Help, How Do I Get My Pet To Stop Shedding?

By Dr. Janet Weistock, Veterinarian

This in one of the most common questions we get when dogs (and cats) come in for their appointments. There are a few things to limit the fur clouds that race across your wood floors or coating your carpet.

It may seem basic, but routine brushing of your pet will help lessen shedding. This is because you are getting the loose hair out on a regular basis, so less to fall out on its’ own. This also gives your pet one on one time with you while getting a gentle massage. This is important in our senior and overweight cats as they become unable to groom themselves as well on their own or reach their lower back areas.

When selecting brushes for your pet, there are many options from bristles, wire or pin, slicker, shedders, and combs. You want to pick the right brush for your pet whether curly coat, gently combing out mats, massaging the skin, getting out the loose hair.

Bathing you pet monthly (or as recommended by your veterinarian) also helps get some of the loose hair out and stimulates healthy skin. There are many shampoos out there, you want to pick a good quality one. You can even try a soap free shampoo which can clean the skin/coat but lessens the drying out of the skin. There are also shampoos that contain essential fatty acids to moisturize the skin/coat. Let’s not forget the shampoos that are supposed to reduce shedding with their use, which may be worth a try.

One thing that is super important after bathing, is to make sure you dry your pet well, especially if they have a dense coat, as moisture left deep in the skin/coat can lead to infections. Start by towel drying well which may be all you need to do for some types of hair coats. If you have a dog with a denser coat you may want to use a dryer to get them dryer after using a towel, but it is VERY important to not use any heat, only cool air.

After they are dry, you wan to brush them once more to get the newly loosened hair off as well.

In addition to shampoos containing omega 3 fatty acids, you can discuss with your veterinarian, recommendations for a good fatty acid supplement to add to your pet’s diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for the skin, joints, and even some organ health benefits.

Make sure your pet stays well hydrated. If they are dehydrated this can also lead to shedding or dryness/flaking of the skin.

Most likely if your pet does not have bald spots, red patches, scabbing, is not itchy, and seems to be a uniform shedding, then it is likely normal. If you are uncertain if it could be a medical condition, it is never a bad idea to reach out to your veterinarian.

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