Although hairballs are most commonly found in cats, dogs may also be affected by these pesky things. If your dog tends to groom his hair often, it is likely he is swallowing decent amounts of hair. While most of this hair will pass through the digestive system, some of it may get stuck in his throat or stomach. If your dog is suffering from hairballs, certain hairball remedies may be able to help.
The easiest remedy for dog hairballs is actually quite simple: grooming. Regular grooming should keep hairballs from occurring in the first place. Grooming your dog frequently will remove all the loose hair from his coat, significantly decreasing the amount of hair your dog might ingest. Even if your dog does continue to lick his fur, he should swallow less hair.
You may also want to teach your dog not to lick the fur excessively in the first place. While it is normal for many dogs to groom themselves occasionally, excessive licking could cause hairballs, skin irritation and skin sores. Speak with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for ideas on how to break your dog of this habit. Providing distractions when your dog begins to groom may be the easiest way to break him of the habit.
Diet and Laxatives
A dog's diet greatly affects the amount of hair he sheds. Speak with your veterinarian regarding a proper diet for your dog's specific breed; ensure your dog is receiving the nutrients he needs. Adding dry food should help reduce the formation of hairballs in your dog's stomach. This dry food helps move the hair along the digestive tract in the proper direction. You may also want to increase your dog's water intake, if possible. This should help move hairballs stuck in the throat and the stomach.
Certain herbal treatments may also help with hairballs. These ingredients act as a laxative, pushing the hair through the system for excretion. A common method for treating hairballs stuck in the throat involves having the dog swallow a bit of petroleum jelly. It is necessary that you consult with your veterinarian before trying any of these remedies, however, as serious side effects may occur.
Various medications exist to treat hairballs in cats. While these same formulas have been known to work in dogs as well, discuss the matter with your veterinarian before administering the medication. Speak with your vet about proper dosage, possible side effects and any other concerns you may have.