Dealing with shedding is a part of owning a dog! Some owners have no problem with it whilst others prefer to select breeds that shed little or hardly at all. Some degree of shedding is perfectly normal in most breeds and you can expect it to increase during the spring or in a female dog that is pregnant or nursing pups.
However, sometimes shedding is a sign that something is wrong with your dog’s skin and their diet could be playing a part in this. There is a role for dog foods in maintaining a healthy skin and coat because they supply all the nutrients that your dog needs in exactly the right proportions. If you are looking for the best dog food for shedding for your dog, here is our guide.
The Best Dog Food for Shedding
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food
Formulated to serve the nutritional needs of smaller dogs, this premium dog food contains chicken as the primary ingredient. It has exactly the right levels of protein and carbohydrates to provide the high energy demands of small, adult dogs. The protein is high quality – provided by chicken meat and not by poultry by-product meals.
There are plenty of other ingredients to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat including whole peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. There are antioxidant-rich fruits (blueberries and cranberries) to protect against inflammation. The optimal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids helps to promote healthy skin and a healthy coat. To help prevent allergic reactions, including reactions that could result in skin problems, there are no corn, wheat or soy and no artificial ingredients.
Formulated for adult, smaller dogs
Contains high-quality protein provided by chicken
Contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids
No corn, wheat, soy or artificial ingredients
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight15 lbs
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food
Cooked in the US with only natural ingredients, this recipe has chicken and turkey as the meat protein ingredients and vegetable protein is provided by potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas. It also contains organic alfafa and blueberries to promote general health.
The formula is designed to limit shedding by promoting skin health. It contains salmon oil which is a natural source of fatty acids and a carefully balanced blend of vitamins and minerals. There are also added probiotics but no corn, wheat, soy or artificial additives to avoid allergic reactions.
High protein content provided by chicken and turkey
Vegetable protein and carbohydrates provided by peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
Salmon oil for fatty acids
Added probiotics for gut health
- Weight27.1 lbs
Orijen Original Dry Dog Food
A premium dog food made with a limited number of high-quality ingredients so it is perfect for dogs with allergies. The high-quality animal sources of protein are free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish and nest-laid eggs. The ingredients list contains natural products including red lentils, pinto beans, and butternut squash. Fresh saltwater fish ingredients provide Omega 3 fats which are essential for immune and nervous system functioning and skin health.
A full 85% of the ingredients are poultry fish or egg ingredients. There are no rendered poultry, fish or meat meals and no grains, potato or tapioca. There are also added probiotics.
Limited number of high-quality ingredients
Fish to provide Omega 3 oils
Free of grains, potato and tapioca
- Weight24.9 lbs
Wellness Simple Natural Dry Dog Food
Wellness has provided a limited ingredient dry dog food that is very suitable for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities which can cause itching and scratching and excessive licking. This can lead to excessive shedding.
The dry dog food is made with a balance of a single source of protein and carbohydrates that are easy to digest. The animal protein is provided by lamb and to this is added oatmeal, peas, and ground rice to provide carbohydrates for energy. The added flaxseed is rich in Omega oils which is essential for a healthy skin and coat. There are no fillers or artificial additives whatsoever and no meat by-products, wheat, corn, dairy or eggs.
Limited ingredients with lamb as the main protein source
Easy to digest carbohydrates – oatmeal, peas, ground rice
Flaxseed supplies Omega oils for healthy skin
- BrandWellness Natural Pet Food
- Weight26 lbs
Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dog Food
For dogs with sensitive skin, this food provides balanced and natural nutrition which will help them to maintain a healthy coat and will not irritate sensitive skin. The primary ingredients are salmon and rice. Salmon is the main source of protein. As an oily fish, this is packed with both protein and the nutrients that are essential for healthy skin.
There is added prebiotic fiber to promote digestive health and all the carbohydrates (rice and oatmeal) are easy to digest. The added fish oil is the source of EPA which is an Omega fatty acid essential for healthy joints and of Omega 6 and zinc which provide nourishment for the coat and keep it looking at its best. The recipe contains no corn, wheat or soy to trigger allergic reactions.
Primary protein source is salmon
Added prebiotic fiber
Omega 6 and zinc for a healthy coat
No corn, wheat or soy
- BrandPurina Pro Plan
- Weight30 lbs
Avoderm Natural Dog Food For Adults
A dry dog food for adult dogs that uses the natural qualities of avocados to help soothe skin conditions and promote a healthy coat. The primary meat protein source is lamb meal and to that are added nutrient-rich, natural ingredients including ground brown rice, ground white rice, oatmeal, and chicken fat.
The recipe is formulated with skin health in mind and is suitable for dogs with skin and coat conditions including hair loss and thinning coats. The avocado and avocado oil provide a high-quality source of fats and oils. The concentration of Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids are carefully balanced so that there will not be a deficit or an excess in your dog’s diet. There is no corn, wheat or artificial colors to trigger further skin problems.
Meat protein provided by lamb meal
Avocado and avocado oil provide Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids
No corn, wheat or artificial ingredients
- Weight26 lbs
Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Dry Dog Food
This is a ‘healthy skin’ vegetarian recipe that replaces meat sources of protein with brewer’s rice, soybean meal, and barley. It also contains several ingredients that have been identified as especially beneficial for the skin and coat. In particular, the Omega fatty acids help to promote healthy skin and linoleic acid and zinc are great for skin and fur.
The recipe is naturally delicious and contains none of the ingredients associated often with food sensitivities including corn, wheat, and artificial additives. The recipe is also available in white-fish and venison flavors for those who do not want to feed their dog a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian dog food
Protein provided by soybeans
Added Omega fatty acids
Linoleic acid and zinc
- BrandNature’s Recipe
- Weight30 lbs
Acana Heritage Meats Dry Dog Food
Red meat is the primary ingredient in this protein-rich dried dog food. The meat sources are Aberdeen Angus beef, fresh Yorkshire pork and fresh grass-fed lamb. To pack as much high-quality protein (29%) into the recipe as possible, half is derived from fresh meat and a half from dried meat which provides a concentrated source of protein that fresh meat alone cannot provide.
Added to this are healthy, nutrient-rich vegetables including pumpkins, greens, and carrots. It contains fish oil to provide the Omega oils that are essential for healthy skin and a healthy coat. It has no fillers such as tapioca and prefers natural sources of ingredients rather than artificial additives of vitamins and minerals.
Recipe rich in red meat
Made from dried and fresh meat
Contains pumpkins, greens, and carrots
Natural sources of vitamins and minerals
- Weight24.9 lbs
Nutro Max Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
A delicious tasting dry dog food made from farm-raised beef as one of the main sources of protein. It also contains chicken meal, brewers rice, and peas. The recipe also contains a range of added vitamins and minerals and added flaxseed to provide omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a healthy coat.
The manufacturers have excluded a lot of ingredients that can trigger adverse skin reactions in dogs including genetically modified ingredients, chicken by-product meal and corn, wheat and soy protein. It also contains no artificial additives.
Protein provided by farm-raised beef
Flaxseed contains Omega 3 fatty acids
No GMO ingredients
No artificial additives
- Weight25 lbs
Iams Proactive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food
The primary ingredient in this kibble is farm-raised chicken to which is added ground whole grains and nutrient-rich vegetables. It’s packed with things like carrots, dried beet pulp, spinach, and green peas. There are plenty of added minerals including zinc sulfate to promote healthy skin.
The Omega oils for skin health are provided by flaxseed in this formulation and there is also added rosemary extract for flavor. There is a blend of fiber and probiotics to help with digestion. The recipe contains no wheat, soy or artificial preservatives.
Protein provided by farm-raised chicken
Contains healthy vegetables including spinach and carrots
Omega oils provided by flaxseed
- Weight30 lbs
Best Dog Food for Shedding Buying Guide
What to Look for in a Dog Food for Shedding and Dry Skin
Several brands advertise particular food that is good for shedding whilst others advertise their product as a premium dog food that is good for general health. With dog food, you tend to get what you pay for and the more expensive products are made with the higher quality ingredients. Here are a few things that you should look out for when you are choosing a dog food for shedding and dry skin.
- High-quality protein.
The protein source should be a high-quality meat source such as chicken, beef or lamb. Some owners prefer to avoid chicken by-products and others avoid meat products altogether and go for a vegetable source such as soy. Protein from fish sources is also attractive because they will naturally contain Omega oils.
- Easy to digest carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are essential for energy but some can cause stomach upsets and this can lead to a lack of nutrients being absorbed by the gut which will impact the skin. Sweet potatoes and peas are some of the high-quality carbohydrates that you will see on dog food ingredients lists.
- Fats and oils.
Fats are an alternative source of energy. Also, two particular oils which are called Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential for maintaining healthy skin. To help your pooch have a healthy coat, they need sufficient amounts of each of the fatty acids in the correct ratio. The best dog food for shedding will contain these as supplements or they can occur naturally in ingredients such as oily fish and flax seed.
- Vitamins and minerals.
All dog foods should provide a balance of vitamins and minerals to promote general health. Zinc is one mineral that has been associated with skin health and a zinc deficiency can cause zinc responsive dermatosis. This will show itself as hair loss as well as crusting and scaling. Some dog foods for shedding promote their zinc content on the label.
- It can be difficult to work out what your dog is allergic to and you will need to work with your vet to pinpoint the problem.
Allergies and food sensitivities can cause skin conditions and dog shedding. If you suspect that your pooch has a skin allergy, it is important that you read the ingredients list carefully. Some owners prefer foods that have a small ingredients list so it is less likely to contain something that could trigger an allergy. Some avoid grains such as corn or wheat and others avoid soy. Natural ingredients are always preferable to artificial preservatives and colors.
Why You Should Use Dog Food for Shedding
Most dog breeds will shed to some extent and it is a perfectly normal part of being a doggy. Dog owners accept this as part of having a four-legged friend live with them. However, you may have noticed that your pooch is shedding more than they used to or more than is normal for their breed and for the time of year. This is something that needs to be investigated.
You should not ignore excessive dog shedding. It could be a sign of a health issue or a lack of a nutrient in your dog’s diet. Once you have been reassured by your vet that your dog is not ill, it is time to look at their diet.
Excessive shedding can be a sign that your dog’s skin is not healthy. If their diet is causing this then you should be looking at dog foods for shedding because they will help to rectify the deficit and will benefit your dog’s overall health.
Many dog foods for shedding have carefully formulated levels of Omega oils and zinc and this will help to promote a healthy coat. Also, they exclude many of the most common allergens so that will help to calm down skin issues and prevent excessive shedding. A dog food that helps with shedding will maintain your dog’s skin health and glossy coat.
What Causes Excessive Shedding in Dogs
Shedding in dogs is very variable. Dogs often shed more in the spring when they are discarding their winter coats. Also, some breeds shed more than others and dogs with double coats such as Labrador Retrievers are known to be big shedders! Dogs that are pregnant or that are nursing pups can shed more due to hormonal fluctuations.
If your dog is shedding more than is normal for their breed and for the time of year, it may be a sign that there is something wrong with their diet. It is worth taking a look at the ingredients list and making sure that it has a good source of high-quality protein, easy to digest carbohydrates, zinc and Omega oils.
It is also possible that your dog has an allergy or a sensitivity to certain ingredients and this can cause skin irritation which leads to excessive shedding. Talk to your vet about which ingredients you should avoid such as corn, wheat, and soy. You may need to experiment with a few different formulations to find which food suits your dog best. Some dogs develop allergies as they get older. Your dog may have been able to tolerate these ingredients in the past but allergies can develop at any age and with no apparent trigger.
Don’t forget that stress can be another cause of excessive shedding. Is there something going on in your home that could be making your dog feel stressed? Is there a new puppy or another new pet? Have there been a lot of arguments between the humans in the household or have you recently moved house? All of these can cause stress in dogs.
There are also some medical conditions that can cause hair loss and these are not related to diet so your vet will need to rule them out. They are:
- Skin parasites such as fleas or mites
- Skin infections caused by fungi or bacteria
- Kidney or liver disease
- Hormonal diseases of the thyroid or adrenal gland
- Immune diseases
Best Dog Food for Shedding FAQ:
Q: Is it actually possible to stop a dog from shedding?
A: Shedding is the natural process of hair renewal in many species and that includes humans! Therefore, it is not possible to stop dog shedding altogether. It is important that you do your research before you choose a breed as your family pet so you know in advance if you have a big shedder on your hands!
However, you can reduce the amount that all dogs shed. You can invest in an appropriate brush or comb and regularly groom them. This will remove the head hairs in a way that is easier to control. Also, you can pay attention to your dog’s diet to make sure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they need to maintain a healthy coat.
Q: How much shedding is normal?
A: This varies by your dog’s breed, age and stage of life. Some breeds are known for shedding a lot and some are known to hardly shed at all. Labrador retrievers are a typical example. They have a double coat that keeps them warm and dry when they are leaping in and out of rivers to retrieve things but that’s not so great when it is shed all over your house. At the other extreme are breeds like Shih Tzu whose hair only falls out when it is brushed or broken.
As their owner, you will become familiar with what is normal for your dog and will be best placed to spot any changes.
Q: Can a diet actually reduce dog shedding?
A: It is possible to get a dog food that helps with shedding but it cannot prevent dog shedding completely. A balanced healthy diet that contains the protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber that your pooch needs along with all of the essential vitamins and minerals will promote general health. A healthy dog will have healthy skin and their coat will shed at a normal rate for their breed. Deficiencies in any of the nutrients can cause health problems that can lead to excessive shedding.
Diets that are deficient in zinc and in omega oils are especially likely to cause skin issues and these can lead to excessive shedding. Some dogs are allergic to certain ingredients in dog food. The allergy can show itself as skin irritation which causes excessive scratching and grooming and can make shedding worse. It is important that you work with your vet to identify what is causing the allergy. Some dogs are allergic to artificial additives whilst others can have reactions to grains (including corn and wheat), soy or even chicken by-product meal. Foods that contain just a few natural ingredients may be best and may reduce dog shedding.
Q: When is it time to see the vet?
A: Sometimes excessive shedding in dogs is a sign that something is wrong with their health. This may not be something that you can rectify with diet and supplements and you will need your vet’s help to find some dog shedding solutions. If you notice that your pooch has any of the following, it is time to give your vet a call because it could be a sign of something more serious.
- Continually grooming (licking) their feet
- Continually rubbing their face
- Constant scratching
- Open sores
- Persistent red patches on the skin
- Bumps, rashes, scabs or bald spots
- Dry hair that falls out easily when touched
Our Top Pick
Our top pick - Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food - has been formulated especially for smaller dogs and chicken provides the protein content. There are no poultry by-product meals in the recipe. Added to this are nutritious vegetables including whole peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes to promote general health and help with shed control for dogs.
The antioxidant-rich fruit content includes blueberries and cranberries which helps to reduce inflammation. The ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids has been carefully balanced to promote healthy skin and a healthy coat. If your pooch has allergies, you can be confident that this product contains no corn, wheat or soy and no artificial ingredients