You can’t stop shedding altogether, but ensuring your dog is healthy and with regular brushing and bathing it can be reduced significantly.
Regular brushing of your dog
The main thing you can do to reduce shedding is regularly brushing your dog. Brushing helps to remove excess and loose fur. It also redistributes your dog’s skin oil into the fur helping it to stay in place.
The best brush to use for your dog will depend on the type of coat they have. For short-haired smooth coat breeds such as pointers and Dalmatians, use a bristle brush. These are similar to what you use on your own hair. Alternatively, use a rubber grooming tool such as a Zoom Groom or similar.
For many breeds from shepherds, spaniels or other medium to long coat breeds use a slicker brush. These brushes have tiny tightly packed short wire pins. These are good to loosen undercoat and to remove any tangles before using a deshedding tool.
There are a few different types of deshedding tools such as Furninators, shedding blades and undercoat rakes. Be very careful when brushing your dog not to press too hard or do too much at once. You can cause brush burn on your dog’s skin. I recommend no more than 10 strokes in the same area.
A good stainless steel 50/50 comb or dematting comb is ideal to run through your dog’s coat after brushing to get any remaining dead undercoat the brush may not have picked up. Speak to your local pet store to find out which would be best for your dog’s particularly coat.
Regular bathing of your dog
Regularly bathing will also help to loosen dead undercoat. Refer to How to bathe a dog for more information on how to bath. I recommend using a soap-free shampoo as you don’t want to dry out your dog’s skin and strip out the natural oils in your dog’s coat.
A lot of the fur will come out in the bath instead of on your furniture. Towel dry your dog with firm but gentle rubbing which will also help remove dead fur. Finally, blow dry your dog using a low heat setting.
You can give your dog a good brush once dry and you will find it is easier to brush a clean coat than a dirty one. If you don’t have the time, energy or facilities to bath and brush your dog regularly use a grooming service.
Also, keep up to date with flea treatment for your dog as constant scratching will also make coat come out.
Provide a high-quality diet
The third most important thing you can do is to ensure your dog’s coat remains healthy and they shed less is through high-quality diet. These may cost a little more in the short-term but will improve your dog’s overall health and save on vet bills in the long-term.
Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities are particularly prone to diet-related shedding. You may need to experiment with a few different foods before you find one that’s right for your dog.
In addition, you can add Salmon oil, olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food. One teaspoon (5 mL) per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight is a good place to start. These oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that help calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve overall coat texture.
You can also increase your dog’s omega-3 fatty acid intake by feeding it salmon, tuna, or other fish rich in these fatty acids. Finally, remember to ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Dehydration can lead to dry skin, which can cause excessive shedding and even illness. Make sure your dog always has access to as much clean, fresh water as it wants to drink.