Is the majority of your home covered in hair during the summer months? Do you have to keep a lint roller in your car, in your bag, and in nearly every room of your house? Do you find yourself vacuuming nonstop only to have to vacuum more the next day? Chances are, you’ve got a shedding dog on your hands.
Dog shedding is completely normal. In fact, most all dogs shed to a certain degree. It’s necessary and natural. But why do some dogs shed so much more than others? Is it normal? Is there a way to decrease the amount of shedding or is perhaps your dog trying to tell you something with the amount of hair they are losing? There are in fact certain things that pet parents should be implicitly aware of when it comes to dog shedding. Let’s get to it!
Why Do Dogs Shed
Dog shedding is a completely natural, normal, healthy routine that the dog’s body consistently performs. A dog’s fur is important for several reasons. It helps control their body temperature as well as protect the skin from sun damage and other environmental elements and toxins. At one point or another, the dog’s hair will stop growing. When this happens, they will lose the hair naturally by shedding. The body will typically shed the old, dead hair follicles in order to prepare for more hair to grow.
The word shed is defined as the act of losing hair as a means of making way for new hair or too lose hair as a result of disease or age. In this article, we will discuss all three reasons for shedding.
How Much Shedding Is Considered “Normal”
The amount of shedding that is “normal“ will vary greatly from one dog to the next. Certain elements such as climate, breed, and overall health condition tend to influence the amount and frequency of the shedding. With this being said, all dogs are different, and the amount of shedding may mean absolutely nothing or may mean that there is an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. Knowing your individual dog’s “normal” is paramount in recognizing when normal has become excessive.
Climate | Season
The climate and seasonal changes tend to affect some dogs more than others. Double coated dogs are particularly affected by environmental changes that come with living in different regions of the country. Dogs that have a double coat typically shed their undercoats during the spring and fall seasons, but tend to shed relatively consistently all year long. Some breeds of dogs that have double coats can shed to a degree that may seem excessive. However, the amount of shedding is often normal for that particular dog.
Also, dogs that are kept outdoors during colder months will naturally develop a heavier, thicker winter coat to protect them from the environmental elements. Then, once the winter months pass, the dogs will naturally have more hair to shed as warmer months approach.
Additionally, some dogs, even breeds that typically shed quite a bit, may not be affected by climate changes. Again, all dogs are different. It is also possible for some dogs to shed evenly all year long, especially those that are kept indoors and don’t experience climate changes on a consistent basis. It is important for dog owners to be aware of what is “normal “for their individual dog. Recognizing what is normal allows the owner to recognize if their dog is ever shedding excessively and therefore act accordingly.
Your dog’s overall health condition can also have an effect on how much they shed. Dogs that are aging, for instance, tend to have more hair loss than younger dogs. Also, dogs that are nursing and pregnant tend to shed more due to the hormonal changes that their body is facing. Age and pregnancy are natural reasons for a greater amount of shedding to occur. However, there are also factors, such as disease, that can lead to shedding.
Shedding can be a non-specific symptom of a number of ailments including certain cancers as well as a parasitic infestation and even allergic reactions. If your dog typically doesn’t shed often and is now shedding to an unexplainable degree, it’s likely that there is an underlying issue at hand. More on that in a moment.
Breed of Dog
The specific breed of dog also influences the amount of hair that they will naturally lose. Before adopting a dog it’s important to be aware of certain characteristics that they possess, including how much they typically shed.
Additionally, certain dogs are specifically bred to shed as little as possible. These dogs are ideal for individuals with sensitivities to their fur and are often referred to as a “hypoallergenic dog.” While we firmly believe in the adopt-don’t-shop mantra, it is nice that individuals who were once unable to have pets to be able to experience the joys of having fur children through specifically bred dogs.
With that being said, let’s take a look at specific dogs that are heavy shedders, moderate shedders, and non-shedding dog breeds.
Heavy Shedding Dogs
Breeds of dogs that are particularly heavy shedders include:
- Border Collies
- Labrador Retrievers
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Chow Chow
- Siberian Husky
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
Of course, every dog is different and the environment plays a huge role in just how much a dog will shed. For example, a Siberian Husky living in a northern, colder state will likely shed much less than a Siberian Husky living in sunny south Florida. Before adopting a dog you’ll want to consider your climate and how your dog may be directly affected.
Low-Shedding Dogs | Dogs That Don’t Shed
For individuals with allergies or those who prefer a low shedding dog or non-shedding dog, there are many breeds that fit the criteria.
- Bedlington Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- American Hairless Terrier
- Afghan Hound
- Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless)
- Bichon Frise
- Chinese Crested
- Coton de Tulear
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Kerry Blue Terrier
We want to mention that even dogs that are “hypoallergenic” and “non-shedding” will shed to a very small degree. It is healthy and necessary for them to rid their skin of the dead follicles. Only dogs that are completely hairless will not shed fur but will still shed skin cells as all living creatures do.
Why is My Dog Shedding Excessively
Shedding is entirely normal in the vast majority of dog breeds. However, excessive shedding isn’t. In fact, excessive shedding can be a tell-tale sign of a number of underlying conditions.
We don’t have to tell you that dogs are highly sensitive. Moving homes, introducing a new member of the family or losing a family member can all lead to your pup experiencing hair loss due to anxiety. Physiological responses to anxiety or stress are not uncommon for humans and they are certainly not uncommon for Fido.
A good rule of thumb is that if something is stressing you out, it’s likely that your dog is picking up on it. The good news is that if your dog is shedding due to stress or anxiety, a little bit of tender loving care and a few additional supplements should likely help your dog’s hair grow back. With that being said, pet owners will also have to identify the stressor so that they can prevent it from causing hair loss in the future.
Skin Ailments and Irritations
There are several skin conditions that can cause excessive shedding. These skin conditions include:
- Parasites / a parasitic infestation (fleas, lice or mites)
- Fungal or bacterial infections
- Self-induced injury due to licking
Moreover, if any of the following skin sensitivities persist for over a week it is recommended to see a veterinarian for an official diagnosis of the irritation. These skin sensitivities include:
- Redness, bumps, rashes or scabs on the skin
- Any kind of open sore
- Bald spots
- Thinning of the coat
- Dull, dry hair that pulls out easily from petting or brushing
- Persistent foot licking
- Repeated face rubbing
- Constant scratching
Pet owners should ensure that they are monitoring their dog for any behavioral changes that aren’t their typical “normal” as these changes can be a clue as to why the dog is losing hair.
Internal or External Diseases
Additionally, excessive hair loss or shedding is a common symptom of the following diseases:
- Cancer (nearly every kind of cancer can lead to excessive shedding)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Thyroid disease
- Adrenal disease (including Cushing’s disease)
- Immune disease
As you can see, an accurate veterinary diagnosis is extremely important when it comes to excessive shedding. While the cause may be something relatively simple to fix, don’t forget that excessive shedding can be a non-specific symptom. When a symptom is non-specific it means that it is a sign of a wide range of ailments. If your dog is excessively shedding for an unknown reason, we highly recommend getting Fido checked by your vet.
Over-production or under-production of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can cause excessive dog shedding.
Additionally, excessive dog shedding may be a sign of hormonal imbalances such as Hypothyroidism.
Furthermore, as we previously mentioned, if the dog is pregnant or lactating they will often shed much more than usual. With that being said, excessive shedding still isn’t considered “normal.” Experts encourage pet owners to have their pregnant dogs checked by a vet as it is likely they would benefit from an additional supplement, especially during their pregnancy.
Allergies are no fun for humans or for our dogs. Inhalants such as household cleaners or a new shampoo can be a direct culprit for why your dog is shedding excessively. If you have recently changed laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or your dog’s shampoo, it is entirely likely that your dog’s shedding has a direct correlation to these changes.
Additionally, many pet owners may not realize how common it is for Fido to be allergic to their own dog food. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly what Fido is allergic to in their food can be a bit of a (necessary) challenge. For more information on dog allergies, click here!
How to Manage Dog Shedding
The good news is that there are several ways to manage dog shedding. While you won’t be able to rid the shedding entirely, following these few tips will significantly reduce the amount of loose hair in your life.
Dog Shedding Brush
Pet owners can purchase a grooming tool (such as the Furminator) in order to help reduce shedding. Be sure to follow the directions of whatever tool you decide to buy. Most brushes will suggest lightly brushing backward in order to help remove any dead hair follicles and then brushing forward to remove the excess loose hair. Furthermore, companies like the Furminator have a variety of products available so that pet owners can choose the best brush for their individual dog’s needs.
Brushing for Short Hair Dogs
For dogs with short hair, such as Beagles or Pugs, we recommend a natural-bristle brush or a glove brush with bristles. These brushes do a great job at removing loose hair.
Brushing for Long Hair Dogs
For dogs with long hair, particularly double-coated breeds with a heavy undercoat like Pomeranians and Collies, we suggest the grooming tools once again from the favorited company, Furminator.
The Importance of Grooming
Even if your dog doesn’t shed excessively, it is still important to groom them on a regular basis. Regular grooming will help prevent a number of skin ailments from developing. Additionally, grooming will help pet parents pick up on any changes in their dog’s skin and coat such as unknown bumps or irritations.
Diet and Nutrition
We cannot stress the importance of diet and nutrition. So often what we see on the outside (the dog’s skin and coat) is a direct reflection of what is going on on the inside. Without a well-balanced diet, the excessive shedding will only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to health issues. Whenever possible we recommend a species appropriate raw food diet. Additionally, you may want to consider adding a supplement such as essential fatty acids. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is receiving all of the nutrients they need.
CBD for Dogs
It’s no secret that more and more dog owners are seeking out all-natural ways to treat their dogs. Every day more research comes out about how dangerous the long-term use of conventional medication truly can be. It has us all wondering if there is another way to ensure our dog is living the healthiest life possible.
If you’re one to stay up on the latest and greatest advancements in holistic wellness, you’ve likely heard of CBD. From easing joint pain to managing anxiety to promoting overall wellness, CBD is making substantial headway in the ways that we care for ourselves. If you haven’t already heard we are happy to be the ones to tell you that CBD is also incredibly beneficial for our four-legged companions.
Research shows that CBD is not only safe for pet consumption but also extremely effective. CBD falls under the Cannabis Sativa L. umbrella but is derived from the hemp plant (not the marijuana plant). Hemp CBD has less than 0.3% THC. In other words, it won’t get your dog “high” or experience any euphoric feeling.
Furthermore, CBD doesn’t only cure ailments, but it also prevents them from developing in the first place.
Take a look at all of the ways CBD can help your dog.
- Treating anxiety disorders (anxiety associated with travel, vet visits, separation anxiety, etc.)
- Managing epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Reducing pain (chronic and acute)
- Decreasing chronic inflammation & autoimmune disease
- Supports heart health
- Reduces nausea and side effects of conventional medicines
- Boosts the immune system
- Supports overall wellness
- Lessens environmental and seasonal allergies
- Decreases the development and spreading of cancer cells
Furthermore, CBD can also reduce shedding. That’s right. Studies are continuing to find that incorporating a CBD supplement into your dog’s life can also reduce the amount of unnatural shedding.
CBD Oil for Dogs
Pet owners may opt to introduce CBD in the form of CBD oil. The CBD oil comes in tincture form with an easy-to-use dropper. The dropper allows dog owners to have total control over just how much of the product their dog is receiving. The oil is safe enough for the dog owner to administer it directly into their pet’s mouth. Most owners report that their pup had no qualms about the taste of the oil, but we recognize that some of our readers may have a picky eater on their hands. If this is the case, simply add the oil to your dog’s food or on top of their favorite treat. The CBD oil comes in three levels so that owners can choose the appropriate dose based on their dog’s weight.
CBD Treats for A Healthy Coat
Another way for your dog to reap all of the benefits that CBD has to offer is through our specifically formulated Restore CBD dog treats. The treats come in a delicious peanut butter and coconut flavor. They are rich in Omega 6 as well as those essential fatty acids that we mentioned. Furthermore, the treats are all natural and made from only the best ingredients. Because CBD is all natural and non-toxic, it has virtually zero side effects.
The treats are great for dogs suffering from and trying to prevent:
- Irritated, Dry, Itchy Skin
- Cracked Paw Pads
- Dull Coats
- Reducing Shedding / Dandruff
Again, it is imperative that pet owners get to the bottom of exactly what is causing their dog’s excessive shedding. Implementing a nutritional supplement will absolutely help, but if there is a serious underlying issue, a supplement will merely act as a band-aid. We encourage our readers to seek an accurate veterinary diagnosis in regards to why their dog is losing hair. Then, adding a supplement such as CBD oil or Restore CBD treats can work to regain hair growth.
Dog Shedding: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we know that shedding can be a bit of a pain. The constant vacuuming… the lint rolling… it can get a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with a heavy shedder. However, we want to reiterate the importance of recognizing when shedding has become excessive. More times than not, excessive shedding is a direct sign of something else going on under the surface that shouldn’t be ignored.
Consider the possibilities that we mentioned. Have their been recent changes in your dog’s life? Is it possible they are stressed? Have they been eating new food? Are they itching uncontrollably? Is the climate changing? Getting to the root of the problem is the first step in being able to fix it.
Once the cause of the excessive shedding is determined, we highly recommend considering all-natural ways to treat Fido. From ensuring they have the best diet possible to adding a supplement such as CBD, we are confident that the excessive shedding won’t be an issue for long.