Dog shedding is a major deciding factor when it comes to anyone who wants to buy a dog. For some people, it’s SO annoying to have to clean up after your dog, especially if they’re a heavy shedder (you end up beating yourself over why in heaven’s name did you ever buy them after having to deal with that amount of unwanted hair!). For others, dog shedding might be a problem because of potential allergies that might be aggravated from elements shed along with your dog’s hair.
Before we go on with this, it must be said that dogs that don’t shed at all simply do not exist. Every dog sheds hair. When people talk about non-shedding dogs, they mean dogs that shed much less than other breeds. So, basically, you have dogs that shed hair like there’s no tomorrow and they’re freaking out about it, and other dogs that shed to a very minimal level (called non-shedders).
Moreover, no dog owner should ever aim to get rid of all their dog’s hair to avoid annoying dog shedding. Your dog needs their coat for many reasons, most important of which are to protect themselves and adjust to whatever nature and the climate throw at them, and as means to protect their skin. You never want to take these two privileges away from them.
So, today is your lucky day, as this article contains everything you need to know about dog shedding. Everything from what dog breeds shed the least, tips on how to deal with your dog’s shedding (so you stay sane and don’t go crazy) and all the way to massively minimizing the frequency your dog sheds, you’re about to discover in a few minutes.
So, without further ado, let’s go!
Why Do Dogs Shed?
It’s something of nature in all dogs to lose hair by shedding. Whether it’s to deliberately lose old and damaged hair or just letting nature do it’s thing and paving way for the new coat to come in, it’s all normal and shouldn’t have you worried. However, dog shedding becomes a problem when the amount of hair being shed becomes excessive and the frequency of shedding becomes more often than it should be.
Many factors determine the degree to which your dog will shed hair:
- The more daylight time there is during the day (the more length there is to a day), the more your dog’s hormones are stimulated and shedding is promoted (which is why prime-time for dog shedding is during spring and fall seasons).
- Getting rid of old and damaged hair and replacing them with new ones.
- Some dog breeds have it in their genetics to shed much more than other dog breeds.
- The quality of food and nutrition your dog receives on a day to day basis.
- The overall health status of your dog and whether or not they suffer from any sicknesses or diseases.
- Different seasons, where some dogs naturally develop thick coats during winter time so they protect themselves from the fierce cold. These dogs then shed these coats when spring arrives.
- When they have a significant change in their environment that they have to get used to, such as when moving to a new home.
Excessive Dog Shedding
For some dog breeds, the amount of hair they shed is only normal, while for other dog breeds, it can be a sign of something wrong. If you don’t have the necessary experience to determine so yourself, ask your veterinarian to assist you in determining whether your dog’s shedding is only normal or if it’s a problematic sign. The following are some of the main reasons your dog might be experiencing excessive shedding:
- Allergies (or fleas, parasites, mites, lice, etc …) that irritate their skin big time, cause them so scratch alot more than they should be and as a result shed excessively.
- Moments of stress or trauma (such as when traumatized about something or after surgery).
- Poor nutrition and low quality of food. This is one of those areas where it’s best that you ask your veterinarian to advise you on what foods will be best to feed your dog.
- Diseases (immune disease, kidney disease, liver disease, etc …)
- Medications your dog might not be tolerating well.
Dog Shedding VS Hair Loss
Dog shedding and hair loss are two different entities, although many people tend to think they are the same thing.
When your dog sheds, a new hair grows and replaces the lost one. On the other hand, when your dog suffers from hair loss, no new hair grows to replace the old one, or it grows at a very slow pace which allows you to easily spot that they are losing hair very fast and not making up for it.
When Should You Seek The Veterinarian?
So, when should you seek your veterinarian for issues related to your dog shedding? When you see any of the following signs:
- Irritation on your dog’s skin (redness, rashes, etc ..) that leads to a lot of scratching
- Open sores.
- Bald spots
- Heavy thinning of coat
- Dry hair
- Foot licking
- Face rubbing
Small Dogs That Don’t Shed
The following is a list of small dog breeds which shed the least amount of hair possible compared to any other dog breeds out there. If the thought of having to endlessly clean up after your dog from place to place haunts you, or the fact that you are allergic to the dander that heavy shedders produce, then your best bet is getting one of these dogs!
(Sorted by alphabetical order).
- American Hairless Terrier
- Australian Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Border Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Cesky Terrier
- Coton de Tulear
- Dandie Dinmont Terrier
- German Hunting Terrier
- Glen of Imaal Terrier
- Hairless Chinese Crested
- Italian Greyhound
- Lakeland Terrier
- Lhasa Apso
- Manchester Terrier
- Miniature Poodle
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Norwich Terrier
- Norfolk Terrier
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
- Powderpuff Chinese Crested
- Rough Brussels Griffon
- Scottish Terrier
- Sealyham Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Silky Terrier
- Smooth Brussels Griffon
- Tibetan Terrier
- Toy Poodle
- Toy Mexican Hairless
- Welsh Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Wirehaired Dachshund
- Wirehaired Fox Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
Medium Sized Dogs That Don’t Shed
- Irish Terrier
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
- Portuguese Water
- Standard Schnauzer
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Tibetan Terrier
Large Dogs That Don’t Shed
- Airedale Terrier
- Bouvier Des Flandres
- Black Russian Terrier
- Giant Schnauzer
- Standard Poodle
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Standard Poodle
- Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Managing Dog Shedding
- Frequent vacuuming: Vacuuming your home on a frequent schedule is your best bet to keep your home dog-hair free.
- Restricted areas: Do you have any particular room in your home that you really want to keep clean and hair free at all times? Then keep your dog out of it! Whether that be your living room, dining room, or bedroom, you set the rules.
- Combatting allergies: If you’re allergic to the dander that gets produced when your dog sheds hair, install a central air purifier that uses a HEPA filter in your home. That should take care of all the allergens for you.
- Clean bedding: Keep your dog’s bedding clean every day.
Minimizing Dog Shedding
As we established in the introduction section of this article, no dog out there doesn’t shed. There are dogs that shed a whole lot, and dogs that shed a lot less. So expecting a solution that will get your dog to stop shedding hair just won’t happen, don’t waste your time trying. The most you can do is limit it.
So, how exactly can you minimize your dog’s shedding?
- Brushing your dog: You should be brushing your dog’s hair daily, which will keep your dog’s hair in tip-top shape and minimize the possibility of shedding. As for the best brush or comb you can use for your dog’s hair, ask your vet for advice on which one would best accommodate your dog’s hair type. Regular brushing gets rid of any extra and loose hair your dog has and redistributes your dog’s skin oils to make sure that their healthy hair remains in place. Plus, this way you’re in control of the hair lost. It’s better for you to remove all the unwanted hair yourself and throw it away than to have it fall of itself all over your house, car furniture, clothes, etc ..
- Quality food: Your dog’s hair quality is a direct result of what you feed them, which is a very big reason why you should take extra attention when it comes to their diet and ensure they only eat high quality food. Are your dogs getting the necessary levels of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals they need on a day to day basis? Avoid cheap dog food at all costs, and focus on quality food that contains meat as the dominant ingredient which are much easier for your dog to digest properly and benefit from. As for fruits and vegetables, you can feed them sliced apples (without seeds), bananas, and cucumbers.
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids: Besides the many (and I mean many) positive health effects they can have on your dog, they also help out in reducing your dog’s shedding. Adding flax-seed oil to your dog’s food is an excellent way to ensure your dog gets enough Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. You can also feed your dog fish rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids like Salmon or tuna, but make sure you never give them any fish bones, as you run the risk of having them choke.
- Proper hydration: The last thing you want is for your dog to be dehydrated, which will leave you with a dog with dry skin and excessive shedding. Not to mention the many sicknesses your dog will be prone to because of dehydration. Always allow your dog access to as much clean and fresh water as they need so they stay hydrated.
- Refrain from Hypervitaminosis: Before introducing vitamin supplements to your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian first. Vitamin poisoning, which results from the consumption of extra vitamins the body does not need, can result in catastrophes for your dog’s health.
- Veterinarian Checkups: Let your vet take a look at your dog and make sure they don’t suffer from any allergies or diseases that are causing them to excessively shed hair. Is your dog suffering from fleas? Fleas are one of the biggest reasons you might find a lot of dog hair in your house, because they will irritate your dog’s skin and make your dog scratch a lot, which will cause a lot of hair to fall out.
- Regular bathing: The cleaner you can keep your dog, the healthier their coat will be. However, make sure not to over-bathe your dogs, because that can cause their skin to turn dry and their hair to excessively fall out. Not sure how frequent you should be bathing your dog? Your vet is the best person that can take care of that question.
- Exposure To Light: The more you expose your dog to natural light, the healthier their coat will be, and the less they will shed as a result.
Why Not To Shave Your Dog
If you’re thinking about taking your dog to the groomer and having them shaved off because you suppose that would solve the shedding issue, think again. Here’s why this is a terrible idea:
- Your dog’s coat protects them from harsh nature many times. If you shave all their hair off, you take away the proper insulation that used to protect them at all times (and, with no proper insulation, you run the risk of making your dog feel warmer than would be comfortable) run the risk of getting them bit by insects a lot more than dogs with coats, and leave them prone to more injuries during day to day life because of a lack of protection.
- Again, by taking away your dog’s coat which protects their skin, you risk having them affected by sunburn.
- If your home is air conditioned and you’re all cozy thinking the temperature is perfect, your dog might be freezing from the cold because you took away their coat.