Shedding is how dogs get rid of their damaged or old fur, and when this happens your home and new pants can get covered in sticky hard-to-brush dog hair. In this blog, our Lafayette vets discuss how you can keep your dog from excessively shedding as well as the importance of dog grooming.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs shed naturally because it's essential for the health of their fur and skin. Shedding helps them get rid of any fur that they no longer need or had become damaged. An example is when dogs grow larger coats of fur in the winter to keep them warm and then shed it in the summer months to keep their body temperature regulated. The amount of fur your dog sheds will depend on their breed, the size of their coat, as well as the season.
Dog breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, German Sheppard, Bernese mountain dog, Siberian Huskey, and other dogs with lots of fluffy furs will shed more often than dogs with smaller coats that produce less dander such as the Bichon Frise, Maltese, or poodle.
When Should I Worry About My Dog's Shedding?
Though sometimes dogs can shed a lot naturally if you notice any signs of skin irritation ( red bumps, rashes), excessive scratching, balding, open sores, or severe coat thinning you need to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible so they can diagnose your dog's condition.
Below we have listed some of the medical reasons why your dog could be shedding excessively:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Fungal or bacterial infection
- Diseases such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, or liver disease
- A reaction to medications
How Can I Keep My Dog From Shedding So Much?
It's impossible to stop a dog from shedding altogether but, there are ways you can keep the messy fur to a minimum.
Groom (brush and wash) your dog regularly according to their specific needs and shedding patterns, using the appropriate brush for their breed and coat type. Every dog has different coat types and diets meaning each has different grooming needs and requirements. You can ask your vet for advice on how often you should brush your dog and the tools you should use. Grooming your dog regularly according to their needs doesn't just minimize shedding, it helps prevent painful matting, allows you to check for ticks/ fleas as well as the other symptoms listed above, and helps distribute the natural oils of their fur, prevents skin irritation, and other health conditions.
You can also take your dog to a professional pet groomer, who has the tools, supplies, and training they need to groom your dog safely and help them look their best. Professional groomers can also spot signs of diseases and skin conditions early, as well as perform the gross cleaning tasks you don't want to do including getting rid of skunk smells and anal gland expressions.
Other ways you can help keep your dog from excessively shedding is to make sure they are drinking enough water to keep their skin hydrated as well as make sure they are eating a healthy diet to help make their hair follicles stronger and more resilient.