When the weather changes, it may seem like your dog’s moult is racing. That’s not too far from the truth. Dogs have a normal hair cycle that includes periods of higher hair growth and shedding than at other times. If you’re a parent of cold weather pets or aquatic breeds like Malamutes or Labrador Retrievers, you should expect shedding most of the year interspersed with times when piles of dog hair seem to invade your home. The canine hair cycle also changes as dogs age and through different periods of life. A better understanding of the normal amount of hair loss can help you manage your dog’s hair cycle. and let you know when a change in shedding could indicate a health problem.
When (and how much) shedding is normal and healthy
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First, all dogs shed, but some dogs shed more than others. Normal shedding patterns depend on a dog’s coat type, living environment (indoor or outdoor) and season/climate. Some breeds like Akitas, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers shed all year round. Water dogs and dogs bred for colder climates often have a double coat with a finer inner layer of hair covered by a longer, coarser layer of hair. Some breeds have periods where they “blow out” their coat, shedding large volumes of hair sticking out in handfuls. However, for these races, it is normal.
When the days get shorter, the summer coat is discarded to make way for a heavier, warmer winter coat. Conversely, higher temperatures and longer days in the spring trigger the shedding and regrowth of a lighter summer coat. Single coat breeds tend to shed more lightly throughout the year.
Health and grooming also play a role in moulting. Dogs that eat a healthy, balanced diet and receive regular grooming tend to shed less. The seasons of life can also alter a dog’s normal shedding pattern. For example, puppies, with their fine, fluffy coats, shed a lot as their adult coat grows. Hormonal changes from pregnancy and birth can also lead to excessive loss.
Potential Causes of Excessive Shedding
Hair loss may be normal, but a drastic change in hair loss patterns may indicate a problem. Some of the more common health conditions that affect shedding include:
- Allergies: Skin allergies can contribute to excessive shedding. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, mold, dust mites, flea bites, food, etc.
- Stress and anxiety: Whether it’s a specific stressful situation or a naturally scared and nervous dog, stress and anxiety can cause fur to fly. A visit to the vet, moving to a new home, or giving birth can all be stressful enough to cause your dog to shed more than usual. If it’s a temporary situation, like a trip to get groomed or a vet checkup, try to calm your dog down as much as possible, but the shedding will subside once he’s no longer stressed. . Some dogs have serious anxiety issues, which usually come with more symptoms than just additional loss. However, you can help control shedding by talking to your dog’s veterinarian about ways to relieve anxiety.
- Thyroid problems: Hypothyroidism causes hair loss in men and canids. A veterinarian can perform blood tests to diagnose a thyroid problem, which can then be treated with medication.
- A poor diet: A dog that is not getting enough nutrients or not getting the right nutrients can lose hair and show other symptoms of nutritional deficiency. If diet is at the heart of hair loss, you can work closely with a veterinarian to find a solution. This can be dog food with the right nutrition for your dog’s breed, size and age or a nutritional supplement. The problem could also be a medical condition that interferes with the ability to absorb certain nutrients.
- Adrenal disease: The most common adrenal disease in dogs is Cushing’s disease, which is associated with excessive production of cortisol, usually due to a non-cancerous tumor of the pituitary gland. Other noticeable symptoms may include increased appetite, a belly appearance, and increased drinking and urination.
- Parasites and infections: Be careful if the hair falls out on its own or if it is scratched by the dog. If bald patches unrelated to scratching and licking appear, a nutritional issue or other internal issue could be at work. However, if your dog can’t stop scratching and scratching, the excessive shedding or irritated bald spots may be due to a skin infection, allergy or parasite. Once the proper treatment takes effect, the hair should grow back.
How to manage your dog’s shedding
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Shedding management is part of owning a pet. The best way to ensure that your dog’s coat, and therefore his shedding, stays healthy is to feed him a nutritious diet, groom him regularly and schedule regular veterinary care.
Depending on the breed and its coat type, you may need to brush your dog once or twice a week…or even daily! Some dogs need more brushing, and some less. For example, a short-haired indoor dog may only need a good brushing once a month. (Indoor pets tend to shed less because light and temperature levels remain more consistent than outdoors.) In the spring and summer, when shedding increases, plan to do some additional brushing.
Stay informed of any health issues. Dogs with allergies or other health conditions may need a skin and coat supplement or medication to keep their skin and coat healthy. Mental health is also important. If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, such as increased hair loss and excessive barking, digging, or chewing while you’re away, you may need to consult a veterinarian or canine behaviorist to determine how you can handle it. can help your puppy stay calm.
It helps to monitor and know your dog’s regular shedding habits. Knowing when and how much is normal for your dog can alert you to changes that indicate a health problem.