A Hairy Situation
Published Feb. 11, 2012 @ 6 p.m.
As we begin to look forward to spring and summer weather one complaint my clients associate with warmer temperatures is the increase in their dog’s shedding. Does it seem like everywhere your dog goes they leave behind enough hair to equal another entire dog? Are you continually vacuuming up after your pet whether it is the couch or your car? How many of you have a sticky ‘roller’ to clean pet hair off your clothing? It’s a part of being a pet owner. After all, our pets are members of our family right? To some, family means staying indoors and having all access to comfy furniture in order to relax only to realize your $1000 sofa is covered in little hairs that stick to anything and everything (including your neighbor’s black pants). It is a problem which not only disgusts some owners (and visiting neighbors), but drives others to the brink of frustration. Did you know there are supplements out there which help with your pet’s shedding?
Let’s clarify first and foremost…there is NOTHING out there which will stop you pets shedding completely. However, there are products available to decrease the amount of shedding by up to 60-70%. No, I’m not talking about the groomer glove you see in late night infomercials or the pet comb which leaves no hair behind. It is much simpler than a specialized, off-the-wall product. I’m referring to Omega 3 Fatty Acids and how incorporating those into your pet’s diet can help with a shedding problem.
We have all heard how Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential in human diets. Omega 3 is fish oil which along with other essential fatty acids and vitamin E helps improve the skin and hair coat not only for humans but for our pets as well. Since Omega 3 is known to improve the skin, it may also help our pruritic (itchy) patients as well but we are not sure to what extent. However, here is where I issue a ‘Buyer Beware’ concern!! With all the products available are you really getting what the bottle says you’re getting?
Here is where it gets complicated. The FDA does not regulate the manufacturing of Fatty Acids, so you do not know what you are getting most of the time. Amounts can range from very little, to the correct amount, to a higher than recommended for each dose. There is not a ‘general rule of thumb’ we can go by. A study was done a few years ago where most brands of Fatty Acids where analyzed and some of the cheaper, generic ones were just as reliable as the most expensive brand name ones. Very few of these had the actual amount of Omega 3 they were supposed to. Here’s the amazing aspect of this study…it was on all fatty acids for humans AND pets.
An Omega 3 regimen is not an ‘instant results’ program. It will take at least a few weeks before you noticeably see any results. Do not give up on the product during this time! You should notice a decrease in your dog shedding after about 1 month. If you choose to get an Omega 3 at a retail store, and it does not seem to work for your pet, do not give up either. It could be the amount of fatty acid in the product is not what your pet needs. I encourage you to visit with your veterinarian and get a product through their clinic. By going to your veterinarian, you are ensuring your pet to be getting the correct amount of fatty acid it needs. Yes, it may be a more expensive, but most of the time you are getting a better, more reliable product for your money. I have several clients here in Post who tried anything & everything for shedding. Once they took the initial plunge to try Omega 3 Fatty Acids, they are now hooked on this option.
If you have a pet which drives you crazy with shedding, I encourage you to try this option. We keep this product in stock throughout the year at my clinic and can help you find the correct dosage your pet needs. If you have any addition questions about this topic, or any other topic, you can reach me at Garza County Animal Hospital, (806) 495-3726.