So you’d like to adopt or purchase a new dog, but you can’t stand the shedding? Though no dog is completely free of shedding, there are a number of dog breeds out there that are less likely to have the hair and dander shedding issues that cause problems for many dog owners.
Don’t like the mess that comes with a shedding house pet? You might consider a breed that typically sheds very little, such as the Affenpinscher, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Poodle, or Schnauzer.
Most types of Terriers also fit this category, including Airedale, Australian, Bedlington, Black Russian, Border, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Irish, Kerry Blue, Lakeland, Manchester, Norfolk, Norwitch, Scottish, Sealyham, Silky, Tibetan, Welsh, and Yorkshire Terriers.
If dander-related allergies are a major problem for you, though, the Bichon Frise might be your dog. Though they sport a thick coat of wavy hair, they have no undercoat. Or how about a Chinese Crested or Mexican Hairless? Both have virtually no hair and very little dander—though they might be a little funny-looking, they can still make great pets.
Got severe allergies? The American Hairless Terrier has absolutely no body hair and sheds almost no dander. Most people who can’t tolerate other dogs will do fine with one of these, though no dog breed can guarantee a 100% allergy-free experience. If allergies or asthma are possible issues, it’s best to try out a pet before you decide to adopt or buy to make sure they won’t cause sneezing or wheezing.
When our kids were very young, my wife and I had an Australian Shepherd with a beautiful coat of white and tan fur. We adored him. Problem was, the dog had chronic allergies and skin problems that contributed to a full-time shedding problem.
It seemed like no matter how often we swept, the loose hair would accumulate, gathering in drifts and piles on the hardwood floors of our tiny house. What was worse, our kids were toddlers, notorious for crawling the floors and picking up anything they could find to put their mouths. We were the only parents on the block whose kids coughed up hairballs.
Whether you have kids or not, if your dog or cat sheds it can be a major nuisance. Here are our 6 top tips for dealing with a pet that leaves hair everywhere:
- See your vet. While seasonal shedding is normal for many dogs and cats, excessive shedding may be a clue to a health problem. Your veterinarian may be able to find the root of the problem and may be able to prescribe medicine or suggest supplements (such as fatty acids) that will help control the problem.
- Brush your pet every day to reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture. Most pets enjoy the attention, and will look forward to their daily brushing session. Ask an expert at your local pet supply store or check with a groomer for tips on the right tools to use for de-shedding your pet’s specific type of fur.
- Shampoo, rinse, repeat. If your dog’s chronically dry, itchy skin is causing him to scratch himself constantly, you may want to bathe him regularly using an oatmeal shampoo to moisturize and soothe his skin.
- Train your pet. Make sure dogs and cats have their own beds, furniture, or comfortable areas to lounge. Teach them that these are acceptable places to hang out, and that human furniture is off-limits.
- Cover up. Get some stylish throws or use blankets to cover furniture. They’ll keep most of the fur off, and you can just remove them before company comes over. Make sure they’re machine-washable for easy cleaning.
- Clean up. Get pet hair off of upholstery and carpet as soon as possible, before it has a chance to work its way into upholstery fabric or carpet nap. Use a tape roller or other pet hair removal tool on furniture and vacuum carpets. For the best results, make a habit of doing this regularly.
How often should you bathe your dog? Some dog owners follow a strict regimen, bathing and grooming their pets once a week. For others (such as me), it’s bathtime when the dog’s natural perfume (eau de dog) begins to permeate the house.
The truth is, depending on their breed, you may not need to bathe them so frequently. Some shorthair breeds, for example, don’t have much fur so they might do with a weekly rub down with a hound glove, and a full bath just once a month. Frequent bathing can strip the dog’s natural oils. These oils are a cause of the doggy smell, but they also help protect the skin. Bathe him too often and your dog may develop chronically itchy, dry skin, causing him to scratch himself frequently.
Of course, if your pooch just loves the great outdoors, rolling and playing in the dirt and mud, then you’ll need to bathe him more often. This can be fine as long as you’re not using dish soap or a product designed for humans. Veterinary dermatologists say that a mild hypoallergenic soap that’s formulated for veterinary use is all you need. “Formulated for veterinary use” means a product that’s designed to work with a dog’s body chemistry, which is different than the chemistry of a human’s skin and hair. While dish soap or your favorite shampoo might well strip away the dirt (and, more importantly, the odor) from your pet’s coat, it will also strip natural oils from their fur and may irritate their skin.
Experts say it’s safe to bathe your dog with veterinary shampoo once a week. On the other hand, if the veterinary shampoo you’re using contains medication or insecticide, follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Prescription shampoos treat specific problems and might require bathing more or less often than you usually do.
One last tip—make sure to comb your dog’s coat before bathing. Because wet fur mats more than dry fur, a wet tangled coat is harder to brush out and will take longer to dry. You’ll save time and also save your pet from an uncomfortable brushing.
Thinking about insurance for your cat or kitten? Good for you! A pet insurance policy for your cat is a smart way to budget for future medical expenses. Pet insurance can help make sure your cat can get the best possible treatment when he or she needs it.
Remember that all pet insurance policies are not equal, though. If you’re comparing various policies from different insurance providers, these 8 great tips will help you know what to look for and what to avoid.
- Your cat’s doctor should be your decision. Avoid pet insurance policies that enforce health care networks; the best policies let you choose any veterinarian, anywhere.
- Steer clear of policies that pay according to a predetermined benefit schedule; these schedules limit your cat’s care for any specific illness or injury to the amount the insurance company is willing to pay.
- Choose a policy that pays a straight percentage, such as 80%, of your eligible expenses. This way, you’ll call the shots when it comes to care options and the overall quality of your cat’s medical care.
- Your cat may need more care as he or she gets older, so make sure your policy doesn’t have an age restriction. Some policies will actually drop your cat when they get too old!
- Does the policy offer options to help pay for regular wellness checkups? These checkups can mean early detection of health problems that might be more difficult and expensive to treat later on.
- Make sure you know about the policy’s exclusions. A policy that says it pays 90% of your expenses won’t be worth much if it excludes many of the ailments that are likely to affect your cat.
- Check the policy for claim limits, where long-term conditions like arthritis or cancer may only be covered through the end of a policy term (typically 12 months). A pet insurance plan with continuous coverage will help treat long-term conditions from one policy term to the next.
- Check with your friends who have had experience with pet insurance and make sure to ask your veterinarian what pet insurance policies he or she recommends.
More questions? Try checking out this list of Frequently Asked Questions for answers.
“When my wife and I were newlyweds we adopted a rescued puppy—a tiny white ball of fluff that eventually grew to be a very smart, loyal Australian Shepherd. While he was still young, though, he contracted parvo and had to spend a week at the vet clinic. We almost lost him and were thrilled when he pulled through.
The incident left scars, though. Afterward, he lived in terror of going to the veterinarian’s office. Whenever we went, he would struggle and claw with all his strength, wrestle his way out of his collar, growl at the veterinary staff, and do everything possible to make sure the experience was miserable for us both.”
Does this Pets Best Insurance employee’s story sound familiar? At Pets Best, we are about more than dog insurance, we are dog lovers and owners, and we know how awful it can be to deal with a dog who hates to go to the vet. So we’ve assembled the following list of advice on the subject from a variety of dog owners and behavior experts. Have any further advice on this topic? Feel free to post it in the comments section below.
10 Great Tips if Your Dog is Scared of the Vet
1) Try changing your own attitude. Because dogs are sympathetic to human emotions, your dog may be picking up on your own nervousness, so stay calm and happy.
2) Reassure your dog that everything’s alright, but don’t do it too much; if you’re saying “It’s okay, sweetie, it’s okay,” over and over, your pet may think there’s reason to be scared.
3) Protective pet? You might try staying in the waiting room during your dog’s exam. Could be your dog is acting tough because he’s trying to protect you.
4) Heard the expression “travel broadens the mind?” If your dog is used to going places and socializing with people and other animals, the vet’s office won’t seem so scary.
5) Start going to the veterinarian’s office just to say “hi.” Your dog will learn it’s not a bad place after all.
6) Whenever you go, keep a bunch of treats in your pocket and reward the dog frequently. Eventually, the dog will associate the veterinarian’s office with food.
7) Small dog? Make sure they feel comfortable, safe and secure by bringing them in their dog crate.
8) Bigger dog? Use a shorter lead when you go to the vet—you’ll have better control and will be able to keep the dog close to you.
9) If your dog growls and snaps at people when scared, consider a comfortable muzzle. Make sure the dog gets used to wearing it at home first, though.
10) If nothing else is working, you may want to ask your vet about prescribing a sedative the dog can take before a visit to the vet. This may reduce the wear and tear that extreme stress can have on the dog’s body.
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