Your pooch's excessive shedding can stem from many causes, and your vet should make the diagnosis. If a nutritional deficiency is to blame, better food and supplements should help. Food specifically formulated to stop shedding provides beneficial nutritional support when other conditions cause excessive shedding.
Basic Nutritional Needs
Proper nutrition promotes all aspects of your doggy's health, including her skin and coat health. If she isn't getting all the nutrients she needs, excessive shedding can result. Talk to your vet about your pooch's nutritional needs, which vary by breed, age, activity level, health conditions and other individual factors. Foods formulated to stop excessive shedding are balanced to supply all the basic nutrients your pet needs. The canine diet must be high in protein and fats, while lower in carbohydrates. Your pooch also needs B vitamins and vitamins A, D, E and K. Foods to stop shedding should also contain -- at minimum -- the 12 minerals dogs must get through diet: calcium, choline, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc.
Essential Fatty Acids
The main way foods marketed to stop shedding differentiate themselves from other balanced dog foods is with their essential fatty acids content. Essential fatty acids are those your pooch can't produce on her own, so she has to get them in her diet. They include omega-3 fatty acids -- linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, gamma linolenic acid and dihomogamma linolenic acid -- and omega-6 fatty acids -- alpha linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. While the Association of American Feed Control Officials doesn't recognize these as essential nutrients, they are known to provide your pooch with plenty of health benefits. Whether they effectively stop shedding is still debated, but they do improve general skin and coat health.
Will Special Dog Food Help?
Only your vet can make the call as to whether you should try a specialty dog food product to help control your doggy's excessive shedding. If he recommends one, it will be because he believes its nutritional support will help. If your pooch has a nutritional deficiency, he's also likely to recommend an appropriate supplement. However, if there's another underlying cause, your vet's treatment will mostly be aimed at curing or controlling it, and the special dog food will be an adjunct effort for extra support. Fleas and other parasites, infections, allergies, skin conditions and excessive scratching, organ dysfunction, certain cancers and other diseases and conditions can all cause shedding. A specially formulated dog food may help a bit, but they won't fix these problems or stop associated shedding.
Complementing Special Dog Foods
If your pooch's hair is getting everywhere and driving you crazy, a number of other things help get the situation under control. If your vet recommends a special dog food, use it, but don't neglect other easy care measures to help cope with the problem. Vacuum regularly and use a lint roller on clothing and furniture. Brushing your pup daily is the best way to collect and dispose of loose hairs to keep them from ending up all over the place. Keep your closet doors closed to prevent your pooch from fuzzing up your clothing, and you might consider training her to stay off the furniture, if applicable. Also, ask your vet if he can recommend a nourishing shampoo or conditioner that might help with your doggy's shedding.
- National Academy of Sciences Division on Earth and Life Studies: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- ASPCA: Shedding
- The Dog Food Project: Essential Fatty Acids
- 2nd Chance: Why Is My Dog Shedding and What can I Do About it?
- PetSide.com: Cat and Dog Shedding: A Guide to Combating the Problem of Excessive Pet Hair
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.