Table of Contents
- 1 Treating Dogs That Shed
- 2 Why Do Dogs Shed?
- 3 What Are Hypoallergenic Dogs?
- 4 What Causes Some Dogs To Shed More Than Others?
- 5 Can You Treat Dog Shedding At Home?
- 6 What Dog Supplements Are Good For Shedding?
Treating Dogs That Shed
There are many joys associated with being a dog parent, but having your furniture constantly covered in a layer of fur or spitting dog hair out of your pillow is not!
Having fur everywhere is part and parcel of dog ownership. Owners of thick, double-coated dogs know the joy of having thick tufts of fur blowing around every time they give their dog a brush!
Shedding is a normal process, although, in some dogs, it might seem excessive. How do you know if your dog is shedding excessively? Or how do you know what’s normal and what isn’t?
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind shedding, why some dogs seem to do it more than others, and the steps you can take to minimize shedding and avoid having your home look like a giant furball.
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Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs shed for a variety of reasons. For one, it helps them regulate their body temperature. Some dogs have thick double coats. A soft, downy undercoat that insulates them from the cold, and a coarse top coat that protects them from dirt, dust, and grime.
When the weather is hot in the summer, dogs shed to get rid of their thick winter coats.
Shedding also helps get rid of old, damaged hair and makes room for new growth. Just like humans that lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, a dog also loses plenty of hair each day to make room for new ones. It is a completely normal way of ridding the coat of dead and damaged hair.
What Are Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Hypoallergenic dogs are those that produce less of the proteins that cause allergies in people. Although no dog is truly hypoallergenic, some breeds are better than others for people with allergies. Poodles, Schnauzers, and Bichons Frises are among the most popular hypoallergenic breeds.
These dogs have a single coat that traps fewer allergens. They are also low-shedding dogs that are the least likely to cause an allergic reaction in someone that has pet allergies.
As a result, these breeds are often a good choice for people who want to enjoy the companionship of a dog without triggering their allergies.
What Causes Some Dogs To Shed More Than Others?
The amount of fur a dog sheds greatly depends on genetics and breed. Some breeds are more predisposed to shedding than others. It isn’t the length of the hair either, it is more the thickness of the coat, and whether the coat has a single or double layer.
A dog’s breed can significantly impact how much it sheds. Double-coated dogs that are born and bred for cold climates like Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, and Alaskan Malamutes will shed more than single-coated dogs like Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls.
Dogs born for the cold have evolved over the years to acquire a thick, soft undercoat that will protect them from the cold and provide insulation. In the hotter months, they “blow” or shed their undercoats, resulting in tons of fluffy flying around your home.
In addition, as a general rule, smaller dogs shed less than larger ones. This is because most small dogs were bred to be low-shedding breeds like the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Toy Poodles. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule like the hypoallergenic Portuguese Water Dog, Standard Poodle, and Giant Schnauzer.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce shedding and promote a healthy coat. Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep the skin moisturized and prevent the hair follicles from becoming dry and brittle. This can help to reduce the amount of shedding, as well as make the coat softer and more manageable.
In addition, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help to reduce inflammation, which can lead to excessive shedding. For dogs that suffer from allergies or other sensitivities, a diet that is low in allergens can also help to reduce shedding.
Temperature and Season
Many dog owners believe that their dogs shed seasonally, typically losing the most fur in the spring and fall. However, the truth is that most dogs shed year-round, though they may shed more heavily at certain times of the year.
The spring shedding happens as dogs lose their winter coats to make way for thinner, lighter summer coats. Likewise, the shedding in fall is to rid their soft summer coats to grow a fresh, thick coat in preparation for the winter.
While some shedding is normal, excessive shedding, coupled with itchy, dry, or sensitive skin, is not. Dogs are prone to several health problems that can lead to excessive shedding. One of the most common is allergies.
Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things, including pollen, dust, mold, and dander. Allergies can cause intense itching and irritation, leading to scratching and rubbing that can damage the hair follicles and skin.
This can result in thinning hair, bald spots, and excessive shedding. Other health problems that can cause excessive shedding include hormonal imbalances, fungal infections, and nutritional deficiencies. If your dog is shedding excessively, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
What Is Causing Shedding?
Shedding is a normal process for dogs. They shed to get rid of old or damaged fur, to regulate their body temperature, and to adapt to changes in the seasons.
Some dogs shed more than others, and some breeds are known for being heavy shedders. But if your dog is shedding more than usual, there could be an underlying health condition causing the problem.
One possible cause of excessive shedding is an allergy. Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things, including food, pollen, and dust mites.
If your dog is scratching a lot or has any other symptoms of an allergy (such as runny eyes or nose), it’s worth taking them to the vet for a check-up.
Another possible cause of shedding is hormonal imbalance. This can be caused by conditions like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.
If you suspect your dog might have a hormonal problem, again, it’s best to take them to the vet for a diagnosis.
In most cases, shedding is nothing to worry about and is simply part of your dog’s natural cycle. However, if you noticed that your dog is shedding more than usual, it’s always worth getting them checked out by a vet, just to be sure.
What Makes A Non-Shedding Dog Shed?
There isn’t a thing as a 100% non-shedding dog, but there ARE some types of dogs that shed minimally and are known to be good for people with allergies. These dogs are called hypoallergenic dogs.
These dogs produce less of the protein that is responsible for triggering allergies, and they may also have hair that is less likely to shed and spread allergens.
While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, some breeds are better suited for people with allergies than others.
Some of the most popular hypoallergenic breeds include the Poodle, Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terrier.
If a hypoallergenic dog is shedding, it is likely due to diet, or an underlying medical condition. One of the most common causes of excessive shedding is allergies. Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things, including pollen, dust, and grass.
If your dog is allergic to something in their environment, they may scratch excessively, which can lead to hair loss.
In addition, mites, fleas, and parasites can all lead to shedding in dogs. Mites are tiny creatures that burrow into the skin and cause irritation. This can lead to the dog scratching and biting at their skin, which can in turn cause hair loss.
If your dog sheds excessively year-round, however, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as hormonal imbalance or thyroid disease.
If you are concerned about your dog’s shedding, talk to your veterinarian about possible causes and treatment options.
Can You Treat Dog Shedding At Home?
There are several ways to can reduce your dog’s shedding, and the most effective is to be vigilant in your grooming efforts.
Frequently brushing your dog in a controlled environment or outdoors to keep the mess out would minimize the amount of dead hair and dander going all over your home.
Dogs that shed heavily can be brushed once or even twice a day, and dogs that shed less can be brushed a couple of times a week.
To brush a single-coated dog, you’ll need a bristled brush. When it comes to choosing the right brush for your dog, there are a few things you need to take into account.
The first is the size of your dog’s coat. If you have a shorthaired dog, you won’t need a brush with long bristles.
Conversely, if you have a long-haired dog, you’ll want to choose a brush with longer bristles. The second thing to consider is the type of coat your dog has. If your dog has a thick coat, you’ll want to choose a brush that can penetrate the coat and reach the skin.
Finally, you’ll need to decide how often you plan on brushing your dog. If you only plan on brushing your dog once a week, you can get away with using a less sturdy brush.
However, if you plan on brushing your dog every day, you’ll need to choose a brush that can stand up to daily use.
Should You Shave Your Dog In The Summer?
Absolutely NOT. Many dog owners all around the world think that shaving their dog for the summer is beneficial for their pooch, but their kind actions are misguided.
For one thing, shaving removes the dog’s natural coat, which provides important insulation against both extreme temperatures and UV rays. In addition, shaving can cause skin irritation and infection.
A dog’s undercoat gets shed heavily or “blown” in the hotter months, and what’s left is a topcoat that repels water, dirt, and grime.
Another thing that the topcoat does is catch the breeze and direct it back onto your dog’s skin, further cooling it in the hotter months.
By shaving your dog, you’re taking away its natural insulation that allows it to keep cool in warm months, as well as leaving your dog open to bites, bugs, infections, and sunburn.
And because the undercoat grows quicker than the topcoat, it can leave your dog with an uneven, patchy coat that is more susceptible to tangles.
Nature is great and your dog’s coat will take care of itself. Do NOT shave your dog.
What Dog Supplements Are Good For Shedding?
In addition to a healthy diet rich in beneficial nutrients, there are a few supplements that are designed to help with shedding and maintaining a healthy coat.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent choice, as well as vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fatty acid that the body needs for optimal health, but cannot produce on its own. These fatty acids are found in certain foods, such as fish and flaxseed, and can also be taken in supplement form.
Just like humans, dogs need omega-3 fatty acids for a variety of reasons. Omega-3s help to promote a healthy coat and skin, and can also reduce inflammation throughout the body. In addition, omega-3s have been shown to improve cognitive function in dogs, making them more alert and responsive.
Another important nutrient for dogs is vitamin E, which helps to boost the immune system, promote healthy skin and coat, and protect against cell damage.
The best way to ensure that your dog gets enough vitamin E is to give him a daily supplement. Supplementing with vitamin E is safe for most dogs, but it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplement regimen.
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