We have no intention of bursting your bubble, but you need to face facts, dogs have always and will always shed. There’s no escaping that, so whether you’re already a pet parent or plan to be, you need to keep that thought in mind. The reasons for shedding vary, and while you may limit it down, you can’t stop it. However, for the sake of your furniture as well as your dog, we need to address why they shed and what to do about it.
The first thing you need to identify is whether your dog is actually shedding or losing fur. The former is quite natural, but the latter is abnormal and certainly unhealthy as it may be a symptom of an undiagnosed disease or problem your dog is having. Learning how to differentiate between the two types is very vital. We will discuss how to tell if it’s the latter kind later on, for now, let’s focus on the normal and common shedding.
Why do dogs shed naturally (and should I be freaking out)?
All dogs shed all year round, some shed too much and some too little. When it comes to the normal type of shedding, many factors come in play. The most common reason for shedding is the change of season, but other factors such as a dog’s breed, age, the temperature, and exposure to sunlight can play a major role in making it happen as well.
If we take a look at breed, for example, there are some dogs, commonly known as “hypoallergenic dogs” that shed very little, such as Shih Tzus, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. On the other hand, heavy double-coated breeds shed large amounts, such as Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows and Golden Retrievers.
As for seasonal shedding, it occurs once or twice a year, where the hair is shed evenly across the body and is widely referred to as “blow coat season”. Since most dogs are double coated, during the summer, the undercoat is shed so that the dogs can feel lighter, on the other hand, during winter, they shed their undercoat and grow warmer coats. There are some dogs, like the Huskies and Saint Bernards that lose all their undercoat all at once, which happens twice a year and is known as The Shed.
The easiest way to deal with the run of the mill shedding to limit it down drastically is to do the following things:
- Brush your dog’s hair on a daily basis. Seriously, it might not seem like it would make that big of a difference, but brushing your dog’s hair, using products such as the FURminator and the All-In-One Grooming and Bathing glove will remove a large amount of undercoat hair as well as loose hair, which will save your clothes, and your beautiful furniture.
- Regularly bathe your dog to control shedding before it happens. The ultimate pet & dog bathing tool may help in making the process less of a hassle.
- Implement a new diet infused with Omega 3 & 6 and fatty acids. Adding healthy fat to your dog’s diet will significantly lessen the amount of shed hair.
Now onto reasons that aren’t severe but still need to be dealt with. Your dog may shed for reasons that can range from stress to dietary deficiencies, metabolic diseases, skin conditions allergies and hormonal imbalances. These can all be dealt with easily with slight changes in meal plans, such as finding out the cause of the allergy, calming down your pet and proper medications. A visit to the vet should help clear that out.
However, let’s get back to the moments where the hair loss most definitely warrants your concern. Excessive hair loss or bald patches, coat thinning, symmetrical hair loss on certain parts of the body, skin irritation, dry, brittle hair that pulls out easily, and open sores of any kind can be an indication to an injury, trauma or malnutrition. The cause can be a parasite, a fungal or bacterial infection, a kidney or thyroid disease, certain medications, cancer, an immune disease or contact with irritating caustic substances. In those cases, you most need to immediately take your dog to the vet.
In conclusion, ridding yourself of shedding entirely is impossible, but once you pinpoint the underlying cause, you may work on drastically decreasing the amount and saving yourself the hassle of cleaning the mess left behind later on. Not to mention, you may end up saving your precious dog’s life if the cause was an unnatural one.