Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Shedding and Coat Health in 2019

Have you ever wished that your dog didn’t shed? What a relief it would be to sweep the floors and not create mountains out of Fido’s discarded hair.

While shedding is a natural and normal occurrence for all double coated breeds, excess shedding can be a sign of nutritional deficits. Read on to learn how to reduce your dog’s hair loss and what we named as the best dog foods for shedding.

Why Do Dogs Shed

If you’ve never owned a curly coated breed like a poodle or a Portuguese water dog, you might be surprised to find out that not all dog breeds shed. In fact, only dog breeds with double coats have seasonal shedding periods.

Now, before you consider exchanging your super-shedder for a new model, know that most dogs do shed and those curly coated breeds are few and far between. In fact, the majority of dogs, from Lhasa apsos to Tibetan mastiffs, have double coats and therefore have to shed twice yearly to maintain healthy skin and fur.

This bi-yearly shedding schedule is a hold-over from your pup’s ancestors who lived in the wilds and dealt with dramatic temperature changes between winter and summer.

In order to stay warm enough in the winter, these wild dogs would shed their thin summer coats and grow thick undercoats to keep them warm. In the spring, the process reversed as the thick winter coat was replaced by a cooler summer one.

Even our pampered domestic dogs still benefit from coat changes between the seasons. Shedding allows damaged hair and dead skin to drop off while healthier cells take their place.

What Causes Excess Hair Loss in Dogs

You’ll never be able to keep your double-coated breed from shedding completely, nor should you. But, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of hair that piles up on your floors.

A normal, healthy dog will shed their coat in the spring and fall with minimal hair loss in between. If your dog is shedding more often, or worse still, losing patches of hair, there is something wrong.

If your dog is not suffering from a disease like mange or autoimmune issue, it’s possible their excess shedding is the result of a poor diet.

The skin is the largest organ in (or rather, on) the body and it takes a fair cut of the nutrients the body consumes. In fact, it’s estimated that the skin absorbs a quarter of all protein a dog eats.

So it’s no surprise that the first sign of a nutritional deficit is often seen in the quality of a dog’s coat

Dogs on low-quality diets often have dry, flaky skin and dull, thin coats. These are also the same dogs who tend to shed all year round and clog vacuum cleaner filters.

If this seems like a description of your dog, it may be time to switch up their diet. It can also be helpful to give your dog a bath and a haircut to get rid of all the dead hair, but make sure you have the right grooming shears before you get started.

When it comes to feeding for a healthy coat and skin, look for foods high in protein and healthy fats. The less processed a food is, the more nutrient dense it will be.

These quality foods might cost you more, but they’ll save you time and sanity on cleaning day. And, because the nutrients your dog’s skin uses in excess are the same the rest of the body needs to be healthy, you’ll be doing your dog a big favor too.

The Role Allergies Play in Hair Loss

Have you tried switching your pup to higher quality food? Are they still struggling with dry, itchy skin and excess shedding?

Allergies and sensitivities to certain foods can also exacerbate shedding problems.

If your dog itches and licks incessantly or has red, irritated skin, you may be dealing with a food allergy.

Start by eliminating common allergens from their diet, like corn, wheat, and soy. If the problem persists after a month on the new food, the issue might be in the protein source.

Beef and chicken are the most common animal protein allergens. Look for a food with a novel meat ingredient and make sure the suspected allergen is not hidden in the ingredient list.

Reviews of The Best Dog Foods for Shedding

#1. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Dinner

Best Overall

Stella & Chewy Freeze-Dried Raw
Score: (5/5)

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95% animal ingredients, super-high protein, nutrient-dense food to reduce shedding.
Pros

High nutrient density

Very high protein

95% animal ingredients

Cons

Pricey

The number one food on our list of the best dog foods to prevent shedding is Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried recipes. This food tops our list for the impressively high protein content, the plethora of healthy fats, and the whole food derived super-nutrition.

This line of food comes in 11 awesome flavors, including two specialty puppy formulas. All types contain a high amount of animal-sourced proteins in the first few ingredients and include an amazing 95% animal ingredients.

All that meat means this food contains at minimum, 38% protein, with the chicken flavor packing an outstanding 48%. If your dog’s hair loss is due to a lack of protein in the diet, you can be sure this food will reverse that trend.

If, on the other hand, your dog’s shedding is due to allergies or sensitivities, this food is still an excellent choice. This food doesn’t contain any grains, legumes or potatoes.

The plant matter used in the recipes is reduced to nutritious, low-starch vegetables and fruits. And, with a multitude of meat flavor types available, you are sure to find one that agrees with your pooch, no matter how long their list of food allergies.

And, because this food is freeze-dried and minimally processed, you know all the nutrition from those quality ingredients is retained. This along with the high-fat content makes Stella & Chewy’s easily one of the best dog foods to reduce shedding.

As you can imagine, this food is not cheap. Even if your budget does not allow you to feed this as your dog’s sole diet, it will still make a difference in their shedding when used as a supplement to a quality dry dog food.

#2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dog Food Recipe

Runner Up

Ziwi Peak Air Dried Dog Food
Score: (5/5)

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High in animal-sourced protein, nutrient-dense, and minimally processed for healthy skin and coat.
Pros

High nutrient density

High protein

Easy to serve

Cons

Pricey

Dehydrated and freeze dried foods retain more nutrients than highly processed dry foods, but require added water and time to cure before serving. One processing technique that retains a high amount of nutrients without the need for additional steps before serving is air drying.

And one of the best air-dried foods on the market is Ziwi Peak. This New Zealand based dog food company has a reputation for providing high-protein, nutrient-dense food that is perfect for skin and coat health.

Like our number one food, this diet comes in a variety of flavors from venison to mackerel/lamb. All six flavors contain a minimum of 96% animal-derived ingredients.

All flavors include protein percentages in the high 30s to help your dog retain a lustrous coat and healthy skin. They also contain high-fat levels to fight flaky skin and dry hair.

Also like our first choice of food, this diet contains no grains, potatoes, or legumes. This food is a great choice for dogs with sensitivities to plant ingredients that lead to itchy and red skin.

For all these reasons, we consider Ziwi’s line of air-dried foods some of the best dog foods to stop shedding in excess.

This food is less expensive than our first choice, but still more expensive than the average dry food.

#3. Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Dry Kibble

Wellness Natural Pet Food
Score: (4.5/5)

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High-protein food with added raw bites for superior nutrient density to reduce shedding.
Pros

High protein

Added raw bites for extra nutrition

Quality animal-sourced ingredients

Cons

Higher amount of plant-sourced ingredients

If feeding a raw prepared food like our number one and two choices is not something you’re ready for, then our third choice is a great option for you. And, of course, this food is still one of the best dog foods for shedding control.

Wellness Core’s Rawrev combines quality dry kibble with nutrient dense raw bites. The high nutrient profile of this food along with high protein content will keep your dog’s skin healthy and their coat beautifully intact.

This food comes in two adult flavors: turkey/chicken and duck/lamb/boar. It is also available in puppy, healthy weight, and small breed formulas.

Whatever recipe you choose, you can expect at least 35% protein from quality animal-sourced ingredients.

Unlike our first choices, this food does contain legumes and potatoes which means a higher carb density. But, all formulas are grain free which is great for any dog that is sensitive to ingredients like corn, barley, and rice.

This food is on the higher end of the price spectrum but still cheaper than freeze-dried and air-dried foods like our first picks.

#4. Ps For Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Best Hypoallergenic

PS for Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Air Dried Food
Score: (5/5)

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High-protein food with 90% lamb and hypoallergenic ingredients to stop hair loss.
Pros

Hypoallergenic

High nutrient density

High protein

Cons

Higher price

If you already feed your dog a quality diet but are still dealing with hair loss and excessive shedding, this is the food for you. PS for Dogs hypoallergenic food is made for ultra-sensitive dogs with skin and coat issues.

Like our second choice, this food is air dried for maximum nutrient retention to help your dog maintain a healthy coat.

But what truly sets this food apart as one of the best dog foods for hair loss, is the focus on allergy-friendly ingredients.

This food is made with 90% lamb, including lamb meat and organs, and a handful of easily digestible plant ingredients like parsley and pumpkin for sensitive systems. All this while maintaining a high protein level of 29% and high fat for a healthy coat.

And like our second choice food, this diet is as easy to feed as dry kibble but without the extra processing. Air-dried foods also have no need for chemical preservatives, unnecessary ingredients which can also cause itchy, red skin and hair loss.

This food is on the higher end of the price spectrum. But, for a specialty, air dried food, this diet is a real bargain and definitely worth it if you’ve tried everything else to cure your dog’s hair loss.

#5. Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food Pacific Stream Adult – Smoked Salmon

Most Affordable

Taste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food
Score: (5/5)

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Affordable high-protein, grain-free kibble with quality ingredients for healthy skin and coat.
Pros

High protein

Quality ingredients

Affordable

Cons

Contains legumes as protein source

Higher amount of plant-sourced ingredients

If you’re desperate to find a food to control your dog’s shedding, but need to stay on a tighter budget, Taste of the Wild’s Pacific Stream food is a great choice.

Like all our picks for shed-control, this one contains a higher than average amount of protein at 25%. And, the salmon flavor contains a boat-load of healthy fats to keep your dog’s coat shining (while on them and not on your floors).

The first two ingredients in this recipe are salmon and ocean fish meal. As a bonus for dogs with protein sensitivities, this food does not contain any land-animal meats and is safe for dogs with beef and chicken allergies.

While this food contains significantly more plant-sourced ingredients than any others on our list, it is still gain free and packs a big nutritional punch with many whole-food sourced vitamins.

What makes this food truly stand out on this list, is the price tag. This is a moderately priced diet with enough protein and other nutrients to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and their shedding schedule more normalized.

What is the Best Dog Food for Shedding and Coat Health?

To find the best dog food for shedding we had to leave dry kibble behind and enter the world of freeze-dried raw diets. We chose Stella & Chewy’s Raw Super Dinner for its untouchable nutrient density and super-high protein level.

With a huge amount of the protein your dog consumes going straight to feed their skin and coat, you want a food that contains highly bioavailable proteins. With 95% of their ingredients coming from animal sources, you can be sure your dog will absorb the protein in this food.

This food is so nutrient-packed that you can use it as an addition to a high-quality kibble and still get the shedding benefits. With quality ingredients made for your dog’s carnivorous soul, we know you’ll both love this food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of food to help my dog shed less?

Because shedding is often caused by malnutrition, nutrient and protein dense diets are best. Low processed foods like dehydrated, freeze-dried and air-dried diets require the least amount of processing to create and retain the most nutrients to battle hair loss.

Quality dry kibble or canned food is also a good choice to stop excess shedding and can be more budget friendly than raw prepared diets.

Is there any way to keep my dog from shedding completely?
Curly haired dogs only have a single layer of fur and therefore, don’t shed. Double coated dogs, however, need to shed and preventing them from ever shedding is not only impossible but would be unhealthy.
Are there ways to help my dog shed less in addition to a healthy diet?
According to petmd.com, maintaining a consistent grooming and bath schedule can help your dog shed more effectively and reduce frequent shedding. Adding supplements like fish oil to your dog’s food can also improve the health of their coat and help dry skin.

Summed Up: The Best Dog Foods for Shedding

Stella & Chewy Freeze-Dried RawZiwi Peak Air Dried Dog FoodWellness Core Rawrev Dry Dog FoodPS for Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Air Dried FoodTaste of the Wild High Protein Dry Dog Food
Features to Reduce SheddingHigh animal protein, nutrient dense, rawHigh animal protein, nutrient-dense, minimally processedQuality ingredients, high protein, added raw bitesHypoallergenic, high animal protein, minimally processedQuality ingredients, high protein, healthy fats
Ingredient Quality5/55/54.5/55/54.0/5
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sources

  1. David H. Lloyd, Katrina A. March. “Optimizing skin and coat condition in the dog” WALTHAM FOCUS, vol 9. no 2. 1999.
  2. Ann Brightman. “4 solutions to reduce shedding.” animalwellnessmagazine.com, 28 April 2014.
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