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02 Mar, 2024
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Your Guide To Dog Shedding- by Dr. Desmond

Your Guide To Dog Shedding: When To Worry? – Written by Dr. Desmond

Dogs shed their fur daily and all year round. However, excessive shedding is an indication of an underlying condition and usually calls for immediate veterinary attention and care.

Normal Shedding-

Some dogs shed a lot while others shed minimally and it is hardly noticed. If your dog is healthy and sheds a lot, it’s part of their normal life, it’s a burden, you as a pet owner has to live with. Usually, dogs shed their undercoat with the regular loss of fur. This happens all year round and is visible on your clothes, sofa, bedding and around the house or kennel. However, it’s hard to notice on dogs. If the shedding leaves patches, reddish areas or with dandruff, then it’s time to see your vet.

Seasonal Shedding-

This occurs in some breeds and is dependant on seasons. In the tropics, it’s noticeable with the changing weather patterns, with more shedding just before the warmer weather seasons. It occurs uniformly across the body and throughout the body in a cycle. It is common in fluffy breeds and long coat large breeds. This should not worry you as a pet owner. It is perfectly natural and should be managed by daily grooming with undercoat non-traumatic combs.

How do you deal with excessive shedding?

1. Brush your pet’s hair daily with a pet’s brush.
2. Add veterinary recommended healthy fats to your dog’s diet through supplementation or whole food.
3. Increase bath frequency during hot weather months. This greatly reduces the floating fur that sticks to your furniture, clothes and upholstery.

When should you be worried?

Fur loss should not be confused with shedding. Fur loss due to sickness is the loss of hair due to factors other than the natural rhythm of growth. In cases of adrenal disease like Cushing’s disease, illness-related traumas or infection, you are likely to see spotty or patchy hair loss as opposed to normal shedding. In some cases like a hyperthyroid dog, the hair loss is symmetrical and specific to certain parts of the dog’s body.

See your vet if:
1. Your dog’s fur has become dry and brittle.
2. The fur breaks off and falls unevenly.
3. Your dog gets bald patches or clumps of lost fur.
4. The hair loss is accompanied by other conditions
5. Dog is tender or resists being touched where they lose the fur.

Causes of excessive hair loss in dogs-

1. Allergies: food, medication, environmental, new shampoo or pest &/or parasite bites. Elimination with a veterinary assistant is the best way to diagnose allergic reaction causing hair loss. Remove all potential allergens until fur grows back and replace one by one until the culprit is identified and permanently removed.

2. Hormones: Imbalances in your dog’s thyroid can cause hair to become brittle and fall out. Hypothyroidism is a common condition among dogs and can be readily treated with medication.

Other hormonal issues involving the over-or under-production of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can cause a dog to shed more than usual.
During pregnancy and lactation, many dogs will lose some hair. This is normal, but if it’s excessive, see a vet about supplements.

3. Dietary Deficiency or Overabundance:
The absence of a well-balanced diet could certainly result in unwanted hair loss. Blood tests can help a veterinarian determine if there’s a mineral deficiency or overdose.

4. Stress:
If there’s been a big change in your home environment, your dog’s body could be reacting to stress. Never rule out a dog’s emotional response! Sometimes dogs have psychological responses to a change in homes, familial conflict, or a death in the family. In this case, some extra TLC and a few supplements may help your dog’s hair grow back.

5. Skin Conditions:
A variety of skin conditions can affect hair loss including mange, mites, dermatitis, ringworm, and bacterial or fungal infections. If hair loss is spotty and patchy, with rough or tender skin beneath, see a vet. Treating the skin condition



Dr. Desmond Tutu – B.V.M. – Veterinarian

If there is anything you would like to know, leave a comment and Dr. Desmond will get back to you!