excessively and it’s important to work on the dog’s anxiety issues first in an effort to control the problem later.
  8. Don’t over vaccinate your dog – stick to the absolute necessary requirements – ONLY!
  9. A quick brushing every day. I have to admit, I’ve never been real good with daily brushings. However, if any of my dog’s were routinely shedding heavily, it became minimal once the other problems were corrected. My friends over at petnewsandviews.com ran a contest on the FURminator that recieved some great responses.  However, I would only consider using this on dogs with a very thick coat or undercoat.

Dog owners should become familiar with their own dog’s normal pattern. Keep in mind that you should see a change with any improvements you make such as better diet, including fatty acids, etc. (and assuming you have all health issues under control).

Although several breeds will shed all year, if they are healthy, they will lose most of their coat during the typical seasonal periods such as spring and fall.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Audrey
    Reply

    Hi, just have a question about vacdinating Roxy with Lyme Disease shot. I let the vet give that to her once every three years. Just wanted to protect her against this disease since she seams to be a tick magnet and I have to pull ticks off of her all the time. Just found one in her ear recently that I had to get out. Is this shot too much or am I doing good by giving this to her?

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Audrey:
      You are in a tough situation with little Roxy. She’s elderly and she has health issues. Most of the time veterinarians won’t vaccinate a dog (especially a senior) who has health issues. However, in her case with you picking the ticks off of her regularly, I can understand you’re vet’s decision. You’re really between a rock and a hard place with this one. Many vets feel that there are more risks associated with the vaccine itself than there are with the the antibiotics used to treat it. This is an excellent, excellent article on a forum about a woman who lives in an area infested with ticks. She developed Lyme disease twice herself but her dogs have never developed it. She was concerned that they would though. It’s a very informative article and there are other links as well on the entire subject. Lyme Disease Dogs – Vaccinate or Not.
      If you’re not already doing so Audrey, I would recommend giving little Roxy a daily probiotic just to boost her immune system. If you need some help with that let me know. I give my dog’s a brand from the supermarket. I know she’s fussy, but probiotics don’t really have much of taste or smell (of course dog’s can smell anything though).

      Bottom line; I’ve been in positions like this before with my own dogs and sometimes you just have to weigh the consequences which it sounds like you did. I’m not sure when she actually had the vaccine, but if it was recently, keep an eye on her for reactions such as fever, lethargy and lameness. I don’t know that I would recommend getting another vaccine for her though whether it’s a booster or not.

  • Dillon's Mom
    Reply

    Hi:
    Here’s what I suggest with short haired dogs:

    1. A good diet – I feed “raw” my doberman has a shiny coat, gorgeous teeth, minimum of vax – very healthy at 5 y o. My female who was pts at almost 13….spinal arthritis… wish I’d done “raw” years before! She still had a gorgeous coat and nice teeth though!

    2# What I use and suggest to owners of short haired dogs is either a rubber curry comb, like the horse type or my favorite – a hound mitt. I brush hair the opposite direction, then back and this cuts down on shedding. I try to make a habit of brushing Dillon almost every day before his breakfast, just so I don’t forget! And it takes less then 5 minutes.

    Dobes can get dandruff badly…….this also is due to diet……….my guys only get this when nervous now……..like when we first started schutzhund tracking…it’s much more precise then A K C……..Dillon concentrates so much that I notice a little bit of dandruff after we finish the track………….it’s kind of a stress.

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