Many people turn to supplements to reduce their dog’s shedding, and rightly so.
A good quality supplement with the right ingredients can help your dog achieve healthier skin and hair and minimize excessive shedding as a result. But there are some important caveats.
First and foremost, no supplement can stop shedding completely. Shedding is perfectly normal among healthy dogs; they are simply dropping their old hair to make way for the new batch as part of their natural hair growth cycle. Truthfully, no supplement can change this.
Second, it’s important to educate yourself on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to supplementation because some products claim to be better than they really are. So, in this article, I’ll show you what we personally look for when choosing a good shedding supplement so that you can be more confident in deciding what’s best for your dog.
Third, what you feed your dog is much more important than any supplement. A supplement is really just “something extra” and should only be used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet. Ideally, one that is recommended by your vet. As an aside, we sometimes like to use the bite sized supplements as an opportunity for a little trick training or positive reinforcement while trimming nails, etc. (but this is a whole other discussion!)
With that being said, let’s look at which supplements made our top list.
Top Dog Shedding Supplements for 2023 (Updated)
There are many different shedding supplements on the market, so it took a considerable amount of time and effort to sift through the different products and narrow it down to our top five picks. But we (finally) did settle on what we believe are the best of the bunch.
For the most part, we selected our top picks based on the core ingredients, where the ingredients are sourced, and what supplements have the best reviews and ratings online.
We also considered what types of supplements have worked for our dogs over the years, the cost factor of different supplements, and tried to include a variety of supplement types (i.e., chew treats, liquids, and chew tablets) to suit different preferences.
Here’s a summary of our top picks for 2023:
Zesty Paws Omega Bites is our top pick overall because it’s rich in DHA and EPA Omega 3 fatty acids which are sustainably sourced from Alaskan Pollock; it contains vitamins and minerals to help reduce shedding and improve your dog’s skin and coat, and most people report that it works really well – see full review.
Shed-X is a shedding supplement in liquid form made by U.S. company SynergyLabs, which has been around for over 20 years. It aims to reduce shedding in 3-6 weeks and contains both plant-based and marine-sourced Omega 3, a healthy fatty acid that’s known to help reduce excessive shedding – see full review.
This is a popular and unique shedding supplement that contains ingredients most others don’t. Such as Yellow Dock Root, Nettle, and MSM, as well as healthy fatty acids, which aim to reduce shedding and relieve skin dryness and itching. It comes in chew tablet form, and for added peace of mind, this supplement contains the NASC Quality Seal – see full review.
This is a simple and effective supplement for shedding that comes in liquid form. It contains just one ingredient, salmon oil, that is sustainably sourced from wild Alaskan salmon. If you’re looking for a simple, quality supplement for your dog with no additives that’s rich in Omega 3, then this is well worth a look – see full review.
Pawfectchow’s fish oil chew treats are a worthy contender for our top pick. This supplement contains marine sourced Omega 3 in the form of wild Alaskan salmon oil and algae and doesn’t contain things like dairy, sugar, soy-derived products, corn, artificial flavors or preservatives – see full review.
1. Zesty Paws Omega Bites – Best Overall
Zesty Paws Omega Bites are chew treats that contain fish oil that is derived from MSC-certified sustainable Wild Alaskan Pollock.
Alaskan Pollock is an excellent source of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), and Omega 3 is one of the best ingredients to help with shedding.
As I explain later in this post, Omega 3 can be very beneficial for dogs, especially when it comes to promoting healthy skin and hair.
The other thing I like about Zesty Paws Omega Bites is that the fish oil is sustainably sourced. This makes me more confident in the quality of the fish oil itself, and I personally like to choose sustainably sourced products where possible.
Aside from salmon oil, these chews also contain minerals like zinc and vitamin C and E for added nutrition and biotin (B7), which studies suggest can help improve a dog’s skin and hair.
These chews are also grain-free and don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. So they are less likely to cause skin irritation or upset food allergies in sensitive dogs.
Last but not least, Zesty Paws is a member of a nonprofit group known as NASC (National Animal Supplement Council), whose goal is to “promote the health and well-being of non-human food chain animals that are given animal health supplements by their owners.”
All in all, there’s a lot to like about this. Not only can it help reduce excessive shedding, but it contains quality and sustainably sourced ingredients, and dogs seem to love the taste.
2. Shed-X Dermaplex Liquid for Dogs – Best Liquid Supplement
Shed-X Dermaplex Liquid is a shedding supplement that was developed over 20 years ago by a U.S. company called SynergyLabs.
Shed-X is just one of the popular pet products they sell, and according to the company, it can help stop excessive shedding within 3-6 weeks of use.
What’s it made of?
Like all of the shedding supplements on our list, Shed-X contains healthy Omega 3 as the main ingredient to help reduce shedding. However, one of the main differences in this supplement is that the Omega 3 is derived from a variety of sources, such as Norwegian sardines and anchovies, natural wheat germ oil, and organic flax seed oil.
As we’ll discuss shortly, there is some debate around how effective plant-based Omega 3 is. Because plant-based Omega 3, like flax seed oil, for example, only contains ALA, which dogs need to convert into DHA and EPA (other types of Omega 3) in order to make use of it.
But the good thing with this supplement is that it contains both plant-based and marine-sourced Omega 3 fatty acids, so it’s a more balanced source of Omega 3 compared to most other supplements on the market. It also contains Omega 6, Zinc, Biotin, and other vitamins and minerals for added nutrition.
In summary, this is an excellent shedding supplement for dogs that comes in liquid form, it’s made by a trusted U.S. company, and it’s designed to work fast.
3. Vet’s Best Healthy Coat Shed & Itch Relief – Best for Relief From Itching
Vet’s Best is another trusted U.S. brand that offers a unique shedding solution in the form of chewable tablets.
This supplement is unique because, in addition to Omega 3, it contains ingredients that most others don’t, such as Yellow Dock Root, MSM, and nettle leaf, which are included to help reduce shedding and promote healthy, balanced skin.
There are no conclusive studies that suggest that the former three ingredients reduce shedding. However, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to suggest that, in addition to a healthy diet that includes fatty acids like Omega 3, these natural ingredients may help reduce shedding in different ways.
For example, Yellow Dock Root is an antioxidant-rich herb that can help support healthy skin. MSM is often used as an anti-inflammatory for dogs and to help maintain normal histamine levels, which in turn may help ease itching and scratching caused by allergies, which in turn could help alleviate excessive shedding. And Nettle is a herb that can help improve dry skin.
The great thing about this combination of ingredients is that it’s not just about helping with shedding. This formula is designed to help relieve dry, itchy skin, which can sometimes be the main cause of shedding, especially if your dog is licking and scratching himself all the time.
Other noteworthy aspects of this supplement are that, for one thing, it carries the NASC Quality Seal for added peace of mind. And second, each chewable tablet is scored, so you can split it in half if needed to make it easier to give to your dog.
On the flip side, it’s not the best solution if you’re looking for a supplement that is richer in Omega 3 fatty acids. In that case, there are other supplements worth considering.
LEGITPET’s Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a high-quality, sustainably sourced shedding supplement that contains one main ingredient – salmon oil.
Salmon oil is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 and is known to help reduce inflammation, improve joint health and promote healthy skin, hair and nails.
So it’s the ideal shedding supplement.
But the thing I like most about this supplement is that it only contains one ingredient, salmon oil, which is sourced from wild Alaskan salmon. So you know exactly what you’re getting.
Almost all shedding supplements contain some form of fish oil because it’s rich in DHA and EPA Omega 3 fatty acids, but most of them contain a bunch of other ingredients, too, some of which may not agree with your dog.
I also like that they source their fish oil from wild Alaskan salmon because fish can contain chemicals and toxins depending on where it is sourced. That’s why I always look for fish oil supplements that source their fish oil sustainably and from pristine waters, like Alaska.
It’s also really convenient to use, and most report that their dogs enjoy the taste, so you can simply add it to your dog’s food, whether you feed him kibble or raw food. And because it only contains one ingredient, even dogs that are on strict diets can enjoy this.
Pawfectchow’s chew treats for shedding are made from salmon oil and natural algae, which is a great combination of marine sourced Omega 3 that is rich in both DHA and EPA.
It also contains Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids as well as vitamins B, C, and E (including biotin) and zinc. And it’s made in the United States from sustainably sourced salmon.
So this is a great shedding supplement because it contains everything your dog needs to develop healthier skin and hair and drop less fur as a result.
The other thing I like about this supplement is that it doesn’t contain ingredients and additives that could cause problems like skin irritation or food allergies among some dogs.
For example, it doesn’t contain any dairy, sugar, soy-derived products, fillers like corn, artificial flavors, hormones, or preservatives. It’s just a natural, organic supplement that most dogs enjoy as a treat, and it has everything needed to help you manage the shedding.
Do Shedding Supplements Really Work?
Dog shedding supplements can be effective at reducing excessive shedding, provided they contain the right balance of quality ingredients. And provided the shedding isn’t being caused by an underlying health problem, which can sometimes be the case.
For example, fleas, allergies, pregnancy, and stress can cause dogs to shed excessively. So if you have any concerns at all, you should contact a qualified veterinarian for advice.
However, in most cases, shedding is normal. Even lots of shedding can be normal depending on the breed, time of year individual dog, and other factors.
How do shedding supplements work?
Supplements won’t reduce the amount of hair a healthy dog drops as part of his natural hair growth cycle. Virtually all dogs drop hair at some point; it’s really that simple.
However, optimal nutrition, which is what any good supplement aims to help your dog achieve, can help improve the condition of your dog’s skin and coat. This, in turn, can limit excessive shedding that may be caused by things like dry, irritated skin or hair.
See also: Our top 10 best dog foods for shedding
In particular, healthy fatty acids like Omega 3 are known to promote healthy, moisture-rich skin and hair, which is why virtually all shedding supplements include this.
Not all types of Omega 3 are ideal for reducing shedding, though.
There’s a notable difference between plant-based and marine-sourced Omega 3 in terms of how effectively your dog is able to utilize it. So let’s discuss this in more detail.
Omega 3 – The Secret to Stopping Shedding?
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that both humans and dogs need as part of a healthy, balanced diet. It’s basically a healthy fat and one that the body cannot produce on its own, so it must come from a food source.
And there are different kinds of Omega 3 (ALA, EPA, and DHA).
ALA is a plant-based source of Omega 3, which can be found in things like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and green vegetables, for example. Whereas DHA and EPA are marine sources of Omega 3 that can be found in fish oil, algae, and seaweed.
The main difference between these is that plant-based ALA is known as a parent fatty acid because the body converts it into DHA and EPA. Whereas marine sources of Omega 3, like fish and krill oil, already contains DHA and EPA as it is.
The reason this matters for shedding is that dogs aren’t very good at converting ALA into DHA and EPA. So, while there is some controversy about which is best, marine-sourced Omega 3 is generally considered to be more useful for dogs than plant-based Omega 3.
Either way, most popular dog shedding supplements use fish oil as the main ingredient because it contains the most useable source of Omega 3, and Omega 3 helps with shedding.
Omega 3 isn’t the only ingredient to look for, but it’s one of the most important. Omega 6 is another healthy fatty acid, but most dog food contains this in abundance, so it’s generally not something you need to supplement with.
If you want to know more about Omega 3 and how it can potentially benefit your dog, you might find this short YouTube video I found worth a watch:
Aside from healthy fatty acids, ingredients we typically look for in a shedding supplement include things like vitamin B (especially biotin) and vitamin E since these are known to help improve the condition of your dog’s skin and hair.
We also consider where the ingredients are sourced and the balance of overall nutrition, as these are other important factors to take into account when selecting the best supplement.
Other Ways to Reduce Shedding
Aside from supplements, there are some very effective ways to reduce excessive shedding. And the good news is that most good strategies are simple and inexpensive to implement.
Here are some other great ways to control shedding:
- Proper diet: The main thing to consider when it comes to shedding is your dog’s diet. Like supplements, no dog food can make the shedding stop completely, but ensuring your dog is enjoying optimal nutrition on a daily basis can make all the difference. A healthy dog is less likely to shed due to health reasons and will have healthier skin and hair, so this is really important. Speak to your vet and check out our list of top-rated dog foods to learn more.
- Brushing: Once you’re confident your dog’s diet is optimal and you’ve optionally chosen a good supplement, the next best way to reduce shedding is with regular brushing. And there are two main benefits to this. The first is that brushing removes the dead hair from the source before it falls out and onto your floors and furniture. And second, brushing massages your dog’s skin and spreads his natural skin oils, which can promote healthier skin and hair. So, provided you use the right brush and do so consistently, this can make a huge difference. See our dog shedding brush reviews and buyer’s guide to learn more.
- Bathing: Bathing your dog can be a great way to remove the old hair from her coat and works well in conjunction with a proper brushing routine. However, it’s important not to bathe your dog too often, and to always use a good quality dog shampoo, otherwise, you can strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils and cause dryness and irritation. And this, in turn, can lead to excessive shedding. How often you should bathe your dog depends on your dog and its lifestyle, but we typically avoid bathing any more than two to three times per month.
- Natural home remedies: There are lots of ideas floating around online about different home remedies for reducing shedding. Some work, some don’t. And it’s always worth speaking to your veterinarian before trying any type of home remedy. That said, we’ve found things like virgin coconut oil, virgin olive oil, and fish oil can help with shedding. Some people even use brewers yeast to help improve their dog’s skin and coat.
What if none of this works?
If your dog is already enjoying an optimal diet and you’ve got a good grooming regime in place, but you’re still noticing hair around the home – you’re not alone.
Most healthy dogs shed, so it’s normal to notice some hair around the home, even if you have done everything possible to minimize it. That’s just the way it is, especially if you have a high shedding breed and especially if it’s shedding season.
That said, sometimes shedding can be cause for concern. So if you have any doubts, it might be worth speaking to a vet for peace of mind.
Either way, there are some things you can do to eliminate unwanted dog hair and dander from your home and make your job of cleaning it up much easier.
For example, you could invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner, ideally one that is specifically designed to pick up loose dog hair. Or, if you’re an allergy sufferer, some portable air purifiers work to help remove doggy dander from the air, which can make a difference.
Aside from that, you could try a shedding onesie to limit how much hair falls onto your floors and furniture and make your job of cleaning up the old hair easier.
There are a lot of different options you could try, but the main things are really proper diet and grooming. By simply getting these right, you’ll likely notice less dog hair around the home.
There’s no quick fix solution or way to stop shedding completely. However, in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet and a proper grooming regime, supplements can make a big difference.
The key is to choose a good quality supplement that is right for your dog.
And hopefully, with our list of top picks, along with some of the tips we’ve shared with you on this page, you now have everything you need to choose the best supplement for your dog and get the shedding under control once and for all.