by Good Dog People July 03, 2022 5 min read

Dog shedding is a natural process. Some dogs shed seasonally, while others shed all year-round. Dogs shed older hair to make room for new coats. You can’t keep a dog from shedding, but you can choose a dog that doesn't shed as much.

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Why dogs shed

Every hair on your dog’s body has its own “life cycle”. When the dog’s hair reaches the end of its’ life cycle, it will fall out and that’s when shedding occurs. How much your fur friend sheds really depends on her breed. Allergies, poor diet, and stress are all factors that may cause our fur friends to shed more than what is considered normal for their breed.

You might think big dogs with long coats shed the most, but this is a common misconception. Some small and short-coated breeds are among the heaviest shedders. Animals with denser coats generally shed more, regardless of the length of their coat. However, shorter hair does make the shedding less noticeable.  

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Lowest to highest shedding breed

Hairless, non-shedding dog breeds
Hairless dog breeds do not shed but special care must be taken to protect them from sunburn.

  • Chinese Crested Dog
  • American Hairless
  • Terrier Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

Low-shedding dog breeds
These light shedders are great news for people sensitive to dog dander.

  • Poodle Scottish
  • Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Maltese
  • Bichon Frise
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Basenji
High-shedding dog breeds
  • Siberian Husky
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Akita
  • Pug
  • Saint Bernard  

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Hypoallergenic dogs

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, it is possible to find less-allergenic dog breeds that are better suited for allergy-sufferers. These dogs are usually non-shedding or low-shedding breeds that produce less dander. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the dog's hair or fur that's the problem. Instead, people are usually allergic to the dander -- flakes of dead skin from the animal -- as well as the saliva and urine. Some experts believe that even two dogs of the same breed can each give off very different levels of allergen. So, an allergy-sufferer may react negatively to one dog but not to another, even though both dogs are of the same ‘hypoallergenic’ breed.

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Tips to control shedding

Brush frequently
The most important step you can take is to brush your dog frequently, at the very least, once every 2 to 3 days for heavy shedders. Regular brushing helps to get rid of loose hair before they fall. Brushing is good for your dog’s skin too. Brushing helps distribute your dog’s natural oils to keep skin moisturized and coat soft.

It’s also vital to use the correct brush. There are six primary types of dog brushes for grooming.

  • Slicker brushes: These brushes have short wires close together on a flat surface. They’re great for removing mats, tangles, and loose furs. Here’s a natural bamboo slicker brush for high shedding, medium to long-hair dogs - Essential Dog Natural Bamboo Slicker Brush
  • Bristle brushes: Use this as a finishing brush to smooth out the coat after you have dealt with tangles and loose fur. Bristle brushes not only help to remove loose hair and dander, but they are great for distributing oil and promoting a shiny coat.  Soft bristle brushes are gentle on your dog’s fur, provide a pleasing brushing experience, and help to keep her topcoat smooth and manageable. The Burt's Bees Double Sided Pin & Hemp Bristle Brush For Dogs is a 2-in-1 brush. The rounded pins on one side of the brush help to remove debris, tangles, knots, dirt, and dander from your pet's coat, while on the other side of the brush, the soft bristles gently remove shedding hair and create shine.
  • Rakes: These rake-shaped brushes reach deep into thick doggy coats to remove tangles and dead undercoats.
  • Pin Brushes: These brushes are usually oval-shaped, with a loosely arranged set of flexible wires with pins on top. These brushes are recommended for dogs with finer, more fragile coats like the Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Afghan Hounds and Cocker Spaniels.
  • Rubber Grooming Gloves: These gloves are excellent for pets new to grooming or who aren’t fond of traditional brushes. Just pet your dog as you normally would and remove excess hair in the process. If you are looking for a brush that functions both as a grooming tool and a massage brush during shampooing, try the KONG ZoomGroom Dog Brush. This brush is a 2-in-1 tool that massages your dog while you brush. It not only helps to reduce shedding but this brush is also designed to stimulate capillaries and natural oil production for healthier skin and coat.
  • Dog comb: The comb is a great detangling tool, especially for areas around the face and behind the ears.

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Feed a healthy diet
Feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet with adequate fatty acids. You may wish to supplement your dog’s diet with essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It is best to look for a balanced supplement containing all the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. One such supplement is the Naturvet Omega-Gold Plus Salmon Oil (Healthy Skin) for Dogs & Cats. This product provides a source of DHA and EPA, as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help support healthy skin and a glossy coat.

Food allergies can cause dogs to shed excessively. Watch out for other signs of possible food allergies like skin itching. If you noticed skin itching, constant scratching, and excessive shedding, please arrange to see your vet. These are common signs of food allergies but can be symptoms of other health issues too.  

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Bathe with de-shedding shampoo
A de-shedding shampoo like this TropiClean Lime & Coconut Deshedding Dog Shampoo contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to nourish your dog's skin. This shampoo is gentle on your dog’s skin. It is soap-free and made with 70% organic ingredients for a natural clean.

Control pests on your dog
Pests like ticks and fleas make dogs scratch, which leads to skin irritation and ultimately increased shedding. These pests tend to reside on the head, neck, rump, and underside. There are plenty of pest control options available. Consult your vet for more information on the various pest control options.  

Dog shedding - Why does it happen?

Shedding is a natural process for dogs. Understanding why it occurs, using the right grooming supplies, and providing a healthy diet will help you keep both your pup and home clean for many shedding seasons to come. Try these tips to stop heaps of hair from piling up in your home! 









Katherine Khoo
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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