Why Do Dogs Shed? Everything You Need To Know
It's never nice to reach a point in your life, as a puppy parent when you feel like every time you turn around, your house is covered in fur! There is nothing worse than dropping down onto the couch after a long day and forcing a plume of fur into the air around you – that’s bad enough, without the added odor fur can sometimes produce!
Losing some fur is normal, but excessive shedding could be a sign that something is wrong with your pup's health. Whether it is something as treatable as fleas, or warmer weathers, some excessive hair loss could even be a sign of cancer or kidney disease.
Some shedding is an inevitability, and probably one of the biggest downsides to being a puppy parent; other than illness, death and the odd upset stomach. But, it doesn’t have to control your life and your home. There are some simple, easy steps to helping reduce the amount of fur your pup sheds, which will leave both you and your pup happier.
Shedding is simply when your dog loses damaged or dead hair, making space for new, healthy fur to grow in its place. Pretty much all dogs will experience shedding in their lifetime, but there are many factors involved when it comes to the volume of hair loss; breed, time of year, pregnancy and overall health of your pup.
There are some dog breeds that are known to shed more than others, normally accompanied with long, shaggy coats such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Alaskan Huskies. These breeds are commonly known to shed frequently, generally worse in the warmer months due to the shedding of their thick winter coat.
Shorter haired breeds, on the other hand, do not shed large amounts throughout the year. Instead, they may produce a similar amount of dead hair throughout the year during grooming.
If your pup is being plagued by fleas, they will irritate the skin, causing excessive scratching, biting and constant licking – which will result in worn areas of dry, hairless skin. Read up on the 8 proven ways to banish a flea infestation here.
You may find that your pup is having a reaction to an environmental allergy, made worse every time you head out for a walk in the park or wooded areas. Consult your vet if you think this might be causing their abnormal shedding.
A large amount of hair loss could also be the result of specific food intolerance. Just like us humans, there are different things that your pup may find difficult to digest and process; grain, beef or dairy products, resulting in a reaction: loss of fur. Check in with your vet if suspect an allergy is causing excess shedding.
Your pup could be losing their hair due to a trauma they have previously experienced. Particularly if your pup is a rescue, their life may have been difficult before you saved them. This history could leave them feeling nervous, anxious and scared. The more stress your pup experiences, the more likely they are to lose their fur.
When your dog is trying to cope with stress, they may begin to soothe themselves through licking and nibbling – mimicking what their mother would have done when they were young. This obsessive licking and gnawing may be the cause of patches of hair loss and exposed vulnerable skin.
Another fault may be if your pup’s levels of cortisol are high on a regular basis, it will hinder their natural hormone balances – which could result in excessive shedding. Although the likelihood of this being the case for your pup’s hair loss, it is something to be aware of.
Excessive hair loss could be a sign of something a bit more serious than simply losing a winter coat. Illnesses such as cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, and fungal infections could be the unfortunate cause of the extreme shedding.
You can’t stop a dog from shedding completely, but there are ways to help reduce the amount – and they don’t have to completely change you or your pup’s lives…
When your dog is shedding their winter coat, it can become itchy, irritable and hot, causing your pup to feel a little stressed and uncomfortable. Visiting the groomer frequently or having a regular brushing schedule at home can make all the difference. Not only will it reduce the amount of fur falling out around the house, but it will also help your dog feel comfortable.
You may also want to invest in a good, quality brush that is able to collect and remove old, dead hair. The more hair you remove, the less irritated your pup will become during hotter temperatures.
As said above, when your dog is suffering from fleas or allergies (either from food or environmental) the result normally ends up with continuous scratching of their fur and skin – causing frequent hair loss.
If you think that an allergy is the cause of excessive hair loss, seek the advice of your vet, as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to inform you how to correctly treat the problem. The quicker you’re able to treat the irritation, the better your pup’s day to day life will be.
Just like us humans, stress can play a huge part in your dog’s physical and emotional health and excessive hair loss can be a sign that your pup is suffering from anxiety. Finding ways of reducing high levels of stress could be a simple answer to reducing fur loss. It might not always feel that easy, especially if you’re unsure what is causing the anxiety.
Take your time to build up your relationship with your pooch, creating a safe environment for both of you. The more they trust you, the easier it will be to help combat their anxiety in times of stress and discomfort. With your pup feeling more relaxed, the more you will notice the reduction in shedding.
Along with making your bond stronger through trust and love, using dog specific, natural calming aids can give you and your pup the little extra help along the way.
Read up on the 5 Simple Steps To Calm Your Anxious Dog
Although shedding is inevitable, it doesn’t have to take over your life. There are ways that you can take control of the excess fur and help reduce the mass shedding through a few simple changes: regular brushing and supporting their fur health through supplements.
We know how bad shedding can get, along with the smell and constant cleaning, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Say goodbye to an odorous, fluffy house and end the dreaded excess shed.