A selection of things needed for a bath: Earthbath oatmeal shampoo and conditioner, a grey towel, a sleekEZ brush, a curry brush and a squeaky duck.

It’s that time of year again. Drifts of hair are floating around the house, all coming from a tiny dog no bigger than a football. Now multiply that by my 4 dogs, and that’s a lot of hair to deal with.

Fortunately, I know I can get their hair back under control with a simple deshed treatment.

Tools Needed

Optional but Nice Tools

A young Rocco, posing with hair from all 4 dogs.

Step One: Pre-Brush the Dog

You’ll be getting most of the hair out during the bath and post-brush, but pre-brushing is an essential step in the process. Pre-brushing removes the loosest hairs, helping open up the coat so the shampoo and conditioner can get down to the skin.

Use the rubber curry comb for this stage and brush the dog from back to front in circular or back and forth motions. Avoid brushing your dog’s head, tail, belly, or below the hocks/elbows since these areas are more sensitive.

It’s also important not to cheat yourself by passing the brush over the dog once and calling it good. Set a timer for 5 minutes and brush the dog thoroughly, working as much of the coat off as you can.

If you choose to use a SleekEz or similar type brush, be cautious when using it. Avoid brushing them in sensitive areas, and don’t brush the same spot over and over again. Also do not use this style of brush on a wet coat or use it for a long period of time. Too much brushing with these types of brush can result in a brush burn, or brush a bald spot in the dog.

Remember that it is metal. Even a pin-brush can cause a brush burn if used in the same spot over and over again.

Step Two: Shampoo the dog

Which shampoo you use is not especially important. What matters is how you apply it. Use what ever shampoo works well for your pet’s skin. Use your zoom groom to rake it through your pet’s coat. Continue rubbing the shampoo down to the skin for at least a full minute.

The friction helps work the shampoo down to the skin and helps loosen coat that is ready to come out, but hasn’t left the follicle yet.

Once you have thoroughly scrubbed your dog down, rinse thoroughly, and go to step three.

Step Three: Condition the dog

Many people skip this step during a bath, but it’s actually the most critical to the deshedding process. Work the conditioner into the dog’s coat with the zoom groom once again. This time let the conditioner sit on the coat for 2-3 minutes.

This gives the conditioner time to seal the hair shaft, moisturize the skin, and yes, help those loose hairs slide right out of the coat.

Rinse thoroughly again and let the dog’s coat completely dry before moving on to step 4.

Step Four: The Post Bath Brush

Scrubbing down your dog a second time in the tub probably removed a lot more undercoat. More hair may be ready to release. Give your dog a second brush out with the rubber curry. Then follow up with the SleekEZ to see if any more hair can come out.

If very little hair comes off in the post brush, it’s safe to call it good until next month. On the other hand, if a lot of hair is still coming out, try a follow up brush the next day to get more released hair.

If your dog has a thick furred tail, running a comb through it can pull a lot of hair out of it.

Hair still everywhere? Shedless Troubleshooting

Sometimes you do the full works on your dog, brush forever, and they still shed. When this happens, it’s often more than just a really hairy dog that’s the problem. A few things to consider if your dog is always shedding no matter what:

  • What are they eating?
    Diet matters. A poor-quality diet can lead to excess shedding. If your dog’s skin and coat are strong, hair is less likely to fall out prematurely. This means a natural reduction in shedding.

    What makes a diet high quality? This is beyond the scope of this article, but specific ingredients that are good for your dog’s skin and coat include omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, Biotin, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Riboflavin.

    Bargain brand dog foods may meet minimum requirements for nutrition, but there might not be enough nutrition to meet your individual dog’s needs. If your dog sheds a lot, you might try getting a fish oil supplement or switching to a premium dog food to see if that helps.

  • Have they seen a vet?

Many diseases cause excess shedding, and they aren’t always obvious. Cushings disease, fungal or bacterial infections, allergies, and even things like skin cancer can all cause your dog to shed more than usual.

If your dog is shedding a lot, and regular grooming doesn’t seem to help, ask your veterinarian about it the next time your dog has a checkup.

  • Is your dog stressed out?
    Dogs shed when they are stressed, and there is a lot to be stressed about when you’re tiny! If a new baby came, you’ve moved to a new house, there’s fireworks going on, or your pet has just been to the vet, they may well be feeling stressed.

    If you can help your dog feel more comfortable, you might be able to help reduce their shedding.

Chihuahuas aren’t the worst offenders when it comes down to shedding, but that doesn’t mean they don’t shed. The right deshedding technique can make it a lot more enjoyable to snuggle your dog (not to mention clean your house) and they’ll feel so much better without that itchy hair all over them.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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