10 of the Best Dog Food for Shedding (Most Effective in 2021)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall for Shedding: Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
“Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food contains Omega -3, -6 fatty acids, flaxseed oil and sunflower oil which help to reduce shedding, and are also excellent for dogs with skin & stomach problems.”

Best For Sensitive Dogs: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food
“Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food is great for dogs with shedding problems because of its high count in omegas, vitamins and minerals that help promote healthy skin and coat.”

Best For Seniors: The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dog Food
“Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dog Food is highly recommended for active senior dogs. It has organic ingredients that contribute to hydration, helping to reduce shedding – perfect for aging dogs.”

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There are quite a few factors that can cause excessive shedding in dogs. Food allergies is probably the most common. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dog breeds that are susceptible to food sensitivities. Another reason for unusual fur loss in these fellas is hormonal imbalance which is caused by conditions like hypothyroidism or even pregnancy.

Whatever the cause may be, having too much fur all around the house isn’t a great experience for you or your dog. The best way to prevent or maybe reduce too much shedding of your dog is to start with their diet. `Proper nourishment is the key to addressing any health concerns your little pooch may have.

To help you pick the most appropriate diet for your dog, we made a list of the best dog food for shedding.

Product Name
Best Overall for Shedding
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, Salmon, 4 Pound
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Fish and Brown Rice 30-lb
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Fish 10 lb (makes 40 lbs)
Rating
Our Rating 89 / 100
Our Rating 87 / 100
Our Rating 86 / 100
Pro 1
Natural ingredients, containing no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors - perfect to reduce shedding
Has a significant amount of Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health boost
Has the necessary supplements to support skin and coat maintenance in aging dogs
Pro 2
Great Omega-3 and -6 for skin and coat health
Added Lifesource bits safe for sensitive dogs and provides immune system boost
Organic ingredients that are rich in fiber and antioxidants
Best Overall for Shedding
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, Salmon, 4 Pound
Rating
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Natural ingredients, containing no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors - perfect to reduce shedding
Pro 2
Great Omega-3 and -6 for skin and coat health
Custom Button
Best For Sensitive Dogs
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Fish and Brown Rice 30-lb
Rating
Our Rating 87 / 100
Pro 1
Has a significant amount of Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health boost
Pro 2
Added Lifesource bits safe for sensitive dogs and provides immune system boost
Custom Button
Best For Seniors
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Fish 10 lb (makes 40 lbs)
Rating
Our Rating 86 / 100
Pro 1
Has the necessary supplements to support skin and coat maintenance in aging dogs
Pro 2
Organic ingredients that are rich in fiber and antioxidants
Custom Button
Sources researched
35
Sources researched
Customer reviews
21,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
30
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food for Shedding

Here are top picks for the best dog foods for shedding:

1. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Overall for Shedding: Highest amount of Omega fatty acids that maintain skin and coat health

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Quality90%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Natural ingredients, containing no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
  • Great Omega-3 and -6 for skin and coat health
  • Good vitamins and minerals for immune boost
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints

CONS

  • Slightly more expensive than others
  • A little high in calories, so be cautious when calculating how much your dog needs
  • Most likely not suitable for small breeds

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a premium dog food made from quality ingredients that addresses excessive shedding in dogs.

Instead of loading it with grains which may trigger allergies, they use premium quality protein, vitamins and minerals, and Omega fatty acid sources. At 34% protein content and with 383 calories per cup, this dog food would be ideal for large breed pups and medium sized dogs who are quite active. It also contains a great amount of Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids for improved skin and coat health.

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Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids 

This dog food has one of the highest levels of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids on the market. Omega-6 comes in at 4%, while Omega-3 sits at 1%.

They come from high quality sources including salmon and whitefish, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and sunflower oil. This makes it a great choice for active large breeds with excessive shedding or skin problems, as it should help nourish and soften fur and skin to provide some relief from excessive shedding.

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food

Best For Sensitive Dogs: Added Lifesource bits that’s safe for sensitive dogs while providing support for their immune system health

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Fish and Brown Rice 30-lb
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Overall Rating87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Has a significant amount of Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health boost
  • Contains glucosamine which strengthens joints
  • Good vitamins and minerals to maintain a strong immune system
  • Contains “LifeSource Bits” – a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals

CONS

  • Not suitable dog food for pets with a sensitivity to poultry (contains chicken meal)
  • Contains grains (although they are the good ones), so some dogs may be sensitive to it

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food is a highly recommended dog food for shedding pups who aren’t sensitive to poultry or grains (although the grains in this one are the good kind).

It promotes healthy skin and improves coat health. It’s also slightly lower in protein than some food products, which makes it ideal for dogs who may be on a low-protein diet due to kidney or liver issues. Added vitamins and minerals also promote healthy skin and a strong immune system.

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Wholesome and Premium Quality Ingredients 

This dog food uses premium protein as its main ingredient and its what makes up its amino acid profile. This particular recipe contains fish and brown rice, which is a great combination of quality protein and grain. It’s also packed with wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables that contribute to its incredible nutritional profile.

3. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dog Food

Best For Senior Dogs: Extremely safe and nutritious formula for aging dogs who need extra support maintaining healthy skin & coat

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Fish 10 lb (makes 40 lbs)
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Overall Rating86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality75%
Digestability90%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Has the necessary supplements to support skin and coat maintenance in aging dogs
  • Good protein and fat content for a moderately active dog
  • Organic ingredients that are rich in fiber and antioxidants
  • Extremely easy to prepare for your convenience

CONS

  • Quite high in calories
  • Contains grains, so it may not be suitable for dogs with sensitivities to them
  • Doesn’t contain as many fatty acids as others

Your dog will surely love the quality of ingredients found in the Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dog Food.

The ingredients undergo dehydration, which keeps the nutrients locked in and stays fresh for longer. By removing the excess moisture in your dog’s food, it increases the concentration of nutrients packed in every pound.

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Seniors or Brachycephalic Dogs 

As dogs get older, they can start to suffer from dental issues which makes it tough for them to crunch hard dog foods like they used to. Brachycephalic dogs (flat-faced or short-nosed dogs) can have the same problems, due to their mouths and teeth being cramped and sometimes a little deformed.

This human-grade dog food is not just intended for reducing unnecessary shedding in your dogs, it also allows these pups to eat a wholesome, healthy meal without the struggle of crunching through hard kibble. If you have a brachy or a senior who suffers from excessive shedding, this dog food would be an ideal option for them. 

4. Instinct Original Grain Free Wet Dog Food

Best Wet Dog Food: For dogs who need additional skin and coat boost as well as extra hydration in their diet

Instinct Original Grain Free Real Beef Recipe Natural Wet Canned Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 13.2 oz. Cans (Case of 6)
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Overall Rating86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality80%
Digestability90%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • No chicken or poultry ingredients for dogs who are prone to allergies
  • Single source protein and avoids common allergens
  • No carrageenan, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors

CONS

  • High calorie
  • Not suitable for most dogs as their only meal

If you have a senior who can’t handle dry dog food anymore, then you may have to transition them over to a wet dog food. Instinct Original Grain Free Wet Dog Food comes highly recommended for dogs who suffer from excessive shedding as it helps moisturize the skin and keeps fur soft and healthy.

It can also be used as a kibble-topper for young, healthy dogs who easily gets fussy over their food and needs some additional texture and flavor.

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Carrageenan In Wet Foods 

Carrageenan is often found in many wet dog foods. Its purpose is to thicken the food but it’s actually indigestible and has zero nutritional value. It can contribute to dog food allergies.

There are natural alternatives such as guar gum that are much better, and this dog food from Instinct makes sure there are no bad quality ingredients in their food that could compromise your dog’s skin and coat health.  

5. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Low Protein Diet: Single source of protein to keep protein count down for dogs with kidney troubles

Wellness Natural Pet Food Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Lamb and Oatmeal Recipe, 26-Pound Bag
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Overall Rating86%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Quality85%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Single source protein which avoids the most common allergens in dog food
  • Good Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids for improved skin & coat health
  • Limited ingredient formula to reduce food allergies
  • Nutritious, tasty, and easily digestible dog food

CONS

  • Contains grains (although they are the good ones), so if your dog is sensitive to them this may not be for them

Sometimes, excessive shedding can be a side effect of other health concerns. If your dog has health problems that require them to be on a low-protein diet, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food would be great to keep their protein count down and still get a great dose of essential fatty acids to keep skin moisturized and fur soft.

It’s formulated specially to reduce allergies, which helps quite a lot to reduce shedding as it limits the ingredients that could contribute to dry skin and fur while keeping the Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids at a good level.

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Chelated Minerals for Improved Digestion

Vitamins and minerals are important additions to this dog food as they play a vital role in maintaining your dog’s immune system strong. It also contains minerals that are chelated have been bonded to an organic molecule (usually an amino acid) through a process called chelation. This process makes your dog’s food easier to digest.

6. Instinct Be Natural Dry Dog Food

Best With Healthy Grains: Wholesome grains packed with fiber and antioxidants

Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 25 lb. Bag
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Overall Rating85%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality80%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Delicious raw coated kibble that’s packed with flavor and nutrients
  • Premium quality ingredients, wholesome grains loaded with vitamins and minerals
  • Minimal processing of responsibly sourced protein which makes up its amazing amino acid profile
  • No low-quality grains which may trigger food allergies

CONS

  • Slightly higher calories than most

Instinct Be Natural Dry Dog Food contains some good grains (brown rice, oatmeal, and barley), and although these grains are gluten-free, if your pup has demonstrated a sensitivity to one of them it may be best to go for something else.

If your dog is healthy and tolerant of grains, though, they add a great source of fiber and energy-packed carbs to this dog food.

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Raw Coated Kibble 

As Instinct is very big on raw diets, this kibble has a freeze-dried raw coating. This is a great dog food to buy if you want to introduce your dog to a fully raw diet sometime in the future, to begin transitioning them to raw. 

7. Natural Balance LID Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Food: For dogs who are prone to allergies

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Sweet Potato Formula, 4 Pounds
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Overall Rating84%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Quality80%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient formulation for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Great fatty acid sources from premium fish oil
  • No artificial ingredients, preservatives, or colors
  • Affordable, grain free dog food loaded with vitamins and minerals

CONS

  • Protein content is a little low (21%)
  • Fatty acid numbers are a little low
  • There have been reports of the food having a strong fish smell

A limited ingredient diet is recommended for dogs who are prone to allergies or developing allergies to certain ingredients. Natural Balance LID Dog Food contains great fatty acid sources from fish oil which makes it one of the best foods for your dog with excessive shedding.

Salmon, Menhaden fish meal, and salmon oil are all great fatty acid sources, along with canola oil and flaxseed. These ingredients make up the protein content of this dog food. It also has DHA as a separate essential fatty acid and helps with the proper development of your dog’s eyes and brain.

This dog food would be great for dogs who have dry, itchy skin and suffer from food allergies. 

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Lower Protein Content 

According to AAFCO, dog foods need between 18 and 24% protein on average, so 21% may not necessarily be seen as being very low. It is perfectly adequate, even though most dog foods for shedding tend to have between 24 and 30%.

Of course, more active dogs will do better with a higher protein count, as will puppies and large breeds. Sometimes, though, a vet will recommend something a little lower protein, and this dog food would be perfect for those dogs on a limited or lower protein diet. 

8. Stella & Chewy’s Surf ‘n Turf Dinner Patties

Best Raw Food Option: Can alleviate and even eliminate allergies

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Surf 'N Turf (Salmon & Beef) Dinner Patties Dog Food, 15 oz. Bag
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Overall Rating83%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality75%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • No chicken or poultry products which is ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Premium quality protein sources that make up an incredible amino acid profile
  • Organically sourced fruits and vegetables packed with fiber and antioxidants
  • Minimally processed raw diet that retains flavor and nutrients

CONS

  • High in protein (44% per patty)
  • May not be suitable for all dogs as it contains organs, cartilage, and bone

Dogs who suffer from allergies can sometimes benefit from a “biologically appropriate” diet, which means eating what they would have eaten in the wild.

This includes things like animal organs, blood, and bone, which may sound awful to us humans, but can be quite beneficial to a dog. Stella & Chewy’s Surf ‘n Turf Dinner Patties is highly recommended as one of the best dog food for shedding because it’s packed with amino acids and Omega fatty acids.

For some pups, a raw diet like this dog food has the potential to alleviate and even eliminate allergies entirely. If your pup has reacted badly to more than one commercial dog foods, or their skin and coat problems have not improved, give Stella & Chewy’s a try. 

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Why Raw? 

Minimal processing of your dog’s food, preserves the integrity of the ingredients that go into it. This means it does not take away the flavor and the nutrients in your dog’s meal.

Raw diets have been said to drastically improve health in many cases, so if your pup is one who has many food sensitivities, it may be worth seeing how they do on a minimally-processed, raw food diet like this one. 

9. Taste of The Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best For Digestibility: Contains species-specific probiotics that improve your dog’s digestion

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Smoked Salmon
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Overall Rating82%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality85%
Digestability85%
Calorie Count80%
Affordability70%

PROS

  • Incredible nutritional profile recommended for dogs with excessive shedding
  • Great Omega-3 and -6 for healthy skin and coat
  • Easily digestible ingredients that replicate a dog’s diet in the wild
  • Contains species-specific probiotics to improve digestion

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Buying from sellers other than the company can result in lower-quality food (some sellers “fake” the food to lower costs)

Taste of The Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food has great protein and fat numbers – not too high and not too low, at 25% and 15% respectively.

It is made from premium quality protein sources that also contribute to the Omega-3 and -6 fatty acid content, which is ideal for dogs with brittle or dry fur and skin. There’s a nice dose of vitamins and minerals in this dog food too, which will go a long way towards keeping your pup’s hair and skin healthy as they help with cell rejuvenation.

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Salmon Protein 

The fact that this food has only fish as its protein source makes a big difference.

Fish is naturally a little higher in oil than other proteins, giving this dog food an advantage as your protein and fatty acid sources overlap. The Omega-3 and -6 numbers are higher than many others, which means your dog’s coat and skin should get enough nourishment to keep it healthy and smooth. 

10. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Multi-Protein Food: Various protein sources for dogs who may be sensitive to certain meats

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food, Pork, Beef & Lamb, 25-Pound
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Overall Rating82%
Ingredient Quality80%
Protein Quality80%
Digestability80%
Calorie Count85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good protein count (26%) for muscle development and maintenance
  • Various animal protein sources, but avoids chicken
  • Good vitamin and mineral content to support immune system health
  • Grain free recipe that’s ideal for dogs with food sensitivities

CONS

  • Despite the protein content, real meat is not the first ingredient
  • Fewer sources of essential fatty acids than other foods

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dry Dog Food contains multiple sources of animal protein while avoiding chicken which is the most common meat allergen. Its main ingredient is pork meal, which is incredibly high in protein and quite healthy and easily digestible.

The limited ingredient formulation works great for dogs with more sensitive tummies who have mild shedding problems.

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Essential Fatty Acids 

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are present in this dog food in the form of pork fat and salmon oil. The amount is not as high as the rest of the foods in tis list but should be enough to address mild shedding.


Important Considerations When Choosing Dog Food for Shedding

1. Ingredient Quality

As always, this is the first thing to look at in the best dog foods. Dogs foods with natural, wholesome, quality ingredients are more easily digested and far more nutrient-dense than anything artificial. 

Animal protein, real meat, and fruits and vegetables are great. Gluten should be avoided, but healthy grains are okay.

Avoiding meat by-products (bone, blood, offal) is another quality we checked for in the best dog food for shedding.

2. Fatty Acid Content

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are healthy fat sources that go a long way towards keeping your pup’s coat shiny and their skin healthy and supple. 

Fatty acids play an important role in the building and maintenance of cells in the body, so it’s essential to have healthy sources in foods. Salmon and salmon oil are two of the best sources of Omega-3, and have a nice dose of protein too!

Other things on an ingredient list that get a thumbs up include fish oil, canola oil, flaxseed, and animal fats (with the exception of chicken in this case, as we are avoiding common allergens). It’s important to contain a good balance of both, and the AAFCO standard is a maximum Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 30:1. 

3. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a wide range of symptoms, and can definitely contribute to shedding, itching, and dry skin. It’s essential to make sure that the best dog food for shedding has a dose from a natural, healthy source. 

Many vitamins can be found in whole foods, and others are added later to the food. The less processed a food is, the more vitamins are likely to retain their properties.

The essentials for the best dog foods are vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. All of them contribute towards a healthy skin and coat.

4. Digestability

This refers to the percentage of the food that is absorbed and utilized by the body once ingested. It goes without saying that if more is being excreted than is being absorbed, it’s likely a low-quality food! 

This info is not readily available on food packaging or websites, but the health and wellbeing of the dogs eating the food gives a good indication of how digestible it is. Stool quality is another good sign of how digestible a food is.

Naturally, the more good stuff going into your pup’s body to be used for various functions, the better. Grains can be hard to absorb, so grain-free is usually more easily digested, although this depends largely on your dog’s disposition.

5. Affordability

Great, healthy nutrition doesn’t have to cost a fortune! While buying the best food for shedding for your dog is important if you want him to be happy and strong, it’s also not always possible to get top of the range products on a consistent basis. 

There are, however, high-quality foods out there that don’t cost an arm and a paw. The foods we’ve reviewed are high-quality, and vary in affordability so we’ve made an effort to make sure there’s something for everyone on this list. 


Questions & Answers

How much shedding is normal?

The amount of shedding that is considered normal varies by breed, health, and also sometimes by season (winter coats are shed in spring). Long-haired breeds like Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels are naturally going to lose more hair than short-haired ones like chihuahuas. So you’ll need a handy dandy brush to help you.

While it’s hard to get specific about how much shedding is normal, there are some things that indicate normal hair-loss. It should happen quite evenly, with the possible exception of heavy shedding in spring. You should pay attention to your pet and how heavily they shed from the beginning, so that you’re aware of changes. If there are any drastic changes in the amount of hair your pet is losing, then it may be cause for concern.

What causes excessive shedding?

If you’ve noticed that your pet is suddenly losing more fur than usual, there can be a few reasons for it. An imbalanced diet is a common factor, as are allergies, using the wrong shampoo, stress, skin parasites, hormonal imbalances, and underlying diseases. If this is something that has popped up suddenly, make sure to take your pup to the vet to find out exactly what lies beneath the issue. 

When is the time to go see a vet?

While shedding is a normal thing, when it becomes excessive or abnormal it could be due to a poor diet. It’s a good idea to take a trip to the vet to get a better idea of what’s behind it.

If your pet starts shedding noticeably more than usual, sheds only on certain parts of their body, loses fur in clumps, reacts badly to being touched or held, or begins to have discoloration on the skin, it’s time to get them examined by a veterinarian. 

If your pup has one or more of the above symptoms, and is also experiencing changes in appetite, excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, and unusual tiredness, it’s likely that there is something more behind it that can be helped by a visit to the vet.

Can food actually help to reduce shedding?

It can! One of the primary reasons for excessive or abnormal shedding is your dog’s diet being imbalanced and unhealthy. Dog foods containing artificial stuff, low-quality fillers, and common allergens increase the likelihood of bad coat health and your dog’s skin being dry.

The nutrients found in raw, natural ingredients contribute to overall health and wellness, as well as being far more easily digestible. Choosing the best dog food for shedding will help a lot with your dog’s shedding problems.

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.