If you share your home with a pup, you’re probably all too familiar with the concept of shedding. Sometimes it feels as though you’re in a constant battle to keep your home free of dog hair! While it’s impossible to stop your pooch from moulting completely, there are steps you can take to manage it. In this article, we’ll discuss the five best dog shedding supplements, plus other tips for looking after your pup’s coat. That should make both you and your furry friend happy!
All about dog shedding
The first point to note before we talk about supplements for dog shedding is that shedding is perfectly normal. It’s how your pup gets rid of dead or damaged hair to allow healthy new fur to grow. All dogs shed to some degree, although the amount will depend on factors like their breed and age. So that means there’s no such thing as supplements to stop dog shedding altogether.
The type of coat your pooch has also plays a role in how much they shed. For instance, dogs with long or silky hair tend to shed more than those with short or coarse fur. Similarly, some breeds of dog – including Siberian Huskies and Golden Retrievers – have both a top coat and an undercoat. That means they have more fur to shed than single-coated dogs.
As you might expect, the time of year also makes a difference to how much hair your pet loses. Most dogs will shed more in the spring and autumn, as the temperature changes. So in spring, they shed their winter coats and grow a lighter summer coat. Conversely, in autumn they shed their summer coat and grow a warmer, thicker coat for the cold weather.
The point of dog shedding supplements is therefore not to prevent your pet from losing any hair at all. Rather, it’s to reduce excessive shedding by keeping their fur and follicles strong and healthy. Combined with other tactics like careful and regular grooming, this should enable you to successfully manage your pup’s moulting.
How diet affects your dog’s coat
Just like us, the food your pooch eats has an impact on their wellbeing. And that includes the health of their fur. Dietary factors such as vitamin deficiencies or a lack of nutrients can weaken follicles and make hair loss more likely. This is just one of the many reasons why you should always buy high-quality food for your pets. And dog shedding supplements can be a great way to top up your pup’s diet. They could help ensure your pooch is getting enough of specific key nutrients that contribute to a healthy coat.
Speaking of food, if your dog is shedding excessively, this could be a sign that they’re having an allergic reaction to something. It could be an environmental trigger – like pollen, a cleaning product, or dust – or a food allergy. The most common ingredients for pups to have adverse reactions to are beef, dairy products, chicken, and wheat.(1) Consequently, removing these from your pet’s diet could also reduce the amount of fur they shed.
When to see a vet about your pup’s hair loss
It’s not always easy to tell if your pet’s shedding is normal or not. Therefore, if you have any doubts, it’s best to take your canine companion to the vet. They’ll be able to check your pup’s overall health and advise you on what to do.
We also recommend talking to your vet before adding dog shedding supplements to your pet’s diet. This is especially true if your pup has an existing health condition or is on medication. This will help to make sure that they don’t experience any interactions or unwanted side effects.
Hair loss can sometimes be a sign of parasites like fleas, or a more serious health condition. Dog shedding supplements alone will not cure these issues. As such, if you notice any of the following symptoms, we recommend you book a vet appointment:
- More hair loss than usual
- Bald patches
- Excessive scratching
- Brittle fur
- Red, inflamed, flaky, or otherwise irritated skin
- Behavioural changes
The five best supplements for dog shedding
Now that you know how and why dog shedding supplements are useful, let’s look at our top five. Each of these recommendations is a functional, plant-based food that you can easily incorporate into your pup’s diet. Whichever you pick, we recommend choosing a high-quality, organic product with no unwanted filler ingredients. This will help ensure your pooch gets the maximum benefit possible.
Chia seed oil
Chia seeds are a superb source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which offer several benefits that could help with moulting. For instance, they have anti-inflammatory properties and help to keep skin hydrated. Inflammation and dry skin can both contribute to hair loss, making omega-3s fantastic dog shedding supplements. Chia seed oil may additionally strengthen your dog’s follicles, helping to give them a thicker and shinier coat.
You can feed chia seed oil to your pooch neat. We recommend giving them one teaspoon (5ml) per 10kg of their body weight, up to twice a day.
Milk thistle oil
Milk thistle oil is rich in vitamin E, which acts as a potent antioxidant. That means it can protect your pup’s cells against damage from free radicals. On top of which, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, plus helps to keep your pet’s skin and fur hydrated. The end result of all this is a healthier and glossier coat, with reduced hair loss. Just what you want from dog shedding supplements!
As with chia seed oil, your pup can have milk thistle oil neat. One teaspoon (5ml) per 10kg of body weight up to twice a day is a good guideline.
Sea buckthorn powder and oil
Ok, technically this is two dog shedding supplements in one, because sea buckthorn comes in both oil and powder form! But whichever way your pup takes it, this tiny berry may help to keep their coat thick and shiny. It’s bursting with vitamin E, vitamin C, omega-7 fatty acids, beta-carotene, folate, and other powerful phytonutrients that support wellbeing. Sea buckthorn could reduce inflammation, boost hydration, and protect against oxidative stress. All of which can be effective at preventing excessive hair loss.
If you’re using sea buckthorn oil, feed your pup 20 drops per 10kg of body weight up to twice daily. For sea buckthorn powder, blend ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon per 5kg of body weight into their wet food. You can do this once or twice a day.
Reishi mushroom powder
With a nickname like ‘the mushroom of immortality’, you know that reishi has a lot to offer! People prize the fungus for its positive influence on the immune system. That’s because it’s rich in polysaccharides called beta-glucans, which can activate certain types of immune cells. So, how does this get reishi a place on our list of dog shedding supplements?
Well, the fungus also contains potent secondary metabolites such as triterpenes. These have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they could help to soothe inflamed skin. Not to mention, reishi may also work to balance histamine levels, easing the symptoms of allergies. Because both skin conditions and allergic reactions can exacerbate hair loss, the mushroom may be able to reduce moulting.
Like many dog shedding supplements, you can simply blend reishi mushroom powder into your dog’s wet food. We recommend using 50-100mg per 1kg of their body weight, divided into 2-3 doses a day. It’s best to take a break for a few weeks after eight weeks of giving your dog medicinal mushrooms. This is to avoid them developing a tolerance to the fungus or over-stimulating their immune system.
One reason for excessive shedding in dogs that we haven’t touched on yet is stress. There are many reasons why your pup might get anxious. Likewise, there are lots of different physical and psychological reactions they may experience as a result – including hair loss.
Unlike the other supplements for dog shedding on this list, ashwagandha helps by alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety. That’s because the herb functions as an adaptogen, meaning it can enable the body to cope with stress more effectively. Studies show ashwagandha could reduce signs of stress, fear, and anxiety in dogs – without the unpleasant side effects some pharmaceutical medication might cause.(2)
Ashwagandha could be a fantastic choice of dog shedding supplements if you think stress is behind your pup’s hair loss. Simply mix 250-500mg of powder per 10kg of body weight into their normal wet food, given once or twice daily. Please note that the herb might not be suitable for pups who are on medication or have certain health conditions. That’s because it can interact with sedatives and drugs that affect the immune system.
Using dog shedding supplements safely
We only recommend dog shedding supplements that experts generally consider to be safe. However, it’s still important to make sure that you follow certain guidelines when you give them to your pet. Most notably, no dog shedding supplements should be considered as a replacement for professional veterinary care or medicine.
Second, dog shedding supplements are not necessarily suitable for all our canine friends. For example, we don’t recommend giving them to puppies, or dogs who are pregnant or nursing. The reason for this is that there is currently insufficient research into the safety of functional foods for these groups.
Likewise, there’s a small chance your pet could be allergic to certain dog shedding supplements. Monitor your pup when you introduce a new ingredient to their diet. That way, you’ll be able to quickly spot any negative changes in their health or behaviour. If you do, stop giving your pooch the supplement and take them to the vet straight away.
Last, be careful not to exceed the recommended dose of your chosen dog shedding supplements. The specifics will vary depending on factors like how big your pup is, so always read the packaging thoroughly.
Other ways to help manage your dog’s shedding
Dog shedding supplements can be a great way to boost the health of your pup’s fur and reduce moulting. However, for the best results, we recommend combining them with the following tactics:
- Bathe your pooch regularly. This helps to remove excess fur before it sheds and gets all over the house. You can also buy shampoos specifically designed to reduce shedding
- Ensure your pup always has fresh water. Staying hydrated helps to reduce dry skin, which can exacerbate shedding
- Groom your dog regularly. The amount of brushing they need will depend on their breed, but every 1-3 days is a useful guide. Grooming does more than just remove loose hair. It also stimulates the hair follicles and distributes the natural oils your pup’s skin produces throughout their coat. This all helps to keep their fur strong and shiny. Plus, grooming is a great opportunity to bond with your pet!
- Always use good quality grooming tools that are appropriate for your dog. For instance, different breeds often need different types of brushes. If you’re unsure of what to use or how to groom your pup, you might prefer to take them to a professional
- Give your pet regular preventative flea treatments. Fleas irritate the skin, which can lead to excessive shedding
- As well as topping up your pup’s diet with dog shedding supplements, you can buy hypoallergenic foods if they’re sensitive to certain ingredients
Top tips for cleaning up dog hair in your home
Even with dog shedding supplements, you can’t entirely prevent your pup from moulting. That’s why it’s also useful to have some tricks up your sleeve for cleaning up the hair they shed. Here are some top tips:
- It’s much easier to remove freshly fallen hair compared to fur that’s embedded in the carpets and upholstery. As such, having a regular cleaning routine can save you some effort
- A pet hair remover roller is handy for quickly getting fur off your clothes and furniture
- If you can, invest in a vacuum cleaner that’s specifically designed to pick up pet fur. Handheld styles can be useful for getting rid of hair on the furniture or in your car
- Train your pup to sit on easy-to-clean dog beds and blankets, rather than directly on the furniture or floor
- Damp dusters and mops can be more effective than dry ones at picking up pet hair
- Mix water and fabric softener to make your own anti-static spray. This can help to prevent fur from clinging to your furniture
- Wear a pair of damp rubber gloves and brush your hands over your furniture to pick up fur with ease