Shed much? If your dog loses a sweater’s worth of hair every time you turn around, you have two options, either take up knitting or focus on how you can control his shedding. Even if your pet sheds a smaller amount but still leaves a trail of fur, regular grooming could reduce or eliminate this mess.
Of course, how often and the amount your dog sheds is dependent on many factors including his breed, water intake, and diet. However, if he routinely sees the vet, drinks at least an ounce of water per pound of his body weight a day and eats a healthy, well-balanced diet, your dog’s shedding is a natural process that can be controlled with a bit of attention.
Here’s how you can clean up this hairy situation.
Best Deshedding Tools for Long-Haired Dogs
For long-haired, double-coated dogs, especially breeds that are more likely to shed, such as Labrador retriever, Siberian husky, and Pomeranian, use a tool such as a slicker brush that can reach under the outer coat and remove dead hairs. Taken across the outer coat a few times in both directions, a self-cleaning slicker brush is effective at removing tangles and mats.
For periods of increased shedding be sure to use a coat rake. This tool is useful at helping you de-shed or thin out hairs. Pull the rake in the direction of the hair growth, then pull the tool up and away.
Other deshedding tools that are good to use on long-haired dogs include a bristle brush and a wire-pin brush. The bristle brush, which is acceptable for use on all coat types, is best for long-hair dogs because the brush bristles are long and widely spaced. For curly or wooly medium to long length hair a wire-pin brush is ideal.
Best Deshedding Tools for Short-Hair Dogs
Although short-hair dogs don’t have much issue with tangles or matting, they still require regular grooming if you want to rid your home of your dog’s shedded hairs. Because the length of the hair is considerably shorter, the recommended types of deshedding tools vary.
When looking for a proper deshedding tool, select one that is soft and won’t cause irritation like a slicker brush or coat rake. You can use the BarxBuddy self-cleaning dog brush on all types of coats including short hair. Its soft wire bristles gently collect the hair while distributing your dog’s natural oils, producing a shiner and healthier coat.
Another option for deshedding your short-hair dog is a pet grooming glove. This hair remover mitt is made from soft rubber that helps prevent scratching of the skin and gently massages as the loose hair is removed. This tool is often used when shampooing dogs.
Deshedding Shampoo vs Brush
When your dog leaves hair all over your floor, furniture, and favorite outfit you’ll try anything to stop the shedding. Some pet owners look to deshedding shampoo as a possible solution instead of a brush. Is one better than the other? Do they work well together?
Deshedding shampoo uses natural ingredients and omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids (which can help reduce shedding in canines) that provide a certain degree of relief. However, even with regular treatment, your dog will still shed. Maybe not as much, but he will continue to lose hair.
The use of deshedding shampoo and regular brushing can improve the situation. You might find over time the price of a good deshedding shampoo too expensive. A cheaper and equally effective alternative is to serve your dog high-quality foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and continue deshedding your pet with the proper tool.
If you choose to use the deshedding shampoo, watch for skin irritation or allergic reaction. You may want to discuss the best brands with your veterinarian. You should talk with your vet and address your concerns with your dog’s shedding before making any changes to his diet.
Are your dog grooming sessions more like a battle of wills? You, the responsible pet owner, have brush in hand ready to work the gnarly tangles out of her coat, while your dog stands defiant and would just assume to bite your face off than endure a grooming session? Or, maybe she sees the brush as an invitation to play which leads to her biting at the brush and acting all kinds of crazy. Either scenario leads to nothing but you both being frustrated.
Before you throw in the brush (see what we did there?), there are a few things you can do to ensure your dog’s grooming sessions don’t play out like an epic fight scene from the big screen. You can take her to the groomer’s regularly, or you can take a few steps and groom your dog yourself, which is the perfect opportunity to save money and build a stronger bond between you both.
Here’s how you can win the brush battle.
Dog Snaps When Brushed? Be Patient
If your dog snaps or bites when you brush her, you have to let her know immediately that this is a no-no. Be patient. You never know what triggered the aggression. It could be that she had a bad grooming experience before she came to live with you.
As with everything else about caring for dogs, to successfully teach your dog to like or at least tolerate brushing her coat requires patience and time. Taking the process one step at a time will teach her some self-control and reassure her that the brush is not something to fear.
Don’t yell at her. Walk away, take a few deep breaths and try again when you both are calm.
Let her sniff the brush. Offer a distraction, such as a treat or toy or treat-toy combination.
Give her short breaks. During that time, pet her, scratch her favorite spot, and tell her she’s a good dog.
Ensure You Are Using the Right Brush for Your Dog’s Coat
It’s essential that your dog is groomed regularly. No matter the length of her coat, brushing will keep her coat looking its best by increasing blood circulation and distributing her skin’s natural oils throughout. Plus, the more you do it, the more she’ll get used to it, and the less you’ll battle.
However, there’s a big difference between grooming tools designed for long-hair versus those for short-hair dogs. Using the improper brush could cause injury to your pet so you must understand which is best for her coat. Look for a brush specific to your dog’s length of hair or one like the BarxBuddy self-cleaning brush that works well for all coats.
Introduce the Brush in Short Grooming Sessions
To reduce hesitations from your dog, it’s best to start with short grooming sessions in an area with no distractions. With one hand offer treats or a toy to keep her attention off the brush as you gently touch and brush her coat with the other.
Although it’s typical to start at the head and brush toward the tail, brushing her tail first may help calm your pet if she’s a nervous dog. No matter how short the session, praise her for allowing you to brush her, using a soft, positive tone.
Sessions in the beginning may only last a minute, and that’s okay, because the more you practice this process the more it will become routine and your pet will grow to understand that brushing isn’t a danger or playtime. Over time, you’ll want to increase the length of the grooming sessions. Note that if your dog has had any bad experiences with grooming, it can take longer for her to trust you and enjoy being groomed.
How to Improve Your Dog’s Coat
Once your dog allows you to brush her entire coat without issue, you must maintain it so she doesn’t experience any tangles or matting (especially for long-haired breeds) as these can be painful to remove and cause her to once again fear the brush, putting you back to square one.
If your dog is short or medium-haired, expect to brush her once a week, if she’s long-haired she will need brushed daily. Start at your dog’s head and work your way down to the tail. For short-haired dogs, use firm, gentle strokes to brush the coat in the direction the hair grows. Use firm, gentle long brush strokes, for wiry or long-haired dogs use long strokes. If your pet has a thick coat, start brushing from the skin outward, then start over by brushing the coat in the same direction as the hair growth.Brush her coat the same way every time to make your pet comfortable.
Spray with a coat conditioner or a pet- and environmentally friendly detangler if your dog has trouble with tangles or her hair is prone to matting. This spray will help loosen the tangles and any knots, making it easier to brush and less painful for your dog.
Don’t forget to brush your dog’s entire coat including underbelly, legs, feet, and ears!
If there’s one thing 2020 taught us as dog owners, it’s that it’s still important to walk, exercise and socialize our dogs around other humans and fellow dogs, even if you have to get a little creative while social distancing. The importance of exercise for dogs is the same as it is for us: We need it to sleep better, digest food, move joints and prevent or reduce risks for health problems.
BarxBuddy has come up with the perfect solution: An exercise for every day of the month that will keep your dog active and not put his or your health at risk. Here are 31 dog exercise ideas, one for every day of the month.
1. Play Hide and Seek Inside (or, Outside)
This exercise is best when your dog understands the command sit and stay. If he struggles with these commands you should have a family member help keep an eye on him while you”hide.” You will also need a handful of treats (if you plan on playing for any length you might want to make sure they are healthy snacks).
Ask your dog to sit and stay, or have your assistant ensure he stays put while you leave his sight. If this is the first time your dog has played hide and seek, hide in a location your dog can easily find.
Once you are in your hiding spot, call your dog. If he doesn’t instantly come running, you can call out to him again. When he finds you, always offer praise and a treat if he really played the game like a champ.
Be sure to change the place you hide every time, so it doesn’t get boring for you or him!
2. Swim with Your Dog in a Pool (Only with Supervision)
Before you let your dog into your swimming pool for some exercise, it’s important you know that not all dogs are natural swimmers. And, while swimming is a great form of exercise for your dog, you must stay with him at all times while he’s in the pool or other bodies of water. Besides exercising with your dog is fun and good for both of you!
3. Play ‘Nose Work’ Games
Here’s the perfect indoor or outdoor game for your dog. Hide a few of his favorite snacks around the house or yard and let him go to town.
4. Practice New Dog Tricks
Cooped up with you is the best time to practice some new tricks, if he hasn’t already mastered them. A few rounds of sit, roll-over, stay, speak, and spin, can exercise the mind and body.
For a great exercise routine create an obstacle course inside or out for your dog. Use household items like a couple of dining chairs and a blanket for a tunnel and a small step stool for hurdles. Outside, you can use other items like boards, hula hoops, and PVC pipes to create a full agility course.
6. Hit the Treadmill with Your Dog
If you can’t get out and walk, your dog can take a stroll on your treadmill. First, you need to get him comfortable around it and onto the machine while it’s off (treats help!). Once he’s comfortable, have him leashed standing on the treadmill facing forward. While holding his leash, turn on the machine to its slowest speed. Offer encouragement, praise, and treats as he walks. Begin with a few minutes, increasing speed and time (up to 20-30 minutes) over several days. For older or injured dogs, check with your veterinarian before putting a dog on the treadmill.
7. Play Fetch
One of the most traditional ways to exercise your dog inside or outside is a good old game of fetch. Grab his favorite ball or stick and head outside and play fetch. Reward your dog with praise and treats when he brings the toy back on command.
8. Fill up a Food Dispensing Ball
Put a few treats in a food dispensing ball and your dog will work very hard to get them out.
9. Dance With Your Dog
Put on some tunes and get your dog moving to the music.
10. Run Up and Down the Stairs (If You Have Them)
Just like it’s a great exercise for you, up and down a few flights will get your dog good and tired.
11. Play Keep Away
You and another family member toss a small item, like a ball back and forth, keeping it away from your dog. Play fair and allow him to catch it occasionally.
12. Play Doggie Tug-of-War
An old rope or piece of cloth is all you need.
13. Hide Dog Treats in a Food Puzzle
Similar to a food dispensing ball, put a few treats in a food puzzle and he’ll go to town trying to find them.
14. Chase Laser Toys
Like cats, dogs can find laser toys entertaining.
15. Play Frisbee
16. Bury the Bone
If your dog is a digger, bury a couple of bones around the yard, in a place where you won’t mind her digging up. Check with your veterinarian for safe recommended bones (no chicken bones), or if you’re vegetarian, you might bury dog treats, chews or other veterinarian-recommended treats.
17. Dangle a Flirt Pole
Tie a treat or small toy to the end of a string on a stick and dangle it in front of your dog just out of his reach. Be sure to let him catch the toy now and then.
18. Play the Shell Game
Grab two plastic cups and dog treats. Show your dog a couple of the treats and let him watch you place them under one of the (upside down) plastic cups on a hard surface. Switch the cups a few times and see if he can knock over the cup hiding the treats.
19. Play Which Hand
If you don’t have plastic cups, place a couple of treats in one of your hands and close your fists and let your dog figure out which hand is the right one.
20. Rotate His Toys
Although your dog has his favorite toys, every dog can get bored, so rotate his current toys. or introduce new ones to keep him interested in playing.
21. Chase Bubbles
Blowing some bubbles around the yard will get your dog jumping and running.
22. Teach Your Dog How to Turn On/Off Lights
Large and small dogs can learn this trick. Small dogs might need your help (hold him) to practice turning on and off a wall light switch.
23. Yoga, or Doga in Dogspeak
While there are Doga classes across the nation, you can learn how to perform yoga poses with your dog at home, thanks to YouTube. Here are a few poses to try out, Wheelbarrow, Inner Dog Mudra, and Heart to Hound Mudra.
24. Stuff a KONG Toy
Stuff a KONG toy with some cheese or peanut butter and your dog will spend as much time and energy necessary (which is usually a lot) to clean it out.
25. Run Through a Sprinkler
If your dog loves the water but you don’t have a pool, turn on the hose or sprinkler and let him run through the water for a while.
Get down on the floor or ground and play wrestle with your dog.
27. Teach Your Dog How to Put His Toys Away
Spread your dog’s toys around the toy box and instruct him to “clean up”. Use praise and treats as he deposits them into his toy bin.
28. Bike Around the Neighborhood
Find a time when your neighbors are either indoor or away and bike around the neighborhood while your dog runs next to you on his leash.
29. Doggy Playdates
If you have someone who doesn’t live with you and you know they have followed CDC or local guidelines for social distancing — and they have a dog, invite them to drop off their dog(s) for a doggy playdate or stay and visit with you while practicing safety measures.
30. Social Distancing and Dog Walking
Of course, if the area where you live is less populated and it’s possible to get out, you should try to walk your dog, provided you maintain a safe distance from other people and their pets and wear your face mask.
31. Pamper Fido
After all the exercising, it’s time you give him a doggie massage and apply balm to his pads. Pampering your dog can soothe any aches and relax his muscles before his next round of play.