How To Control Dog Shedding

You are never going to stop your dog from shedding, as this is a natural process where old or damaged hair is shed and then replaced. But you can minimize the amount of dog hair that ends up on your sofa, under your bed and on your shirt!

The amount of hair a dog sheds and the frequency of shedding depends on a number of factors, including the dog’s health, the breed and even the season of the year. Some breeds develop a thick coat over the winter and then shed it in the spring. But even these breeds, if always kept indoors, tend to shed their coats more evenly over the course of the year.

Excessive shedding, including bald patches, is not normal, and could be due to an underlying medical condition, stress or even poor nutrition. Some of these underlying causes could be an infection due to a fungus or bacteria, food allergies, environmental allergies, pregnancy or nursing females, immune disease, cancer, liver or thyroid disease, Cushing’s syndrome (adrenal disease) and parasites such as fleas or mites among others. 

So how do you determine if hair loss is serious and you need to take your dog to the vet? 

Abnormal shedding is usually accompanied by bald spot or noticeable thinning of your dog’s coat, constant scratching, licking or the feet or face rubbing, open sores, red skin that may have bumps, scabs or exhibit a rash and dry, dull hair that pulls loose easily.

If your dog is healthy and doesn’t have any of these symptoms, then the key is regular brushing with a brush suited to his type of coat. Consult your veterinarian or professional groomer for recommendations on the type of brush to buy.

And it goes without saying that if your dog has one or more of these symptoms and they don’t disappear after a week, then a veterinary consult is in order.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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