When you share your home with a dog or cat, one thing you’ll never lack is pet hair — it’s on your clothes, furniture and even in your food. There’s no way to truly stop your pet from shedding, but you can minimize the fallout by ensuring your pet is properly nourished.
Shedding is a normal process for most dogs and cats
Shedding is a natural process by which dogs and cats lose their old or damaged hair. The amount and frequency of shed hair is influenced by several factors, including day length, environmental temperature, health status and animal breed. Dogs and cats who spend most of their time indoors tend to shed more lightly and evenly throughout the year.
Hair growth occurs in cycles. The time needed to complete a full cycle varies between species and even between breeds.
Food for fur
Your pet’s skin and hair affect his need for nutrients, especially protein and fat. So the condition of your pet’s fur reflects the quality of the food he or she eats. That’s because the skin and coat form the largest organ of adult dogs and cats, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of their total body weight. Cat and dog hair is made mostly of protein, ranging from 65 to 95 percent protein depending on its moisture content. According to Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, a long-coated, small-breed dog may use as much as 30 percent of the protein in their food to maintain daily hair growth, while a larger, short-haired dog may use only 10 percent. Pets whose diets don’t meet their nutritional needs will have a dry, brittle and dull coat and often will shed excessively.
When choosing a dog or cat food in an effort to manage shedding, veterinary nutritionists and veterinarians recommend selecting a diet that’s rich in high-quality, highly digestible protein, essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, and zinc. Diamond Naturals dry formulas for dogs and cats provide easily digested, high-quality protein and an optimal blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help keep your pet’s skin healthy and coat shiny.
When should you talk to your veterinarian?
What may seem like excessive shedding could actually be normal for some dogs or cats. But it also can signal stress, poor nutrition or a medical issue. You should speak with your veterinarian if you think your pet is shedding more than normal or if you notice any of these changes:
- Dry, dull hair that pulls out easily
- Fur that falls out in clumps
- Bald spots or thinning fur
- Irritated skin, including redness, bumps, rashes or scabs
- Open sores
- Frequent scratching
- Constant foot licking or face rubbing
Your veterinarian will be able to determine if the shedding may be normal for your pet and can rule out any previously undiagnosed health issues. If the shedding is normal, talk with your veterinarian about the pet food you’re feeding and whether your dog or cat might benefit from a change.