While there are plenty of good reasons to have a dog in your home, one unexpected guest is all that shedding fur. More specifically: the little bits of hairs that get under the couch, down the hallways, and all over your favourite black sweater. But sometimes excessive dog shedding is a clue to something more, and it’s worth taking a closer look.
Normal Dog Shedding
Your dog will go through regular intervals of shedding throughout the year (most noticeably in the spring), and when losing their puppy coat to make room for their new adult coat. Also, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, or being neutered can have a big effect on hair follicles, leading to short term excessive shedding. But what happens they continue to lose hair? And when should you be concerned?
Often the biggest culprit to excessive shedding is nutrition (or lack thereof). Your dog’s coat health is often in direct correlation to the food they’re eating, so if their coat is looking dry, greasy, and filled with dandruff, it’s often traced back to low quality food. Balance is the key to a healthy dog food, look for dog foods containing high quality protein and fats, read the ingredients, talk to your vet, and do research on various brands before your next purchase.
While your dog may be receiving a healthy meal, they may still be reacting to something else. Some breeds are susceptible to developing allergies, causing itchy skin, scratching, and you guessed it… more shedding. Just like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to just about anything, but it’s most commonly a specific ingredient in their food – and that’s the best place to start. Try switching food types and brands for six weeks, and look for noticeable improvements. You can also treat allergy symptoms with medications from your Vet in the meantime.
I’m sure at one point in your life you’ve been so stressed you felt like you were losing your hair. Dogs will do the same thing, but sometimes it’s a little more subtle. Dogs that tend to be sensitive or susceptible to stress will shed more when things get uncomfortable. Typically this stems from a big change in their environment (such as moving to a new home, or new roommates or pets living with you.) However, it could be an undetected health issue causing physical pain or discomfort. A vet will be able to take a closer look to see if there is something else at play.
Your dog may not be able to speak, but they often leave little clues about how they’re feeling. And the first place to look is at their most prominent feature – their fur coat. So let’s look over why dogs shed, how to control it, and when there is reason to be concerned.
Here is a visual of some of the basics of Dog Shedding: