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How to Minimize the Shedding of Dog Hair

By Nancy Lovering
 

Overview

Loving your dog comes naturally, but not so much the shed hair that clings to the furniture upholstery and your favorite sweater. Some dogs shed more than others, and a whole lot of shedding can quickly become an inconvenience. Shedding is part of the reality of dog ownership; but rather than give up your pet to eliminate the problem, take steps to minimize the shedding of your dog's coat.

Step 1

Brush your dog's coat regularly. Invest in a deshedding tool such as a pet hair mitt, comb, curry brush, rake or blade. Take your dog outside for her brushing so the mess from her hair will not deter you from brushing often. The more hair you remove manually with a brush, the less there will be left to shed in your house.

Step 2

Shorten your dog's coat to reduce the volume of shed hair. Invest in a hand-held clipper to do the job yourself, or visit a groomer. Do not shave off all of the hair or trim your pet's coat too short, particularly during the summer when your dog's skin needs UV protection. Remember that shedding occurs because hairs die and are replaced, not because your dog is too hot; so do not remove your dog's only skin protection. Instead, reduce the length of the hairs that will shed to make them easier to manage.

Step 3

Bathe your dog on a regular basis. Brush your dog before her bath to get rid of as much hair as you can. Use lukewarm water and shampoo that is designed specifically for dogs. Take care not to get shampoo in your pet's eyes. If necessary, use treats to entice your pet to the bath and to reward her for tolerating the bath. Rinse thoroughly to ensure that you remove all the shampoo from your dog's coat. Remember that wet dogs love to shake out their fur, so if you have bathed yours indoors, such as in your bathroom, have a big towel or blanket ready to quickly cover her with before she steps out of the tub. Towel her dry and brush her again.

Step 4

Change your dog's diet. Give your dog food with adequate digestible protein and amino acids to ensure that she is getting the nutrition she needs. Ask your veterinarian for an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to improve your pet's skin and coat health. Proper diet decreases shedding, so purchase high-quality food for your dog that has animal protein as the first ingredient.

Step 5

Visit your veterinarian to rule out medical concerns. Hormone therapy or gland surgery can reduce hair loss caused by conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease. Removal of tumors on the testicles or ovaries can also stop hormone-related hair loss. Corticosteroid injections can ease hair loss cause by immune-system-related skin conditions like Alopecia areata. Ask your veterinarian if your dog's hair loss is being caused by a parasite or infection such as ringworm.
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