Tips to Control and Reduce Dog Shedding

As the saying goes, dogs are a man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but all that excess fur they shed certainly isn’t! Whether your dog is long-haired or short-haired, we all deal with dog shedding - it’s part of the reality of having pets.

But if you’re reaching for the vacuum cleaner far too often to suck up piles of fur, you might wonder if there is a better way to solve this problem or if there’s something more serious going on. In this article, we will investigate how to reduce dog shedding, including top grooming and nutritional tips to keep your dog’s coat in pristine condition.

Why Dogs Shed

Shedding is a natural process where your dog loses hairs that are old or damaged, replacing them with new, healthy hair. This continuous cycle helps keep your dog’s coat in good condition while also allowing them to adapt to seasonal weather changes.

Like all cells in the body, each individual hair in your dog’s coat has its own life cycle:

  • The anagen phase: is the initial active growth period of a new hair.
  • The catagen phase: a transitional period during which growth stops.
  • The telogen phase: the resting phase that lasts until the hair falls out.

dog fur growth phases

There are three stages in the lifecycle of your dog's coat.


Incidentally, you’ll hear both ‘fur’ and ‘hair’ referred to when people talk about dogs’ coats. Hair and fur are identical in composition, but fur grows to a predetermined shorter length, while hair coats continuously grow longer and longer. How often and how much hair is shed depends on many factors, including your dog’s breed, the time of year, weather conditions, allergies and other health problems, nutritional issues, etc.

Seasonal Shedding

Seasonal shedding is often the most common and noticeable, as it’s when the highest volume of fur falls out. Over a few weeks, the thick protective undercoat will be shed – a phenomenon known as ‘blowing their coat’ by owners of particularly hairy breeds like Siberian Huskies! However, the extent of seasonal shedding has lessened as dogs have become more integrated into family life. A dog that lives indoors all year round does not need a dense winter coat, although you’ll still notice seasonal changes occurring. However, the breed of dog greatly influences the amount of hair shed, with double-coated breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Corgis still exhibiting a significant seasonal shedding period. In contrast, breeds with hair coats, like Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers, have a minimal seasonal shedding pattern.

Other Reasons for Shedding

Seasonal shedding aside, most dogs still lose hair all year round, just in lesser amounts. This is a completely natural process, but it can be frustrating when your dog constantly sheds hair over your furniture and floors. A good coat care regime can be invaluable in keeping shedding under control, but are there any situations when excessive shedding could be a cause for concern?

Unusual or excessive shedding patterns can indicate underlying health problems and may warrant a visit to the veterinary clinic. Look out for patchy hair loss or symmetrical hair thinning on either side of the body. Shedding accompanied by skin irritation, soreness, itching, rashes, or bumps may indicate a deeper issue and should be investigated by your vet.

Medical problems that may cause excessive shedding in dogs include skin infections, parasites, and allergies. Diseases affecting the liver, kidneys, thyroid, immune system, or adrenal glands can also cause abnormal hair loss. Certain medications, household chemicals, and poor-quality coat care products containing toxic ingredients may also stimulate excessive shedding.

Regular Grooming Practices to Control Dog Shedding

Following a consistent grooming regime is one of the best ways to keep excessive shedding under control. Brushing your dog’s coat removes loose hair and keeps your dog’s coat and skin in peak condition, reducing hair loss and damage. Bathing keeps the skin hydrated and promotes stronger hair follicles while detangling and removing old, dead hair from the coat.

dog shedding brushing

Different brushing techniques are needed for different breeds.


Brushing techniques

Using the optimum brushing technique for your dog is crucial in controlling excessive shedding. Regular brushing and drying between grooming appointments will reduce shedding and promote healthy hair regrowth. 

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and their coats are just as varied, requiring specialized brushing techniques. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution here, and selecting the best dog grooming technique according to the type of coat is essential:

  • Long-haired dogs

Long-haired dogs include those with coarser coats, such as Old English Sheepdogs and Schnauzers, and silky-haired breeds, like Cocker Spaniels and Afghan Hounds. In general, long-haired dogs require regular grooming to keep their coats soft and tangle-free, but this process is also essential for reducing the amount of hair shed around your home.

Grooming a long-haired dog to reduce shedding is a two-step process. Start by using a pin brush to gently remove tangles and knots, then go over the coat with a soft bristle brush to dislodge loose hair and dander. Larger knots can be gently teased out with your fingers, but any matted areas may require the attention of a professional dog groomer.

  • Smooth and short-haired dogs

Dogs with short, straight hairs that lie flat on the body are the easiest to care for in terms of grooming and coat maintenance, but their hair shed can be frustrating to deal with – those stiff, short hairs seem to become embedded in soft furnishings and carpets! This includes breeds like Weimaraners and Italian Greyhounds and those with courser hair, such as Jack Russel Terriers and Beagles.

Shedding can be reduced in smooth and short-haired dogs by grooming with a bristle brush to loosen and remove excess hair and dirt, taking care to follow the lay of the hair. Medium or stiff bristle brushes are ideal for areas of the body where hair tends to grow thicker, but switch to a soft bristle brush for sensitive areas like the underbelly, face, and legs.

  • Wire-haired dogs

While wire-haired dogs may experience the least amount of shedding, their rough coats can become tangled and matted, requiring specialised grooming techniques to keep them in good condition. The most effective way to keep wire-haired coats in peak condition is through ‘stripping,’ where old or damaged hairs are plucked out by hand or removed with a stripping knife. This can be uncomfortable for the dog if done incorrectly, so many owners choose to take their wire-haired dog to a professional groomer twice yearly to have this done. Aside from stripping, wire-haired coats are easy to care for – a quick groom with a bristle brush is normally sufficient to remove dirt, dander, and loose hairs.

  • Double-coated dogs

Double-coated dog breeds have a reputation for being high shedders, as in addition to the year-round shedding of the upper guard hairs, they have a soft undercoat that is shed seasonally during spring and fall. The optimal grooming technique for double-coated dogs to reduce shedding will depend on whether the dog is a short- or long-coated type.

Breeds with short or medium hairs should be groomed with a short slicker brush to remove loose hairs from the undercoat. Long-haired double-coated dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and Pomeranians are arguably the most difficult to care for, as their dense coats are prone to matting. With a pin brush, start by removing all matts and detangling the hair. A long wire slicker brush can then be used to remove loose hair from the undercoat, helping to reduce shedding.

  • Curly breeds

Curly-haired dogs tend to shed less than other types but are prone to matting when dead hairs become entangled in the coat. Regular sessions at a professional groomer will help keep curly coats in peak condition, in addition to at-home grooming to remove loose hair and tangles. Curly coats should be gently groomed, taking a small section at a time and brushing the strands from root to tip against the direction of growth.

  • Hairless dogs

Hair shedding may not be a problem with hairless dog breeds, but they still shed skin cells and produce dander. Because hairless dogs have minimal sebum secretion from the hair follicles (yes, they still have them!), their skin is prone to drying out and can become flaky.

Hairless dogs should be regularly bathed to remove any build-up of skin cells, dirt, and oils on the skin surface. A deep moisturizing shampoo and conditioner will help to keep the skin supple and healthy, reducing dryness and irritation.

Pro tip: Wet brushing your dog with a moisturising conditioner in the bathtub is a great way to remove dead hair, and one of top tips recommended by our Doglyness groomers. 

dog shedding

With proper grooming, the volume of fur shed is reduced. 


Frequency of grooming

Regular grooming, bathing and conditioning is the key to controlling and reducing shedding – if you don’t want those loose hairs all over your carpets and soft furnishings, you must catch them before they fall out!

Short and smooth-haired coat types may be the easiest to groom, but their hairs also fall out easily rather than becoming entangled in the coat. A quick brush a few times a week will keep hair loss around the home to a minimum. Short - and smooth-haired dogs should be bathed once every 2 to 3 months to remove dirt and odors.

For long-haired and double-coated dogs, loose hairs tend to get tangled in the coat, leading to matting. It’s advised to brush these coat types daily, particularly during seasonal shedding. Long-haired and double-coated dogs should be bathed once every 4 to 6 weeks. Breeds with very curly coats, such as Poodles, benefit from regular visits to the dog groomer to trim away dead or damaged hairs.

Grooming products to reduce dog shedding

While regular grooming sessions are the key to reducing shedding, there are various products available to help you control dog shedding. Conditioning sprays can be used during grooming sessions to smooth the coat and remove problematic knots, allowing loose hairs to be easily brushed out. A light spritz of Doglyness Spray All Day Lightweight Dog Conditioning Spray will leave the coat feeling luxuriously soft, sleek, and lustrous.

When bath time comes around, opt for an all-natural moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to reduce the itchiness and irritation many dogs feel during shedding. The best deshedding shampoo and conditioner for dogs should be infused with healthy oils to help excess undercoat slide off easier, greatly reducing the amount of hair shed around the home. Damaged coats will benefit from a leave-in conditioning product to replenish, smooth, and moisturize the hair, leaving the coat soft and easier to groom.

While there are many dog grooming tools that claim to reduce shedding, care must be taken to select the right type according to your dog’s coat type. Using an unsuitable de-shedding tool can cause damage to the coat, leaving it dull and prone to breakage. Before investing in a de-shedding tool, speak to your dog groomer to find out which one they recommend for your dog’s coat type.

dog shedding brushing

Make sure you're using the right deshedding tools and products.


Professional grooming

The services of a professional groomer can be invaluable in controlling shedding, particularly if your dog has a high-maintenance coat type. Professional grooming involves bathing, brushing, and trimming in the best possible way to meet your dog’s needs. Specialized grooming techniques, including proper coat thinning, help reduce matts and tangles, making the task of grooming your dog at home far simpler.

In addition, professional groomers are adept at dealing with breeds that require specific grooming methods, such as hand-stripping or de-matting. They can advise on your dog’s individual coat care needs, including how frequently they should be groomed and the best methods and products to use. In the long term, regular visits to a professional groomer will help to improve the condition of your dog’s coat, reducing the amount of hair shed around the home.

Nutrition’s Impact on Dog Shedding

A complete and balanced diet is crucial to keep hair follicles strong and resistant to breakage. Coats that are dull, damaged, and prone to hair loss often result from poor nutrition. To keep your dog’s coat in top condition, look for high-quality dog food that meets the nutritional standards of professional canine health experts, such as the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs. This will ensure you’re providing all the nutrients your dog needs, resulting in stronger, thicker hair growth and reduced shedding.

In addition, some dietary supplements can also be beneficial to the coat and skin. A careful balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids helps to keep skin supple and reduce shedding. Zinc, biotin, and certain B vitamins also all play a vital role in maintaining a healthy coat. As with any nutritional supplement, seek the advice of your veterinarian to discuss which product would be most beneficial for your dog.

Other Tips for Dog Shedding

OK, so you’ve got the grooming regime sorted, and your dog is fed the optimal diet for their nutritional needs. Can you do anything else to reduce the impact of shedding around the home?

tips for dog shedding

Some of our top tips to control dog shedding. 


The first thing to do is stick to any scheduled appointments at the vet clinic – hair loss can be a key indicator of many different health problems, and early diagnosis often results in a better prognosis. If your dog is diagnosed with an underlying health issue, stick to the treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian. Fleas can also trigger hair loss in dogs, so stick to a recommended flea prevention plan.

In addition, stress is a major contributing factor to hair loss in dogs. Our canine family members are highly sensitive to stressful situations; even a slight change in routine or unsettling event can trigger excessive shedding. Sticking to a predictable daily routine and utilizing stress-busting therapies during triggering events can help to reduce unwanted hair loss.

And finally, keeping your dog well hydrated can also improve coat health and reduce hair loss. Hair shedding increases when skin becomes dehydrated, so ensure your dog has free access to clean, fresh water. This is particularly important during the hotter summer months or if your dog spends much time inside homes with air conditioning or excessive heating.

Get Control of Dog Shedding

Of course, no matter how diligent we are about grooming our beloved dogs, some hair shedding around the home is inevitable. It can be a frustrating problem, but implementing a consistent grooming routine can significantly reduce the volume of hair shed around your home. Make sure to use the correct grooming method and frequency according to your dog’s coat type, and book regular visits to a professional dog groomer for thinning and trimming if necessary.

Selecting high-quality, natural dog coat care products is invaluable in reducing shedding – revitalizing dry and damaged coats strengthens follicles and reduces hair loss. Choosing organic, plant-based shampoos and conditioners can reduce your dog’s exposure to toxic chemicals that may irritate the skin and cause further shedding. And after all that grooming and pampering, you can cuddle up with your canine friends without the risk of gathering your own covering of dog hair!