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Dr. Marty Becker Tells Secrets of Cutting Shedding 90%

Dogsters! I have a real treat for you today. Dr. Marty Becker, Americas Veterinarian, has written an exclusive guest post for us. It's about how...

Maria Goodavage  |  May 19th 2011


Dogsters! I have a real treat for you today. Dr. Marty Becker, Americas Veterinarian, has written an exclusive guest post for us. It’s about how to reduce your dog’s shedding by 90 percent. I kid you not: 90 percent.

Follow his simple methods and you’ll no longer waft around the house with fur-bunnies scrambling around your feet. You won’t have to run your coffee through a sieve if your dog walks by. Best of all, those of you with light-colored dogs will have dark-colored clothes again. And vice versa. Gone will be the days of living in the land of scary-hairy.

Jake thinks Dr. Marty’s suggestions are brilliant, except for the last one. You’ll see why when you get toward the bottom of the article.

Be sure to let us know if you try his methods, and how they work for you!

Maria Goodavage

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By Dr. Marty Becker

At our Almost Heaven Ranch in north Idaho, youll find anywhere from four dogs (our own) to seven (our own plus our granddogs) in residence. My wife and I love dogs (as well as cats, horses and all the wild animals we share our land with) but we dont care for hair. We like a clean house, and we love our clean-sweet-smelling, low-shedding pets.

As a practicing veterinarian, I know Teresa and I arent alone in wanting both dogs and a clean, fresh-smelling home. And as I travel the country as Americas Veterinarian getting recognized in airports, I hear it enough to confirm what surveys show: Shedding is the No. 1 pet-lover complaint. However much we love our furry friends, we’d prefer to keep their fur on them and off us which means off our clothes, our furniture, our carpets, our floors and the upholstery in the car.

Fortunately, you can help keep the flying fur under control with a number of proven solutions. I’m talking about the “3 Cs” — cut back, collect, and contain.

Before I share the secrets, solutions and surprises from my latest book, Your Dog: The Owners Manual, I need to bust some myths, starting Some more than others but even so-called hairless breeds shed (the hairs are just sparse and fine). The related misconception that some dogs won’t trigger allergies is also not true. If you read somewhere on some Internet site or someone you once knew told you that some breeds, most usually cited as the Chihuahua, actually cure allergies and asthma, put that one out of your head as well.

The first strategy is if you need or want a low-shed (or less-allergenic dog) is to get a small one. The logic here is easy to follow: Less dog, less hair.

The second criteria is to get a long-haired dog and keep the fur clipped short. That’s because long-haired dogs drop hair less frequently than short-haired dogs, and keeping the hair clipped means less hair, less often, and the hair that does come out is short and easy to pick up.

But chances are you already have a dog, right? Fortunately, theres a lot you still can do, and the low-shed strategies start in the bathtub.

You should be bathing your dog every week.

Yes, you read that correctly: Every week.

Surprised? I bet you are. Ive been a veterinarian for more than three decades and I well remember when the belief that bathing too often would strip the coat and skin of moisture. I gave that advice to pet-owners for years.

But recent work by esteems veterinary dermatologists shows that weekly bathing with a good shampoo (ask your veterinarian for a recommendation thats right for your dog) is reduces skin problems in dogs, from allergies to infections, including ear infections. Even better, it reduces shedding and allergy triggers for people who are allergic to dogs.

So yes, start bathing your dog every week. Its the new best advice and its the best thing you can do to reduce shedding, since a lot of the ready-to-be-shed fur ends up caught in your tubs drain screen. Use a bathing tool with nubs (Kong makes a nice one) to give your dog a good massage in the tub and work out even more of those loose hairs. And above all: Rinse, rinse, rinse and then rinse even more to get your dog squeaky clean and help him stay clean longer.

Next: Keep your dog brushed and combed. The fur you grab when its ready to fall out ends up on the brush, comb or de-shedding tool (personally, I love the Furminator) instead of your furniture, floor or clothing.

My final tip is admittedly not for everyone, but hear me out anyway: Dress your dog.

Yes, that’s right, I said put clothes on your dog.

It works better — or at least, it’s more socially acceptable — if you have a purse-sized dog, but if you’re really troubled by fur you can look into body suits for any size of dog and these will contain the shedding nicely. And since your dog is wearing the body suit at home, no one knows — just like no one knows that when I’m working at home I’m not wearing my “signature TV outfit” of a khakis, a denim shirt, red tie and stethoscope — I’m in pajama bottoms and a pocketed Carhartt T-shirt.

Do my dogs wear clothes? Yes! They dont mind it and in combination with all the other fur-reduction strategies (including keeping our long-haired dog, Quixote, clipped short) we deal with almost no fur in the house. Easilly a 90 percent reduction in shedding, with the bonus of sharing our lives with dogs who are huggably soft, sweet-smelling and with no skin problems.

What are you waiting for? Change to a C-worthy strategy — cut back, collect, and contain and put the pin back in your furry hand-grenade. A fur-free home can be yours for you and your dogs to enjoy.

***

Dr. Marty Becker, Americas Veterinarian, is a regular on Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show and has written 19 books on pets, including his most recent, Your Dog: The Owners Manual. He is currently half-way through his national Healthy Pets Visit Vets book tour, traveling the country in a custom-wrapped, 45-foot luxury bus previously used by Lady Gaga and Dog: The Bounty Hunter. Visit DrMartyBecker.com for information, including a complete tour schedule.