How to Stop a Dog Shedding Hair
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There are many factors which may lead to our dogs losing hair. There are many genetic, environmental and circumstantial reasons why you may see more fur than usual coming off when brushing. You may even have noticed hair trails on the couch or simply floating its way through your home. Your dog's hair loss, however, might appear in different ways. It could be an all over shedding, clumps coming out or even seeing patches of bare skin where there is no longer any fur at all.
The measures AnimalWised provides here on how to stop a dog shedding hair are those which help find specific causes of hair loss as well as improving their overall health. The latter is the best way to keep a dog's coat healthy and shiny if they have no specific pathology causing them to shed excessively in the first place.
These tips and tricks to help stop your dog from shedding excessively are only help if you what we mean by excessive. This is why the first step in identifying the cause of hair loss is to consider the breed type. Some breeds will shed more or less than others. Greyhounds and whippets only have a single coat, therefore shedding less. Samoyeds and Chow Chows have thick double coats which result in quite a lot of shedding. Hairless dog breeds, perhaps obviously, won't shed at all.
However, breeds which shed more are less aren't always obvious. Breeds like Beagles and Chihuahuas may not look like they have a lot of fur, but they are actually two breeds which are known for shedding prolifically. Yorkshire Terriers often have long silky hair, but are actually one of the breeds which shed the least. If your dog is a dog which sheds very little, then appears to be shedding quite a lot, then you should take them to the vet immediately.
If you have considered the dog's breed and yet you determine the shedding is unusual, you should consider the time of year. One of the main functions of a dog's fur is to protect them from climactic changes. In this way, an individual dog is better prepared to withstand both cold and heat. They do this by shedding fur twice a year in both spring and autumn. This is instigated by the seasonal changes in temperature and light.
If your dog loses their fur at these two points of the year when shedding is normal. You will have to increase your brushing amount to compensate, but it is fairly obvious if they are otherwise healthy and happy looking.
In normal conditions, these bi-yearly molts will occur without hindrance. However, there are some circumstances where they may not shed normally as they should. If a dog is made to wear clothes in clement weather, spends a lot of time next to household heat sources, lives in a place with low levels of natural light or does not spend enough time outside, the amount of hair they shed can be affected.
Another reason why your dog may be losing their fur excessively is their diet. As with humans, a dog's health is directly related to the quality and quantity of food they eat. We are what we eat and dogs are not an exception. If you do not offer your dog a suitable diet which meets all of their nutritional needs, then their coat will reflect it. This is because a healthy dog has a healthy coat and any deficiencies can lead to the strength of the coat being weakened.
The best way to ensure your dog has a healthy and shiny coat is to ensure they have the best kind of food for them. If you are unsure of what is the best food for your dog, you'll be glad to know we have info detailing the different types of food for dogs to consider.Not only will you return vitality to their fur, they will be much happier overall. To avoid health problems in your dog, we recommend quality dog food provided in the right amount for the size and breed of dog.
Bear in mind that Omega 3 and vitamins A, B and C are important for the health of a dog's fur. These nutrients strengthen the hair and prevent hair loss. This is why it is so important to look at the composition of a dog food before you buy it. Also, if you fear your dog is in need of extra nutrition, you can ask your vet to recommend some supplements which would be suitable for your particular dog.
Does your dog spend a lot of time on their own? Have you been particularly busy of late and simply don't have as much time as you would like to take them for a walk? Being cooped up and not being allowed the opportunity to go out and socialize can lead to stress ad anxiety. Stress and anxiety can lead to excessive shedding. In these cases, spending more time with your dog, providing them with sufficient exercise and giving them the opportunity to release the pent up energy they store is important.
If you are unsure whether your dog is stressed or anxious due to not getting enough exercise, then you can look at other aspects of their behavior. If they are destroying your property, scratching at doors or the ground persistently, disobeying commands or generally exhibiting anxious behavior, there is likely something the matter with them. If this is the case, you may need to take them to a veterinarian. They may also recommend a dog trainer to help you bring them back to good mental health.
There are other reasons why a dog may be stressed or anxious, many which are not directly your fault. Certain pathologies or diseases to which your dog may be susceptible can lead to hair loss. Skin diseases in particular can be the cause. Sarcoptic mange and atopic dermatitis are just two, with the causes numerous. Mites, ticks, parasites, genetic predisposition, hygiene and many other factors can lead to hair loss inducing skin problems. In most cases, a vet will be the only way to determine a diagnosis as well as suggesting the right treatment plan.
Other diseases can also lead to hair loss such as fungal infection, cancer, Cushing's disease or allergic reaction. In older and obese dogs, something known as pressure sores can also lead to hair loss. This is because the contact points with hard surfaces make the hair fall out as well as the skin callous and sometimes bleed. With physiological problems, accompanying psychological stress can lead to the dog having hair loss issues.
Pregnancy can also induce hair loss in dogs. This is because the hormonal changes and lowering of defenses can lead to hair falling out. This can happen during the pregnancy or after the birth occurs. This is only one of the reasons it is so important to change and supplement a mother dog's diet during and after pregnancy. This promotes breastfeeding, but it also helps ensure the mother has enough nutrients for herself as well as taking care of their litter. Many vets recommend a richer protein diet, but you can speak to your won vet about this when you take the dog after a pregnancy.
Your dog may also be shedding more than usual because you are neglecting brushing properly. With few exceptions, most dogs will need brushed at least once a week. However, the amount of brushing will depend on the breed of dog. If you have a dog with a thick coat, they may need brushing so regular you should do it every day. This may change depending on the season and whether or not they are shedding more. Regular brushing can be bolstered by using a special hair brush to get rid of all the dead hair.
If you are unsure about which type of dog brush to use on your pet, you can check out our article on dog brushes and combs to help you decide.
Here is a brief guide on the type of brush to use for different dogs:
- For very long haired dogs, we should use a double sided brush with rounded bristles on one side and softer synthetic bristles on the other. These are great for long haired dogs, but is just as effective if the dog is small, medium or large. You brush with one side and then collect with the other.
- For dogs with medium hair, use a smoothing brush. These brushes have many lines of metallic bristles which are thing and short. The brush usually has a slight curve at the tip.
- For a short haired dog, natural or synthetic brushes should work just as well.
Bathing a dog is also important in providing healthy hair and shine. Ideally, we'll want to bathe our dog once a month, although this may be more if you live in the country and the dog has more opportunity's to get dirty. This is not only for basic hygiene and to ensure a healthy coat, but also to avoid parasitic elements in the fur.
There are many special dog shampoos available on the market. If you have a dog which is prone to hair loss, you may want to consider if this is having a bearing on the phenomenon. Take a look at the shampoo's ingredients and see if it has the following:
- Omega 3 and 6: promotes hair growth and helps to strengthen it.
- Quinine: a natural alkaloid which strengthens a dog's coat, stimulates growth and aids in preventing hair loss.
- Neutral pH: this prevents hair loss, but it also very important in protecting the dog's skin underneath.
Additionally, you can buy dog conditioners to give the dog extra levels of vitality and shine.
Lastly, if your dog is being taken care of in terms of mental health, hair health and overall health, there may be one last thing to consider. Some dog breeds will not need to get clipped as regular brushing and coat care will ensure they always look good and feel good. However, some breeds can greatly benefit from appropriate grooming. This will mean they have a hair cut which reduces the likelihood of hair falling out.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Stop a Dog Shedding Hair, we recommend you visit our Fur care category.