Here at Gudog we would do anything to reduce moulting in our doggos; if we’re not brushing stray little hairs off our jeans, we’re picking them out of our soup.. yuk!!
We know we’re not alone, so we’ve put together some facts about why dogs shed, which dogs are the worst offenders, and a few tips to help you reduce the amount of hairs floating around your house.
All dogs moult
There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog (unless you have a completely hairless one, obvs). Shedding does, however, vary greatly from dog to dog.
Hormones, breed genetics, health and environment are all factors that contribute to how much a dog moults.
Shedding is necessary to allow newer, oilier hair to replace old hair, keeping the skin protected and controlling body temperature.
Dogs are either single coated, with just one type of hair present, or double coated, with two distinct types of fur growing across their bodies.
In double coated dogs, the top layer is known as guard hair or primary hair, designed to protect the undercoat and provide a layer of insulation against cold and wet.
Underneath you’ll find secondary hair or undercoat, which is thick and soft, designed to provide extra warmth during the winter.
Regardless whether you dog has a double or a single coat, their hair goes through a four-stage process of growth and renewal, which means plenty of shedding.
When do dogs moult?
Most double-coated dog breeds tend to shed seasonally, shedding their coats more or less in one go, a couple of times a year. This is because each hair on their body is growing at the same or a very similar rate as the others.
Over the course of 2-3 weeks they’ll become a moving cloud of loose hair, which will come out in clumps and will be literally everywhere.
This process is important; it allows these breeds to either grow in warmer, thicker hairs in preparation for winter, or finer, cooler hairs in the spring and summer.
However, not all dogs grow and shed their hairs at a uniform rate, and some dogs shed consistently, but lightly. This basically means that across the whole of their coat, hairs are at different points the four growth stages.
This leads to a staggered process of loss and renewal (like in humans), although this will tend to become slightly more pronounced around the turn of the seasons.
Dog breeds that shed the most
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Eskimo
- Welsh Corgi (Cardigan and Pembroke)
- Chow Chow
- German Shepherd Dog
- Great Pyrenees
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
- Border Collie
- St Bernard
Despite what lots of people think, it’s not the fur itself which causes allergies in humans. It’s actually the saliva and dead skin which is carried on the hairs.
Some dogs are hypoallergenic (a fancy way of saying they don’t shed as much as others), 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
How to reduce the impact of moulting
Although you can’t stop a dog from from shedding their coat, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of hair they lose, and the amount of hair which gets dispersed around your house.
1. Keep your dog hydrated.
Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
Dehydration can lead to dry skin, which can cause excessive shedding and even illness. You can also incorporate moist food into your dog’s diet to make sure they stay hydrated (more on this below).
2. 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.
3. Add a little oil to your dog’s meals.
Add olive oil or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food. One teaspoon per 10lbs of body weight is recommended. The oil helps to calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve the overall texture of the coat.
4. Give your dog occasional “human food” snacks.
Cucumbers, bananas, sliced apples (without seeds, as these contain traces of cyanide) as well as cooked lean meat are all rich in moisture, helping to keep your dog 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.
5. Groom your dog regularly.
Brushing and grooming removes excess and loose fur, and redistributes your dog’s skin oils across their coat, helping it to stay in place.
Regular baths encourage loose hair to fall out, and if they’re not terrified of your hairdryer, blow drying your dog on a cool setting after bathing can help them shed quicker and in one area of your house.
It doesn’t have to mean regular trips to an expensive groomer; check out out tips for keeping your dog looking and smelling fresh at home.
6. Control fleas.
Fleas = scratching. Scratching = hair loss. Keeping your dog flea free will prevent irritated skin, dandruff and excessive fur shedding.
7. Keep ’em calm.
When dogs are stressed they tend to shed more. To keep their stress levels down, establish a routine which works for your both when they’re young or new to you, and keep routine changes to a minimum.