Hello, I’m Angel, a Golden Retriever!
I’m known for my calm, friendly temperament, my loyalty and loving nature, but above all, I’m known for my shimmering golden coat, which, unfortunately, has a tendency to shed a lot!
This is perfectly normal though, as we shed when the seasons change, which allows us to stay cool during the summer and warm during the winter.
However, seeing as we’ve evolved from our wild ancestors quite a bit over the years, domesticated dogs that spend hours indoors don’t need to shed quite as frequently.
If we seem to be shedding excessively all year long, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition, or it could be related to a poor diet where we’re not getting all the nutrients we need.
Changing our diet can reduce shedding significantly so long as it contains the right ingredients. The best dog food for combating excessive shedding will be rich in Omega-3s, Omega-6s, antioxidants, and amino acids.
However, it’s also important to watch out for those less healthy dog foods which contain fillers, grains, and corn, as these ingredients are difficult to digest. Gut health is essential for maintaining our overall good health and if our digestion is interrupted it can cause symptoms to arise such as excessive shedding.
As a dog who sheds a lot, I decided I was in a good position to talk you through the best dog food for shedding, and I’ve also put together a handy Buyer’s Guide so you know exactly what to look out for.
Best Dog Food for Shedding
1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
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This dog food from Purina is specially designed to target sensitive skin and stomach, which is ideal because as we explained above, the two are intrinsically entwined.
The Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach formulas are made with real salmon or lamb as the first ingredient and are fortified with live probiotics for digestive and immune health.
It also contains sunflower oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat.
By nourishing our insides with natural probiotic fiber, you’ll see results on the outside. Plus, this formula is made with oatmeal which is gentle on our stomachs and is made without soy, wheat, or corn.
Purina offers specialized formulas for adults, small breeds, large breeds, and puppies, and even has options that are free from chicken or egg – perfect for those of us with particular sensitivities or allergies!
- Looks after the skin and stomach
- Rich in omega 6 fatty acids
- No corn, wheat, or soy filler ingredients
- No artificial colors or flavors
- It’s expensive
2. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes
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We dogs want to feel good on the inside and the outside, which is why Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Adult Dog Food is specially formulated for optimal digestive health.
This is great for those of us who suffer from sensitive stomachs as it contains prebiotic fiber to fuel gut bacteria and support a balanced microbiome.
It’s also packed full of natural ingredients which provide an excellent source of vitamin E and Omega 6 fatty acids to nourish our skin and keep our coat looking healthy and shiny.
One of the great things about Hill’s dog food is that it uses only high-quality ingredients such as real chicken, lamb, or salmon protein.
Their formulas have been clinically proven to provide antioxidant benefits thanks to their natural ingredient, plus they contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and they never contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or chicken by-product meal.
This means your pooch will only get the finest ingredients which means better gut health, normalized stools, and a happier, healthier dog who is less likely to shed excessively.
- Promotes digestive health and nourished skin so your dog is healthy on the inside and the outside
- Vitamin E & Omega-6 fatty acids produce a shiny, healthy coat and reduce shedding.
- High-quality protein and clinically-proven results
- No artificial ingredients, flavors, or preservatives
- Gradually switch this food over for your dog or they might produce loose stools.
3. Royal Canin Sensitive Skin Care
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This Royal Canin dog food is designed for dogs with sensitive skin and dry coats and is also ideal for targeting excessive shedding, as when our skin is dry, we’re more likely to scratch it, causing more hair to fall out!
It revives and renews the coat by reinforcing the skin’s barrier with essential nutrients and nourishes the coat with an exclusive complex of nutrients and amino acids.
91% of dog owners were happy after using Royal Canin for 2 months and saw improvements in their dogs’ skin health, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for fast results.
It’s also enriched with omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, as well as nutrients that help protect sensitive skin so it will keep our coat shiny, healthy, and strong, while highly digestible proteins promote optimal stool quality and healthy digestion to ensure a healthy gut.
Not only does this dog food offer vital nutrients, but it’s been formulated with selected aromas to help satisfy the appetite of large breed dogs – yum!
- Reinforces skin’s barrier with essential nutrients that help reduce shedding
- Supports healthy digestion and normalizes stools
- Offers selected aromas to help satisfy appetite
- Protects sensitive skin
- Contains some corn and wheat
4. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Salmon and Potato Recipe
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Diamond Naturals is a pretty big deal in the dog world, mainly because their foods contain high-quality protein such as wild-caught salmon and contain zero grains and filler so it won’t upset our stomachs.
It’s also free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, so you know we’re only getting the good stuff!
Their Skin & Coat formula has been developed with vitamins and minerals, superfoods that are packed full of antioxidants, and fatty acids which replenish the coat and skin’s barrier.
It also contains essential hypoallergenic ingredients so it won’t flare up even the most sensitive of skin.
It also keeps our gut healthy as it’s high in probiotics and contains an array of tasty vegetables and energy-rich carbohydrates to keep energy levels high and optimize our overall well-being.
- High-quality protein
- Free from fillers, artificial flavorings, colorants, and preservatives
- Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids to replenish our coat
- Hypoallergenic ingredients that are kind to sensitive skin and stomachs
- Some of us take a bit of time to adjust to this dog food!
5. AvoDerm Natural Small Breed Dry Dog Food
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AvoDerm has been creating nutritious dog food recipes for over 30 years.
All of their dog foods contain omega-rich avocados which are high in crude fiber and contain vitamins A, C, and E as well as B6, folate, potassium, niacin, essential fatty acids, and more – all great ingredients for nourishing our skin and coat and promoting our overall health.
AvoDerm’s simple recipes provide limited ingredients so you can be sure we’re getting the right amount of high-quality animal protein and a unique blend of fiber that won’t irritate our stomachs.
The formula is easy on our digestive system as it doesn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, potato, by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives – perfect for even the most sensitive stomachs and skin!
- Unique formula contains omega-rich avocados that replenish our skin and coat
- Simple ingredients with one form of animal protein
- A unique blend of fiber that’s easy on sensitive stomachs
- No wheat, corn, soy, potato, by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Needs to be worked into our diet gradually – otherwise, we may get sick.
Best Dog Food for Shedding Buyer’s Guide
Ingredients to Help Maintain a Healthy Coat
When it comes to finding a quality dog food that will help you tackle issues such as excessive shedding, one of the key things to look out for is a formula rich in fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Recipes which contain fish are especially good for this, as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are a natural source of omega vitamins that help to reinforce our skin’s barrier and keep our coats strong, healthy and shiny.
If you want to keep our coat in tip-top condition, you need to ensure our dog food takes care of our skin, too, as healthy skin helps prevent excessive shedding.
It’s important to ensure our pH balance is maintained so that we can produce natural oils that rise to the surface of the skin and keep our coat moisturized and healthy.
Ingredients to Avoid for Sensitive Stomachs
Like we said earlier, our digestive system is central to our overall health, and if this isn’t in good working order, it could trigger issues with our skin and coat, such as excessive shedding.
This is why many “sensitive skin” dog food recipes are usually also suitable for sensitive stomachs.
In order to prevent irritating our stomachs, avoid dog foods that contain fillers such as wheat, corn, or soy. These are harder for us to digest and are often found a lot in cheap dog food that doesn’t offer quality ingredients.
You’ll also want to ensure our new food doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colorants, byproducts, and preservatives, and that it makes use of high-quality animal protein.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is an important part of any dog’s diet, whether they have skin and stomach issues or they’re completely healthy.
Protein is essential for supplying amino acids to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, and to keep all of these strong and supple. It also plays a main role in hormone production.
Dogs mainly get their protein from animal sources or a mixture of animal and plant sources. If possible, salmon or fish protein is best for dogs with excessive shedding as these have the added benefit of being rich in omega.
Alternatively, dogs who don’t like fish can be fed chicken flavored dog food. The most important thing about protein is that it’s good quality and isn’t from animal byproducts or mixed with “filler” like wheat, soy, and corn – these aren’t so easy on our digestive system!
How to Transition Your Dog to a New Food
I mentioned earlier that some of the foods can cause stomach upset if you don’t gradually transition us onto a new food.
This is completely normal, and with any dog food you should slowly introduce it into our diet, as switching abruptly can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite.
It’s important you give our digestive system time to adjust to the change, as well as our taste buds – especially if we’re fussy eaters! Most dogs require a transition over the course of 5-7 days.
During this transition, you mix your dog’s new diet with their old diet, gradually increasing the ratio every couple of days.
Most dogs benefit from a transition plan that looks something like this:
- Day 1: 25% new diet and 75% old diet.
- Day 3: 50% new diet and 50% old diet.
- Day 5: 75% new diet and 25% old diet.
- Day 7: 100% new diet.
However, if we have a sensitive stomach, food allergies, or any other gastrointestinal conditions, we may need a longer transition period to get used to our new diet.
You should pay attention to each dog’s individual response to the new food, as, after all, we’re all different.
If at any point you observe changes in our appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should slow things down slightly. If you’ve taken things slowly and we’re still displaying signs of an upset stomach, it’s time to take us to the vet.
It may be a case of changing our diet again, as certain foods can be great for one dog, and not so great for another.
When to See a Vet
Sometimes, you might change our food and we’ll continue to show signs of excessive shedding and skin ailments.
If this is the case, it’s time to take us to the vet so they can run some further tests. The vet will conduct an exam on us and discuss our diet and lifestyle with you, they also may run some blood tests to see if there are any underlying health issues that are causing excessive shedding.
If the loss of hair is related to a specific illness the vet will give us medication and a specific protocol that may include prescribed dog food. Hopefully, they can get to the root of the issue and help curb the excessive shedding.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I reduce my dog’s shedding?
Whether your dog is a breed that tends to shed a lot (like myself) or they have a health condition that makes them shed excessively, there are a few measures you can take to minimize the amount we shed.
The easiest fix is to ensure we’re eating the right dog food – one that is easy to digest and has high-quality protein sources.
Ensuring you brush us regularly will make our coat softer, cleaner, and less likely to shed, and a fatty acid supplement can do wonders for our coat’s condition. It’s also a good idea to bathe us regularly, especially in the summer when we tend to shed more.
Washing us with a gentle oatmeal shampoo once a week will keep our coat clean and soft and will keep the skin underneath moisturized.
It’s also important to use the right kind of brush for our coat type, whether it’s a slicker brush, shedding blade, or matbreaker.
Does coconut oil stop dogs from shedding?
In many cases, excessive shedding is caused by skin sensitivity and dryness, which of course makes us more likely to scratch at our skin and can increase shedding to the extent that some of us even experience bald patches.
Coconut oil is actually great for this issue, as it can help improve the condition of our skin and coat.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which is a healthy fat and can help restore moisture and the natural oils we produce to maintain a soft, shiny coat and moisturized skin.
It can also help combat the common flea allergy found in many of us, known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis; while it won’t kill the fleas, it can help soothe and treat the nasty effects of this after you’ve removed the little critters.
Coconut oil can also be ideal for helping to treat dermatitis, inflammation from insect bites, and any other skin reactions and allergies.
Does fish oil reduce shedding in dogs?
Fish oil contains EPA and DHA and omega-3 fatty acids that can help treat many health problems in dogs, from allergies to kidney disease and arthritis.
Fish oil is also great for reducing excessive shedding and can help relieve itching due to dry or sensitive skin.
Generally, most vets will recommend 1,000 mg of fish oil per 30 pounds of body weight, and for very serious health problems, you can up the dosage to a maximum of 1,000 mg per 10 pounds of body weight.
You should always seek advice from our vet before introducing supplements into our diet, as they can recommend the ideal amount based on our weight and health.