Dog looking at camera being brushed

Everything you Need to Know About Dog Shedding

By Diane Morgan


Unless you own a hairless breed, your dog sheds. Some breeds, like Poodles, shed very little, while others, like Siberian Huskies, shed a great deal. Shedding is a normal function that helps animals get rid of their old winter or summer coat and grow in a new, seasonally appropriate one.

THE HAIR LIFE CYCLE

Every hair on your dog’s body has its own “life cycle” preprogrammed into it: the anagen phase, when the hair is actively growing; the catagen phase, when hair has stopped growing and just stays there; and the telegen phase, when hair falls out, to be replaced by new hair. This results in one kind of shedding: When the hair reaches its predestined length, it falls out. But when it all happens at once in the undercoat, that’s known as The Shed. 

Most of what is shed is the thick, protective undercoat. Some breeds, like Siberian Huskies, “blow their coat” twice yearly, encouraging their owners to take vacations at this time and leave their dogs with a pet sitter. 

When dogs lived outside all year, profuse shedding was restricted to spring and fall, but today’s indoor dogs may shed moderately all year. However, dogs who suffer from allergies, poor diet, or stress may shed more heavily than is considered usual for their breed. Most shedding is normal, but unusual shedding patterns can warrant a trip to the vet: hair loss in patches, symmetrical hair loss on certain parts of the body, hair loss accompanied by another skin problem, and so on. 

HOW TO MINIMIZE SHEDDING

There is no way to stop a dog from shedding, but you can improve matters by reducing the amount of loose hair flying around the house. 

Brush Every Day
The most important step you can take is to brush your dog every single day. This not only gets rid of loose dead hair but also brushes the oils through the living hair to make it softer and sleeker. That healthy hair is more likely to stay attached to your dog’s body and off the furniture. 

It’s vital to use the correct brush. The Magic Coat® Shedding Rake is a must-have; it removes dead hair from the undercoat without damaging the outercoat. Dogs who shed heavily also benefit from Magic Coat® Slicker Brushes, shedding blades, grooming gloves, and mat removers. If your dog is shorthaired, a brisk going-over with a curry comb will do wonders. The best time to bring out the heavy equipment for longhaired breeds is late winter and mid-fall, just before the new coat starts growing in. 

Bathe Frequently
Bathe your dog frequently using a specially formulated shampoo such as Magic Coat® Reduces Shedding Shampoo with its omega-3 fatty acids and honey vanilla fragrance. 

Feed a Healthy Diet
Another thing you can do is feed your dog an appropriate diet with adequate fatty acids and digestible protein. The best dog foods are entirely grain-free. Dogs with food allergies are highly prone to diet-related shedding. You may also wish to add a little olive oil or flaxseed oil, which contains fatty acids essential to your dog’s health. Don’t forget to offer your dog plenty of fresh cool water, especially if his primary diet is a dry kibble. Dehydration is a main cause of shedding of healthy hair. 

Control Pests on Your Pet
Control pests on your pet, which can make him scratch. When dogs scratch the skin becomes irritated. Irritated skin increases shedding.

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer for product availability near you.