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There’s so much to love about a Pitbull. The big goofy heads, the sweet smiles, the big strong bodies, the list goes on. It’s no surprise that they’re one of the most popular breeds today!
But there’s one thing I simply could not figure out about them: the shedding. Pitbulls are short-coated dogs, so why do I have massive tumbleweeds of fur blowing through my house?
How do you stop your Pitbull from shedding so much? You can reduce the amount your Pitbull sheds by following specific grooming techniques, minimizing their stress, and ensuring that their coat is healthy. Remember that your Pitbull will always shed some, so you’ll need to learn some techniques to make living with shedding easier.
Lucky for you, I went down a rabbit hole trying to figure out where all of this hair was coming from and what I could do to stop it. So if you’re wondering how to stop your Pitbull from shedding so much, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re at your wits end and need a fast option (and maybe a laugh) consider getting your Pitbull the same onesie these Huskies got! Stylish and no more problems with shedding!
What Is A Pitbull’s Coat Like?
Pitbulls are famously sleek, powerful-looking dogs. We get to appreciate all those strong muscles of theirs because they have a single-layer coat.
A coat with one layer, like the name implies, consists of a single layer of fur that’s all relatively the same length. You’ll recognize a double layer coat on “fluffy” dogs like huskies and Pomeranians but also on breeds you may not expect, like Labradors and even Rottweilers.
It’s easy to assume that a single layer coat will result in less shedding, and to some degree that’s correct. Pitbull’s don’t go through seasonal “blow outs” like double-layer coated dogs do, so the rate at which they shed stays consistent throughout the year and doesn’t increase in the spring.
However, it’s still fur, so it will shed frequently. Shedding is a natural process all breeds of dogs go through to remove and replace old fur. Even hypoallergenic dogs with hair like Poodles and Maltese shed, just less than dogs with fur.
Unlike a double-coated dog or a dog with hair, when your Pitbull sheds, the hair just falls out. When dogs with longer fur or hair shed, the shed strands often get caught up in the long hairs that remain, holding the spent fur on the dog.
While this means that these longer-coated dogs need frequent brushing, it does give those pet owners a chance to brush the hair out on their schedule. Your Pitbull’s fur is just going to drop out whenever it’s ready.
Still, though, Pitbull’s generally have a pretty low-maintenance coat to care for. Even compared to other breeds with single coats, they have less hair overall per square inch. And the hairs they have are extremely short.
That short hair is great at getting stuck in your clothes and on your couch. A simple lint roller can help with this, but I’ve gone pro with my Pitbull hair clean-up and picked up this affordable pet hair removal roller gadget from Amazon.
No matter what, your dog is always going to shed, so getting tools like what I mentioned above is helpful in the long run.
But what if your dog is shedding a lot? Like a ton. Like where is it coming from and why is my dog not standing here naked – a lot.
Why Is My Pitbull Shedding So Much?
So, some shedding is to be expected, but there are ways you can reduce the amount. But there is a “too much” shedding and it’s important to know when you’re dealing with a minor household irritation or a more serious issue for your Pitbull.
How Much Is Too Much?
It’s difficult to give a straightforward answer to this question. What could I say, 1,000 hairs per hour is appropriate…so you better start counting?
All Pitbulls are different, so “quantity” of shedding isn’t really a helpful way to determine if your Pitbull is shedding too much. If you notice a sharp uptick in the amount of hair in your house, it may be just annoying or it may be a sign of a more serious issue.
If you’re worried that your dog is shedding too much look for other signs on your dog. Skin irritation, excessive licking, or obvious bald spots are some tell-tale signs that your Pitbull is shedding too much.
If you notice sores, it’s best to bring your Pitbull to your vet for a consultation.
We know that the Pitbull has a single-layer coat and how that’s different than other coat types. They replace the hairs on their sleek, shiny coats pretty regularly in order to maintain that sleek, shiny appearance.
It will happen the same amount throughout the year and the short hairs do not typically get caught up in their coats but rather fall out to the ground whenever that strand is spent.
This explains why you may find “a lot” of your Pitbull’s hair in your house, but keep reading if you’re worried that you’re finding “too much” hair.
Unfortunately, Pitbulls are prone to skill allergy atopy, an immune system disorder that makes them prone to developing skin allergies. Many Pitbulls are not affected, and ones that are often have mild cases, but the manifestations are extremely varied.
Often though, allergies affecting your Pitbull’s skin will result in excessive shedding. This may be one of the first symptoms you notice. If you notice an increase in the amount your Pitbull is shedding, watch out for some of these other symptoms:
- Red, puffy, or inflamed spots on their skin
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Sneezing, coughing, or running nose
- Swollen or hot ears
- Red, puffy, or runny eyes
If you observe excessive shedding coupled with any of the above symptoms, your dog likely has a skin allergy. There are some home remedies I outline later that can help alleviate your poor dog’s issues and help reduce their shedding, but a trip to the vet is in your future.
Not all itchy red spots on your Pitbull are signs of allergies. Any number of things can make your dog extra itchy and therefore shed more fur.
Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other biting insects also target dogs. Your Pitbull’s short coat doesn’t offer them much protection from these insidious little pests.
If you’ve recently taken your dog hiking or otherwise spent a lot of time outside, it’s possible that they’ve just gotten bit by something and it needs to run its course.
Similarly, your dog could be having a reaction to a plant they encountered. Poison ivy and oak affect dogs just like they do people. But there are a lot of other plants that can specifically irritate a dog’s skin.
Juniper shrubs, mulberry trees, sago palms, and oleander are just a few very common garden plants that can cause allergic reactions in dogs.
They may also have a fungal infection like ringworm or bacterial infections. These will likely cause patchy spots on your dog rather than an all-over shed.
Many of these topical skin irritants will go away on their own but your vet can likely prescribe a dose of medication and some anti-itch cream to help expedite the healing and alleviate some of your Pitbull’s itchiness.
Remember when you hit puberty and your skin broke out? Hormone changes cause fluctuations in our skin’s oil production and the same thing can happen in dogs.
Your dog isn’t likely to get pimples when they hit adolescents, but other factors affect their hormones that may cause excessive shedding.
If your dog has recently given birth or is pregnant, the hormone changes may be causing them to shed more than usual.
Similarly, if your Pitbull has recently been spayed or neutered, their bodies will be adjusting to the changes in their hormones that could cause an uptick in the amount they are shedding.
Extra dry skin can make your dog itchy, and the resulting scratching can cause bald spots to appear and extra hair floating through your house.
Excessive washing is one culprit many Pitbull owners fall into. Your dog sheds all over the house, so you wash them regularly to remove the extra hair. But all those baths may actually be making the problem worse, not better.
Soaps found in dog shampoo strip natural oils from your Pitbull’s coat. That’s the point! But doing so too often robs your dog of their ability to build these oils back up in order to lubricate their skin.
In order to help your dog naturally maintain their coat, it’s recommended that you only wash them once a month, and more often only if they are really dirty or stinky. Dog baths are typically more for the pet owner’s benefit than the dogs.
Other causes of dry skin can be changes in the environment, like a sudden decrease in relative humidity. This can be seasonal, like the first cold snap, or external, like you brought your dog with you on vacation to a dry, desert location.
Poor diet isn’t always related to food allergies. What your dog eats is what they use to build and rebuild their bodies and coats, so it’s important to make sure they are eating a healthy and consistent diet.
Changes in their diet can be stressful for a dog’s system. If you’ve recently changed your dog’s food or even introduced a new treat, you should consider switching them back to their old food or removing the treat if they are suddenly losing their hair.
If you haven’t changed your Pitbull’s diet recently but they are still shedding a lot more than usual, it may be that their poor diet has finally caught up with them.
Pitbull’s are constantly replacing their coats to keep themselves sleek and shiny. This requires a healthy diet that contains a lot of the oils and proteins needed to create new hairs.
If your dog’s long-time food isn’t up to par, it may be that they are not getting adequate nutrition to produce a healthy coat.
This one may come as a surprise to you (it surprised me), but anxiety is often the culprit of excessive shedding in Pitbulls.
Pitbulls have a lot of competing instincts, and asking too much of them or putting too much pressure on them to behave a certain way can be very stressful.
Stressors may be obvious, like a trip to the vet or to the groomer, or less obvious, like having friends over or even just a neighbor walking their dog by. Any situation that causes confusion for how your Pitbull should behave can cause them to shed more.
Other signs of high anxiety in Pitbulls that may help you determine if your dog is suffering from stress include heavy panting, a wide-eyed expression, a tucked-tail, or excessive barking. You know your Pitbull, so pay close attention and make sure they are able to relax.
So, as you can see, there are a ton of different factors that may be making your Pitbull shed so much. I really need to stress again that if your dog is in pain, bleeding, having open sores that look infected, or anything that seems “too much,” you need to consult your veterinarian ASAP.
However, if you’re dealing with just an annoying level of shedding and some minor thinning on your Pitbull’s coat, there are a wide variety of techniques you can use to help stop your Pitbull from shedding so much.
How Do I Stop My Pitbull From Shedding So Much?
That is the million-dollar question! Once you’ve determined that your Pitbull has an issue with shedding, and once you’ve determined that it doesn’t require medical attention, you’re likely wondering what you can do to help get ahead of this problem.
If your dog is shedding more than normal (and remember, they will always shed some), they are likely experiencing one of the issues I’ve discussed above. You need to address whatever is wrong or unbalanced in your Pitbull before you can expect them to shed less.
What I have found is that it’s best to attack the issue of excessive shedding broadly, from two angles, to ensure that you’re getting to the root of the problem, whatever it may be.
Step #1: From the Outside-In
First, we’ll address the external factors that could be affecting your dog’s shedding. Addressing the issue externally is likely to give you the results you want faster since you won’t have to wait for your dog’s body chemistry to change.
Consistent brushing is hands-down the best way to improve your dog’s coat and get ahead of all that shed fur.
Pitbull’s are typically low-maintenance dogs. You may not even have a regular brushing routine for your Pitbull. But if your Pitbull is shedding too much it’s time to start a consistent brushing schedule.
You should brush your Pitbull at least once a week. If you notice that you are still experiencing shedding, you can increase that up to once or even twice a day.
Brushing removes the old or damaged fur that would otherwise fall out randomly all over the house, so you should immediately see fewer tumbleweeds rolling through the living room.
Brushing also helps to distribute your dog’s natural oils evenly across their bodies. They may be dealing with one problematic spot, often on their legs or bellies, where they are not producing the right balance of oils to maintain a healthy coat.
Regular brushing spreads their oils evenly across their hair and skin, hydrating and lubricating their coats.
Dog brushes come in all shapes, sizes, and price points, but my favorite is this simple, budget-friendly shedding brush on Amazon. It’s specifically designed for dogs with short hair, which helps avoid pokes and pinches that brushes designed for long-hair dogs can cause.
Just be sure to brush your Pitbull outside, otherwise your just helping the hair go from the dog to the couch.
Giving your Pitbull a bath can help remove extra fur before it sheds all over your house. Generally, Pitties enjoy water so bathtime shouldn’t be too much trouble.
For dogs with normal, healthy coats, you only need to give them a bath as needed, usually every month or two.
But if your dog is having skin issues causing them to shed a lot, it’s worth increasing this to at least once a month or even more often.
If you wash your Pitbull more than once a month, you should invest in an extremely mild shampoo like this one for puppies from Earthbath. Made for puppies, it’s extra mild so it’ll be better for your grown Pitbull who’s getting bathed more frequently.
If not though, you can just give them a quick rinse in the tub or with the hose without using any soap at all. Just use a washcloth or a scrubber like this one to help agitate the loose hair away.
Any amount of bathing more often than once a month should be considered a temporary measure in order to help your dog get over their shedding problems long-term.
If your dog is experiencing reactions to bug bites or a fungus, like ringworm, you’ll likely need to do a medicated bath to neutralize whatever is causing the irritation.
Whether a prescription or an over-the-counter treatment from your local pet store, be sure to follow the recommended instructions exactly or you may risk increasing your dog’s skin problems.
Extra shedding caused by dryness can be treated on the skin and coat in much the same way as you would treat a person’s dry skin.
There are dozens of different moisturizers, nectars, lotions, and potions available. Unless you want to treat your Pitbull to an at-home spa treatment, there’s a much less expensive and, in my opinion, safer and more effective option that you may already have in your home.
Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer for a dog’s skin and hair. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help keep bacterias and swelling down while treating your Pitbull’s irritated skin.
The oils in coconut oil leach into the hair follicles, keeping them lubricated and less itchy.
Simply spread a layer of oil all over your Pitbull, but especially around their sores or bald spots, once or twice a week. Let it sit for about 5 minutes then rinse with a mild shampoo.
Even if you aren’t treating sores or bald spots, a coconut soak can help keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce their shedding back to its normal, healthy amount.
You should be able to see a shinier coat rights way followed by additional positive side effects like less itching, less flaky skin, less shedding, within a few days after.
Coconut oil is totally healthy for dogs, so if you like the results, you can incorporate it into your regular grooming routine. It’s easy on the budget too, you can find it in bulk on Amazon Organic All Purpose Steam-Refined Coconut Oil, 78 Fluid Ounce | USDA Organic, Non-GMO | Vegan |...
This may seem obvious but it’s not something I immediately thought to consider. Is your dog drinking enough water?
Being dehydrated, just like in people, affects your Pitbull’s ability to regulate their oils, essential for healthy skin and fur.
It’s recommended that your dog drinks about an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. Ab average Pitbull weighs between 45 and 50 pounds, so that’d be about the same as drinking 3 pint glasses of water a day.
This of course is a rough estimate that fluctuates depending on your dog’s activity level and temperature. But ensuring that they are adequately hydrated is a simple way you can help ensure that your Pitbull is shedding as little hair as possible.
Step #2: From the Inside-Out
All of the treatments in Step #1 are about how you can treat your Pitbull’s shedding problems from the outside, but we know that there are a lot of internal factors that could be causing your dog to shed.
Go To The Vet
It may be that your dog is shedding because of something you cannot treat at home. Your vet is your best resource to diagnose and treat a specific issue that is causing your Pitbull to shed so much.
Allergies are a common cause of excessive shedding, and getting a prescription from your veterinarian is the best way to treat your Pitbull’s allergic reactions. But even if it’s not an allergic reaction, your dog can even prescribe treatments for general hair loss.
Besides going to the vet, there are some simple, safe troubleshooting options available to help treat \your Pitbull’s shedding problems yourself from home.
Keep Them Relaxed
Stressed-out Pitbulls will shed more than relaxed Pitbulls, so you should work to ensure your dog is living in a relaxing environment.
Pitbulls are particularly prone to separation anxiety, but a number of factors could be getting your pup all worked up.
A great way to treat anxiety is to give your Pitbull lots of toys and opportunities to distract themselves from their fears and redirect their energy in a positive way. A Pitbull happily chewing away on their favorite toy isn’t spending that time pulling their hair out.
You can get a tough Kong toy like this one that should hold up over time to your Pitbull’s powerful jaw muscles. Do keep an eye on it though and take it away if they start to get pieces off of it.
Another good way to treat your dog’s stress levels is to give them their own space. If you’re reading this article, you probably give a hoot about keeping a clean house or at least keeping the Pitbull hair to a minimum.
Maybe you run a vacuum often or use lots of cleaners to counteract the smells that come along with all that dog hair. Your Pitbull may be frequently bombarded with loud noises and chemical smells while spending time in some of their favorite places.
Consider giving your dog a spot that they can call their own. I mean really call their own, a place they can go to that smells like them. A place they can shed in without getting chased out of the room by a Dustbuster.
This may just be a bed in corner of a room, but try not to wash their bed too much. Dogs are creatures of habit and frankly don’t hold themselves to the same hygiene standards that (most) people do. Try to be understanding of their needs and what would make them comfortable, and try to give them that
Change Their Diet
I mentioned earlier how important diet is for healthy Pitbull coats. If you’ve checked out the ingredients on the back of your dog’s food and found that they aren’t up to par, it’s time to upgrade your Pitbull’s diet.
There are a lot of different schools of thought on what the “best” dog food is. I would start with something basic and get more advanced. I feed my dog Fromm, but any high-quality dog food will do.
If it contains grains, they should be healthy grains like oats, barley, or flaxseed. Look for protein meals like chicken meal or bone meal, as those contain more of the complex proteins your dog needs.
An added bonus is anything with fish that contains lubricating oils for your dog’s coat, but these are easy to get in other forms like treats.
Speaking of, it’s time to retire those old dried-up milk bones. You should give your dog treats that specifically target healthy coats. If you can bare the odor, my dog loves dried salmon skins.
Her hair looks great but next, I need to work on her breath.
Anyways, once you’ve run through the above steps you should start to see a decrease in the amount that your Pitbull is shedding.
Please remember to temper your expectations. The simple fact is that dogs shed. It’s what they do and if you want to live with them, then you’ll need to learn how to live with some amount of shedding.
Here are some tricks to help make living with shedding a bit more manageable.
How Can I Keep My House Dog Hair-Free?
Give Them A Hairy Space
A designated sleeping area, away from your couch, bed, or carpet, can at least help isolate the hair to one area in your house.
Get A Robot Vaccum
We live in the age of the Jetsons so why not get a robot vacuum to help alleviate the chore that is cleaning up dog hair? I have an intro-level one from iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi Connectivity, Personalized Cleaning Recommendations, Works with... that I highly recommend.
Keep Your Tools Handy
Keep your pet hair removal tools handy. Whether you go for a lint roller or another device, keep them at close hand and easy to spot so you and your guests think to clean up a spot of hair as soon as you see it
Cover Your Furniture
If you can’t stand the thought of relegating your Pitbull to a dog bed (or don’t want to give up late-night couch snuggle time yourself), pick up a slipcover for your couch and other furniture that can easily be thrown in the washing machine.
Upgrade You Air Filtration
This one may also seem obvious but when was the last time you changed your air filter?
Besides just making sure you change your air filter once a month, you can also upgrade the filter to help reduce pet allergens in the air or more efficiently suck up fallen hair.
It may also be worth investing in a separate air filter specifically to help with pulling pet hair out of the environment.
Pitbull Still Shedding Too Much?
Hopefully, by now you have some short-term and long-term tactics to help your Pitbull shed less, and maybe even a new tactic for dealing with the amount that they already shed.
While shedding isn’t my favorite trait in Pitbulls, it does go with the territory of owning one of these great dogs and to me, it’s totally worth the effort. After all, folks don’t call them fur babies for nothing.