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Why Do Dogs Shed?

Besides many blissful experiences of owning a pet, there are few things that really bother most owners and always search for new ways to prevent them from happening. You guessed it, we are talking about shedding!

While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.

Why Do Dogs Shed?

Dogs naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding. Although shedding is a normal process for dogs, the amount and frequency of hair that is shed often depends upon their health and breed type. It can also depend on the season-many dogs develop thick coats in the winter that are then shed in the spring.

When we are talking about normal, physiological shedding, there are few factors that can influence the amount of shed fur. Genetic configuration, nutrition, grooming habits, and day-length are responsible for modifying shedding.

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When Do Dogs Shed?

Dog’s hair grows and sheds in three cycles. Each cycle consists of three phases during which the hair grows (phase one), the hair sheds (phase two) and the hair is in the resting and third phase.

The second phase is when the dog sheds and the old fur is replaced with a new one. These growing-shedding cycles are controlled by hormones released from glands inside the central nervous system influenced by ambient light and temperature. So the hair follicles receive messages from the brain whenever the temperature rises or drops, or when the daylight lengthens or shortens.

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Credit: TheDogPlace.org

Dog shedding is seasonal. Dogs typically lose their winter coats in the spring, when it is replaced by a shorter, lighter one for summer. In the fall, this cycle is reversed, as the summer coat is shed to make room for heavy protective fur for winter

Geography of Where Dogs Live

Dogs living in the northern hemisphere, especially the ones living outdoors tend to shed twice a year. This happens generally at fall and spring. During this time of year there is a great transition of temperature and day-length, and also the outside conditions aren’t as harsh as during winter and summer.

The body uses the time to change the old fur with new and prepare for winter or summer. Why dogs grow new fresh fur, while the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold, is because it provides thermoregulation and protection from extreme temperatures.

Indoor Dogs

On the other hand, dogs that live indoors shed one annually as they are not so much affected by environmental conditions. Certain breeds of dogs don’t even go under a shedding process. Such breeds are poodles, Kerry blue, Bedlington terriers and some other with a curly coat. Shedding can also occur approximately 2 months after a female dog gives birth to puppies or during a heat cycle as a result of hormonal changes.

Health & Causes of Excessive Shedding in Dogs

Aside from physiological shedding, there are many cases when the dogs uncontrollably shed because of infective and non-infective diseases.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition of various causes is one of the main reasons why some dogs have a dry and loose coat and shed their fur way more than usual. Change of diet or adding supplements to the dog’s food can contribute to fur quality improvement.

Pathological shedding

Pathological shedding inflicted by microorganism activity is fairly common in dogs. Skin parasites that can cause hair fall in dogs are Demodex Canis, Sarcoptes Scabiei and Cheyletiella.

Fungal skin infection

Fungal skin infection resulting in excessive shedding can be contributed to Malassezia and Microsporum Canis overgrowth, while bacterial skin infections are generally caused by Staphylococci and Pseudomonas spp. Pathological shedding leaves inflamed symmetrical and asymmetrical hairless patches on the body and can be easily distinguished from the normal shedding process. In most cases, the skin will produce an unpleasant odor.

If you notice this type of changes on your dog’s skin make sure you check in with your veterinarian.

How to Stop a Dog from Shedding

What home remedy can I give my dog for shedding?

For more great tips on treatments, check out our articles on:

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