How To Control Dog Shedding – Tips For Your Dog & Around The House
February 25th, 2021
Table of Contents
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I wish there was a way for me to just snap my fingers and magically make all the dog hair disappear from my apartment.
If you have a dog, you can sympathize. Often, it feels like dog hair multiplies like mold on just about everything in the house!
While there is no quick-fix solution to this problem, we’ve been able to keep loose dog hair in check with some simple, basic steps.
Today, we’ll share a bunch of tips on how to control dog shedding. These tips are ones you can start implementing today to keep your house as dog-hair-free as possible.
How To Control Dog Shedding - Let's Start With Your Dog.
Before we get into all the fun hacks and gadgets, let’s take a step back and focus on the star of this show: your dog! How you care for your dog can have a noticeable impact on shedding and their overall coat health.
Two aspects of dog care play a crucial role here: nutrition and grooming.
1. Nutrition First
What are you putting in your dog’s tummy? A dog that’s eating healthy will have the coat to back it up: smooth, shiny, and velvety.
Components Of A Healthy Diet
So what does “eating healthy” mean exactly? Generally, your dog needs a good balance of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
It’s hard to give exact percentages, but here are some general guidelines for the big three categories (backed up by AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials for pet foods):
- Protein: The recommended minimum is 18%. If you are feeding your dog a commercial kibble or wet food, a good rule of thumb is to ensure at least the first few ingredients are high-quality protein sources.
- Carbohydrates: Recent studies have surfaced that dogs don’t strictly require carbs to sustain life. However, this doesn’t mean to completely avoid carbs, as they still do provide energy for your dog. Suggestions vary, but PetMD recommends at least 20% carbs for high-energy breeds.
- Fat: The recommended minimum is 5.5%, but somewhere between 10% to 15% is good for healthy adults.
These are good numbers to keep in mind when choosing your dog’s food. If you’re going for a fully home-cooked or raw diet, consult a veterinarian to make sure your feeding plan has the right nutrients.
To Supplement Or Not To Supplement?
When considering coat quality specifically, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements come up frequently, and for good reason. Many dogs’ coats start to really shine after taking an Omega-3 supplement.
Chances are, your dog’s diet already contains some Omega-3. It’s always good to check with your veterinarian and review your dog’s current diet before adding any sort of supplement.
If you do decide to supplement, make sure the purity and dosage is appropriate. An excess of Omega-3 can be just as harmful as a deficit.
Also, be sure to have some patience when introducing an Omega-3 supplement. It can take months for your dog’s old fur to shed before revealing that new and improved coat!
Knowing The Signs Of Excessive Shedding
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what’s considered excessive shedding. New pet parents often ask me if their dog’s shedding is normal or excessive.
Most of the time, shedding is normal, even if it seems like a lot (trust me). However, see a vet if you notice:
- Bald spots in their coat
- Uneven shedding in different areas of their coat
- Pain or heightened sensitivity when petting them in certain areas
These could all be signs of a nutritional deficiency or something more serious underlying.
2. Brush Your Dog's Fur Often
Any dog owner wondering how to control shedding should heed this simple but powerful tip: brush your dog, and do it often.
I promise this works. Get all that loose hair on a brush before it makes its way onto your furniture!
In order to make brushing sessions efficient and even enjoyable for your dog, you’ll need to do some preparation.
Knowing Your Dog's Coat
Step one: understand your furry friend’s coat!
We could get into lots of detail when describing dog coats. For the purposes of brushing, just know if your dog has a:
- Long Coat: i.e. Bearded Collie, Shih Tzu, Afghan Hound
- Medium Coat: i.e. Golden retriever, Corgi, Australian Shepherd
- Short Coat: i.e. Boxer, Beagle, Chihuahua
- Double Coat vs. Single Coat: Many popular dog breeds have an undercoat that’s shorter than their overcoat. This is referred to as a double coat. Example breeds include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, and Pomeranian.
Choosing The Right Tools
Now that you’re familiar with your dog’s coat, let’s also get familiar with common grooming tools.
- Curry Brush: These brushes are made of rubber or soft plastic with pointy “teeth” that generally work well for any coat type, but are a must for short coat breeds. The soft rubber texture allows you to groom such coats without irritating the skin.
- Pin Brush: A pin brush looks similar to a human hair brush. The wire bristles are somewhat spread apart, and topped with rubber nubs so they don’t scratch your dog’s skin. Pin brushes are a good choice for medium or long coat breeds.
- Slicker Brush: A must for dogs with thick double coats. The thin wire bristles allow you to remove loose fur and mats from the overcoat and undercoat.
- Grooming Gloves: A nice addition to any grooming kit. Whereas some dogs can be averse to the mere sight of a brush, grooming gloves are much less intimidating. They’re designed to make brushing more like a regular petting session.
- Deshedding Tool/Blade: A deshedding blade differs slightly from a regular brush in that it is, well, a blade. It has the ability to reach deep into a thick double coat and remove dead furs.
We rely on our arsenal of three tools to combat Yuna’s shedding:
- ZOOPOLR Curry Brush: The first brush we ever picked up at a store was a curry brush, and this has served us reliably for over two years. Good for when Yuna just needs a quick routine brush.
- Kennels & Kats Grooming Gloves: Yuna loves being groomed when I have these gloves on. I’ll use the gloves on areas such as Yuna’s tummy, neck/chest, and limbs.
- Furminator: Last, but definitely not least, is our trusty Furminator deshedding blade. We rely on this heavily to combat Yuna’s double coat.
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog?
Generally, most dogs should be brushed every couple of days. If it’s shedding season, this could be ramped up to as often as every day for some dogs. Similarly, if they’re not shedding as much, you can ramp it down to once a week.
Basically, if you’re annoyed at how much your dog is shedding, that’s a sign to brush them more often!
3. Bathe Your Dog Every Once In A While
Some dogs love baths, others hate them. Either way, you should give your dog a full bath once every 4-6 weeks or so. Take advantage of the time before, during, and after the bath:
- Before: Give your dog a thorough brushing to remove loose fur, mats, and tangles.
- During: Wet your dog, apply shampoo, and lather. Consider using an anti-shedding shampoo and bath brush, described in the section below. Some anti-shedding shampoos require some extra time before you can rinse it off–read the product label.
- After: Dry your dog off thoroughly, and give one final brushing!
Make Sure You’ve Got The Right Bath Gear
Don’t just pick any old dog shampoo off the shelf! If your goal is to control dog shedding, it’s worth reconsidering how you’re choosing your dog’s bath products.
- Shampoo: Many dog shampoos market themselves as being “anti-shedding.” This generally means that they contain Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, oats, and plant extracts, all of which are known to support your dog’s skin and coat. For a nice neutral mild scent, try Burt’s Bees Shed Control Shampoo.
- Bath Brush: Have a dedicated rubber curry brush for bath time. It’ll allow you to better scrub away fur, dander, and dirt from deep under your dog’s coat. We recommend the same ZOOPOLR curry brush from above for its grip.
- Microfiber Towels: This isn’t strictly related to shedding, but microfiber towels are essential for drying off a wet dog. Pick up a few Bone Dry Microfiber Towels.
How To Keep Your House Dog-Hair Free
… or as close to dog-hair free as possible! Now that your dog is well-fed and well-groomed, let’s get your house well-maintained.
4. Tips For Your Floors: Carpets & Hardwood
Floors are the easiest part of your house to keep dog-hair free, as long as you invest in the right equipment.
You don’t need anything flashy here–a solid vacuum cleaner for carpets and a Swiffer mop for most other surfaces will do the trick.
Choose a vacuum that’s specifically designed to pick up pet hair. Chances are, a vacuum that isn’t specifically designed to handle pet hair might not be heavy-duty enough for the job. If that’s the case, don’t stick with an old, weak vacuum. It’s time for an upgrade!
I cannot over stress how useful our Bissell vacuum cleaner has been to help us control Yuna’s loose dog shedding. We’ve used this trusty machine every single week for the last two years and highly recommend it to anyone.
On that note, definitely remember to vacuum weekly, at the very least. If anyone in your household is allergic to pet dander, aim for two or three times a week to prevent buildup.
Loose hair can really stink when mixed with all the dust and dander… so we highly recommend you empty out your vacuum after each use. And be sure to check the filter often so that it stays efficient.
For hardwood and tile floors, invest in a traditional Swiffer mop. The wet cloths have been our go-to, and we always keep a stack of refills handy.
And while we’re on the Swiffer, might we recommend their Dry Sweeping Cloths? Simply run them over surfaces where pet hair can get stuck on easily, such as on your TV monitor or glass cabinet displays.
5. Tips For Furniture & Car Seats: Use Covers!
You know what’s even better than getting rid of dog hair on your furniture? Making sure it doesn’t get there in the first place.
Wherever and whenever possible, do everything you can to protect your upholstery. If dog hair gets deeply embedded onto your sofa or car seats, it can be a nightmare to clean.
A couch cover is how you protect your sofa from scratches, accidents, and dirty paws, in addition to helping you control loose dog shedding. It is absolutely a must.
Easy-Going produces high-quality sofa slipcovers that are non-slip and water-resistant. They also have similar covers for your bed to protect your sheets during the daytime.
Car Seat Hammock
I let Yuna ride in the backseat of my car, but only in a car seat hammock. Especially with how dirty she can get after a muddy Seattle park, I need this to protect my poor fabric seats.
This iBuddy Car Seat Cover is fully waterproof, machine washable, and will fit just about any standard sedan or SUV. We like that it comes with an extra dog seat belt so your dog always cruises safely.
6. Special Hacks To Help You Deal With Dog Hair In Any Situation
Your floor, furniture, and car seats are probably the biggest magnets for dog hair. But what about other pieces of fabric, and those harder to reach areas that seem impossible to clean?
Here’s our list of miscellaneous tried-and-true hacks to help you out.
Let Your Dryer Do The Work
Need a quick hack to get dog hair off of any fabric? Just throw them in the dryer.
A dryer does more than just dry clothes–it also comes with a lint trap that will capture all the dog hair for you.
You can do this with anything–your clothes, couch covers, bedsheets. We typically just put the dryer on a low-heat cycle for around 10 minutes, and boom! Most of the dog hair is removed.
For even better results, try adding a slightly damp dryer sheet (i.e. pat it with a wet towel) helps pick up loose fur even better.
Lint Rollers & Tape
Sticky things work. You can’t go wrong with a classic lint roller. Many suggest placing a roll by your front door, so you can give yourself a quick lint before heading out.
On uneven surfaces such as on a fabric car seat, a lint roller isn’t the right tool. Here, I’d opt to use something really sticky and flexible, such as a piece of duct tape.
Slightly dampened + rubber = easy dog hair removal. A common hack on the Internet is to use a slightly dampened rubber glove to pick up hair off a car seat or carpet.
Another technique that works well is to lightly spray your carpet with water, then use a dry rubber squeegee to repeatedly “rake” the area. This causes the dog hair to bunch up, making it easier for you to pick up.
Really, anything rubber here goes! You could even use a balloon or a rubber-soled shoe if you wanted.
Lilly Brush - For Embedded Furs
One handy tool that we recommend is the Lilly Brush (24), which sort of doubles as a mini-rubber squeegee. It’s lined with a thin but sturdy rubber blade that will help pluck out furs, even if they’re already deeply embedded.
This tool certainly isn’t designed for a huge dog hair removal project, but can help you in tight areas that other tools can’t reach, such as the floors of your car. It’s super compact, so you can conveniently bring it around anywhere.
This was our guide on how to control dog shedding! These tips have all worked well for us, so we hope you find similar success with them as well.
Overall, you may need to make some changes to your dog’s routine and your cleaning habits, but we promise the effort will be worth it.
Did we miss your favorite pet hair hack? Let us know in the comments!