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.
Best Dog Foods For Shedding
Reviews of The Best Dog Foods for Shedding
#1. Stella & Chewy Freeze-Dried Raw
If your dog suffers from hair loss, itching, and other coat issues but is already eating a high-quality food, they may be suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. Our number four choice is made specifically with these sensitive dogs in mind.
Zignature whitefish formula doesn’t contain any of the typical allergy-causing ingredients that affect most dogs. In fact, it is made with ingredients you don’t often find in dry kibble diets.
The first two ingredients in this recipe are whitefish and whitefish meal. Both of these provide plenty of protein and healthy fats in a form that is generally well tolerated by even the most sensitive of pups.
The short list of starch ingredients in this diet includes peas, chickpeas, and alfalfa. These, much like the protein ingredients, are usually well-tolerated and easy on the digestive tract.
All the healthy omega fatty acids from the whitefish combined with a total protein content of 29% and fat content of 14%, make this one of the best dog foods for hair loss regardless of if your dog suffers from allergies or not.
Overall, this limited ingredient diet delivers with quality all-natural ingredients to promote coat health and a low-allergen formula to help sensitive dogs overcome hair loss and itching.
#2. Ziwi Peak Air Dried Dog Food
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 Dry Dog Food
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. Zignature Whitefish Limited Ingredient
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 Pet Food
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.
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.
Check out our article on the best dog food for allergies to see more details on how to choose a quality hypo-allergenic food for your canine.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
According to petmd.com, maintaining a consistent grooming and bath schedule can help your dog shed more effectively and reduce frequent shedding. Check out this article to see if you have the right grooming tools to get you started.
Adding supplements like fish oil to your dog’s food can also improve the health of their coat and help dry skin.
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.