Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed?  4 Ways to Control It

You don’t have to regularly let out your dog’s grooming box because the Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is one of the breeds that sheds the least. He may have that seemingly dense, curly coat all over him, but you can expect not to see strands of his hair sticking against your furniture, drapes, and carpets.

If you are on the search for a dog that has a low shedding rate, you have to consider this pooch that comes from Portugal. After all, there’s no such breed that doesn’t shed. The closest you can get is no other than him.

5 Reasons Why He Might Shed More

The PWD is at par with the Poodle which is also a hypoallergenic breed. Both of them are deemed two of the best choices for people who have dog allergies or for those who simply hate seeing their pet’s fur everywhere. 

You can hug your Portie dog anytime and not end up getting covered by his hair. But, in case he consistently sheds more, such a phenomenon can be explained. Is it normal? Yes and no. 

The following reasons will help you understand why such may happen:

1. Allergies

Atopic dermatitis, environmental, or food allergies can all lead to abnormal shedding. This is because the allergic condition is caused by infections. Meanwhile, that which is caused by fleas, parasites, and mites will cause your Portie to scratch, rub, and pull out his hair to comfort himself from the itch. 

If left untreated, bald patches will eventually form anywhere in his body, particularly in the areas where fleas inhabit the most. 

2. Stress or Anxiety

The cause of stress varies a lot, but generally, this refers to the pressure or strain a dog may feel. Show dogs typically blow off their coat as a sign of nervousness, and those who are of pet quality can experience the same thing, though the reason may be different.

It can be that he’s not so keen about his regular vet trip or riding a car isn’t just his thing. Take note that this breed is very sensitive to its owner’s emotions as well. Once he picks up your mood and you’re feeling gloomy or stressed, he’ll absorb the atmosphere and feel the same way.

3. Change in Season

Some dogs shed all year round, while the rest may undergo that phase seasonally. In the case of your Portuguese Water Dog, he might shed a little more during the spring and fall seasons. This is a way for his body to adjust to the shifts in temperature. Dogs do this to survive.

When spring approaches, your Portie will need a lighter coat for the summer. He’ll blow off a portion of his hair that gave him warmth during the cold months. Meanwhile, the end of fall would also mean changing his coat’s density as a preparation for the winter season. 

4. Health Problems

One of the common health problems most dogs have is hypothyroidism. This is a condition when the thyroid is inflamed or shrunk. Low thyroid hormone production can have loads of symptoms like losing or thinning of the fur, scaling or excessive shedding, and dull hair coat.

Hair loss occurs mostly everywhere in the body except for the head and legs. Itchiness and redness of the skin can also be observed.

5. Sunburn

Believe it or not, dogs can also have sunburns. When your Portuguese Water Dog gets overexposed to UV rays during an outing on the beach, the affected area will start showing certain signs that may need immediate attention.

A Portie that suffers from sunburns may start showing the following symptoms:

  • Pink to red skin
  • Skin tenderness and dryness
  • Peeling
  • Blisters 

With skin dryness as one of its tell-tale signs, know that it can be accompanied by dry and brittle hair, skin infections, hair loss, and more. 

3 Ways to Control His Shedding

It sure is frustrating when your Portie sheds more than what’s expected! And even if he sheds too low, you can still lower its rate to the maximum level. Simply follow these four surefire steps for shedding control.

1. Regular Brushing

As part of his grooming routine, regular brushing primarily takes off all his loose hairs right before they end up somewhere else. When a dog’s coat is left untouched for several weeks, a number of his hair strands might be just resting in his body, waiting to be combed out.

Do this a few times a week for your PWD if that works for you, but do so very gently so as not to harm his skin or cause breakage in his coat. Choose the right brush too. Here are some which you can consider getting for your pooch:

  • Bristle brush. This works for any coat type. While dogs with longer hair need a brush that is widely spaced, the ones with coarser furs need a stiffer bristle brush.
  • Comb. Rubber combs primarily massages your Portie’s skin and help remove all dead hair. This works best with dog breeds with short coats.
  • Slicker brush. Porties have at least two types of coats–a compact one and another that’s wavy. Even without the presence of an undercoat, he still may get tangles and matts. That’s when you need to draw out your slicker brush.

Additionally, you can bathe him afterward to remove more loose hairs. This reinforces the first step and you are guaranteed a fur-free home for several days.

2. Proper Diet

The coat is the window to his inner well-being. Aside from the dog food you provide, make sure you incorporate a few vet-prescribed food supplements that will aid him to have the best, healthy coat and well-moisturized skin. It’s a green flag if the supplement has vitamin E, A, C, minerals, and omega-3.

Going back to the dog food, be meticulous about the ingredients it contains. Never purchase anything that is mostly composed of fillers, MSG, and preservatives. Your dog may feel full for a while, but he wouldn’t be able to have all his needed nutrients. In turn, his skin and coat conditions will be heavily affected.

3. Appropriate Shampoo

There’s a strong reason why you should never apply human shampoo to your PWD dog’s hair. He needs a different and more suitable formula as some products can be too harsh on his skin. Canine-appropriate shampoos are what he needs every time you take him out for a wash. If possible, you buy only those that are made from naturally derived ingredients.

Can You Shave a Portuguese Water Dog?

You can but that doesn’t mean you should. There’s absolutely no reason to shave your Portuguese Water Dog. After all, he’s single coated and generally a low shedder. There may be more harm than good that comes with shaving. 

However, if you meant giving him a different look, then you can certainly give him a clip. Bring your PWD to your nearest professional dog groomer for this task. Never do this on your own as a dull pair of scissors can easily cut through his skin.

Even if you learn it from Youtube tutorials, this isn’t worth injuring your dog.