Shed Control: 10 Tips
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

One of the biggest nuisances faced by pet owners is unwanted hair in their homes. Nearly every dog and cat - regardless of their age or breed - sheds. Some breeds have more hair or thicker undercoats and will shed in higher quantities, but virtually all dogs and cats will shed hair. While we cannot stop a dog or cat from shedding, we can help reduce the amount of loose hair, and also effectively remove the hair so it doesn't create a problem in our homes.

Animals shed to get rid of old, damaged, or extra hair. Animals grow a heavy coat in the winter to help insulate themselves and then shed the extra hair in the summer. However, dogs will also shed broken or damaged hair, and if their skin is irritated from conditions such as allergies, they will also shed excessively. This article will give tips for keeping your dog's skin and hair healthy to reduce shedding as well as effectively removing the hair.

  1. Brush your pet! Regular, even daily, brushing is the best thing you can do to keep your home free of hair. Brushing will also make your pet's coat softer, cleaner, and less likely to shed.
     
  2. Feed an appropriate pet food. A pet's coat is often a reflection of what they eat. Feed a high quality food with good digestible protein sources.
     
  3. Feed a fatty acid supplement like Vitacoat® Plus. Giving Vitacoat® Plus to your dog keeps his coat healthy.
     
  4. Cover your furniture and car seats. Upholstery is a magnet for pet hair, and removing pet hair from furniture or car seats can be a tedious task. If you allow pets on your furniture or bed, you would be wise to invest in a few furniture throws. Throws will keep your furniture looking (and smelling) better, and make your home more inviting to guests. Car seat covers are also an excellent investment and are highly recommended.
     
  5. Control allergies and fleas. See your veterinarian to make sure your pet is getting proper allergy relief. To prevent itching and scratching from fleas, use Bio Spot® ACTIVE CARE SPOT ON® for Dogs or Advantage® II to prevent and control infestations.
     
  6. Vacuum often. Be diligent in your vacuuming efforts. Frequent vacuuming is the best way to keep your home hair free.
     
  7. Bathe your dog occasionally during the summer. A clean dog will have a healthier coat. A gentle oatmeal shampoo once a week or so will clean without drying the skin and rejuvenate a lackluster haircoat.
     
  8. Have regular checkups. Many diseases can affect the skin and haircoat. Regular visits to your veterinarian will help identify problems early, and provide more effective treatment.
     
  9. Use the right brush. Slicker Brushes, Shedding Blades, Matbreakers and Love Gloves each have a specific function and work best on the type of coat they are designed for. Most pets need more than one type of brush to remove all of the dead hair.
     
  10. Remove hair from upholstery and your dog's bed as soon as possible. Hair that is newly shed is easier to remove before it works its way into upholstery fabric. A Pet Hair Pic-Up Roller is one of the best tools for removing hair.

Remember that routine brushing and grooming are an important part of every pet's care. By paying attention to your pet's diet and following these tips, you can significantly reduce the amount of pet hair in your home, on your furniture, and in your car.

  
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