Dog Shedding Season Has Arrived
It's that time of year again - dog shedding season! But don't let the hair get you down. Click now to learn how to manage shedding and keep your pup healthy and happyMore
Winning the battle against dog shedding takes vigilance and time (and understanding your pooch’s fur can go a long way, too).
Dogs are one of the most beloved and popular pets in the world, and for good reason. They are loyal, friendly, and provide unconditional love and companionship to their owners. However, one aspect of owning a dog that many people struggle with is their shedding.
Dogs can shed a lot, some breeds more than others, and this can cause frustration and annoyance for owners who have to constantly clean up after them. For dogs that shed seasonally, you'll notice that most dog shedding occurs in the spring and fall.
In the spring, your dog's coat will become lighter, in preparation for the warm weather. Similarly, in the fall, in preparation for winter, you will see a change in your dog's hair and a higher incidence of shedding.
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why dogs actually shed, the different types of shedding, and some tips for managing shedding in your furry friend.
What is dog shedding?
Before we dive into why dogs shed, it's important to understand what shedding is. Shedding is a natural process where dogs lose old or damaged fur to make way for new hair growth.
Shedding is a normal part of a dog's natural life cycle though, and it's not something that can be prevented entirely. However, there are factors that can affect the amount of shedding a dog experiences, and we will explore these later in the post.
Why Does a Dog Shed?
There are several main reasons why dogs do indeed shed, including:
1. Seasonal Changes
Many dog breeds have a natural shedding cycle that is tied to the specific seasons. In the spring, dogs will often shed their thick coat in the winter to make way for a lighter summer coat. In the fall, they will shed their summer coat to grow a thicker winter coat.
This shedding is often more noticeable in double coated breeds with thick undercoats, such as a German Shepherd, Husky, and Alaskan Malamute. The coat type has a lot to do with how much breeds shed.
2. Body Temperature
The primary reason why dogs shed their fur is to regulate their body temperature. Dogs have a double coat, consisting of an outer and undercoat. The undercoat is usually softer and thicker and serves as insulation during cold weather. The top coat, on the other hand, is coarser and helps to repel water and protect the dog’s skin from the sun.
Dogs shed their fur to adjust to changes in temperature. For example, when the weather gets warmer, dogs will shed their thick winter coat to prepare for the warmer months. Shedding helps to regulate a dog’s body temperature, keeping them cool during the hot summer months.
3. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes can also affect how much a dog sheds. Female dogs will often shed more during their heat cycle, and both male and female dogs will shed more when they are stressed or anxious.
A dog's diet can also affect how much they shed. If a dog is not getting enough of the right nutrients, their coat may become dull and dry, which can lead to excessive shedding. Feeding your dog a high-quality diet that is rich in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins can help keep their coat healthy and reduce shedding.
Finally, genetics play a role in how much a dog sheds. Some breeds are simply more prone to shedding than others, and some individual dogs within a breed may shed more or less than average.
A dog's health can also have to do with the amount of year round hair loss.
Hair Growth and Shedding Occurs Over Four Phases:
Anagen: This is an active period when hair grows to its genetically predetermined length. New hairs push out any remaining old hairs.
Catagen: During this transitional phase, the hair stops growing and the root shrinks and attaches to the hair.
Telogen: The hair and root rest while a new hair root develops underneath.
Exogenous: The old hair (dead hair) sheds to make room for new growth. The new root moves to the anagen phase.
Types of Shedding in Dogs
Not all shedding is created equal, and there are several different types of shedding that dogs may experience:
Normal shedding is a natural process where dogs lose old/dead hair or damaged fur to make way for new hair growth elsewhere. This shedding is usually not excessive and is not a cause for concern.
Excessive hair shedding is when a dog sheds more than normal without losing hair. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor nutrition, and certain medical conditions.
As mentioned earlier, many dogs have a shedding cycle that is tied to the seasons. Seasonal shedding is usually more noticeable in breeds with double coats, and is not usually a cause for concern.
Dog shedding may occur more in certain dogs due to allergies. Allergies can cause itching and inflammation, which can lead to excessive hair shedding. If you suspect that your dog's shedding is due to allergies, it's important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and treatment options.
Finally, there are several medical conditions that can cause extra shedding in dogs, including thyroid disorders, Cushing's disease, and skin infections. If you suspect that your dog's shedding is due to a medical condition, it's important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Managing Loose Fur in Dogs
While shedding is a natural process that cannot be eliminated entirely, there are several things that dog owners can do to manage shedding and keep their home clean:
Groom your dog regularly
Regular grooming with a professional groomer is one of the best ways to manage shedding in dogs. Especially during dog shedding season. Grooming helps to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from your dog’s coat, reducing the amount of hair they shed.
For pet parents who are grooming your dog at home, use a brush or comb designed for your dog’s coat type to remove loose pet hair, and prevent mats and tangles. The proper shampoo to remove dead hair in our furry friends will also help keep dog hair loss at bay.
We recommend: THE SHEDDER SHAMPOO by PRIDE+GROOM
This special formula was created just for dogs with shedding coats and those who have more fur than hair. It nourishes the coat and skin, while moisturizing and helping improve hair's sheen.
Bathe your dog regularly
Bathing your pup regularly can also help to manage dog shedding. Use a gentle dog shampoo and conditioner to keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy. However, be careful not to over-bathe your dog as this can strip their coat of essential oils, causing it to become dry and brittle.
We recommend: THE FINAL COAT Conditioner by PRIDE+GROOM
Regular brushing with a bristle brush or slicker brush will also help combat year round shedding. Shedding tools and a lint roller are always handy items to keep on hand for certain breeds with continuously growing hair.
Feed your dog a healthy diet
A healthy diet can also help to manage shedding in most dogs. Feed your dog a high-quality diet that is rich in essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet can help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and reduce shedding.
Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids can also help to manage shedding in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids help to nourish your dog’s skin and coat, reducing shedding, inflamed skin, and improving the overall health of their coat. The natural oils in the skin and hair will help make healthy hair grow more.
When Do Dogs Stop Shedding?
Dogs with a thick double coat, like Pomeranians, Border Collies and German Shepherds, will end their heavy shedding periods by winter each year. However, unless you have a “hairless” dog, your pet will shed a bit before and after coat blows. This is why grooming for double- and single-coated dogs, whether they be long-, medium- and short-haired, is essential year-round.
Hormonal issues due to thyroid imbalance can lead to inflamed skin and brittle hair as well, affecting the shedding patterns or causing hair loss. Even humans can experience this. Even though hair loss is normal for nearly all types of dogs, sometimes your dog’s hair loss can be a sign of a something more serious.
If there’s been a big change in your dog’s environment, the amount of hair they shed can increase. Dogs also tend to shed more when in stressful situations, like going to the vet’s office.
If you think your dog may be experiencing stress- or anxiety-induced shedding, talk with your veterinarian. They can refer you to a qualified, board-certified veterinary behaviorist.
These vets are experts in the treatment of behavioral issues. Additionally, they can help you find solutions like anti-anxiety medications or over-the-counter supplements.
Dog Shedding Concerns
While most shedding is totally natural and shouldn’t be concerning, there are a couple things to be on the lookout for. Fur loss — which can resemble shedding — could be an indication of an underlying health issue, like hypothyroidism or even Cushing’s disease.
If your dog’s fur has changed in texture or is shedding, thinning, or coming out in patches, or if there are additional skin problems or your dog seems sensitive when touched, consult with your veterinarian immediately. For example, an infestation of parasites, like fleas, lice, or mites, can cause excessive hair loss. Ringworm, dermatitis, and certain types of fungal infections, immune diseases, and cancers can cause hair loss, too.
If you notice skin irritations, like bumps, scabs, or a rash, in addition to hair loss, speak with your veterinarian immediately.
Shedding is a natural and healthy process for all creatures with hair, so don't expect to eliminate all signs of dog fur from your home.
Whether you're getting ready to adopt a new dog or you are already used to all your furniture and rugs covered in fur, learning to control dog shedding is an important aspect of pet care. And it's not just for keeping your house tidy: Loose hairs on your dog can get matted, trapping dirt, debris, and oils on the skin. This can make your dog uncomfortable and lead to skin issues.
Different dog breeds do shed in different amounts: Some shed seasonally, while others shed year-round. This depends on the type of hair your dog has. If the shedding is excessive and your dog’s skin looks unhealthy, consult with your veterinarian to determine what’s causing the problematic shedding and figure out the best treatment plan.