Tips for Dealing With Shedding Dogs
Dealing with shedding is one of the constant struggles of owning a dog, but it can be manageable. How often and how much your dog sheds depends a lot on what kind of dog you have. In summary you'll want to make sure you have the right tools for the job such as a proper deshedding brush and a vacuum that is specifically good for picking up pet hair. What kind of fabric you keep around the house, for example what the couch or couch cover is made out of, can make a huge difference. Shampoos and dietary considerations can ensure your dogs coat remains healthy and limits shedding. Finally make sure your dog isn't overly stressed. Read more below for specifics!
How often and how much your dog sheds depends a lot on what kind of dog you have. Dogs with two layers of hair are more apt to shed their undercoat seasonally than a dog with a single layer of hair. Our Corgi is like this and sheds a ton. On the other hand many types of terriers are low shedding. Look for a list of hypoallergenic dogs if you’re looking for dogs that don’t shed a ton. If you’re reading this though you likely already have a dog so continue on!
The Right Tools for the Job
Most of you reading this know that keeping your dog brushed is the best way to manage shedding. Unfortunately many of us forget to do it regularly enough, or aren’t equipped with the right type of brush. A traditional brush that is similar to the one you may use to straighten and detangle your hair can be useful for your dog if they have longer hair, but not for deshedding. You’ll want a brush specifically for deshedding. There are a lot of options out there, we’ve been using one for 4 years by SleekEz that we love. Our dog is a Corgi and has two layers of hair, an overcoat that doesn’t shed and an undercoat that does, meaning brushing out the loose hairs underneath isn’t a straightforward problem but we’ve found that the SleekEz works great. Another added benefit is that we use the SleekEz to pull her hair relatively easily off the couch and rug. There are many other brush options available, just choose one that is specifically for shedding such as the FURminator. The other aspect of brushing is that you actually need to use it. If you aren’t brushing regularly, try to design your environment so that you’re reminded to brush. That means keep the brush out on a side table, or on the coffee table so that you see it and remember to use it when you’re hanging around on the couch with your dog. You could also try giving your dog treats after brushing, in hopes that they come asking you to brush them, though we find that our dog enjoys brushing without additional incentives.
Regardless of what type of floor you have, one nice feature of dog hair is that it tends to clump together automatically into tiny rolling tumbleweeds. This means cleaning up the majority of the hair is quite simple as you can gather these tumbleweeds by hand and throw them out. If you have a hardwood floor then any normal broom will probably do well for cleaning up, or there are brooms available specifically for cleaning up pet hair. If you have carpet then you’ll need a vacuum to clean up. For a long time we had a dyson rechargeable cordless vacuum which worked great for a good 8 years. Small rechargeable vacuums like this are great for small spaces like apartments or condos. They’re small and handheld to the point that they work great if you just swap the attachments for upholstery like the couch (how well it works will depend a lot on the fabric weave of the couch) and you can even take them outside to clean out the car. Eventually we replaced it with a cheaper corded vacuum we got off facebook marketplace which also did a wonderful job for the few months we needed it before we moved. Regardless, make sure you’re picking a vacuum you think would be good for pet hair. Read and filter reviews to ensure that others have had good experiences using the vacuum with pet hair. You’ll want some sort of upholstery attachment which most vacuums come with. Lint rollers can work great on couches as well in a pinch if your vacuum isn’t handy but I’ll generally need a few sheets to effectively clean the couch so it’s not the most cost effective way to do it and generates quite a bit of waste.
Regardless of what tools you have available for cleaning, when choosing fabric for a shedding dog be it blankets around the house, fabric for a couch, or a dog bed, you’ll want to choose relatively tight knit fabrics. Choosing tight knit fabrics ensures the dog hair doesn’t get stuck lodged into the fabric, generally with tight knit fabrics the dog hair will sit on top making it easy to scoop up. Like we mentioned above we actually use the SleekEz most of the time since it’s readily available for scooping up Minnie’s hairs from the couch. Blankets specifically for dogs are available that are waterproof as well which will do well for dog hair usually though not all are designed with that in mind. Seat covers or a dog “hammock” for the car can also be a good investment in general.
The type of shampoo you use for your dog when you do wash your dog can make a difference in terms of shedding and coat quality. In general, always use a dog specific shampoo, and make sure you don’t use shampoo too frequently when washing your dog. Dogs have oil cycles that ensure their coat remains naturally protected, over frequent washing with shampoo can disrupt that cycle. FURminator, who makes deshedding brushes as we mentioned above, also makes dog shampoo specifically designed for shedding dogs.
Finally, excessive shedding or deliberately pulling out hair can be a sign of stress or anxiety, in particular if your dog didn’t used to shed so much and now all the sudden is. Be attentive to your dog and ensure that you remove any stressors in the environment that might have caused the change. There are many other signs of stress in dogs that you can pay attention to, including abnormally excessive barking. Make sure your dog is getting sufficient exercise. If your dog remains stressed even when attempting to remove stressors in the environment, consult your vet.