One of the primary questions we get from dog owners at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is why their dog sheds so much. This is probably followed up by, “how do I stop it?” If your living room has become the Wild West with hair tumbleweeds taking over, we get it. Dogs shed. And sometimes a lot!
Despite that fact, excessive hair loss in dogs is concerning and can be a sign that something health-wise is occurring in your dog. Let’s wade through the furry mess and get to the problem of this common concern among dog owners.
Is Hair Loss in Dogs Normal?
Before you panic, dog shedding is a normal function. Most breeds shed, and some shed more during certain times of year. Depending on your dog’s genetic makeup, they could have a predisposition to shedding more than other dogs. Breed plays a key role, which is due to the fact that where they originated has caused them to develop an undercoat.
The undercoat is a coarse series of hair follicles that protects the skin by wicking away moisture and keeping the dog warm and dry. Breeds that develop these winter coats include:
- German Shepherds
- Boston Terriers
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Huskies
- Basset Hounds
There are other breeds that also have this undercoat, but those are a few of the popular ones.
Another factor that causes additional dog shedding is a change in the weather. When the temperature begins to warm up, you will notice shedding in the spring.
The Ugly Side of Dog Shedding
There are a few things to be aware of that can signal a health issue that’s causing the shedding. Be on the lookout for the following signs of skin problems and other disorders.
- Excessively dry skin, flaking
- Hot spots
- Rash, skin irritation
- Open sores
- Rubbing the face
- Bald patches
- Dull coat
If you notice any of these changes in your dog, please contact us for an examination. There are multiple things that contribute to hair loss, including allergies, parasites (including lice), kidney diseases, liver conditions, and other illnesses.
Reduce Your Dog’s Shedding
Once you get a clean bill of health or address any underlying conditions, your next step can be minimizing hair loss in dogs.
- Regular grooming is a must in keeping the hair from overtaking the house. Make an appointment with your professional groomer monthly or every few months.
- Shampoo your pet weekly and brush them out. Get a quality comb or brush to better dislodge the excess fur.
- Conditioning sprays are also a good choice in keeping the coat smooth and healthy.
- Keep your pet on monthly parasite prevention to reduce the likelihood of fleas.
- Feed your pet a high quality diet that contributes to great coat health.
If your pet is shedding excessively, please contact us. We can help get to the reasons behind this hair loss and offer some great solutions.