There aren’t many guarantees in a dog’s life, but one thing is certain: shedding. We all do it. Some of us more than others. But there is no doubt that at some point in our lives, our owners are going to have to deal with the frustrating mess shedding can leave behind.I hardly notice, but it’s a big deal for my mom and dad, who constantly have to clean up behind me. However, while they’ll never eliminate shedding completely, shampoos can go a long way in helping to keep it under control.
Understanding Why a Dog Sheds
To a certain degree, shedding is normal. All dogs do it. Even those that are bread to be “non-shedding” and hypoallergenic will shed occasionally.It’s a natural process that allows us to rid ourselves of our old coat and grow a healthy new one. Old, dead hair is released from our skin and replaced with new hair. Certain breeds will shed more than others, and the process is usually dependant on the weather; dogs will shed more in the spring and the fall as their bodies prepare for their summer/winter coats. A good exception to this rule is dogs that spend most of their time indoors. Instead of having two major shedding periods in a year, indoor dogs will continuously shed. But there are times when shedding may not be normal. Some of these factors include:
- Hormones – A hormonal imbalance can result in a dog shedding more than normal. Cushing’s Disease is a common cause, and it can sometimes lead to a complete loss of hair on both sides of our belly. Both pregnancy and lactation in a mother can also result in a hormonal imbalance and subsequent excess shedding.
- Allergies – The idea that dogs can have allergies is too often discounted, but we’re just as susceptible to allergies as humans are. These allergies can be associated with anything from grass and pollen to food, and they can cause skin irritation and inflammation. Even if we’re showing no evident allergic reactions, we can still experience a lot more shedding than normal.
- Stress – Stress in a pup can also be overlooked. Shedding is one of the ways we experience stress, which can come from anywhere.For example, we thrive on routine, and a simple change can be disruptive. Or,we could be mourning the loss of a loved one.Whatever the case may be, shedding is a major side effect of stress.
- Imbalanced Diet – The biggest factor in a strong, healthy coat is diet. The fats, vitamins, and minerals in our food all play their part in giving us a desirable coat. An imbalanced diet could impact the quality of our fur and lead to constant shedding as our body tries to replace the bad hair.
- Skin Conditions – Skin conditions can often be confused for allergies as they both result in red, dry, and itchy skin. However, skin conditions are caused by factors such as ringworm, mites, and mange, as well as fungal and bacterial infections, rather than environmental or dietary reactions. The result is often increased hair loss and shedding.
- Fleas and Ticks – A flea or tick bite can be very itchy and cause irritated, dry skin. We then scratch that area excessively, which can result in hair loss around the bite.
Controlling Excessive Shedding
While the shampoos we’ll list are great at reducing shedding, they’re not perfect. Complementary control measures can be used, including:
- Brushing – A daily brush can help us control our shedding. However, brushing daily is only necessary for dogs that are prone to a lot of shedding; for many dogs, a good brush every few days is more than enough. As a bonus, this serves as a great way for dogs and owners to bond.
- Diet – Sudden, excessive shedding could indicate a need for a diet change. A growing dog’s nutritional needs are constantly changing; shedding could signal that they need more vitamins and minerals.
- Flea and Tick Medication – Flea and tick medication both control pests and limit the accompanying itching and scratching. Although it might be difficult, it’s important to limit a dog’s exposure to high-traffic flea areas, which are typically humid and shady.
- Regular Bathing – Most dogs should have a bath about once a month. Some may need more frequent baths, but excessive bathing can remove the essential oils in their fur and dry out their skin. A monthly bath using one of the shed control shampoos below will help to eliminate excess fur.
- Stress Reduction – It’s important to try and reduce any stressors that might be in your pets’ lives to help reduce shedding and improve their overall health and well-being.
- Routine Vet Visits – It may not be necessary to rush your dog to the vet at the first sign of extra fur loss, but a regular checkup might help a vet detect any underlying health issues that could lead to excessive shedding.
What to Look for in a Shampoo for Shedding
It’s hard trying to choose the right shampoo. With just as many options for dogs as there are for people, it’s easy to stare at the store shelf in confusion. But there are some basic components you should look for in a good shampoo for shedding:
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E isn’t just vital for a healthy skin and coat, it also supports the nervous system and immune system. Your dog generally gets all the necessary Vitamin E in their diet, but a little extra in their shampoo won’t hurt.
- Vitamin B -Vitamin B is important in producing proteins and some fatty acids. While it should be present in your dog’s diet and it’s not an essential shampoo ingredient, it doesn’t hurt to have more.
- Fatty Acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for a healthy coat and helping your pup grow strong hair and hair follicles, which reduces shedding.
- Natural Ingredients – Dog owners want what’s best for their pup. A shampoo with harsh chemicals and additives can sometimes do more harm than good, especially for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies. Natural ingredients, while not perfect, will help eliminate issues caused by added chemicals.
- Moisturizers – If you’re someone who bathes their dog regularly, ensure the shampoo contains moisturizers that will keep their coat and skin healthy by preventing dry and itchy skin.
- Deodorizers – Deodorizers shouldn’t be confused with perfumes, which just mask a wet dog smell. Deodorizers often contain natural ingredients that completely eliminate unwanted smells. Plus, perfumes can often play a major role in drying out a dog’s skin and stripping their fur of its essential oils.
- Soothing Ingredients – Soothing ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, or coconut will help alleviate skin irritation, which can result in excess shedding.
Best Dog Shampoo for Shedding
Now that we’ve detailed the causes of and remedies for dog shedding, we’ll detail the top-five dog shampoos that can help control hair loss.
1. Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo
Earthbath is one of the leaders in the pet-wellness industry, and their Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo shows it. With oatmeal and aloe vera as the main ingredients, this shampoo will hydrate and soothe a dog’s irritated, sensitive skin, reducing the chances of your pup scratching and shedding. Because of its all-natural ingredients, your pup’s skin and hair will maintain their natural pH balance and the essential oils needed to keep their fur strong and healthy.
What Customers Think: Reviewers love how clean this product gets their dog while giving their coat a healthy shine. The only complaint is that the scent doesn’t last long.
Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars
- Perfect pH balance
- No added dyes or chemicals
- Natural ingredients soothe skin and relieve shedding
- Money-back guarantee
- No added perfumes means the natural scent wears off quickly
2. Oster Oatmeal Essentials Shampoo
Oster Oatmeal Essentials Shampoo eliminates the root cause of excessive shedding by soothing dry, irritated skin through all-natural ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and Vitamin B, leaving a healthy, shiny coat. This shampoo won’t strip a dog’s hair of essential oils thanks to a lack of added alcohol or other harsh chemicals. The all-natural, biodegradable ingredients make that this shampoo safe for your pup and the environment.
What Customers Think: Customers love how quickly this shampoo acts to soothe and moisturize their dogs’ dry skin, noting that shedding was drastically reduced after just one use.As with the first product, reviewers only complained about the short duration of the scent.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
- Great price relative to other available all-natural shampoos
- All-natural ingredients
- No harmful additives or chemicals
- Safe for the environment
- Perfect consistency makes it easy to lather and rinse
- Natural coconut scent may not last long
3. Wahl Shed Control Shampoo
Wahl has served vets and groomers for over 50 years, and their Shed Control Shampoo is an example of the great strides they’ve made to provide the average consumer with groomer-quality dog products. Made from lemongrass, sage, oatmeal, and aloe vera, this shampoo offers a perfect pH balance and ensures a healthy skin and coat. Its also proven to reduce shedding. With no harsh chemicals, Wahl’s shampoo is allergy-safe, even for dogs with severe allergies.
What Customers Think: Reviewers swear by this product’s ability to control excessive shedding. While shampoos won’t completely eliminate shedding, Wahl’s Shed Control Shampoo comes about as close as you can get.
Amazon Rating: 4.6 Stars
- Vet and Groomer approved
- All-natural ingredients safe for dogs with even the most severe allergies
- Satisfaction guarantee
- The combined natural ingredients provide excellent hair loss control
- Safe for both pup and the environment
- The concentrated formula may not lather as well as other shampoos
Furminator products are constantly growing in popularity thanks to items like the Desheddingshampoo. Like many others on this list, FURminatorDeshedding Shampoo combats shedding by focusing on the root cause of the problem: the skin. This shampoo is full of moisturizing ingredients like papaya leaf extract, calendula extract, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Its also free of harsh chemicals, resulting in a smooth, healthy coat. Used for regular bathing, FURminatorguarantees a groomer-quality result from your own home.
What Customers Think: All customers agree that the FURminatorDeshedding shampoo offers a groomer-quality clean while doing an excellent job of combating excessive shedding at a great price. The natural scent makes your pup smell great, and it has soothing and calming properties.
Amazon Rating; 4.6 Stars
- Excellent in combating excessive shedding
- All-natural ingredients keep from irritating a sensitive skin
- No additives or harsh chemicals
- Soothing, calming smell
- Groomer-quality clean
- Shampoo can be tough to rinse out if not used as instructions specify
5. Burt’s Bees Natural Shed Control Shampoo
Not only does the Burt’s Bees Natural Shed Control Shampoo take advantage of natural ingredients to moisturize and combat dry skin, but it also helps strengthen a dog’s fur and prevent it from breaking. Mild and pH balanced, this shampoo is safe for dogs and puppies of all ages. Its also hypoallergenic, making it perfect for dogs with sensitive skin.
What Customers Think: Most customers agree that this shampoo’s price is hard to beat, and the value for that money is second to none. Customers also notice a significant drop in their dogs’ shedding after only a couple of uses. However, many reviewers agree that the concentrated formula is very thin and, therefore, didn’t lather well, leading to a higher useage than recommended to get a proper clean.
Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars
- All-natural ingredients
- Great product for a low price
- Mild and pH balanced, making its suitable for dogs of all ages and sensitivities
- Burt’s Bees is a well-established company producing quality, healthy products
- Highly concentrated formula makes it difficult to lather and sometimes rinse