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7 Best Dog Foods For Shedding: Improve Your Pup’s Skin & Coat Health With A Better Diet

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Last Updated: May 30, 2024 | 10 min read | Leave a Comment

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Are you constantly having to round up those annoying dog-hair tumbleweeds in your home? After brushing, do you feel like you could craft a scarf or sweater from your pup’s enormous mound of fur? While some shedding is completely normal, excessive shedding is no joke for some pup parents. An increase in shedding can even be a sign of an underlying health problem. An inadequate diet can also contribute to skin and coat problems, including excessive shedding, itchy skin, hair loss, etc.

We’ll share all you need to know about dog shedding, dog food ingredients to avoid, and those you want to be feeding your shed-monster pup. We’ve also chosen the best dog food for shedding and overall skin and coat health, including The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie, Spot & Tango, and more. No food is a miracle worker to stop shedding, but a high-quality diet can go a long way in improving your pup’s overall health and reducing the abundance of flyaway fur.

At A Glance: Best Dog Food For Shedding

Grain-Free FreshGrain-Inclusive FreshDehydratedWetPremium Kibble
The Farmer's Dog packages.Ollie Lamb.Spot & Tango Unkibble Cod and SalmonJustFoodForDogs Joint and Skin Support.Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon.
The Farmer’s Dog ChickenOllie Lamb DishSpot & Tango Unkibble Cod & SalmonJFFD Joint & SkinOpen Farm Salmon
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What Can I Feed My Dog To Stop Shedding?

A broom sweeping fur from West Highland Terrier sitting indoors next to bowl of dog food.

“Shedding, or molting, is a natural process that happens several times a year,” says Dr. Sarah-Jane Molier BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS, a veterinarian at a small animal clinic in the U.K. “Shedding isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if a dog is shedding excessively, there may be an underlying reason. I always consider factors such as poor nutrition, fleas, mites, allergies, and illness, which can all contribute to poor coat health.”

“If your dog is otherwise healthy, excess shedding may mean that your dog isn’t getting the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy coat,” explains Dr. Molier. “In particular, I suggest good quality protein and the right balance of omega fatty acids, vitamins (such as A, C, and E), and minerals (such as zinc), which are all important for skin and coat health. I find that a good quality, complete diet should provide all of the nutrients needed for a healthy coat, in the right quantities.”

Important Ingredients In Dog Food For Coat And Skin Health

The most important factor to keep in mind is that your pup requires the most nutritious dog food without fillers and artificial ingredients to thrive. Some dog food ingredients are a huge plus in keeping your dog’s skin and coat as healthy as possible. These include:

  • Omega fatty acids: Found in high amounts in some fish, fish oil, chia seeds, and flaxseed, omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for coat and skin health. Specifically, look for dog food containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Omega-6 fatty acids are also helpful, but most dog foods contain enough.
  • High-quality animal protein: We recommend dog food with real animal protein as the first ingredient. One of your best options for a healthy coat and skin is salmon because it’s rich in omegas, but many others are excellent as long as the formula contains other skin-friendly ingredients.
  • Vitamin E: According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines, adult dog food should provide 50 IU/kg of vitamin E. Natural sources of vitamin E include salmon, trout, spinach, safflower oil, and sunflower oil.
  • Vitamin A: The recommendation by AAFCO for adult dog food is 5,000 IU/kg of vitamin A. Natural sources of vitamin A found in high-quality dog food include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, kale, fish oil, and eggs.
  • Zinc: AAFCO recommends 120 mg/kg of zinc in dog food. Zinc stabilizes the membrane structure of the skin, which can help to prevent dry skin and a dull coat.
  • Biotin: Biotin, or vitamin B7, is also important for skin and coat health. Foods rich in biotin include organ meats, eggs, salmon, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), sweet potatoes, seeds, broccoli, and brewer’s yeast. Some dog foods are also fortified with biotin.

Did You Know?

In general, if your commercial dog food says it’s complete and balanced, meets AAFCO guidelines, and is appropriate for your dog’s life stage (puppy, adult, senior), then your dog should be getting all the vitamins and minerals she needs from her food. This means you do not need a dog multivitamin unless your vet has recommended one.

Best Dog Food For Shedding

Our top picks may help reduce shedding but can also be good for dogs with allergies, which can cause dry, itchy skin, resulting in excessive shedding. All of the dog foods we review here meet or exceed AAFCO nutritional guidelines for a complete and balanced diet, are made in the USA, and contain no corn, wheat, soy, by-products, fillers, or artificial ingredients.

Best Grain-Free Fresh: The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe Review

Dog with a box of The Farmer's Dog.

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Fresh dog food tops our list of the highest-quality diets you can feed your pup. The Farmer’s Dog, which offers fresh, human-grade meals using all-natural limited ingredients, is among our favorites. While they offer four recipes, we’ve chosen their chicken formula as the best dog food for hair loss or excessive shedding. Featuring high-quality chicken, organ meat, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, this recipe also includes salmon oil and chia seeds. Chia seeds contain super-high levels of omega fatty acids as well as other skin-friendly nutrients.

The Farmer’s Dog gently cooks these whole-food ingredients to preserve nutrients and freshness. They also personalize your dog’s meals for her age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Another plus for fresh dog food is the high moisture content, which can help reduce skin dryness, which can contribute to shedding. The Farmer’s Dog requires a subscription, but you can change recipes or cancel at any time.

Price

Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code needed; just use this link and the discount will be applied!

In-Depth The Farmer’s Dog Review

Be sure to read our full review of The Farmer’s Dog for details on formulas, ingredients, and much more.

Best Grain-Inclusive Fresh: Ollie Lamb Dish Review

Ollie Lamb.

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Another of our favorite fresh-frozen dog food delivery services, Ollie is similar to The Farmer’s Dog in that it uses only human-grade, whole-food ingredients carefully chosen by animal nutritionists for optimal health in all life stages for all of its recipes. Ollie also personalizes your pup’s food based on her profile.

To help reduce shedding and improve skin and coat health, we recommend Ollie’s grain-inclusive lamb recipe. Fortified with chia seeds and salmon oil, this formula also features zinc-rich lamb as the first ingredient, butternut squash, biotin-rich lamb liver, chickpeas, kale, rice, cranberries, green beans, and potatoes. While it’s slightly more expensive than The Farmer’s Dog, it’s an excellent option if you’re wary of grain-free dog food.

Price

Our readers can get 50% off their first order. Use this link to take advantage of this offer (no discount code needed).

In-Depth Ollie Review

Check out our full review of Ollie for more details about all of their fresh and baked formulas and three subscription plans.

Best Dehydrated: Spot & Tango Unkibble Cod & Salmon Review

Spot and tango unkibble Cod.

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Don’t have enough fridge or freezer room for fresh meals? Spot & Tango’s Unkibble could be just the ticket. This shelf-stable dog food is made from human-grade meats and other whole-food ingredients that are dehydrated under low temperatures to preserve nutrients. For skin and coat health, we recommend the grain-free Cod and Salmon recipe, which is packed with such skin-supportive superfoods as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, kelp, spinach, and strawberries.

Spot & Tango also offers two other Unkibble formulas as well as fresh-frozen dog food. All recipes were developed by a certified vet nutritionist. Like the Farmer’s Dog, Spot & Tango personalizes your pup’s food for her specific dietary needs. Many pup owners rave about Unkibble, saying it has helped improve their dogs’ coat health, energy levels, digestive issues, and more.

Price

  •  Unkibble plans start at $1/day
  • Fresh plans start at $2/day
  • Free shipping
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Our readers can save 50% off the following pricing for your first 2-weeks (plus free shipping) with the code CANINEJOURNAL50 this link.

In-Depth Spot & Tango Review

Learn more about what this premium brand offers in our full review of Spot & Tango.

Best Wet (Shelf Stable): JustFoodForDogs Joint and Skin Support Review

JustFoodForDogs Joint and Skin Support.

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JustFoodForDogs (JFFD) crafts all of its human-grade dog food recipes based on scientific research, using carefully selected ingredients to address a host of health issues. This recipe, specifically formulated for skin and coat support, features vitamin and mineral-rich pork loin as the first ingredient. Other ingredients like quinoa, kale, carrots, and Fuji apples, are loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients to help maintain skin and coat health.

Premium Icelandic fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids in highly biologically available forms of EPA and DHA, and additional essential vitamins and minerals round out this super-healthy wet dog food. Although it’s pricey, this high-moisture food is shelf-stable for two years, making it an excellent alternative to fresh food. However, if you have fridge and freezer space, JFFD also offers this recipe in a fresh formula.

Price

Looking for a JustFoodForDogs promo code? Click here for the best deal we could find.

In-Depth JustFoodForDogs Review

Our full review of JustFoodForDogs gives you more details about all of their recipes’ ingredients, food safety practices, and more.

Best Premium Kibble: Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Review

Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon.

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We think this nutrient-dense premium kibble is among your best options to help reduce shedding and restore skin and coat health. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, thanks to a blend of wild-caught fresh salmon, salmon oil, and several fish meals. It also contains a ton of superfoods, such as pumpkin, carrots, and cranberries. Featuring easily digestible grains, this formula is free of peas, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, and legumes.

Open Farm is one of our favorite pet food brands due to its food quality and superior ethical, sustainable, and food-safety practices. All of their pet food is formulated by animal nutrition experts, and every batch is tested by an independent third-party lab. Open Farm also offers a grain-free version of this formula, as well as a high-protein Wild Ocean RawMix kibble that’s also packed with omegas.

Price

  •  Starts at $24.99 (4-lb bag)

In-Depth Open Farm Review

Check out our full review of Open Farm to learn more about this premium brand and other formulas you may want to consider.

Other Best Dog Food For Skin And Coat Health

Although the following options didn’t make our top picks, you may find that one of these dog foods is a better fit for your pup and your budget. So, we encourage you to consider them when you’re looking for the best dog food for itching and shedding or even the best dog food for hair loss due to allergies.

Canidae Pure Salmon & Sweet Potato Review

Canidae Pure Salmon & Sweet Potato.

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For dogs with allergies or food sensitivities, feeding a limited-ingredient diet may help ease allergy symptoms and reduce shedding. This Canidae Pure salmon and sweet potato formula only contains 10 key ingredients, with no wheat, grain, soy, or artificial preservatives.

Chock full of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from high-quality salmon, this food may help improve your pup’s skin and coat health to keep excessive shedding at bay. It’s also fortified with biotin, vitamins, minerals, and Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and an extra boost of omegas.

Price

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Review

Diamond Naturals Skin Coat.

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Looking for a budget-friendly alternative? Diamond Naturals doesn’t skimp on quality with this skin and coat dry formula for all life stages. Real salmon (as the first ingredient), chia seeds, flaxseed, and kelp pack an omega punch to help reduce shedding. Superfoods, such as blueberries, carrots, spinach, and pumpkin, provide plenty of natural antioxidants for immune health.

This chicken-free formula also contains easy-to-digest grains, biotin-rich lentils and peas, and a blend of prebiotics and probiotics for digestive and overall health. Many pup owners have found lower shedding success with this affordable kibble.

Price

  •  Starts at $31.99 (15-lb bag)

Should I Consider An Omega Supplement?

“If you are having trouble with excess shedding, you might find that adding an essential fatty acid supplement helps,” says Dr. Molier. “But you should only ever offer supplements made for dogs. Some human supplements can be very harmful to dogs.” You should also always consult your vet before giving your pup a dog supplement. See our reviews of the best fish oil and salmon oil made specifically for dogs to find all-natural, healthy options.

What Causes Excessive Shedding?

Poor diet is only one of many factors that cause an increase in shedding. Some other causes include:

  • Allergies: If your pup can’t stop scratching or biting her skin or you notice redness, bumps, or irritation on her skin, she could be suffering from allergies, which can frequently cause excessive shedding or hair loss. Dogs can be allergic to fleas, food, or environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, or mold.
  • Medical conditions: Shedding may increase if your pup develops a disease or disorder such as Cushing’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, thyroid disease, liver disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances.
  • Stress: Stress and anxiety is a known cause of excessive shedding. This can occur temporarily from a stressful event like visiting the vet. However, over-shedding and hair loss can also happen with chronic stress, such as separation anxiety.
  • Grooming issues: Many breeds need regular brushing to maintain a healthy coat and skin. Brushing stimulates the surface of the skin, gets rid of dead and dry skin, and distributes natural oils for a healthy coat. So, inadequate grooming can be a cause of over-shedding. Also, using a shampoo that doesn’t agree with your pup’s skin can cause excessive shedding. You may want to try changing your dog’s shampoo to help.

Who Are The Most Extreme Shedders?

Unfortunately, some breeds are normally mega-shedders. A healthy diet and regular brushing and grooming are typically your best lines of defense for these fabulous furballs. However, even if your pup is on this list of “offenders,” you should contact your veterinarian if you notice an increase in her typical shedding. This list is by no means exhaustive. It merely reflects some of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Chow Chows
  • Akitas
  • Saint Bernards

Tip: If you want to add another canine family member but can’t handle another extreme shedder, see our guide on low-shedding dog breeds.

Essential Grooming Tools

Because regular brushing and grooming can be so important to reduce shedding, you may want to check out our ultimate guide on how to groom your dog if you’re tired of the fur all over your house. Our guide gives you tips on home grooming and how to find a good dog grooming professional.

We also have reviews of the best de-shedding brushes for naturally heavy shedders that, when used regularly, can seriously cut down on the excess fur in your home. Also, see our reviews of the best dog grooming clippers for more tools you can use at home to cut down on the everywhere fur.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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