5 Tips for Dog De-Shedding at Home
Whether you’ve got a short-haired breed who seldom gives you problems or a relentless shedding machine (think sheepdogs, huskies, Akitas, chow chows, malamutes, golden retrievers…), you’re going to have to deal with some stray hair.
No matter what, you’ll have to invest time in cleaning up your dog’s excess hair. But for your dog’s comfort – and your sanity – it’s almost certainly worth your while to take some de-shedding measures. De-shedding means the removal of under-coat hair – the hair that’s no longer attached to the skin, but is stuck in the hair that is still attached – and it has a variety of benefits that go beyond the absence of fur on your clothes and furniture!
Why Is De-Shedding So Important?
Dog de-shedding doesn’t just improve the appearance of your house, it also improves the appearance of your dog! Dogs that undergo regular grooming and de-shedding have smoother, shinier coats.
This is the result of several factors:
- Removing excess hair stimulates hair follicles, allowing new hair to replace dead hair and improving coat weather-proofing through secretions
- Skin is also stimulated, improving blood circulation
- Dry skin cells and dandruff are removed
- Natural skin oils are redistributed into fur, helping keep it in place
But That’s Not All!
De-shedding reduces discomfort in heavy-shedding dogs, helping to alleviate itching and skin complications. It can improve the bond between pet and owner. And it’ll make it easier for you to notice any developing health problems in your dog: parasites, stress allergies, swelling, redness, irritation. Even excess hair loss is easier to notice; bald spots may be a sign of health problems, and if you’re dutiful in your de-shedding, you’ll spot them much more quickly.
Use the Proper Tools
There are a variety of specialty items designed specifically for de-shedding, best utilized in the spring and fall.
Your options on this front include:
- Short hair: Bristle brushes or rubber curry combs de-tangle and stimulate circulation
- Medium-length hair: Slicker brushes are highly effective at de-tangling
- Long hair: Undercoat de-matting rakes or shedding blades can make quite a mess, so it’s best to use them outside or in the garage
Brush It Out: Establish a Consistent Brushing Routine
It’s not just good dental advice! A consistent schedule of brushing, depending on season and hair length, makes a huge difference as a preventive measure. Be careful not to over-brush, though, lest your dog end up with brush burn. Once a week for short hair, a few times weekly for medium hair and daily for long hair is a good system.
Shampoo, Condition & Spray
Special de-shedding shampoos can be used during heavy shedding season to keep it under control. There’s also leave-in conditioner and coat spray to soften the dog’s coat and reduce static. For dogs with long hair, post-bath blow-drying on the lowest heat setting can be a helpful additional measure. And, as with brushing, it’s important not to bathe too often so your dog’s skin doesn’t dry out.
Watch What They Eat
Yes, your dog’s food can affect its coat. Dogs have an easier time digesting and absorbing the nutrients in meat-rich foods – rather than cheaper dog foods, which add fillers such as corn and grain – and that leads to better overall health. That means less dry skin and less out-of-control shedding. Omega-3 fatty acids can make a positive difference, too; you can get them by adding olive oil, flaxseed or certain kinds of fish (e.g. salmon and tuna) to your dog’s food. You can even give them people food; moisture-rich foods like bananas, cucumbers and apple slices are good options to help with hydration.
Get Help When You Need it
Even the most dutiful home grooming agenda isn’t perfect. It’s well worth your while to engage a professional in dealing with your dog’s shedding from time to time, especially if that professional offers services specifically engineered to reduce shedding – bathing, brushing, combing, coat care and more.
Looking to learn more about de-shedding services? Contact DogDayz today to see how we can get your furry friend looking and feeling better!