For most pet parents, shedding is a small nuisance you endure as a trade-off for the love and affection of your best furry friend. Constantly vacuuming and lint-rolling isn’t soooo much of a task when you’re greeted with those big puppy-dog eyes afterwards. But there are ways to help manage your dog’s shedding, including making sure they have adequate amounts of certain nutrients in their diet.
First, Why Do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is a natural process that removes loose, old or damaged hair. How often your dog sheds is affected by whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors, because day length and temperature affect shedding. If your dog is an “I only go outside for the necessities” type dog, then they may shed more lightly and evenly all year compared to an “I love exploring the great outdoors” type dog, who may shed more in the spring and fall. Other factors that affect how much your dog sheds include breed, disease, stress, pregnancy and nutrition.
Hair Needs Nutrients, Too
Just like how your dog needs a certain amount of nutrients to stay healthy and active, their hair also needs specific nutrients to stay strong and shiny (and less likely to shed). If your dog’s diet doesn’t meet their fur’s nutritional needs, it may cause dry, brittle hair and a dull coat — and result in more shedding.
Hair is mostly protein, so if there is inadequate or poor-quality protein in a dog’s diet, their coat will be among the first areas of the body affected. Other nutrients that are also important to keep hair healthy and less likely to shed include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins A and E. Fatty acids are found in the oils produced by your dog’s skin that contribute to the luster or shininess of a normal healthy coat. Vitamin A helps the skin produce these oils and helps with hair maintenance and growth. Zinc helps hair follicles function properly and also helps make the protein in hair. Vitamin E is important for skin health and helps support hair strength. Zinc and vitamin E are also antioxidants that help protect your dog from damaging free radicals.
To help manage shedding, veterinary nutritionists and veterinarians recommend feeding your dog a pet food that provides high-quality protein, an adquate ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and adequate amounts of zinc and vitamins A and E.
Nutrient Sources for Hair Health
So where do the nutrients important for your dog’s hair health (and therefore helpful for managing shedding) come from? From a variety of ingredients in high-quality dog food. Below are some examples of the ingredient sources for protein, omega fatty acids, zinc and vitamins A and E in Diamond pet food formulas.
Excessive Shedding Could Be Normal — or Not
If the amount of hair your dog is shedding has you vacuuming waaay more than you think you should be, it’s a good idea to have your dog checked by your veterinarian. Because along with poor nutrition, a medical issue could cause excessive shedding. You should also contact your veterinarian if your dog’s hair falls out easily or in clumps, or if your dog has irritated, red, itchy skin. Keep in mind that what seems like excessive shedding to you could actually be normal for your dog. Your veterinarian will help determine what is normal shedding and what isn’t.
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