Can the Wrong Dog Food Cause Excessive Shedding?

As long as the new stuff is tasty, your pup won't give a hoot why you switched his food.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Your pup probably can't fathom the thought that his tasty food could ever cause something bad to happen. Of course, he probably doesn't think covering your floor in a sheet of fur is too awful, but it's certainly no fun for you, and those kibbles might be the cause.

Nutritional Value

As Dr. Seuss might say, dog food sometimes is big, sometimes small, sometimes it has lots of nutrition and sometimes none at all. Size doesn't really matter, but the nutritional value of your pup's food could mean the difference between dumping off a load of hair on your carpet and keeping most of his fur on his body. Any dog food that is complete and balanced must meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If your little guy's food is not AAFCO-certified, it's possible that he's not getting all the nutrients he needs. A lack of nutrients means a poor coat and more shedding.


Grabbing a bag, or can, of dog food that meets the AAFCO's standards is a good start, but don't end your quest of finding the perfect shed-stopping food just yet. The order of ingredients that go into making that tasty dog food is just as important. The first ingredient or two should be a meat product, closely followed by a carbohydrate source and source of fat. Although you probably constantly hear how evil fat is, essential fatty acids help that beautiful coat of your pup shine on, and help prevent your floor from becoming a collection of fur. Essential fatty acids sometimes are expressed next to ingredients as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. They come from lots of different sources, like chicken fat, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil and fish.


Not even cute and furry canines are spared the wrath of overzealous immune systems. Some dogs simply cannot handle certain things in their food, like grains or important proteins. If your pup is unlucky enough to be allergic to certain ingredients, even the highest quality food can give him problems, like itching and excessive shedding. So, if your pup's losing hair like a deciduous tree loses leaves in fall despite being fed quality food, it may be time for a trip to the vet. Since allergy tests can't detect food allergies, your pup will have to eat hypoallergenic food and then eventually have one ingredient at a time introduced back into his diet to determine his allergies. The good news is that hypoallergenic food will stop the shedding caused by allergies.

Remedies and Warnings

If you can't seem to get your pup's shedding under control despite a good diet, it might be time to supplement his diet with a bit of fish oil. As a source of essential fatty acids, you can find fish oil on most supermarket shelves. But before you begin opening his mouth and throwing a fish oil capsule down his throat -- gently, of course -- always talk with your vet and see what he has to say about dosage and whether the supplement is right for your dog. Sometimes supplements can cause problems with your pup, especially if he's on a medication. Regardless whether or not you go the fish oil route, if you ever consider feeding your pup raw eggs, you should stop and put them back in the fridge. Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine explains that raw eggs can cause coat and skin problems, plus they have the chance of introducing salmonella to your little guy.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest