Why Do Dogs Shed?
Having a dog that sheds is a normal part of being a pet parent. It is just a matter of how much your dog sheds that makes the difference.
Dogs shed for a wide variety of reasons. They could be highly stressed, sick, or maybe you are simply slacking when it comes to grooming them. Your dog will also determine how much they shed, as some breeds shed more than others.
Dogs also have certain seasons in which they shed more often. If you want to understand further about why dogs shed, this article was “pawsitively” made for you.
What is the Purpose of a Dog Hair?
All dogs shed, as there is no such thing as a totally hypoallergenic breed. Some dogs are considered “hypoallergenic” breeds, but shedding is part of the deal when you have a pet. However, having the unconditional love you get from a dog is worth it.
A dog’s hair is a protective barrier to keep them warm in the winter and protects their skin against the sun. A pup’s hair helps to control their body temperature. As individual hairs go through the growth cycle, hairs will naturally break off to allow new, healthy hair to grow in.
A dog’s coat is comprised of three types of hair:
The outer coat consists of primary hairs. They are long and thick, giving the pup its hair color. Primary hairs generally grow throughout their coat and are considered the first layer of the double coat. The secondary coat comprises short, soft hair, which is the undercoat of the dog’s hair.
Tactile hairs are sensory hair, consisting of whiskers and hair sensitive to the touch, and these hairs assist dogs with detecting things in their environment. Different dogs have various lengths of hair. Whether or not a dog sheds depends on the coat they have.
Dogs with double coats tend to shed more than pups with single-layer coats. The specific incidence and amount of shedding depend on the breed of dog, the condition of their health, the season, and the environment.
What Are the Types of Hair Coats in Dogs?
There are a variety of hair coats and types in dogs, as well as lengths. You may be surprised to realize that every coat has a unique name. Some of these types of coats include:
- Corded coat: The coat is long, hangs in even, varying lengths, and resembles dreadlocks. Example: Spanish water dog
- Wire Hair: The coat has a more significant amount of dense, coarse primary hair. Example: Jack Russell Terrier
- Curly hair: The coat is wavy because of genetics and selective breeding. Example: Poodle
- Short Coat: Hair lies close to the body and is short and smooth. Example: Beagle
Since dogs come with all different coats and hair types, it can be challenging to choose which one is best for you. If you have allergies, a hypoallergenic dog is as close as you will get to not having to deal with shedding. Examples of hypoallergenic dogs include the Bichon Frise and the Schnauzer.
Different dogs also have different times of the year when they shed more. Hairless dogs shed far less than the other breeds, but they will still shed. Depending on the kind of dog and the season, you may need to vacuum and clean more often.
Seasonal shedding occurs when the temperature changes, and there is a higher or lesser incidence of shedding. When dogs shed seasonally, they tend to shed in the spring and fall. In the spring, the coat becomes lighter. In the fall, the coat becomes thicker.
You may not see much difference in shedding with low shedding dogs when the seasons change. When the weather heats up, you may see the average dog shed their warm coat to prepare for the next season. Double-coated pups tend to shed all year round.
What Can Make Your Dog Shed More?
Sometimes there are certain occurrences when your dog sheds more than expected. You may need to find ways to minimize the shedding. The following are some of the common causes of excessive shedding in dogs:
Have you ever noted that your hair falls out more when you stress? It is the same for your pup. If your dog demonstrates other signs of stress and their coat is shedding, you can safely assume that stress is the reason for the excess shedding. Some dogs may suffer from anxiety issues, making them shed more.
Lack of Grooming
The time you spend grooming your dog should depend on the type of dog and the coat length. Some dogs require brushing daily, such as long-haired breeds. Medium-haired breeds will need to be brushed a few times a week, and short-haired breeds should be brushed once a week. You will also want to use the proper grooming tools for your particular dog.
The quality of your dog’s coat is correlated with their overall health. If your pup is sick, their coat may shed more. It can occur with a virus or a cold and in more challenging situations, such as thyroid, adrenal issues, or kidney disease. If your pup is shedding a lot and they are also not feeling well, do not hesitate to get them to the veterinarian to make sure it is nothing serious.
When you provide your pup with adequate nutrition, they are less likely to shed excessively. The best diet for your dog supports the health of their skin and coat. Food intolerances may make your pup shed more. Skin and coat issues tend to occur in dogs with food intolerances or allergies. You should also try to feed your dog high-quality food.
Some types of canines shed more than others. Certain dogs shed a lot, such as the German Shepherd and the Labrador Retriever. You can expect to groom these pups all year round. In certain situations, there is not as much you can do about the shedding. Having a dog breed constantly sheds means you cannot slack when brushing them.
Shedding can result from your pup having skin issues triggered by parasites or fleas. If your dog is severely infested with fleas, they may shed excessively until you nip the problem in the bud. There are many options concerning dog flea treatment. Parasites can lead to your pup having bald patches from constant scratching. You will need help from your veterinarian.
Some common allergies that can cause shedding in dogs include:
- Household cleaners
- Grooming supplies
Seasonal allergies can also trigger shedding. Allergies due to pollen, weeds, and freshly cut grass may be the culprit.
Dealing with dog hair and shedding is a normal part of being a pet parent. If your pup’s shedding coincides with any signs of distress or illness, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.