Last Updated: January 30, 2024 by Lisa Melillo
Did you know that a healthy dog can shed up to 600,000 strands of hair every day? That’s a lot of fur floating around your house! While shedding is a natural process for most dogs, excessive shedding can often be a sign of underlying health issues, including poor nutrition. That’s why choosing the best dog food for shedding is crucial in managing your furry friend’s coat health.
As a veterinary technician, I’ve seen firsthand how the right diet can make a world of difference in a dog’s skin and coat condition. In this article, I’ll share with you the top dog food choices that are specifically formulated to support skin health and reduce excessive shedding. These picks are not just about keeping your house fur-free; they’re about ensuring your dog stays healthy, happy, and looking their best.
Top Pick — ACANA Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food
ACANA Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food emerges as a top choice for its high-quality ingredients and thoughtful formulation. Its Red Meat and Grains recipe, featuring beef, pork, and lamb, is particularly effective in supporting healthy skin and reducing shedding in dogs. The gluten-free formula ensures easy digestibility, making it suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Furthermore, the inclusion of wholesome grains provides balanced nutrition, enhancing overall health and coat condition.
Best Dog Foods for Shedding
ACANA Wholesome Grains — Top pick
CRAVE Grain Free
ORIJEN Six Fish
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free
Diamond Skin & Coat
Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free
|Hill's Science Diet Wet Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Royal Canin Sensitive Skin Care
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care
1. ACANA Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food
- Includes pork and lamb
- Gluten-free formula
- Rich in protein
- Contains wholesome grains
ACANA Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food is an outstanding choice for dogs experiencing excessive shedding. What makes it stand out is its high-quality red meat ingredients: beef, pork, and lamb. These meats are not just flavorful; they are packed with the essential proteins and nutrients vital for maintaining a healthy coat and skin. This gluten-free formula is an excellent option for dogs with sensitivities, ensuring they get the nutrition they need without the risk of digestive upset. The inclusion of wholesome grains in this food provides a well-rounded diet, contributing to overall canine health and well-being.
Feeding your dog a diet rich in high-quality protein sources like those found in ACANA Wholesome Grains can significantly reduce shedding. It supports skin health and promotes the growth of strong, resilient fur. Plus, the natural ingredients used in this recipe ensure your dog is not consuming unnecessary fillers or artificial additives, which can sometimes exacerbate skin and coat issues. The combination of red meats offers a diverse range of nutrients, making it an excellent choice for dogs needing a boost in their coat’s health and appearance. As a veterinary technician, I understand the importance of feeding dogs a diet that’s as close to their natural eating habits as possible, and this product fits the bill.
- High-quality meat sources
- Gluten-free for sensitive stomachs
- Rich in essential proteins
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- May be pricey
- Not suitable for dogs with specific meat allergies
2. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food
- High in animal protein
- Grain-free formula
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Suitable for all adult dogs
CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food, with chicken as its leading ingredient, is an excellent option for reducing shedding in dogs. As a high-protein diet, it closely aligns with the natural dietary preferences of canines, providing them with the kind of nutrition they would seek in the wild. The focus on chicken ensures a rich and easily digestible source of protein, vital for maintaining strong and healthy fur. This grain-free formula is particularly beneficial for dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies, helping to avoid potential skin irritations that can exacerbate shedding.
The absence of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in CRAVE’s dog food is a significant plus, ensuring that your dog is only consuming natural and beneficial ingredients. This aligns perfectly with the needs of dogs that might react negatively to artificial additives. Furthermore, the composition of this food supports not only skin and coat health but also overall canine well-being, including muscle development and energy levels.
In my professional experience, diets high in animal protein can significantly enhance a dog’s coat quality and reduce excessive shedding. CRAVE’s commitment to high-quality, natural ingredients makes it a dependable choice for owners looking to manage their dogs’ shedding through diet. It’s also suitable for all adult dogs, making it a versatile option for different breeds and sizes.
- Rich in high-quality chicken protein
- Grain-free for sensitive dogs
- Free from artificial additives
- Supports overall health and energy
- Might be expensive for some budgets
- Limited variety in protein sources
3. ORIJEN Six Fish Dry Dog Food, Grain Free and Chicken
- Whole Atlantic Mackerel
- Six fish recipe
- Fresh and raw ingredients
- Grain and chicken free
- 85% quality fish ingredients
ORIJEN Six Fish Dry Dog Food stands out as a premium choice for dogs prone to shedding. The unique formulation centers around six types of fish, including whole Atlantic mackerel, which are not only rich in essential proteins but also packed with omega-3 fatty acids known for promoting healthy skin and coat. This grain-free and chicken-free recipe caters to dogs with specific dietary sensitivities and allergies, reducing the likelihood of skin irritations that can lead to excessive shedding.
The use of both fresh and raw fish ingredients in this formula ensures that dogs receive nutrients in their most natural and beneficial form. This aligns with ORIJEN’s commitment to providing diets that mirror the quantity, freshness, and variety of meats that dogs are evolved to eat. The high protein content from diverse fish sources helps in maintaining a lustrous coat and healthy skin, essential in managing shedding.
My experience in the veterinary field reinforces the importance of feeding dogs a biologically appropriate diet, and ORIJEN’s approach to dog nutrition is commendable in this regard. The brand’s focus on high-quality, natural ingredients without relying on grains or unnecessary fillers makes it an excellent choice for owners looking to improve their dogs’ coat health naturally.
- Rich in omega-3 for coat health
- High-quality, diverse fish proteins
- Suitable for dogs with grain and chicken allergies
- Promotes skin and coat well-being
- Premium pricing
- Strong fish smell may not appeal to all dogs
4. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food
- Specially formulated for sensitive skin and stomach
- Includes rice for easy digestion
- Rich in omega fatty acids
- No corn, wheat, or soy
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dog Food with Salmon and Rice Formula is a thoughtful choice for owners dealing with their dogs’ shedding related to skin sensitivities and digestive issues. The primary ingredient, salmon, is not only a high-quality protein source but also rich in omega fatty acids, which are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. The inclusion of rice, a highly digestible carbohydrate, further ensures that this formula is gentle on a dog’s stomach.
This specialized formula is free from common allergens like corn, wheat, and soy, which is beneficial for dogs with specific food sensitivities. The absence of these ingredients helps in reducing the chances of allergic reactions that can lead to skin problems and excessive shedding. As a veterinary technician, I’ve seen many cases where switching to a diet like Purina Pro Plan has significantly improved dogs’ skin and coat health.
The combination of salmon and rice in this formula not only addresses the issue of shedding but also ensures overall nutritional balance. It’s a diet that supports not just the skin and coat but also the overall health of the dog, including digestive wellness and immune system strength. The choice of high-quality ingredients and the absence of fillers make this dog food a reliable option for improving coat conditions and reducing shedding.
- High in omega fatty acids for skin health
- Gentle on the stomach
- Free from common allergens
- Supports overall health and immunity
- May be more expensive than regular dog food
- Some dogs may prefer a more varied flavor profile
5. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon and Potato
- Limited ingredient diet
- Grain-free formula
- High-quality salmon as main protein
- Includes easily digestible potatoes
Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food is an excellent choice for dogs experiencing shedding due to sensitivities or allergies. The limited ingredient formula reduces the risk of triggering allergic reactions, focusing on high-quality salmon as the primary source of protein. This choice not only offers the essential amino acids required for a healthy coat but also provides omega fatty acids, which are crucial for maintaining skin health.
The inclusion of easily digestible potatoes as a carbohydrate source further ensures that this diet is gentle on the stomach, making it an ideal choice for dogs with sensitive digestion. The grain-free aspect of this food caters to those dogs that are intolerant or allergic to grains, which can often be a hidden cause of skin irritation and excessive shedding.
In my experience working with dogs, a diet that focuses on high-quality, natural ingredients and avoids common allergens can significantly improve skin and coat health. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet addresses these needs effectively. It’s also a great option for dog owners who prefer to feed their pets a straightforward, uncomplicated diet that still provides all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
- Ideal for skin sensitivities
- Simple, natural ingredients
- Supports healthy digestion
- Rich in omega fatty acids
- Limited flavor variety
- May be more expensive than other brands
6. Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Wild Caught Salmon
- Real meat as primary ingredient
- Rich in omega fatty acids
- Formulated for skin and coat health
- No corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Diamond Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food, featuring wild caught salmon, is an excellent choice for dogs suffering from excessive shedding. The use of real salmon not only provides a high-quality protein source but also ensures a rich intake of omega fatty acids, essential for healthy skin and a lustrous coat. This formulation is specifically tailored to improve skin and coat health, helping to reduce the issues associated with excessive shedding.
The absence of corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives makes this food a safe and healthy choice, particularly for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. These ingredients are often linked to skin irritations and digestive issues, which can contribute to shedding problems. As someone who works closely with dogs and their dietary needs, I appreciate when dog foods focus on natural and wholesome ingredients, as Diamond does with this salmon-based formula.
Additionally, the inclusion of other healthy ingredients supports overall well-being, ensuring your dog is not only looking good but feeling good too. This balanced approach to canine nutrition is crucial for maintaining optimal health. The choice of wild caught salmon also suggests a commitment to high-quality and sustainable sourcing, which is increasingly important for conscientious pet owners.
- High-quality protein from wild caught salmon
- Supports skin and coat health
- Free from common allergens and artificial additives
- Focuses on natural ingredients for overall well-being
- May not be suitable for dogs with specific fish allergies
- Premium price point compared to some other brands
7. Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble
- Pork Meal
- Grain-free recipe
- Mixture of pork, beef, and lamb
- No poultry by-products
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Whole Earth Farms Natural Grain Free Dry Kibble with Pork, Beef, and Lamb Recipe is an excellent choice for pet owners seeking a natural, grain-free option for their dogs. This recipe’s unique blend of pork, beef, and lamb provides a rich source of high-quality protein, essential for maintaining a healthy coat and reducing shedding. The grain-free nature of this kibble makes it ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies, which can often contribute to skin issues and excessive fur loss.
The absence of poultry by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in Whole Earth Farms’ dog food ensures that your dog is consuming a diet free from unnecessary additives. This aligns well with a holistic approach to canine nutrition, focusing on natural ingredients to support overall health. From my professional standpoint, diets that rely on natural and wholesome ingredients can greatly benefit a dog’s skin and coat health.
Moreover, this recipe’s balanced nutrient profile supports not just the skin and coat, but also the overall well-being of the dog, including digestive health and immune system function. The combination of different meat sources also provides a variety of flavors, making the food more appealing to dogs. Whole Earth Farms’ commitment to natural and healthy ingredients makes it a reliable choice for reducing shedding and improving coat quality.
- High-quality, diverse protein sources
- Grain-free for sensitive dogs
- Natural ingredients for overall health
- No artificial additives
- May not be suitable for dogs allergic to specific meats
- Price point may be higher than some conventional dog foods
8. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
- Specially formulated for sensitive stomachs and skin
- Wet food format
- Contains high-quality salmon and vegetables
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Salmon & Vegetable Entrée Wet Dog Food is specifically designed for adult dogs with sensitive digestion and skin issues. The primary ingredient, salmon, provides a novel protein source that is less likely to cause allergic reactions, which can be a common contributor to skin problems and excessive shedding. This wet food format is often more palatable and easier to digest for dogs, especially those who may be picky eaters or have a sensitive stomach.
The inclusion of vegetables in this entrée not only adds variety to a dog’s diet but also provides essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health. Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives is crucial for dogs with sensitivities, and Hill’s Science Diet is formulated to meet these needs. As a veterinary technician, I understand the importance of providing dogs with a diet that supports their digestive health, as it plays a critical role in the health of their skin and coat.
Additionally, the moisture content in wet food can be beneficial for maintaining hydration, which is important for a healthy skin and coat. This product is a part of Hill’s Science Diet line, which is well-regarded for its focus on science-based nutrition. This makes it a trustworthy choice for pet owners looking to address their dogs’ sensitive skin and stomach issues while also managing shedding.
- Suitable for sensitive stomachs and skin
- High-quality protein source
- Supports hydration
- Science-based nutrition
- Can be more expensive than dry food
- Limited flavor variety in the sensitive skin and stomach line
9. Royal Canin Canine Care Nutrition Sensitive Skin Care Loaf in Sauce
- Meat by-products
- Formulated for dogs with sensitive skin
- Loaf in sauce for palatability
- Enriched with nutrients for skin health
- Designed for adult dogs
Royal Canin’s Canine Care Nutrition Sensitive Skin Care Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food is tailored for dogs with sensitive skin. The formulation includes meat by-products, providing essential nutrients that are gentle on the skin and digestive system. This canned food’s loaf in sauce texture is not only appealing to dogs but also helps in maintaining proper hydration, which is key for a healthy skin and coat.
Royal Canin is known for its focus on breed-specific and condition-specific nutrition, making their products a go-to for many pet owners with specific canine health concerns. Their Sensitive Skin Care recipe is specially crafted to support dogs with skin sensitivities, offering a balanced diet that promotes a healthy coat and minimizes shedding due to skin issues.
The inclusion of specialized nutrients in this diet helps strengthen the skin barrier, potentially reducing skin irritation and associated shedding. This is particularly beneficial for dogs that may react to common food allergens. The formulation is also designed to be highly digestible, which is essential for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Formulated for sensitive skin
- Moisture-rich for hydration
- Supports skin barrier health
- Highly digestible
- Contains meat by-products, which might not appeal to all owners
- Specific to adult dogs, not suitable for puppies
10. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Wet Food
- Limited ingredient diet
- Grain-free formula
- Made with real turkey
- Formulated for adult dogs
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Dog Food with Turkey, is specifically formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. Its limited ingredient diet approach uses real turkey as the primary protein source, making it a great option for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. The choice of turkey, a lean meat, helps in maintaining a healthy weight while providing essential nutrients.
The grain-free formulation of this product is particularly beneficial for dogs who are intolerant or allergic to grains. This can often be a hidden cause of skin irritations and excessive shedding. Blue Buffalo’s commitment to natural ingredients ensures that dogs are receiving a high-quality diet without unnecessary fillers or artificial additives.
As a seasoned veterinary technician, I recognize the importance of a well-balanced diet that addresses specific health needs. Blue Buffalo Basics is designed to provide such nutritional support, focusing on skin and stomach health, which can directly impact coat condition. This wet food formula also aids in hydration, an essential aspect of maintaining healthy skin.
- Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
- High-quality turkey as main protein
- Supports skin and stomach health
- Grain-free for sensitive dogs
- Limited protein variety
- May be more expensive compared to other brands
Understanding Dog Shedding: Causes, Effects, and Management Strategies
Shedding in dogs is a normal process where they naturally lose old or damaged hair. However, when shedding becomes excessive, it can indicate health problems or poor nutrition. Understanding the causes, effects, and ways to manage excessive shedding is important for maintaining your dog’s health and your home’s cleanliness.
Causes of Excessive Shedding
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Dogs not receiving a balanced diet can show signs of poor skin and coat health, leading to excessive shedding. Essential fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins are vital for maintaining a healthy coat.
- Allergies: Allergies, whether food-related, environmental, or due to parasites like fleas, can cause skin irritation and increased shedding. Allergic reactions often lead to excessive scratching, which exacerbates hair loss.
- Skin Infections and Parasites: Bacterial or fungal skin infections, as well as parasites like mites or fleas, can cause significant discomfort and increased shedding. These conditions often require medical treatment.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Conditions like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease can lead to changes in the skin and coat, resulting in abnormal shedding patterns.
- Stress and Anxiety: Just like humans, dogs can lose more hair when under stress. Psychological factors such as anxiety, major changes in their environment, or loneliness can lead to increased shedding.
- Genetic and Breed-Specific Factors: Some breeds naturally shed more than others, but abnormal shedding can also be a sign of genetic skin disorders.
- Immune Diseases: Certain immune-mediated diseases can affect the skin and coat, leading to hair loss.
Effects of Excessive Shedding
- Excessive shedding can lead to hair accumulation in the home, which requires frequent cleaning.
- It might also signal underlying health issues in your dog that need veterinary attention.
Treatment and Management
- Proper Nutrition: Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can improve coat health and reduce shedding. Supplements like fish oil can also be beneficial.
- Regular Grooming: Regular brushing helps remove loose fur and distributes natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it healthy and reducing shedding.
- Veterinary Care: If excessive shedding is due to a health problem, timely veterinary care is crucial. This might include medication or specific treatments for underlying conditions.
- Control Allergens: For dogs with allergies, identifying and reducing exposure to allergens is key. This could involve changes in diet, use of hypoallergenic dog shampoos, or environmental modifications.
- Stress Reduction: Reducing stress through exercise, play, and a stable environment can help minimize shedding due to anxiety.
- Regular Check-Ups: Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify and address health issues early.
- Balanced Diet: Ensuring your dog has a balanced diet tailored to its specific needs is essential.
- Consistent Grooming Routine: Establishing a consistent grooming routine suited to your dog’s coat type can prevent excessive shedding.
- Seasonal shedding is normal for many breeds and typically requires no intervention.
- Always consult with a veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s diet or if you notice sudden changes in their shedding patterns.
Key Ingredients: Selecting the Best Dog Food for Shedding
When it comes to selecting food for dogs that shed excessively, certain ingredients and nutritional factors can make a significant difference in managing this issue. Here are key elements to look for:
- High-Quality Protein: Protein is the building block of hair, so diets rich in high-quality proteins are essential. Look for foods where the first ingredient is a high-quality animal protein like chicken, fish, or lamb.
- Omega Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Foods containing fish oil, flaxseed, or other natural sources of these fatty acids can help reduce shedding.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins E and A, along with minerals like zinc, play a vital role in skin health and can help improve coat condition. Foods with a balanced and comprehensive vitamin and mineral profile are desirable.
- Adequate Hydration: Moisture in food is important, especially for dogs primarily eating dry kibble. Wet food or adding water to dry food can help maintain hydration, benefiting skin health.
- Digestibility: Easily digestible foods are essential for nutrient absorption. Whole grains, or grain-free options with sweet potatoes or legumes, can provide digestible carbohydrates for energy without irritating the gut.
- Limited Ingredients: For dogs with sensitivities, limited ingredient diets can help identify and avoid allergens that may contribute to skin issues and shedding.
- No Artificial Additives: Avoid foods with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, as these can exacerbate allergies and skin problems.
- Specific Formulations: Some dog foods are specially formulated for skin and coat health. These often contain the above elements in a balanced formula designed specifically to reduce shedding and improve coat quality.
Remember, each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian when changing your dog’s diet, especially if they have specific health concerns.