Even the most fervent pet lovers can get seriously annoyed when their fur baby sheds all over the furniture, the house, their clothes – basically everywhere. While dog hair loss is more common than hair loss in cats, being that cats groom themselves regularly, the longer-haired breeds of both can still leave behind a furious amount of fluff.
While you can’t prevent it altogether, there are a few ways you can minimize the shedding that Fifi and Fido go through seasonally and/or year round.
Supplements for shedding
There are some products on the market that claim to eliminate shedding. Truth be told, the only way to have a dog or cat that doesn’t shed is to choose one of the hairless breeds. Shedding is a normal part of cyclical or continual coat health maintenance.
Many breeds of dogs will go through major shedding twice a year. This usually happens in the fall, to prepare for their heavier, protective winter coat, and in the spring, when they shed the heavier coat to allow for a lighter coat in the warmer months.
Then, there are many dogs, especially those who spend most of their time indoors, which will shed nearly year round in a constant cycle of fur growth and then loss, relatively similar to how humans shed their hair. While there isn’t any type of medication or treatment to prevent this, you wouldn’t want to anyway as it is part of how your dog or cat stays healthy.
You can give your pets supplements with omega-3 fatty acids to help keep their skin and coat healthy, helping to prevent skin irritations, hot spots, or any other types of dermatitis which can add to shedding.
Grooming and bathing
The only real tried and true way to minimize the fur that your dog or cat is leaving around your home is to stay on top of regular bathing and grooming. Although cats do a good amount of grooming themselves, they still benefit from regular baths and brushing to help remove any loose fur. This will also help reduce the incidence of hairballs for many cats.
Dogs, especially the long haired or breeds with an undercoat (the fluffy, fine, lighter fur that many dogs have closer to their skin under their darker colored fur) need much more help with this. Keeping a good brush, or even a comb made specifically to help reduce shedding, in your home and grooming your dog regularly will remove much of the fur that would eventually come out on its own, but now you’re not having to lint roll every surface of your house.
Regular health check-ups
While shedding is part of a normal, healthy dog or cat’s life, it is important to stay up to date on your pet’s health care. Annual well-check visits help your veterinarian monitor your furbaby’s overall health in the same way that we monitor our own.
Unusual shedding, bald spots or patches, or all-over hair loss can be a sign of illness or even various genetic conditions. If your pet seems to be shedding more than normal, consult your vet to make sure there isn’t a more serious health issue going on.