So, your house is full of your dog’s hair. Wherever you look, there they are. No matter if your dog is a seasonal shedder, or his coat molts year-round, dog hair all over your house or apartment are, to a degree, expected.
But what if your dog starts shedding excessively? Is that a sign of underlying diseases? And is there a way to help reduce the amount of stray dead hair?
Fortunately, there are ways to help with that problem. While shedding can’t be eliminated, it can be lessened with proper diet. This is where this guide comes in. It should give you all the information you need to choose the best food to reduce your dog’s shedding.
Our Review of Top 7 Dog Food for Shedding
Purina Pro Plan – Best Overall
Purina Pro Plan’s Focus line of products is specifically meant for specific dietary problems, and their formula based on salmon and rice is our choice for excessively shedding dogs. Its primary ingredient is salmon, so it should be safe for most allergies, while still providing all the protein dogs need.
It includes easily-digestible whole grains, such as oatmeal and barley, as a source of carbohydrates, so it’s appropriate for dogs with intolerances. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are here to ensure your dog’s coat and skin remain healthy, as well as to maintain the strength of their joints.
This formula also contains probiotics and fiber to ensure both the digestibility, as well as proper absorption of its nutrients. It is also free of soy, wheat, or corn, making it even safer for dogs with food allergies, and it doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
All that makes this formula the best choice for your shedding dog. It removes ingredients dogs are most commonly allergic to and increases others which help their skin and coat.
Nature's Recipe – Ideal For Dogs With Food Sensitivities
If your dog prefers dry food, and you’re looking for a perfect formula, Nature’s Recipe has one perfect for dogs with shedding coats. Their recipe based on salmon, sweet potato, and pumpkin has everything your dog needs while avoiding most common allergens.
This grain-free formula has salmon as its primary source of protein, and this source provides more than enough to keep your dog healthy. Sweet potato and pumpkin provide all the carbohydrates your dog needs to fuel his daily energy needs, while still being easily-digestible.
It also includes sources of vitamins and minerals to maintain your pooch’s health, and antioxidants help boost his immune system. It is also free of wheat, corn, or soy, as well as artificial ingredients so your sensitive pup can enjoy all it has to offer.
So, if you want the best dry food that can help with your pet’s shedding, this is our recommendation. It is fit for sensitive pups, and it provides all they need to remain healthy.
Blue Buffalo – Fit for Small Breeds
If your dog belongs to a small breed, and you’re looking for food to help with his molting, Blue Buffalo’s Life Protect line of products has just the formula for you. Our choice from that line is their recipe based on chicken and brown rice.
As it has deboned chicken as the primary source of protein, your small pooch should be getting all he needs to remain healthy. It also has whole grains, which are easily digestible, and fruits and vegetables. Together, they provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your pooch needs in a balanced daily diet.
This formula also has sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to protect your pet’s joints, as well as omega fatty acids for their skin and coat. And, even though it is based on chicken, it doesn’t have any chicken or poultry by-products, making it safer for sensitive dogs.
It is also free of soy, wheat, or corn, as well as any artificial ingredients, such as colors, flavors, or preservatives, all of which make this food extra safe for dogs with allergies or sensitivities.
This recipe is our choice for small doggies with shedding problems precisely because it provides all the nutrients to preserve their coat while avoiding common allergens which can cause molting.
Whole Earth Farms – Best Grain-Free
Whole Earth Farms is a line of dog food meant for sensitive dogs, and their recipe based on pork, beef, and lamb is our choice among their selection. It is perfect for dogs with poultry related allergies or sensitivities, as its protein is sourced primarily from pork meals.
Along with poultry, it also doesn’t contain any wheat, soy, or corn, and it’s free of any artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, or preservatives, making it easily digestible. It does contain dried blueberries, rosemary, sage, and thyme as sources of valuable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, as well as natural flavors.
In addition to avoiding potential allergens, this formula is rich in nutrients that care for your pet’s coat, making it shinier than ever. It also supports healthier skin, and it reduces food-induces excessive shedding.
So, for doggies with allergies that cause itching in their skin, this formula should be the perfects solution. It has everything they need from a balanced daily diet while avoiding potentially harmful ingredients.
Nutro Max – Best for Dogs with Allergies
For dogs troubled by allergies or food intolerances, we recommend Nutro Max’s lamb-based recipe. Along with free roam lamb, the protein also comes from chicken meal, which provides all the amino acids your dog needs from a balanced daily diet.
This formula also doesn’t include grain, soy, wheat, corn, or gluten, as well as any artificial ingredients, such as colors, preservatives, or flavors, so it is safe for dogs with food allergies. Instead, it contains legumes and potatoes, making it even easier for your sensitive pup to digest.
It is also filled with fruits and vegetables as sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as supplements of vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and D, so it contains everything your dog needs from a balanced daily diet.
This hypoallergenic formula is perfect for dogs with intolerances, as it is simultaneously free of allergens, and it contains all the nutrients your dog needs. That way, you can be sure the shedding isn’t caused by something they ate.
Wellness Simple – Ideal for Healthy Skin
Limited ingredient formulas are made for doggies with allergies or sensitivities, and this Wellness Simple’s recipe is our choice for your pup’s healthy skin. As it is based on a single primary ingredient, lamb, it should be safe for sensitive dogs, and it should stop excessive shedding or itchy skin which come as symptoms of intolerances.
To make sure it’s safe for dogs with food allergies, it doesn’t contain any wheat, soy, or corn, making it extra easily-digestible. It is also free of artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. It does, however, contain easily digestible whole grains, and fruits and vegetables serve as sources of vitamins and minerals.
And, to fortify your pet’s skin and coat health, it also contains flaxseed as a source of omega fatty acids. At the same time, lamb provides more than enough protein, and in combination, they should stop, or at least slow the excessive shedding.
All these ingredients make this the safest choice to preserve the health of your pet’s skin and coat, and at the same time, keep their digestion strong, and their overall health at a high level.
Instinct by Nature's Variety – With Antioxidants
In the same way that antioxidants are important for humans, they are vital for dogs, as well. They fight off free radicals and maintain their organism youthful and healthy, just like with us. And if you’re looking for dog food rich in antioxidants, we recommend Instinct’s recipe based on real chicken.
As it gets all its most of its protein from free-roam chickens, it is safe for most dogs with sensitivities as long as they aren’t intolerant of poultry. It also has plenty of natural sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as fruits and vegetables, so it should cover your pet’s daily needs.
It also has natural sources of omega fatty acids to make sure that not only your pooch’s skin and coat remain healthy, but their immune system, brain, and eyesight, as well. Additionally, this formula is free of grain, potatoes, soy, wheat, or corn, as well as any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, making it extra safe for sensitive pups.
This is our formula of choice for those looking for food rich with antioxidants, as well as other nutrients that will keep your pet happy, healthy, and youthful as long as they can be.
Causes of Excessive Shedding in Canines
Excessive shedding can be a messy problem for pet owners. The hair gets everywhere, and it seems like there is no escape. Even though a certain degree of shedding is normal, depending on the breed, when it becomes too heavy, it can be a sign of underlying problems.
This guide should help you understand possible causes of excessive molting, and give you an idea of how to best deal with it.
Food allergies are the most frequent cause of excessive shedding among dogs. Even though common symptoms of food sensitivities involve their digestion and manifest as bloat, diarrhea, constipation, or similar, they can also manifest themselves as skin or coat problems.
If your pooch keeps scratching, or gnawing on his paws, or his fur doesn’t look too good, that may be a symptom of food allergies. You should consult your vet to find the ingredient your pet is intolerant of, and following that, you can find him a fitting formula.
The sensitivities can be anything, from meats such as poultry or beef to wheat, corn, or soy in the formula’s filler, or any artificial component the diet may contain.
Read more: Top 5 Hypoallergenic Foods for Dogs
Even if your dog doesn’t have problems with allergies, his food may still be the underlying cause of his shedding. He may not be getting enough nutrients from his food, and it may be time to look for an alternative.
For example, your pooch may not be getting enough fatty acids, which help maintain the health of his skin and coat. Since canines can’t naturally produce omega fatty acids, it is vital they get enough through food.
Excessive shedding can be a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, as well, so you should make sure his formula contains all the nutrients he needs.
Like humans, dogs are sensitive to stress in the environment. Maybe the cause is something like moving, or changes in the family, new pets, or such. In that case, your pet will adjust to the new environment, and the symptoms should stop on their own.
There are other causes of stress, particularly instabilities in their environments, especially loud noises such as yelling or fireworks. In that case, the shedding will stop, along with other symptoms, when the disturbance in the environment stops.
Dry or Irritated Skin
Itchy or irritated skin can be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases or problems, and it can contribute to excessive molting if your dog scratches so hard he hurts his skin or coat. It can be a sign of food allergies or sensitivities, for instance, but it can also be a symptom of diseases like mange, or maybe even parasites or fleas.
In any case, if your dog is excessively scratching, you should take him to your vet and try to find the cause.
Read more: Overview of Top 7 Dog Foods For Itchy Skin
The most common hormonal imbalance that can affect your dog is related to aging. The levels of their hormones change as they approach their elderly years, and that can cause excessive molting.
The other, less frequent issue can arise from problems with his thyroid gland. It can also be a symptom of iodine deficiency, which can be treated with additives, or a sign of hypothyroidism, for which there is no cure.
Whatever the case may be, consult your vet to find the cause, and then work together to find a solution.
Benefits of Using A Dog Food for Molting
There are two ways in which diet can affect excessive molting. It can be a symptom of food intolerance or allergy, and it is usually related to a specific protein, such as chicken, beef, lamb, or pork, but it can be any other ingredient.
If, however, your pooch doesn’t have allergies, it can signify a deficiency in his diet. A lack of several vitamins or minerals, as well as omega fatty acids, could cause shedding.
In either of those cases, a recipe built to help with molting could be beneficial. It could remove the ingredient your dog is sensitive to, or it could improve his supply of nutrients, which should both help with that problem.
If, however, the problem lies somewhere else, the food could still help by maintaining the health of his skin and coat.
Ingredients to Look For
If you’re on the market for a formula to help with your dog’s shedding, there are a few ingredients you should look for, that are known to help in that regard. This guide should help you learn what to pay attention to when choosing a recipe for your pet.
Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids, particularly omega-3, are recognized for their positive effect on canine skin and coat. They are necessary for dogs because they can’t produce omega fatty acids on their own, and they need to get enough from their food.
Omega fatty acids make canine fur softer and healthier, and if fed formulas with insufficient quantities, the results will be visible. This is probably the most important ingredient, and problems with excessive shedding have been known to lessen, if not disappear, after adjusting to a healthier recipe.
Your dog’s metabolism may start getting protein elsewhere if he doesn’t get enough from his daily diet. That can lead to a wide variety of health problems, from a loss of muscle mass to itchy and flaky skin and excessive shedding.
That’s why a good source of protein is important. While dogs can get protein from vegetables, it is best they come from animal sources, as those are easier to digest.
Read more: Top High Protein Dog Foods
Vitamins and Minerals
As with humans, canines also require a daily dose of vitamins and minerals from a balanced and preferably natural source. In other words, you should feed your dog a recipe that has natural sources of vitamins, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a wide variety of symptoms, among them excessive molting, and if you want to avoid that and provide a healthy life for your dog, consider a formula containing natural sources of vitamins and minerals.
To avoid potential problems with sensitivities, the food you choose for your dog should not contain any artificial ingredients such as preservatives, colors, or flavors. Sources of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber should be natural. Protein and fat should come from animals and the rest from vegetables.
You should also avoid byproduct meals or unnamed sources of protein. Look for labels such as ‘meat,’ ‘meat meal,’ or ‘meat by-product.’
When Should You Visit A Vet?
While a certain amount of shedding is normal and dependent on your pet’s breed, if it gets too excessive, and other symptoms start appearing alongside it, you should check with your vet. This is a list of such symptoms.
If you notice your dog is scratching for a prolonged period, check if there are any open sores, possibly with oozing puss. Those can be skin ulcers, and usually, you can spot them by hair loss or redness and inflammation around the affected area.
There can be a whole variety of causes, and it is important that you consult your vet immediately.
Redness, Bumps, Rashes or Scabs
Hair loss accompanied by redness, rashes, or scabs can be symptomatic of a wide variety of diseases. The most common among them are allergies, and they can be allergic to anything from pollen or dust to their food. It can also be caused by parasites, mange mites, fleas, or ticks, and it can be a result of dermatitis, an infection of their skin.
If you notice these symptoms, you should consult your vet to see what the underlying problem is and to try and find a solution.
Bald Spots and Thinning Coat
If you notice your dog’s shedding has become so pronounced that it led to the thinning of his coat or appearance of bald spots, you should take him for an examination immediately. Shedding to that degree can be a symptom of allergies, flea bites, or Cushing’s disease, among others, and it is vital that you and your vet find the underlying cause and correct it.
Constant Foot Licking or Face Rubbing
Excessive foot licking or face rubbing is a common sign of allergies, whether food or environmental. You should take your pooch for an exam to find what he’s allergic to, and then work to either change his diet to something safer or remove him from an environment causing the disturbance.
Easily Removed Hair
If your dog’s hair comes off in clumps, it may be a symptom of an underlying disease, and you should seek help from your veterinarian. As with other symptoms, it can be a reaction to an ingredient in his food, or to an allergen in the environment. It can also be an effect of mites, fleas, or ticks.
Tips for Switching Dog Food
If you discover that the cause of excessive shedding lies in your dog’s diet, you may want to change his formula. Simply shifting to a new recipe in one day, however, can cause other digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloat, or constipation.
To avoid that, you should change his food gradually over several days.
- For the first few days, put a little less of the old formula in his bowl, and season it with the new food.
- Over the next several days, gradually decrease the amount of old food while increasing the new.
- After the amount of the old formula reaches half, start serving mostly new food while sprinkling the old.
- Continue reducing the amount of the old formula until all that’s left is the new one.
- After 7-10 days, your dog should be exclusively eating the new recipe, and hopefully, the symptoms would have cleared by then, and the switch didn’t cause any new ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much molting is normal?
There are no rules about shedding with dogs. Some breeds are more prone to it than others. Double-coated dogs will shed more than single-coated. Outdoor dogs will shed seasonally, mostly twice a year, around spring and fall; indoor dogs will molt year-round but in smaller quantities.
And then, there are the breeds less prone to shedding such as Maltese, Poodles, Bichon Frises, or Dachshunds.
So, overall, the amount of molting depends on many different factors, including breed, seasonal changes, their general health, or their lifestyles.
Are there home remedies to stop dog shedding?
While it can’t stop shedding completely, a good diet can help manage the amount of hair your pet leaves behind. Primarily, that means you can add sources of omega fatty acids to his food, and that should help keep their coat shiny, as well as reduce any excessive molting.
If you’d rather not change your dog’s formula, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil to his every meal, and that should be enough to keep his coat healthy. Alternatively, you can use coconut or fish oil to the same effect.
Should I give supplements?
You should be careful with supplements. While some vitamins or minerals are safe, others can turn toxic in higher quantities. Your dog should get all the nutrients he needs from his food. If he is displaying signs of vitamin or mineral deficiency, you should consult your vet before feeding him supplements.
Can I shave my dog to stop shedding?
This is not a good idea, and we wholeheartedly recommend against it. It will mostly cause other problems, particularly with their temperature regulation, and in the worst case, the shaved hair may not grow back.
A better solution is regular grooming, whether combing your dog yourself or taking him to a professional dog groomer. That should remove most dead hairs before they fall off his coat and end up on your floor.
What are the worst shedding dog breeds?
The worst shedders are generally the double-coated dogs along with those known for their fluffy fur. Among the popular breeds, German Shepherds, Border Collies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Siberian and Alaskan Huskies are particularly known for their excessive molting, so owners with allergies should be careful with those breeds. Instead of them they might think about Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds.
Are there deshedding shampoos to help reduce it?
Yes, there are, but their effectiveness depends on the breeds. For most dogs, deshedding shampoos should provide omega fatty acids and other nutrients, and make their coats stronger and healthier.
Double coated breeds, however, along with those with strong, wiry fur will not get any benefits from it, though. In fact, the shampoo may even worsen the situation by removing the essential oils from their undercoats.
Read more: Best Dog Shampoos and Conditioners
Molting among dogs is natural. Some dogs shed heavily twice a year, some shed year-round, but in smaller amounts, while others rarely shed. Excessive molting can also be a sign of underlying problems or diseases, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as itchy skin or thinning coat.
Whatever the case, there are solutions. There is always grooming, which should help remove dead hair before they reach your floor. On the other hand, your dog can have a problem with an ingredient in his diet, and changing his formula may help clear the shedding problem.
Higher quality foods also contain ingredients and additives that help keep your pet’s fur strong and healthy. So, by removing harmful components and adding helpful ones, you can at least help with your dog’s shedding problem.