Shedding can be a cause of frustration for many dog owners. Dogs shed for a number of reasons. A common reason is simply the change of seasons. The amount of daylight and the temperature affect shedding. Indoor dogs will usually shed more regularly with less seasonal shedding.
Stress is another factor to shedding. Many dogs will actually shed when experiencing a high level of stress. One common example of this is the vet’s office. Many dogs get overly stressed by that environment and shed, whether on the floor or the exam table.
Nutrition will affect the amount of shedding a dog does. Healthy dogs do not shed as much as unhealthy dogs. Many dog food have insufficient digestible proteins – which is a requirement for a healthy skin and coat. Higher quality foods will generally produce less shedding (be sure it is understood that shedding will not be eliminated).
Allergies can definitely affect the skin and coat. Worms, parasites, and high fevers can all damage the coat. Allergies such as flea dermatitis, food allergies, or environmental allergies (grass, dust, etc.) will cause dogs to shed. Flea/tick prevention helps to prevent those infestations that often lead to skin/coat allergies.
Hormonal levels can affect shedding as well. This is especially true of low level thyroid issues. Hormonal levels are also affected during pregnancy and lactation. A female can have depleted levels of calcium and other minerals that may cause shedding – sometimes heavily. Additional vitamins/minerals and calcium can be added to prevent and/or cure the problem.
Some people want a dog that doesn’t shed. If this includes you, you may want to consider a Poodle or Poodle mix, a Puli, or a Portuguese water dog. Some terriers also fit into this category as well. Technically there is not a truly hypoallergenic dog; however this list will often help humans who have allergies to other dog breeds.
Regular brushing will also help to control shedding. Some dogs may require weekly brushing, other breeds may require daily brushing. While shedding cannot be eliminated entirely, good brushing/grooming habits coupled with a high quality dog food will help to reduce it.