Is your home constantly covered in hairs no matter how much you clean? Do you have allergies and need to know which dog would be best for you? Moulting can be a concern for many people and irritating for the majority of dog owners so we are going to explain to you the reasons why dogs moult, how to reduce the amount of hairs floating around the house and which dogs shed more than others.
All dogs shed, some more than others, particularly when the weather starts getting warmer in order to allow the new coat to come in. There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog, unless you have a completely hairless dog, obviously! Shedding does, however, vary greatly from breed to breed. Hormones, breed genetics, health and environment are all factors that contribute to how much a dog sheds. Shedding begins when old hair stops growing in order to allow newer, oilier hair to replace it and continue protecting the skin and control body temperature.
Some dog breeds that shed the most are:
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Eskimo
- Welsh Corgi (Cardigan and Pembroke)
- Chow Chow
- German Shepherd Dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
- Border Collie
- St Bernard
How to reduce shedding
Although you cannot stop a dog from from shedding their coat, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of hair they lose.
- Feed your dog a high quality healthy diet. Cheap dog food is made mostly of fillers such as corn and grains that dogs have difficulty digesting. Instead, give your dog food that lists meat as the main ingredient. The nutrients in meat-rich dog foods are more easily digested and absorbed, so they promote better health overall and help control shedding and dry skin.
Add olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food. One teaspoon per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight is recommended. The oil helps to calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve the overall texture of the coat.
Give your dog occasional “human food” snacks. Cucumbers, bananas, sliced apples (without seeds, as these contain traces of cyanide) as well as cooked lean meats (no bones) are all rich in moisture so help your dog to stay hydrated. They also contain nutrients that help keep your dog’s coat smooth and shiny and reduce shedding. However, only 5-10% of your dog’s daily food intake should be treats – the rest should be good quality dog food. Be careful which foods you give your dog as some human foods are poisonous for dogs.
Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water. 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. You could also incorporate moist food into your dog’s diet to make sure they stay hydrated.
Brush your dog’s coat regularly. Grooming removes excess and loose fur and redistributes your dog’s skin oils into its fur, helping it to stay in place.
Give your dog regular baths. Regular baths encourage loose hair to fall out in the bath (or outside) instead of on your furniture. However, over-bathing can cause dry skin, which causes hair to fall out. You can ask your vet or do some research into your dog’s suggested bathing schedule. Blow drying your dog after bathing and towel-drying can also help to remove loose fur, but remember to put your hair dryer on the coolest setting.
Control fleas. Dogs with flea problems scratch a lot, causing hair to fall out. Keeping your dog flea free will prevent irritated skin, dandruff and excessive fur shedding.
- Keep your dog as stress-free as possible. When dogs are stressed they tend to shed more. To keep their stress levels down, keep routine changes to a minimum.
If you have allergies, how much a dog sheds may dictate whether you become a dog owner or not. The saliva and dead skin, which are what cause allergies, also get everywhere a lot more easily. Here are some hypoallergenic dog breeds that do not shed so much and are more suitable for people with allergies:
- Bichon Frise
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Italian Greyhound
- Chinese Crested
- Lakeland Terrier
- Portuguese/Spanish Water Dogs
- Scottish Terrier
- Afghan Hound
If you suffer from allergies, before you commit to a dog do some research into dog breeds with heavy hair shedding so that both you choose the right dog for you and so that you and your dog can enjoy each other’s company.