Can Dog Clothes Prevent Shedding?

I’ve tried a lot of different ways to reduce my dog’s shedding over the years, which has led me to buying some fairly unique products. One of which was something called the Shed Defender, which is a dog onesie (or bodysuit) designed to help you manage shedding.

Does it work?

Some types of dog clothes, like the Shed Defender, can significantly limit how much dog hair actually lands on your floors, furniture and vehicle. However, these don’t actually prevent the shedding, they simply keep your dog’s hair contained within the bodysuit.

I’ve found these do work, but there are some drawbacks to consider. And in this article, we’ll dive deeper into these, as well as my personal experience of using the Shed Defender, to help you decide if it’s worth getting your dog a onesie for shedding.

How Do Dog Shedding Clothes Work?

Dog shedding clothes are designed to keep your dog’s hair contained within a piece of clothing, rather than have it fall off of his coat and onto your floors and furniture.

The most popular type of clothing for dog shedding is a onesie, also known as a bodysuit, which is a single piece of clothing that is designed to slip over your dogs entire body except for his paws, tail area and head.

The idea is to simply slip it on your dog to keep his hair contained while he’s inside the home, and slip it off when it’s not needed. Some onesies even have a zipper underneath, so that you can simply unzip it for toileting, rather than taking it on and off throughout the day.

Also worth mentioning is that most dog onesies are made out of a stretchy material such as spandex, or a mix of polyester and spandex, which gives your dog more freedom of movement than if the material wasn’t as stretchable.

In any case, regardless of the individual product, the main idea behind how shedding clothes work is the same. It’s just a piece of clothing designed to catch your dog’s loose hair before it fills your home, which can reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up old hair.

What’s a Shed Defender?

The Shed Defender is the original dog shedding onesie. You can find it on sites like Amazon and the price varies depending on which size you decide to buy.

According to the Shed Defender website, the founder of the company, Tyson, owns a Saint Bernard called Harley, which is a heavy shedding breed, and he wanted a solution to reduce the amount of hair Harley was dropping around the home and in his car.

So the idea for Shed Defender was born, and after successfully pitching the idea on Shark Tank, the Shed Defender went on to become the most popular dog onesie in dogdom.

Here’s a Youtube video of Tyson putting a Shed Defender on his dog Harley:

Shed Defender onesies are made out of a fabric the company calls Shed-Tex, which is basically made up of recycled polyester and spandex.

This fabric makes the onesie breathable which helps keep your dog cooler, it’s flexible which makes it less restrictive of your dog’s movement and easier to slip on, and it’s made from recycled plastic water bottles for sustainability.

There’s also a bunch of other cool features with the Shed Defender. For example, they come in a range of sizes to suit most dogs, you can choose your favorite color and they’re quite affordable.

Overall, I think it’s a great idea and there’s a lot to like about this product.

That said, after buying a couple of these for my Fox Terrier cross a few years back, I did find some things I didn’t like too. So let’s explore both the pros and the cons of dog shedding onesies like the Shed Defender, to help you decide what’s best for you and your dog.

What I Like About Dog Shedding Bodysuits

The main thing I like about dog shedding onesies like Shed Defender is that they’re a simple, affordable, and effective way to reduce the amount of hair your dog drops around the home.

Put simply, they work.

All you need to do is slip it on your dog and the amount of fur it catches can be very noticeable. And when you’re done for the day, you just slip it off, shake it out, and that’s that.

According to the company, you shouldn’t use it for more than eight hours at a time. So it’s not like you’d have your dog suited up 24/7 (lol), but even that amount of time each day could make a huge difference to your cleaning time if your dog comes inside a lot.

The other aspects I liked about the Shed Defender in particular, as opposed to a regular dog onesie, is the flexible material they use (recycled polyester and spandex), the zipper for toilet time, and how they give you a whole range of sizes to choose from.

So if you’re concerned about which size is best, they make it easy because they give you a size chart to go off based on your dog’s weight, which goes from “mini” to “giant” size.

Here are the sizes below which I obtained from the company website:

Shed Defender SizeDog Weight
Mini4 – 7 lbs
XXS8 – 11 lbs
XS12 – 17 lbs
S18 – 25 lbs
M26 – 40 lbs
L41 – 60 lbs
XL61 – 84 lbs
XXL85 – 130 lbs
Giant130+ lbs

As you can see, they have nine different sizes, which makes it fairly easy to get a snug fit for most dogs. All you need to do is weigh your dog and follow the size guide.

You can also see the different sizes available on Amazon (affiliate link).

Last but not least, you can choose which color you like. They come in black, heather grey, pink and royal blue so there’s a range of colors to suite different preferences.

Pros summary:

  • Work well to limit how much hair falls off of your dog’s coat
  • Simple, cost effective solution to limiting dog hair around the home
  • The material is often flexible and comes with a zipper to make toileting easier
  • They come in a range of sizes to suite virtually every sized dog
  • There are a variety of colors to choose from

What I Don’t Like About Shedding Bodysuits

The main thing I don’t like about Shed Defender and other shedding onesies is that these don’t manage the shedding from the source, they simply contain the hair.

I guess you could argue that this is not a drawback, since that’s not what they’re designed to do anyway, but if you want to reduce excessive shedding, instead of just containing it, you need to go beyond onesies and look at things like diet and grooming.

Virtually all dogs shed to some extent, so you can never completely stop it.

However, simple things like choosing an optimal dog food that promotes a healthy skin and coat, and brushing him regularly with a good quality brush, can make a huge difference.

So it may be worth factoring these into your routine, whether you get a shedding onesie or not, to help manage the shedding. See our guide to reducing shedding to learn more.

Aside from that, the main issue I had was that my dog simply didn’t like it.

He got scared and became quite miserable we put it on him, probably because he just wasn’t used to it. In the end, it got to the point he’d bolt when I pulled it out, so we stopped using it.

Worth mentioning, however, is that my dog isn’t your usual, everyday dog when it comes to things like this. He’s a rescue dog. So it’s not uncommon for him to get anxious over seemingly everyday things, like brushing or putting clothing/coats on him.

And I’ve seen numerous other dogs wearing these that are completely fine, some even say that their dog is less anxious with it on, so I think it really depends on the individual dog.

Anyway, aside from these, the only other drawback I can think of is that it can be a little annoying taking it on and off each day. But when you consider how much time it could potentially save you when it comes to vacuuming, I don’t think that’s a big deal.

Cons summary:

  • Doesn’t address the shedding from the source, just contains the hair
  • Some dogs can become anxious about having it put on them, and wearing it
  • Taking it off and on all the time can be a bit of a chore

Bottom Line: Should You Get Your Dog a Onesie?

Whether or not you get your dog a shedding onesie is ultimately up to you.

On one hand, I think if your dog is a heavy shedder then it might be a great way to minimize the loose hair you find floating around your home. It’s a simple, cost effective solution that works, especially if you use it in conjunction with things like proper grooming and diet.

On the other hand, I think it’s important to understand that it’s not going to help you manage the cause of the shedding. And it may not be the best solution for some dogs, like mine, that don’t like having clothing put on them.

Whatever you decide, I hope you found this article helpful and if you would like to share your comments or experience with shedding onesies, feel free to chime in below.

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