Dog shedding: How to help manage the hair

A golden retriever looks at the camera

There are so many reasons to love having a dog as a companion. Dog hair, however, likely doesn’t make the list. While it’s a natural process that helps your dog regulate their body temperature and stay healthy, dog hair shedding can feel frustrating and even overwhelming for the humans in the house.

Though there is no way to completely stop or control your dog’s shedding, there are several things you can try to manage the hair.

Learn your dog's hair shedding patterns

The amount of hair your pup sheds depends on a variety of factors, including their breed, the season of the year, or their environment. 

Dog breeds with double layer coats tend to shed seasonally as their undercoat transitions from thick in the winter to lighter in the summer, while breeds with a single layer coat may shed the same amount of hair throughout the year.

Brush your dog's coat frequently

Regular brushing can be a great way to help your dog remove dead hair in a more controlled way. It can also help stimulate their hair follicles, contributing to a strong, healthy coat and potentially less shedding. You should brush your dog’s hair every couple of days no matter the length of the coat. 

The best brush for the job may vary depending on the length and layers of your dog’s coat. Brushes such as a comb or pin-head brush work well for general use, while universal slicker brushes work particularly well for removing dead hair.

Bathe your dog regularly (every two to four months)

A pit bull being bathed in a bathtub

Regular baths can help remove dead hair from your dog’s coat while keeping it clean and shiny. Unless your dog has gotten into something smelly or dirty, or you’ve been given specific instructions from your vet, only bathe your dog every two to four months to avoid stripping natural oils and drying out their skin. 

While any gentle dog-specific shampoo will help clean and remove hair, shampoos specifically designed for de-shedding have moisturizing ingredients that can help strength hair follicles and may reduce future shedding.

While brushing and bathing your pup is important for their overall health, it might not be an activity they enjoy. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to make grooming easier—and more effective.

Feed your dog the appropriate diet

A well-balanced diet that includes the necessary vitamins and nutrients is essential in supporting your dog’s health – including keeping hair follicles strong, reducing breakage and shedding. 

When purchasing puppy or dog food, search for options labeled “nutritionally complete.”

Consult your vet about excessive hair loss

A visit to the vet may be necessary if you notice your pet is losing hair in patches or shedding excessively. Medical conditions such as allergies, parasites, fungal infections, and even stress can cause hair loss or frequent itching that results in hair loss. 

Your veterinarian can help determine the root cause and the right treatment so your pet can be more comfortable, and your home less hairy. 

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