As a mother working a full-time job while raising an active preschooler, I know the struggle of deciding which chores need to be done around the house and which ones go on the back burner.
But, as a dog owner, I also know that ignoring the extra work that comes from living with a shedding pet can lead the whole household down a very dirty, itchy, and sneezy road.
It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home parent or a single person living in an apartment on your own, dog owners from all walks of life have to stay two steps ahead of shedding to maintain clean and welcome living spaces.
Short of serving an eviction notice to your fur-covered friend, there's no way to completely rid your life of pet hair. Ask yourself—could your digestive system ever operate so efficiently that it eliminated the need to expel excess gas or waste?
Of course, the answer is no.
While you can't avoid this regular bodily function, there are things you can do to save yourself from potential problems (like avoiding Mexican drive–through after midnight) and keep everything working as intended.
In the same way, you can take steps to manage the amount of hair your dog sheds.
While they won't stop your dog's coat from shedding entirely, healthcare and hygiene routines can greatly reduce the amount of hair you have left on your hands . . . and carpet . . . and sofa . . .you get the picture.
Good in, good out
I remember my mother repeating this phrase whenever I whined about seeing green, fiber-filled vegetables on my dinner plate as a child. But mom was right about the body needing good foods to function at its best, and the same is true for dogs and their bodies.
Your dog’s skin health is greatly impacted by his diet. Check nutrition labels for ingredients that promote skin and coat health, such as poultry fat, fish oil, biotin, copper, and zinc. Also, consider your dog’s age, activity routine, and any other special conditions as indicated by your veterinarian.
Don’t withhold water.
Life can get hectic, and your work schedule may require Sparky to stay home alone for several hours at a time, but he should always have access to clean water. He may be potty trained and crate trained, but it seems cruel to leave your dog home alone with a bowl of water and expect him to hold it all in until you return. On the other hand, rationing water can negatively affect a dog’s skin and coat.
If you have a backyard, a pet door can make things easier on your dog (and his bladder) while you’re away. Some dogs can actually be litter trained if their owners train them properly. Also, while professional walkers and sitters can be indispensable for owners living in the city, their services aren’t cheap, so potential dog owners in urban areas should make sure they provide for all of a dog's needs before buying or adopting one.
Try supplementing key nutrients.
If your dog eats high-quality food but still has problems with excessive shedding, he may not be absorbing enough vitamins and nutrients from his food. If this is the case, supplements can help his body retain what’s being lost during the digestive process.
There are literally thousands of pet supplement brands and product variations on the market, which can make picking the right ones seem a little overwhelming. Here are three supplements that have helped my dogs maintain healthy coats over the years:
Vet's Best Healthy Coat Shed + Itch Chewable Tablets
Nutri-Vet Shed Defense Natural Smoke Flavored Soft Chews
Petlabs 360 Shed No More Chewable Tablets
Although my dogs benefited from these products, all dogs are different. Consult your veterinarian before giving these or any other supplements to your pet.
Give your dog a bath.
Bathing your dog regularly will keep his skin and coat free of dirt and loose coat hair. A clean coat and healthy skin will reduce itching, which will then lead to less scratching and shedding. For the same reason, protect your dog from fleas and ticks to protect against the fur loss that comes with constant scratching. Also, regular brushing lets you to remove loose hair in a controlled area, which will keep much of it out of your home.