Perhaps the biggest inconvenience of having a dog, particularly a large dog with a full coat, is the hair that ends up everywhere. Most dogs shed, but many dogs shed way more than they have to. Excessive shedding can be a result of poor health or nutrition as well as negligent grooming habits. If you’re interested in regaining control of your carpet, your furniture, and your clothes, here’s what you can do to reduce the amount of dog hair in your house and on your clothing:
Get Your Dog’s Thyroid Checked
Dog thyroids are similar to human thyroids and, just like in humans, thyroid problems can cause hair loss in dogs. If your dog has suddenly started shedding massive amounts of hair, get her thyroid checked.
Keep Skin Healthy
Several fungal and bacterial infections are common on dog skin and can lead not only to excessive shedding but a foul odor. If your dog feels greasy, smells funny, or is shedding more hair than usual, get a checkup at your vet and make sure your dog’s skin is in good health.
Brush Your Dog
Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to reduce excessive shedding is to brush your dog. Loose hair that is brushed off won’t fall off on your couch or clothes, and the stimulation to the skin and underlying nerve endings can help maintain a healthy coat and skin. Be sure to use the right kind of brush for your dog’s skin and hair type. Consult a breed manual or ask your veterinarian for a brush recommendation, because using the wrong brush can actually make shedding problems worse.
Give a Nutritional Supplement
Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty acids help to maintain the health of your dog’s skin and fur. They can also reduce odors and greasiness. Supplement your dog’s diet with a fish oil or fatty acid supplement and you’re likely to see a reduction in shedding.
Bathe Your Dog
Excessive bathing can result in excessive shedding, but a bath every few weeks can help to loosen up hair and reduce shedding. Consider using an oatmeal bath, which can soothe skin problems and make for softer hair that doesn’t fall out as frequently.
Food allergies are extremely common in dogs. Common allergens include pork, turkey, wheat, and rice. In most dogs, allergies manifest in the form of skin and coat problems, so consider switching to a hypoallergenic food or monitoring what your dog has been eating during times of excessive shedding. Many dog owners swear that a raw diet works wonders both for shedding, skin, breath, and over all health.
Many pet owners do not realize their dogs have fleas until the fleas have reached truly epic proportions. If your dog has a few fleas and is scratching, however, this increases shedding. Make sure your dog is on a quality flea control medication, that the flea control medication is not causing allergies, and that the flea control is working.
Remove Hair Immediately
Dog hair is designed to keep dogs warm, which means that it tends to be pointy and stick to things. Thus dog hair is easier to remove when it’s just fallen onto something. Vacuuming your house frequently as well as removing clumps of dog hair as soon as they fall to the ground can help to reduce unwanted dog hair in your house.
Get Blood Work Done
Several diseases, including Cushing’s Disease, can cause skin problems in dogs and will only be detected through blood work. If your dog has recently started shedding excessively, or is shedding a lot and having other symptoms, ask your vet to do a full blood panel on your dog.
Many dogs tend to scratch and chew themselves as a result of anxiety, which can result in hair getting everywhere. Give your dog plenty of exercise as well as interactive toys and chew toys to encourage her to burn off her nervous energy rather than to pull out her hair!