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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shedding Problem

Dear Jan,
We adopted a shepherd mix who has a tremendous shedding problem. My husband brushes her almost every day, but the hair keeps coming out. It's everywhere, like a white clouds in our house! Is there any solution to this? Not sure I can live with this forever. We are feeding her Beneful.

Dear Violet,
First, throw that crappy dog food away. It's not even good enough to give to the Humane Society. It has precious little nutrition, lots of chemicals and artificial color, and lots of unclean fillers. Just because they company spends millions of dollars trying to convince you it's "healthful" doesn't mean it is. It just means you're a sucker for slick advertising.

Get your dog on something decent. Not Purina, not Pedigree, not Science Diet, not Iams, not Nutro, not Kirkland (Costco) dog food, not Pro Plan, not Eukanuba. You will have to pay more to get a food that's any good. As you probably know, I sell (and feed) Flint River Ranch, but there are other brands. There are brands like Wellness, Evo, Blue Buffalo, and Canida, just to give you a short list. Most must be purchased through distributors. Flint River Ranch is on a par, pricewise and quality-wise, with all of these, but you do get free shipping right to your home with Flint River, and it costs extra for the others (or is not available delivered).

If you really want to go the distance, consider a "raw food" diet for your dog. You can get scads of info about such diets on the internet, and people passionately swear by them for their dogs. Me, I like the convenience of dry dog kibble and I'm really happy with my dogs' coats, overall health and longevity.

Most people see handfuls of hair drop out of their dogs when they get them off the junk and onto the "good stuff." So be ready for that. But...the new hair grows in softer, thicker and shinier. You usually notice the change in just a couple weeks. You will have substantially less shedding with the healthier hair.

You also need the right kind of grooming tool. For your dog, get a shedding blade and use it daily. If both your husband and you brush the dog outside each day, at least during this period of heavy shedding, you'll minimize the amount of hair that falls in your house.

Nutrition is EVERYTHING when it comes to a healthy appearance in people AND animals. If you want beautiful hair, you have to eat things that create it. Potato chips and Fig Newtons won't make beautiful hair for people, and bad dog food won't work for dogs either.

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