Shedding refers to the loss of hair in dogs naturally. Dogs shed their older, damaged and excessive coat of hair that allows the new coat of hair to grow. Every dog sheds with the sole exception of the complete hairless dog such as the American Hairless Terrier. The degree of shedding may vary from dog to dog or breed to breed.
Why does my dog shed so much?
Though shedding, even excessive shedding in dogs can be normal, in many cases it can be caused by both nutritional and environmental factors. In dogs, shedding also depends on seasonal changes.
Some people clip their double coated dogs in the hope that this will reduce shedding. However, this is not a good idea as it may damage the coat and in fact increase shedding in the future. See Should you clip a double coated dog to learn more.
1. Seasonal Shedding
Dogs have a seasonal shedding season in the spring, as their winter fur coats are gone. The shedding is at its peak in the summer season when they want to cool themselves down in the heat and in winters they gain a thicker coat of hair to keep themselves warm and insulated.
2. Hormonal Shedding
Apart from the seasonal factor, hormones play a vital role in dogs once they attain puberty, especially in female dogs. After the females have whelped or gone through their heat cycle, they often drop their coats and the cycle of shedding keeps going. Loosing hair during gestation and lactation is very common in female dogs.
3. Shedding due to poor diet
Improper diet could be one of the causes of shedding in dogs. Often dogs are given the food that they find difficult to digest, for example, food like grain bran and corns. Due to digestive problems, their skin turns dry causing the loss of their fur coat.
Dehydration or the lack of water in the body can lead to dry skin, which can cause excessive shedding in the dogs. Dehydration of the body is not just limited to the shedding in the animals, but it can also cause severe illness.
5. Fleas and Ticks
Dogs with flea or tick problems scratch continuously, which causes hair to fall out easily. See here for natural ways to fix fleas in dogs.
6. Hygiene and the surroundings
Poor hygiene and polluted environment too affects the health of the dog that is directly linked to their shedding issues. Dogs must be given neat and clean surroundings play, eat and sleep. Their bowls should be clean as well.
Regardless of breed, your dog should be combed at regular intervals. Combing or brushing removes excess and loose fur and redistributes the dog’s skin oils into its fur, helping hair stay in place and healthy. Regular bathing too plays a crucial role in their hygiene, but over-bathing can cause dry skin, which causes their fur to fall out. For more information on how to reduce shedding in your dog see here.
Shedding is common in most dogs and a sign of healthy growth, however, one should know the difference between shedding and over the loss of the hair. Whenever in doubt dog owners should not refrain from consulting your vet.