Author: Sandie Lee via FetchFind
We love our canine companions, but we don’t love those doggy fur-bunnies scooting across the living room floor, stuck to our furniture, or plastered all over our clothes.
Plus, who hasn’t found a stray piece of dog hair in their dinner? Unfortunately, to take the dog, we must also take the shedding hair; it comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to combat the flying fur.
Start with a high quality diet
Nutrition plays a huge role in not only your dog’s inner health, but its outer hair health as well.
If your dog’s food is mostly comprised of fillers such as corn, wheat, and by-product meals, then your dog will most likely have dry, flaky skin and lots of shedding hair. One of the ways to combat shedding in a dog is to feed it a prepackaged, high-quality dry kibble that has real meat as the first ingredient. (And treats too!)
Incorporating a good quality canned food to your dog’s dry kibble can up its moisture content by 78 % (dry food only has 10% moisture). This is an excellent way to ensure your dog stays hydrated. Plus, they love it!
A good balance of essential fatty acids and oils is key. They can help your dog with dry skin that often accompanies a coarse coat and shedding problems. A high-quality dog food will already have EFAs in the recipe, but your vet may recommend other supplements such as fish or flaxseed oils.
If you’re adding liquid oil supplements to your dog’s diet, start slow! Adding too much oil at once can lead to digestive upset.
Giving your dog an occasional treat of people food can help his coat too. Healthy choices for your pooch include eggs, carrots, apples, lean cooked meat, all-natural peanut butter (make sure it isn’t sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic).
Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water, which helps to hydrate them from the inside out.
Regular grooming is key
Dogs need to be groomed on a regular basis. This not only helps nab those loose hairs before they fall out, but it also stimulates the natural oils in your dog’s skin to help keep its coat shiny and healthy.
Designate at least one day each week to brush your dog. Make sure to do it long enough to get all the loose hair, untangle the matted bits, and to check for any abnormalities on the skin.
Don’t know what brush or grooming tool to use?
- Bristle brushes look similar to the brushes we use. They are best for short-haired and smooth-coated dog breeds such as chihuahuas and greyhounds.
- Slicker brushes have tiny, tightly-packed, short wire pins, usually set onto a rectangular base with handle. These are good for many dog breeds with medium or curly hair, including retrievers and spaniels.
- Rakes also contain pins and should be purchased with pins roughly as long as your dog’s fur to ensure that it adequately thins the dead undercoat. The rake works well on dogs with long hair and thick undercoats, such as collies and German Shepherds.
- De-shedding tools are specifically designed to get rid of the excess undercoat. These come in various forms and should be used on heavy-coated breeds at least twice a year.
Giving your dog a bath can play a huge role when it comes to controlling shedding, as the hair is loosened and whisked away in the water.
However, it can also play the opposite role. Too much bathing can irritate your dog’s skin, dry it out, and actually lead to more shedding. Research your breed or ask a professional groomer or your vet about what an adequate amount of bathing for your dog will entail.
Fleas are nasty little critters that can not only spread like wildfire throughout your entire home, but the itchy bites also do a great job irritating your dog’s skin and adding to the amount of hair that sheds.
Make sure to flea treat your dog in the spring and again in the fall to prevent them from using your dog as a feasting ground.
The vacuum cleaner is your best friend
“Love me, love my dog…”
You can tell your guests that all you want, but they probably don't appreciate dog fur on their clothes after they leave your home, unless they themselves have a shedding dog. To keep the furballs to a minimum throughout your home invest in a good quality vacuum, preferably one that specializes in pet fur (they tend to have extra suction power).
Grandma may have had the right idea when she covered her furniture in plastic; the pet hair slides right off. However, today we may cringe at the thought of the sticky, sweaty covers that made sitting on Grandma’s sofa a challenge.
The good news is that there are many nice furniture protectors now that are designed for the wear and tear of having a dog. Even a nice throw blanket put on Fido’s favorite spot can save a lot of hair on your sofa; plus, it can be easily laundered or shaken out when it becomes a mess.
Don’t forget car seat covers! How many times have you been embarrassed when you have to unexpectedly give someone a ride and they end up sitting on your dog’s “hairy” seat? This isn’t fun, so invest in some cool seat covers (or even just a giant beach towel) for your car.
One last tip: this may seem obvious, but getting rid of the hair as soon as you spot it can save a lot of time in the future.
Keep a few pet hair removers scattered throughout the house so you can always find one when you need it.
Photo: Paolo G/Flickr