There's no getting around it, dog shedding (sometimes copious amounts) is perfectly normal.
You may not like the hair floating around your home, but this is just how dogs get down.
That said, it can sometimes be cause for concern and this article delve's into some of those concerns so you know what to be on the lookout for.
Why Dogs Shed To Begin With
The most common reason why most dogs shed hair is to get rid of old, excess or damaged hair. This is a natural process and happens all year round to varying extents depending on the breed of the dog, and the time of year among other things.
For example, some dogs such as German Shepherds are known to lose a fair amount of hair right throughout the year and have quite a thick coat, which makes it all the more pronounced. Regardless of the breed though, most dogs will pack on the fur coming into Winter, and start losing it in Spring which is perfectly normal.
The best ways to stop excessive shedding in healthy dogs is mostly a matter of proper grooming, diet and exercise. On the same token, you don't want to be over brushing or over bathing your furry friend either, as this can actually worsen the problem!
It is also important to do your homework and find the right kinds of food to help your dog maintain the healthiest coat possible.
If you are brushing, walking and feeding your dog correctly, you shouldn't be alarmed at general hair loss because, in most cases, this is totally normal. Even if it seems like a lot of hair, some dogs simply do shed lots of hair, as annoying as it may be!
With that being said, while even excessive shedding can be normal among healthy dogs, it can also be a genuine cause for concern.
When Excessive Shedding Could Be Cause For Concern
If your dog is losing hair to the point of balding or patchy hair loss, or you are seeing signs of redness, irritation, moist or even foul smelling odours, then there may be cause for concern.
If you are concerned, it's a good idea to contact your local veterinarian right away.
With that being said, there are some common causes for 'alarm worthy' shedding worth knowing about. For example, your dog may be having an allergic reaction to something.
Much like humans, your dog can have allergies too. And when those allergies make their skin itchy, they scratch, and pretty soon things start getting to the point of excessive hair loss.
There are many potential culprits here, but the three most common dog allergies to guard against are fleas, environmental and food allergies.
Believe it or not, fleas are actually classed as allergies and your dog doesn't need to be crawling with them to suffer considerable irritation. Just a few fleas can cause what is known as 'Flea Allergy Dermatitis' or FAD for short. It is the actual saliva of the flea itself that causes the reaction. Thankfully, getting rid of the fleas is a pretty easy fix. In most cases, using a high quality flea treatment and regular grooming should do the trick. However, it may be worth contacting your local vet if the issue is more pronounced.
With the myriad of dog food options available in the market, choosing the right one can be quite the task. Especially when it comes to making sure the food you are giving your pup isn't causing any kind of allergic reaction. Depending on who you speak to, some say it's good to stick to a formulated biscuit diet only, while others say whole foods are best. A balanced approach is a good way to go and above all, always make sure the food you give your dog is of a high quality. Don't settle for cheap, processed foods and consult with your local vet if you are concerned your dog may have a food related allergy.
When it comes to allergies, this is what most people think of. Much like us, dogs can get allergic reactions from environmental factors such as pollen, mould, fabrics and household cleaning products. The possibilities are practically endless. One way to figure out if it's coming from inside or outside is to keep track on whether or not the irritation worsens with seasonal changes, or if it's consistent all year round. Seasonal could mean the allergen is coming from an outside source.
These are some of the most common allergies to watch for, but there are other factors to consider. Although generally more rare, the following factors can also cause itching, balding, redness and all kinds of nasty symptoms...
- Pregnancy or lactating
- Liver, kidney and other diseases
- Stress and anxiety
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's worth knowing these in any case.
Above all, if you are genuinely concerned about your dog and have reason to believe it's more than your run of the mill shedding, contact your local vet for a checkup right away.
Reading an article like this may be helpful, but nothing substitutes getting your dog the attention she needs from a qualified professional.
Love it or hate it, dogs shed. But thankfully, the majority of the time this is perfectly normal and there is no need for major concern. By simply keeping a few simple things in mind such as a good diet, exercise and regular grooming, you shouldn't have any issues.
But there are cases where there is an underlying problem, and hopefully this article has shed some light on these for you. In which case, with the right care and attention from your vet, your dog will be healthy and dropping a whole lot less hair.