People who own dogs will tell you that shedding is just part of dog ownership. This can mean that you need to vacuum more often and that your dog might leave hairs on your slacks before you leave for work from time to time. Shedding is a healthy and normal process for dogs, but what if your dog is shedding excessively?
If your dog is shedding out clumps of hair, you might be feeling very worried. There are some instances where excessive shedding can be a sign of problems with your dog’s health, and you should be aware of what this symptom might mean. In other cases, your dog might have a much simpler problem going on that is easy to fix.
Reasons for Excessive Dog Shedding
If you are ready to find out more about why your dog might be shedding so much, keep reading.
1. Your Dog’s Breed
Some dog breeds just shed a lot, and this is completely normal for them. While most dogs will shed twice a year when the weather changes, some breeds shed year-round. This is most common in double-coated dogs that have a soft and fluffy undercoat and a sturdy and coarser topcoat. The undercoat is what is most commonly creating tumbleweeds of dog hair around your home when you have a double-coated dog.
The breeds that shed the most are Siberian Husky, The Golden Retriever, the Chow Chow, and the Labrador Retriever. These dogs might need you to help them out with daily brushing and trips to the groomer to help keep their routine shedding at a minimum. This kind of shedding is quite normal for these breeds, and it is likely no reason for concern. Make sure that you do not ignore other symptoms such as scratching, red irritation on the skin, or bald spots, however. These are likely symptoms of more serious problems that are not related to your dog’s coat type.
2. Allergies or Fleas
If your dog is losing large clumps of hair that are causing bald spots or they are scratching and itching, you might be dealing with allergies or fleas that are causing the hair loss that you are concerned about. Dogs that are not just shedding naturally might be dealing with a wide array of environmental allergies or an allergic reaction to fleas.
These conditions will necessitate a trip to the veterinarian to get medication to treat the skin irritation that is causing the hair loss. If you have one dog that is showing signs of flea infestation, you will also need to treat all the other animals in the home. These little pests are quite transmissible, so treating all of your pets is important to alleviate the excessive shedding of the pet that you have just taken to the vet.
Dogs that are scared or anxious can shed lots of hair very rapidly. If you have a pet that is always anxious or worried, they might shed more than expected all year long. This is a complex problem to resolve, but your vet can help your dog be more comfortable by providing them with some medications to calm them down. You might also seek the help of a dog trainer to tackle some behavioral changes that need to be made to help your dog to let go of their anxiety.
This is perhaps the most complicated of the reasons for hair loss in dogs, but it is worth your time and effort to help your dog to live with less fear and with a better attitude about daily concerns.
4. Serious Health Conditions
Some serious health conditions can cause rapid hair loss. Things like liver or kidney failure as well as poisoning can cause hair loss that seems to crop up out of nowhere. You will need to take your dog to the vet right away if they are losing hair rapidly and are not eating or drinking as usual. While this might be the least common of the reasons behind excessive shedding, you should never ignore serious symptoms like these.
Time is always of the essence when it comes to the treatment of these kinds of more serious health concerns. Make sure that you do not assume that excessive shedding combined with a lack of energy or appetite is going to resolve on its own.
5. Lack of Grooming
Some owners are really surprised when they find out just how much coat care some dog breeds need. If you have a double-coated dog and you are not brushing them regularly or taking them to the groomer on a schedule, your dog might suddenly seem to be shedding great amounts of hair out of nowhere. This can happen when the undercoat has been trapped beneath the top layer of hair, and it starts to clump up and fall out.
Making sure that your dog gets groomed on a regular basis is critical to keeping their skin healthy and helping them to feel their best. Make sure that you have the right kind of grooming tools for your dog’s hair coat length and that you take the time to brush your dog out thoroughly at least once a week. You will be surprised at how much you can improve your dog’s shedding and haircoat health just by brushing them regularly.
Excessive Dog Shedding Can be Managed
If you have a dog that has a long coat or a double coat, make sure that you groom them regularly to manage their hair loss more effectively. You will also need to be sure that you do not ignore symptoms of fleas, allergies, or serious health conditions that might include excessive shedding. Your dog’s coat is often a direct reflection of your dog’s overall health and well-being, and you should be sure that you are not neglecting either of these important concerns when you notice excessive shedding.
Between good food, proper grooming, and attention to changes in your dog’s overall health, your dog’s shedding should be manageable all year long.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.