Why Do Dogs Shed?May 09, 2023
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Understanding the Natural Hair Growth Cycle
If you're a dog owner, you've probably experienced the frustration of constantly finding hair all over your clothes, furniture, and floors, in your hair, your mouth, somehow on that delicious meal you’ve just prepared, and the list goes on.
Shedding is a natural process that all dogs go through, but why do dogs shed, and is there anything you can do to minimize it?
Lets take a closer look at why dogs shed.
The Hair Growth Cycle of Dogs
We need to first understand the hair growth cycle of dogs.
Like us humans, a dogs hair growth is divided into three phases: the Anagen phase, the Catagen phase, and the Telogen phase.
The Anagen phase
Is the active growth phase, where new hair is produced from the hair follicle. This phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the breed of the dog and the individual.
The Catagen phase
Is the transitional phase, where the hair stops growing and the follicle shrinks. This phase only lasts a few weeks.
The Telogen phase
Is the resting phase, where the hair follicle is inactive and the old hair is shed to make way for new hair growth. This phase can last for several months.
Remember that not all hairs are in the same phase of the growth cycle at the same time. This is why you may notice your dog shedding more at certain times of the year or when they are experiencing stress or illness.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs shed for several reasons, including...
Shedding is a natural process of the hair growth cycle, as mentioned above. All dogs shed to some extent, but the amount and frequency of shedding can vary depending on the breed, age, and health of the dog.
Some breeds of dogs shed more than others. Breeds with long hair or double coats, such as Golden Retrievers, Huskies, and German Shepherds, tend to shed more than short-haired breeds like Beagles or Boxers. But watch out for some of those short haired dogs, they can shed those short bristles like you wouldn't believe!
Dogs tend to shed more in the spring and fall when their coats change to adapt to the changing temperatures. They may also shed more in the summer to help regulate their body temperature.
Stress or illness
Dogs may shed more than usual if they are experiencing stress or illness. For example, dogs that are undergoing chemotherapy may experience hair loss as a side effect of the treatment.
Managing Shedding in Dogs
While you can't completely eliminate shedding in dogs, there are things you can do to manage it and keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny.
Regular grooming is important to keeping your dog's coat healthy and reducing shedding. Brushing your dog's coat at least once a week will help to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Use a deshedding tool to remove the undercoat of double-coated breeds. You can consult with you local groomer for advice on this.
A balanced diet that is high in protein and healthy fats is important for maintaining a healthy coat.
Bathing your dog regularly can help to remove loose hair and reduce shedding. Use a shampoo that is designed for dogs and rinse thoroughly to avoid skin irritation.
Some supplements, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, can help to improve the health of your dog's coat and reduce shedding. Talk to your vet or dog nutritionist about the best supplements for your dog
Stress can cause excessive shedding in dogs. Try to keep your dog calm and comfortable, and avoid exposing them to stressful situations as much as possible.
Regular Vet Checkups
Regular checkups with your vet can help to identify any underlying health issues that may be causing excessive shedding. If you notice bald patches or excessive shedding, consult with your vet to rule out any health issues.
Shedding is a natural process that all dogs go through. While you can't completely stop shedding, you can manage it with regular grooming, a balanced diet, bathing, supplements, stress management, and regular checkups at your vet.
By taking these steps, you can help to keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny and reduce the amount of hair that ends up on your clothes and furniture. Remember, shedding is a normal part of owning a dog, so embrace and accept it, it's gonna happen.