For breeds like Golden Retrievers, Great Pyrenees, and German Shepherds, shedding is just a normal part of everyday life. Getting a dog that sheds a lot means dealing with fur everywhere on a daily basis and I truly mean everywhere – on your clothes, the floor, any carpet or rugs, all over your car. And shedding only gets worse in the spring and fall as dogs lose their winter and summer coats.
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If you’ve ever had one of these dogs or seen dog grooming videos, you know that grooming dogs with dense double coats is quite an involved process and that’s especially so when they blow their coats each spring. If you want to decrease the amount of fur that just ends up everywhere, you’ll need a grooming schedule and the right tools (and yes, you’ll need more than one type of brush). Unfortunately, there’s really no way to completely rid your house and clothes of fur but regular grooming should decrease the amount.
First and foremost, unless it’s for a medical reason or to get rid of matting, you should not shave your double-coated dog, even during the summer. It may seem like the best way to help them with the warmer weather and a great way to stop fur from getting everywhere but shaving dogs with dense coats without a medical reason can actually do more damage than good. Double coats are protective armor for dogs and actually help them regulate their own temperature. Shaving a double-coated dog can destroy the natural structure and oils of the coat while also exposing the dog to UV light from the sun (possibly causing sunburns). The only times dogs will generally need to be shaved are for some medical procedures or because their coats are matted. Matting can, unfortunately, be pretty painful for dogs but can usually be prevented by regular brushing.
The above video is a great resource for folks with Siberian Huskies and much of what’s mentioned can be used for other breeds too! Daily or weekly brushing and grooming some breeds can really help manage their coats during the spring and can get some fur off the dog (and out of your house). Unfortunately, this is an ongoing and never-ending process for most dogs and you’ll be dealing with shedding and fur for as long as they live.
Go to a Professional Groomer
If doing an intense, drastic grooming day is more than you can handle with your dog and you can afford to, going to a groomer can make a big difference. A dog spa day with a professional dog groomer will look a little different with individual groomers but generally, your dog will be brushed and bathed, get their nails trimmed and ears cleaned, and maybe have some of their coat trimmed (especially their paws if those are extra furry). Some breeds, particularly poodles, might need a haircut but it does depend on the situation and breed.
- 26 Secrets Pet Groomers Wish They Could Tell You by Meghan Jones, Reader’s Digest
In addition to brushing and bathing your dog, professional groomers can often help your dog’s health! Cleaning ears and trimming nails are both important things to do for your pet’s health to help prevent injection, injury, and other issues. These things are also something you should be doing on a regular basis but having a professional groomer do it is great too, especially if your dog is scared of getting their nails cut (as groomers might have some extra tricks or tools). Plus, going to a professional and certified groomer might even mean catching a possible health problem before it becomes a full-blown emergency. (While many groomers are fantastic and generally know a lot about pets, they aren’t veterinarians and can’t replace regular vet visits. Groomers should be an added resource in managing your pet’s health and wellbeing.)
Even if you take your dog to a professional groomer every few months, you’ll also need to brush them regularly. How often depends on their breed/coat but many will need to be brushed every week or so. By brushing regularly, you can catch a lot of loose hair and dispose of it, rather than it ending up on your floor, couch, or clothes.
Use The Right Tools
There are a few different tools you’ll need, depending on your dog’s coat. Undercoat rakes and de-shedding tools are great for double-coated dogs, as they brush a dog’s dense undercoat. Pin & Bristle brushes help the outer coat by removing loose fur, debris, and dirt or helping spread the natural oils a dog’s coat needs. For dogs that don’t particularly like getting brushed, grooming gloves can really help with day-to-day brushing between the more intense grooming sessions. And finally, pet blower dryers can be a game-changer for some dog owners but they can also be a bit more expensive.
This is by far one of the most helpful brushes you can have for double-coated dogs, as it helps remove loose hair from undercoats. You can either get a single-row rake, which helps with medium undercoats, or a double-row rake, which helps with thick, dense undercoats.
A de-shedding brush looks fairly similar to an undercoat rake and also brushes the undercoat.
Pin & Bristle Combo Brush
A pin brush looks similar to a hairbrush used by some humans and is a brush that has wire pins with rounded tips. But for dogs, pin brushes can help remove tangles, dirt, and loose fur. If you get a Pin & Bristle brush, the other side has nylon bristles that can help distribute natural oils and make your dog’s coat shiny and soft.
This brush works great on dogs with long coats, like sheepdogs, golden retrievers, some shepherds, and Pomeranians. Neither side can help with matting in a pet’s coat but both are great for the regular brushing some dogs need.
- The Coastal Safari Plastic Pin & Bristle Combo Brush for Dog – Pet Pro Supply Co.
- Aidis Pin Brush – Pet Pro Supply Co.
Pet Grooming Gloves
If you’d like something that’ll help groom your dog while you pet them, consider getting grooming gloves. These gloves usually have silicone tips on the palms and fingers that’ll gently remove loose hair and dirt while you pet your dog. They’re also great for dogs that aren’t a fan of being brushed with actual brushes but should be used in between more intense grooming sessions.
- Pet Grooming Gloves – Go Animals
Dog Blow Dryer
A dog blow dryer can really help with breeds that need to be brushed a lot, as brushing too much might scratch or irritate a dog’s skin. A blow dryer built specifically for dogs can be expensive, especially compared to other grooming tools. But these dryers can be really helpful for some pet owners and very useful for any dog groomer.
Feed Your Pet A Healthy Diet
Note: I am not a veterinarian or a nutritionist and I highly encourage you to talk to your vet about the best diet for your pet. If you do decide to change your pet’s food, do it slowly, as a sudden and complete change can upset your pet’s stomach and cause different issues. Slowly add in more and more of the new food to each meal over the course of a few days.
A healthy diet with plenty of water can make a difference in your pet’s coat and skin. Plus, adding in supplemental foods and treats can also make a difference. If you don’t want to completely change your pet’s diet, consider adding in some pumpkin puree (but not the canned pumpkin pie filling) and/or salmon oil. In addition to being great for digestion, both pumpkin and salmon are great for your pet’s skin and coat.
Like with their diet, exercise won’t eliminate shedding but a healthy dog is likely to have healthy skin and fur. Plus, exercising can help reduce stress and anxiety, things that are linked to higher than average shedding. How much exercise your dog needs depends on their breed, health, and age.
Manage Fleas and Itching
Fleas are an unpleasant and annoying experience for everyone but it’s especially uncomfortable for your pet. Your pet will scratch more when they have fleas and these tiny insects have been known to cause skin irritation and excessive shedding. All of that means more fur around you. There are many ways to manage fleas and itching, like flea and tick sprays, but talking with your vet is the first step. Itching can sometimes be an indication of another health problem but your vet will have recommendations on good flea treatments and how to keep your pet’s skin healthy.
In addition to treatment like medication or shampoo, you’ll also need to regularly clean your house, as fleas can, unfortunately, live and thrive in carpeting, furniture, and yards. Cleaning and vacuuming can make a big difference and there are home flea treatments available. In the yard, consider using cedar chips in some areas, particularly where your dog likes to lay, as fleas do not like the smell of cedar.
Some flea treatment products can contain insecticides or other chemicals. There are natural ways to get rid of fleas, like cedar and diatomaceous earth, but again, I recommend talking with your vet about the best options to treat or prevent fleas, as they will have their own recommendations based on their experience and training.
This list and the suggested tools are by no means the only ones out there. The Pet Pro Supply Company does, for example, have a long list of grooming tools and supplies, with many that make more sense for professional dog groomers and dog spas. Amazon also has a few pet grooming kits, including a small dog grooming kit and a 5-in-1 grooming kit for cats and dogs.
Ultimately, there’s no way to stop your dog from shedding but plenty of ways you can manage it! Regular and consistent grooming is great for any dog and can help decrease the amount of fur that might otherwise end up somewhere in your house or car. The right tools can help get loose fur off of your dog and flea treatments can help prevent fleas and itching (which can cause excess shedding!). There’s no way to eliminate fur from your life as a pet owner but there are ways to manage it.