How To Prevent Excessive Shedding In Dogs
Shedding is the natural process through which dogs replace their hair. The amount and frequency of shedding vary depending on breed and overall health. Some breeds develop thick coats of hair during the winter, which means that heavier shedding during hotter months of the year. Shedding is usually normal, and it is not a cause for alarm. However, excessive shedding may become problematic.
You should see a veterinarian when:
- Your dog is rubbing the face
- Licking the paws
- Scratching the skin
- Signs of hair loss or if the coat appears thin
- Symptoms such as skin sores or redness, rash, irritated skin, or bumps
While there is no fail safe guide for how to stop shedding, some things may help to reduce the intensity. The first step to reduce shedding is to brush your dog regularly. This also helps to maintain healthy skin, as it eliminates buildup. It is important to choose the type of brush that is best for your dog’s breed. Consider size, firmness, and type of material. If you are unsure about what type of brush is best, your groomer may offer advice.
All dog hair growth passes through four stages, with each hair moving through the cycle at different times. With dogs having about 15,000 hairs per square inch, a significant amount of shedding is going on at any one time.
Shedding as a Sign of Disease
While shedding is a normal process, significant changes in the amount of hair that your pet sheds can be a sign of disease. Some causes of excessive shedding are:
Give your vet a call if you suspect something abnormal.
Bald patches or itchy areas after shedding are almost always a sign of an underlying problem. A common cause for bald patches is the presence of ticks and fleas. Preventing them is easy, and most vets and pet hospitals offer a wide array of products for treatment. Pregnant or lactating dogs may also shed more hair than usual. An anxious dog may lick itself excessively and leave a bald spot. Excessive licking is an important sign that it’s time to visit the vet.
Sometimes, the best way to prevent excessive shedding is finding the right balance in your pet’s food. If you have recently changed their food brand and are experiencing excessive shedding, you may want to experiment with a different formula.
A consistent and healthy diet prevents excessive shedding. If you are unsure about what brand or how much food you should give your dog, several online resources may help. Consulting your veterinarian and establishing a healthy eating pattern that includes type, amount, and frequency is always the best course of action. Nutrition is a big part of a dog’s overall health, so it should not be overlooked. Some owners make the mistake of feeding dogs their leftovers. While it may seem harmless, human food is not always healthy for dogs.
Environmental Change and Stress
Changes in your dog’s life or sudden stress such as a trip to the veterinarian can result in more shedding. Other factors such as a move to another location can be a source of stress. When something in your dog’s environment or routine changes, a journal is helpful to keep track of changes in mood and eating patterns that may be related to excessive shedding.
Regular bathing is another way to prevent excessive shedding. When a dog has thicker fur, it is more prone to accumulate dirt and bacteria. Be careful when choosing your dog’s grooming products, especially dog soap or shampoo, and discontinue if there is any sign of an allergy. If you have a big dog that is difficult to bathe and clean, you may want to consider making monthly appointments with the dog groomer. In some cases, keeping a dog’s fur shorter prevents excessive shedding more effectively.
A healthy routine is important to prevent issues like excessive shedding. As a dog owner, it is important to be informed about the specific issues your dog’s breed may face.