We’ve all been there. The dog hair just keeps piling up, and you can’t seem to stop it.
Shedding is a natural event that most dogs experience, especially during seasonal changes. Spring, when the temperatures begin to warm up, tends to be the most vicious of all the shedding. The accumulation of dog hair during the shedding season can be an annoying, and even painful for anyone with allergies. While there’s no stopping it entirely, there are certain things you can do to reduce the amount of hair accumulating in the corners of your home. Here are some tips on managing the spring shed:
The volume of dog hair accumulated during the spring shed can be a nuisance, especially with long-haired dogs.
1. INVEST IN A GOOD VACUUM
A regular vacuuming or sweeping routine can go a long way in managing pet hair. The first line of defense for cleaning your home of hair covering the floors and furniture is a vacuum specifically designed to remove pet hair. These specialty vacuums are designed with proper suction, filters and tools to handle high volumes of pet hair.
Some of the top-of-the-line pet specific models include the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and Shark Lift-Away TruePet. The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet and Hoover PowerDash are popular among pet-owners and provide the greatest value for performance.
Whatever vacuum you get, consider what type of surfaces you’ll be cleaning and length of your dog’s hair. Look for helpful features such as accessories for cleaning furniture and stairs, powered brushes, and HEPA filters (to grab allergens). The AW (Air Watt) measurement is one to pay attention to, representing the amount of power the vacuum uses to pull dirt through the nozzle. The higher the better.
Many pet owners prefer a live-in housekeeper in the form of a robotic vacuum. They are easy to run everyday and will simply move about the house quietly. There are a number of fairly-priced, high performing models such as the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S.
Vacuum for your clothes? Try the Evercare Magik Brush. I use mine daily on my clothes and bed comforter. This double-sided tool works magic removing hair and dirt from upholstery and clothing. Not only do they perform better than the traditional lint roller, but they don’t create any trash, making them a more environmentally-friendly alternative.
A cloth lint remover lifts is a must-have at my house for pulling pet hair off clothing, furniture and car upholstery.
2. EVALUATE THEIR DIET
A nutrient-dense diet is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy coat on your dog. Good foods can help reduce shedding, so it’s always worth looking for kibbles with the highest quality ingredients within your budget. Essentially, you will get what you pay for. Look to purchase products that list an animal protein such as chicken, lamb, turkey, beef or fish as the primary ingredient.
Is your dog getting enough moisture and oils in their diet? If you already feed your dog a raw or cooked food diet, then you may have already noticed some overall health benefits including their skin. For dogs that eat strictly kibble, consider adding some moisture to their food, such as some cooked veggies or fruits. My go-to’s are sweet potato, carrot, squash and blueberries. Every week I make a batch of cooked veggies, fruits and flax and add a scoop to my dog’s dinner every night. It’s a delicious and healthy supplement to kibble.
Another great addition to your dog’s diet is oils. Omega-3,6 & 9 fatty acids are wonderful for conditioning their skin and coat. Try adding a drizzle (1 TBSP for med-large dogs) of high-quality olive oil to one of their meals each day. Flaxseed oil, coconut oil and fish oils (like this salmon oil) are super nutritious choices as well.
Salmon makes an excellent addition to add moisture and oils into a dog’s diet.
Many dog parents prefer to conveniently add a coat and skin supplement that softens the coat, reduces shedding and relieves allergies. Look for products that contain fish oils, seaweed, or brewer’s yeast. My top picks for chewable supplements are VetriScience Derma Strength , Zesty Paws Omega Bites or Pawlife Omega Pup because of the high-quality ingredients. If powder-form works better for your dog, something like the The Missing Link Well Blend may be a better choice.
3. BRUSH, BRUSH & BRUSH
No matter what type of coat your dog has, regular brushing is a healthy habit to get into from puppyhood. Incorporate a few minutes of brushing into your nightly routine by sitting on the floor with them and offering a special treat once you finish. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it helps distribute oils to the coat, prevent matting, reduces shedding and leaves them looking soft and beautiful.
When it comes to choosing the right brush, consider your dog’s hair length. For instance, long haired dogs will need a brush that can get to the undercoat. For finer hair, many pet owners like the the Glendan Dog Brush or the Pet Neat Self Cleaning Slicker Brush . On thicker coats, the Paw Brothers Slicker Brush or Hattiko Dematting Tool are great choices because they get deeper into the coat.
My favorite tool to use for de-shedding my dog is The Furminator because it’s effective at removing loose hair by reaching through the topcoat without damaging the skin. It’s a bit more intense on your dog’s coat, so watch this video prior to using.
The Furminator has been the most effective brush I’ve used at pulling out loose undercoat hairs.
4. REGULAR BATHING
Regular bathing is a highly effective way to control shedding, especially when paired with an anti-shedding shampoo. When done too often, bathing can strip the coat of it’s natural oils and cause dry, itchy skin. During peak shedding seasons (spring & fall), aim for once a week. For optimal results, pair a bath with brushing once your dog has dried off.
Dogs should never be bathed with human shampoo; the pH level in humans and dogs is different and this could lead to drier skin and more shedding. Canine shampoos are made with the proper pH balance to maintain healthy oils and moisture in the skin, but there are also some designed specifically for shedding. Shed control shampoos often contain soothing ingredients to help replenish the skin’s nutrients and control excessive shedding. I like the Earthbath shampoo because it’s 100% biodegradable and uses soothing oatmeal as a top ingredient. It’s environmental ingredients make it a great choice if you bathe your dog outdoors. FURminator’s deShedding Shampoo and Oaster Oatmeal Essentials are more reasonably priced and I’ve found their blends to be very effective at loosening up shedding hairs.
A regular bath routine helps loosen shedding hairs from the skin.
5. BRING IN REINFORCEMENTS: CALL A GROOMER
Sometimes the time and effort involved with the consistent brushing, bathing and cleaning isn’t realistically achievable. When other life responsibilities can get in the way, it’s time to call a professional groomer. Most groomers offer a de-shed service that involves a shed-specific shampoo, blow dry, and thorough brushing. For longer-haired dogs, this is also a great opportunity to get them trimmed up around the belly and behind going into summer. It’ll cost you anywhere between $60-100, but it’s well worth it.
Personally, I like do this with my Aussie Shepherd every spring and find it a great way to speed up the shedding process. In the days following a treatment, dogs may continue to lose hair, take advantage and follow up with some more deep brushing.
Many pet parents prefer to to let the experts handle the grooming.
6. TROUBLE BREATHING? TRY AN AIR PURIFIER
For some people, especially those vulnerable to seasonal or pet allergies, no amount of shed control leads to better breathing at night. Not only does a good air purifier help rid your home of general dust and toxins, they can also help to filter pet hair and dander. This significantly improves the breathability for many allergy-sufferers.
Look for 5-stage filtration systems and the appropriate square footage for the space you wish to cover. The GermGuardian AC5250 and Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover are both reasonably priced and highly effective models that many pet-owners rave about. I use the Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 in my studio because it’s equipped for larger rooms and significantly improves the breathability of my allergy-suffering partner.
Please note: This is not meant to replace professional veterinary advice. If you feel your dog is excessively losing hair, please consult your regular veterinarian.