Unless you have a non-shedding dog, chances are cleaning up dog hair is occupying a significant portion of your day. While some shedding is completely normal, excessive shedding can be cause for concern and has left many owners searching for a solution. Homemade dog food has become increasingly popular lately, but does homemade dog food help with shedding?
Homemade dog food can help with shedding. Dogs often shed excessively when they have allergies or irritated skin. Creating homemade dog food allows you to customize the ingredients and avoid anything that may be triggering your dog.
There are lots of ingredients that have the potential to help your pet with their shedding, depending on what the actual cause is. In the rest of this article, I will be going over those ingredients as well as discussing whether or not homemade dog food is a good option for your pet.
Ingredients That Can Help Reduce Shedding in Dogs
Commercial dog food, such as kibble or canned wet foods, can contain many filler ingredients such as wheat, corn, and soy, which many dogs have sensitivities to. When you’re making your own dog food, it’s possible to omit these fillers altogether, just as long as you take preparation and storage precautions (to avoid serving your dog unsanitary or spoiled food).
Depending on the cause of your dog’s excessive shedding, many ingredients could be helpful in reducing their shedding.
Here’s a look at some of those ingredients:
Olive oil is one of the most popular ingredients to reduce shedding, which can also be used as a supplement with commercial food. Olive oil is known for its intense moisturizing properties, and you may often see it used in human hair masks.
It contains large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for helping to moisturize the skin and maintaining healthy hair follicles. It also has plenty of vitamin E, which is well known for its skin healing properties in the treatment of scars and eczema, one of the leading causes of excessive shedding.
Similar to olive oil, fish oil is a great way to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that your pet is consuming. These fatty acids are great for improving the overall condition of your dog’s skin and coat, which should help to reduce any unnecessary shedding.
Fish oil is typically sold in gel capsules that contain the oil. To add it to your dog’s food, you should simply break the capsule open and drizzle the oil onto their food.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another cause of excessive shedding in dogs is ringworm, a common fungal infection that causes redness, itching, and hair loss. It is also contagious to humans and other animals, so it is crucial to get it treated as soon as possible.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular and natural way to treat fungal infections, including ringworm. It can either be added to your dog’s homemade dog food, or you can add small amounts to their drinking water.
The one thing to look out for with this ingredient is that it is acidic, so it can potentially be irritating to your dog’s stomach. If you are going to add apple cider vinegar, make sure to only add it in small amounts at first and monitor your dog’s reaction.
Molasses is a type of sweetener formed from the byproduct of crystal sugar production. It contains loads of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B16.
Vitamin B16 is known for boosting the immune system, which is great if your dog is suffering from infections that may be causing hair loss. An extra benefit of molasses is that it tastes great, so if you need to encourage your dog to eat some of the not so tasty ingredients, adding in a small dollop of molasses may be the solution.
While most of the other ingredients on this list have focused on correcting shedding if it comes from a skin condition, such as dryness, dandruff, or eczema, CBD oil can help correct a different type of shedding.
CBD is well-known for its positive impact on those that suffer from stress and anxiety in animals and humans. While many dogs may shed excessively because of a skin condition, others may do so because of stress and anxiety that leads to fur picking and pulling. If dog are nervously pulling out their hair or scratching at themselves all the time, adding a small amount of CBD oil to their food can help.
With CBD and everything else on this list, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine what dosage you should be giving them. Although CBD is not dangerous to dogs, anything can become toxic if given in excessive amounts.
Is Homemade Dog Food Safe?
So far, I’ve made homemade dog food sound like a pretty good idea, and for some, it may be an excellent solution. If your dog has a lot of food allergies and sensitivities that are affecting their skin or overall health, homemade dog food can help to improve these conditions.
However, it is not the best option for everyone for various reasons.
Homemade dog food is safe if you’re using dog-safe ingredients that contribute to a wholesome, well-balanced diet. You’ll need to consult with a licensed vet or canine nutritionist to determine your dog’s dietary needs, and to be sure you’re adding adequate proportions to your homemade mixtures.
According to Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, it can be challenging to ensure that your dog gets all the nutrients they need on a homemade diet. They also tend to be significantly more expensive and time-consuming to create than even high-quality commercial dog food. You also run the risk of making your dog pickier so that in the future, if they need to go back to commercial dog food, they may refuse.
If your pet is dealing with excessive shedding, a homemade diet is a possible solution. It gives you the freedom to tweak as many ingredients as you need to so you can eliminate any allergens or triggers from their diet.
However, homemade diets can be notoriously complicated and difficult to maintain for the average pet owner.
If you decide to switch over to a homemade diet, make sure that you consult your veterinarian before doing so.
And as always, Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
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