How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Shedding
Shedding is a problem dog owners around the world have in common. Though certain breeds shed more than others and some dog types experience seasonal shedding when the volume of their hair is expelled from the coat in great quantity, combatting shedding is an issue all dog owners are concerned about to some degree.
Shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle which is why it is common to all dog breeds. While a certain amount of shed hair is to be expected, dogs that display excessive hair loss or issues with cracked and dry skin can benefit from veterinary assistance and a change of diet to help alleviate the problem.
There are several things owners can do to help excess hair from accumulating in their home. Regular grooming helps to prevent hair from falling out randomly throughout the dog’s living environment on its daily travels. This may include consistent trips to the groomer throughout the year. But in addition to this, daily brushing is also a vital help by removing all loose hair from the coat to be easily disposed of in the trash.
When a dog sheds an excessive amount of hair consistently, it is important to evaluate the dog’s diet to see if poor nutrition may be playing a role in the problem. The best dog foods for shedding are formulated with probiotics to help address critical gut health and digestion. They are often also enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to ensure that coat and skin are properly nourished to promote health and growth.
Though no one dog food will eliminate shedding, there are many excellent quality diets that can assist with proper skin and coat health to minimize the amount of lost hair.
There are several health conditions which can affect coat and hair quality and can lead to more frequent hair loss and even temporary hot spots and balding. These include allergies (environmental or dietary), stress, dry or aggravated skin, and hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. In these cases, diet alone will not resolve the issues; however, excellent nutrition can be a great help in addition to veterinary treatment.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods that help with Shedding
Determining the correct calorie count to feed of the best dog food for shedding will depend on a number of different factors. The age, breed, activity level, and weight of the dog are very important considerations.
Since each food formulation has different nutritional values and caloric contents, the best course of action is to use the suggested serving size listed on the bag as a starting point. This can be adjusted with the dog’s weight and hunger level serving as helpful guidelines in establishing the correct amount.
Any high quality food for shedding that is suitable for adult dogs should contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. By comparison, puppy foods to help with excess hair loss should be comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with marginally higher amounts of these food categories also desirable.
Dietary Requirements for Dog Foods that help with Shedding
The key thing to look for in the best foods for shedding is balance. All of the ingredients included in the diet should be of excellent quality and included in the correct ratio to promote good health.
One of the most critical aspects that helps to address hair loss in dogs is the addition of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These essential acids provide vital support for coat and skin health.
When coat and skin are healthy, hair sheds at a normal rate, thus reducing unnecessary hair loss and encouraging the development of coat that is healthy and strong. These oils are best derived from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish.
All proteins should be derived from animal origins and are best included in their whole form. Meat meals also provide an excellent source of concentrated protein. However, by-products are low quality and should be avoided entirely.
Though many foods do make use of plant-based proteins, these can be very difficult for most dogs to digest. In addition to this, many proteins taken from these sources are common allergens for many dogs with the sensitivity to the food often expressed through itching, irritated skin, and hair loss. Among the plant-based proteins to avoid are corn, wheat, and soy.
Supplements are often added to a food to help boost its nutritional impact and to help dogs effectively process and utilize the nutrients contained in a diet. Among the most popular supplements are glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. However, in dogs that shed excessively, it is a good idea to look for a food that contains both probiotics and biotin. Probiotics aid with the development of strong intestinal flora to support digestion while biotin is essential for helping to prevent unnecessary hair loss.
Carbohydrates play a lesser but still important role in a balanced diet. For dogs suffering from allergies or stomach sensitivities, a grain-free diet may be preferable. However, for those who have expressed no reactions to any particular foods, a grain-inclusive formula is also an excellent option. Of primary importance in the carbohydrate quality of a diet is the ease of digestibility of the foods included in the food formulation, whether they are derived from grains, fruits, or vegetables.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Shedding
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for shedding:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Based on a limited ingredients list
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health