All you need to know about shedding in dogs

shedding in dogs

What is shedding in dogs?

Shedding in dogs is a normal process and you shouldn’t panic if it happens. Dogs naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding. Although shedding is a normal process for dogs, the amount and frequency of hair that is shed often depends upon their health and breed type. It can also depend on the season-many dogs develop thick coats in the winter that are then shed in the spring.

shedding in dogs
dog shedding

Causes of shedding

Dog shedding is a factor for two major reasons: allergies and the time it takes to clean up hair that has shed.

Dog shedding is influenced by three dog coat characteristics which include:

  1. Different types of dog coats: hairless, presence of undercoat.
  2. Degrees of curl & wave in dog coats: wavy, wire-haired, and straight.
  3. Dog coat lengths: short, medium, and long.

Your dog’s health can affect the shedding rate. Skin problems, endocrine diseases, nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, and other metabolic disorders can cause hair loss or change the rate of hair growth.

It is important to contact your veterinarian if the rate of shedding seems unusual for your dog.

Factors that influence shedding

Health

Shedding can also result from an underlying medical problem. In a healthy pet, the skin after shedding should look normal and undisturbed. Some dogs have chronic conditions, such as a misaligned spine, that prevents blood from circulating through all parts of the skin.

Season

Season influence dog shedding because day length triggers growth of a new coat and shedding of the old coat. Outdoor pets will commonly shed once or twice a year – usually at the end of winter. However, as indoor pets live in much more controlled conditions they will usually shed continuously throughout the year.

As dogs move indoors with constant temperatures and limited amounts of natural light, many experience increased continuous dog shedding and decreased annual dog shedding.

Nutrition 

Nutrition and what dogs are fed helps to influence the texture of their dog coat and skin health. Healthy skin has healthy follicles that support long-lived lustrous hair. Unhealthy skin has sickly hair follicles and poor skin oils. The hair is brittle, and lackluster. It breaks off and falls out readily.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy and lactation can deplete animals of the calcium and minerals they need for a healthy coat. This can lead to excessive shedding. Balanced nutrition and supplements help prevent this post-par tum dog shedding, but unbalanced supplements actually make shedding and overall health worse.

Please note:
Do not offer supplements unless you discuss the products with your veterinarian.

Controlling Shedding in dogs.

There’s no way to completely stop shedding. It’s a healthy and natural process that is necessary for dogs. Shaving your dog down is not a good idea, as it can interfere with your dog’s natural self-cooling and self-warming mechanism. In the long run, it will not make shedding occur any less. In rare cases, the hair in shaved areas will grow back abnormally or not at all. The key to preventing excessive shedding is to keep up with it.

  • Feed your pet good quality food – high in protein, omega 3 and fatty acids such as a super premium diet.
  • Keep fleas and parasites away through regular de-worming and flea treatments.
  • Wash your dog regularly. Dirty skin or matted hair encourages bacterial growth and excessive shedding. If your cat no longer grooms him/herself, you may consider regular bathing.
  • Brush your pet regularly to help remove dead hairs and stimulate new hair growth and reduce matting. Make sure you have the right type of brush or comb for your pet’s coat. If your pet is prone to matting, special mat brushes are available, eg. Slicka, ZoomGroom and Mattbreakers.

Your veterinarian or groomer should be able to recommend a specific type of brush or comb that will work best for your dog’s hair type.

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