Help! Both my dog and cat are shedding all over the place! Is it that time of year or is there something I can do about it? Yes! There is something YOU can do. Here are a few sure-fire approaches to stop shedding in cats and dogs year-round. Let’s take a wholistic look at the problem! NOTES: The words Dogs and Cats are interchangeable. Wholistic vs. Holistic – I choose the “Whole-body-view.
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The Four Elements of Life
Skin is the largest organ in mammals. To survive requires these four elements. Missing one or more of these elements leads to health problems.
- food (nutrients)
- water (hydration)
- oxygen (air)
- protection (minerals and oil)
There are many common external skin problems we see as groomers on a daily basis. Often, we are the first to see anything going on for two reasons, 1) because we look closely all over the body during grooming and 2) we generally see the animals 3-20 times per year more than a vet. We see dry skin, shedding, lumps, bumps, warts, and open sores. What we see is usually the “reaction” if any of the above elements are missing or overdone- food, water, oxygen or protection. Dedicated and experienced groomers can help with many answers when viewed from the perspectives of Internal treatments and External treatments. The groomer and vet hand-in-hand can find many answers.
Allergies and Allergens
Our skin and our K9 Kids’ and Kats’ skin reacts when chemicals, rain, dirt, or parasites irritate it. These are called allergens. The skin ‘s reaction is called an allergy. What’s going on inside is generally reflected on skin. “You are What You eat”, right? It shows up as shedding excessively, flaky skin, redness, bumps, oozing, odor, hair loss, inflammation in and around the ears, blisters between the toes, and maybe increased thirst and lethargy.
So the body’s way of eliminating poisons from allergens works through our vital organs’ (liver, spleen, stomach, etc. ) and shows up externally through the ‘holes’ of the body; eyes, ears, nose, rear end as well as through the pores of the skin. Sometimes the condition of the skin is indicative of deeper problems, like liver and kidney imbalances. For example, kidney problems may show up as dehydration. The skin can show a loss in its’ elasticity- coming from the stress of the organs. Stress then makes the dog shed.
If my pet has these symptoms, What Can I do myself to help?
You can approach these two ways, Internally which takes some time to show results or Externally – showing a much faster result. You may need a knowledgeable vet well versed in nutrition as well as medical remedies AND knowledgeable groomer familiar with skin remedies. And I don’t mean those who recommend only “oatmeal shampoos”. Try to find a certified Pet Skin Aesthetician
Shedding can be treated with Internal Treatments. These often take longer because to work they change the functions of the body. External treatments are extremely effective because healing shows up faster, but does not always last. Symptoms will sometimes keep returning if the internal is not addressed at the same time. A two-handed approach can often take care of the problem long term. Here are some ideas:
- Change to a natural whole food diet Many allergy, skin and ear problems clear up by changing the pet’s commercial-bought diet to a high-quality grain-less /free, or chicken-less, or beef-less pet food OR you can cook it yourself. Read the labels or consult with an associate or the owner at a private pet store for advice and information about the many wholesome foods they carry. There is a plethora of information on the web about raw food diets. I am not a practitioner of using raw food, even though results cannot be denied in many dogs and blogs. I personally do not like to touch raw meat, I’m afraid of it and fear salmonella or the like if it’s not handled it correctly. So, here I am discussing cooked dog food.
- Add Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)– Many health problems associated with EFA deficiencies are exacerbated as our pets age. Without enough, our pets are more susceptible to skin infections, kidney and liver diseases, arthritic conditions, heart, and circulatory problems and overall weakness. Make your own EFAs with a variety of oils to meet a variety of needs.
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- Add a good quality herbal supplement for added vitamins and minerals. In this way, your pet will have an optimally functioning immune system, stronger bones, and good digestion where their bodies can fend off many potential problems. We Recommend Nuvet. https://www.nuvet.com/. We’ve seen Nuvet work wonders with coat discolorations, growths, energy levels, infections, glaucoma and much, much more.
- For more info see Natural Relief For Your Pet’s Allergies (Opens in a new browser tab)
Shampoos and Conditioners
Regular grooming is very important along with appropriate shampoos and conditioners. But not all are not created equal. Look for shampoo products that won’t dry the skin in the cleaning process, and conditioners that will add protection to the underlayers. Use products with emollients humectants. These will replace sebum oils removed during the cleaning process and will protect the skin until more sebum is produced. The Iv San Bernard USA brand products are made to care for pet skin and hair. Here’s why:
Let’s look at the anatomy of Canine skin,
- Epidermis – the outer skin protects the other layers and their properties.
- Dermis – area below the epidermis contains blood vessels and nerves. Compromising this layer causes itching and develops other skin problems.
- Hypothermis – the area below Dermis make up primarily of fat and connective tissue.
- Sebum Coating – natural oil produced by the sebaceous gland lubricates the hair shaft and skin surface. Protects the other layers from external bombardment. A bath washes this layer away and results in the other layers to be no longer be protected.
Length of Coat Can Dictate Skin Needs
Short Coated Dogs
Need oxygen& protection (air, minerals and oils) The sebum found closer to the skin on short coat dogs is often mistaken as “greasy”. These dogs need the ‘grease” to protect the other underlayers or they shed hairs, dry skin, and bumps. Never de-grease the short-haired dog. Add grease to remove grease. The ISBusa line of products perfectly balances this process. Click here for products.
Medium- Length Coated Dogs
Need food “nutrition” – “Hydrating and feeding the coat is critical for maintaining a healthy coat” – Conditioners that contain “nutrient-rich, penetrating plant oils is necessary”
Long Hair Dogs –
Need water; Sebum which is hydrating, needs to reach the ends of the hair to maintain health or it will have a lot of static, dry, weak and broken hair strands. We have to help it by adding hydration. This will make the hair more vibrant and easier to handle.
Hairless Dogs and Cats
Need protection; with skin constantly exposed, emollients and humectants hydrate and protect the skin. ISBusa products for hairless dogs
If you want sure-fire approaches to stop shedding in cats and dogs year-round it’s best to find an experienced groomer who is a Certified Pet Aesthetician or who one that has skin and hair toolbox of various remedies. Try to find a vet well versed in nutrition (rare, but they’re out there as wholistic vets) . They can help you solve some skin issues that cannot be fixed by external means.
Products I recommend:
Iv St Bernard USA – Based on coat length, the Traditional Line works extremely well on Short, Medium Or Long coats. They are categorized by coat type and are excellent products to maintain health if no sickness is present. Includes shampoos, conditioners, and additional products.
Espree – Dead Sea Mineral Bath (good for all length coats) – hydrating to hair and skin. Leave on for 7-10 minutes. https://www.amazon.com/Espree-Dead-Sea-Mineral-Bath/dp/B0050HZCJ2/ref=asc_df_B0050HZCJ2/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167151494625&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7591887945211860960&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9028712&hvtargid=pla-307228971508&psc=1
Espree – Coconut, Aloe and Wheat Germ-based Shampoo & conditioners. https://www.espree.com/store/pc/All-Shampoos-c151.htm