What is dog shedding?
Dogs shed hair. We can't get away from it, it's a natural process where your dog is getting rid of his old coat and dead hair to allow his new coat to grow properly.
Causes of Dog Shedding
Seasonality & Temperatures
Most dogs have a seasonal shedding time, usually in spring to get rid of the winter coat. If your dog is an indoor dog, it is likely that he will shed all year round. Some breeds do shed hair more than others and some will have a large moult in the spring and then continue to shed lightly throughout the rest of the warm season. Much depends on the heat levels; the warmer it is the more your dog will shed.
There are two main types of coat that a dog can wear, which depends on its breed. If your dog sheds a lot, chances are she has a double coat. The other possibility is a single coat.
Double-coated dogs have a top coat and an undercoat. The undercoat protects them from cold or water, or both, and tends to fall out with the season. A single coat lacks that undercoat. Typically, these dogs shed lesser. Some single-coated breeds shed a lot, while others only do so minimally. Examples of the former include Dalmatians, and pugs. Those that don't shed very much are poodles, maltese, bichon frises and shih tzus.
Illnesses & Infections
There are other things that can cause shedding though. If your dog's coat still looks healthy despite shedding, then it is likely that it is just a normal moult. However, if your dog is shedding much more than normal or when bald spots start to appear, then there may be an underlying problem. Physical problems that can cause excessive shedding are ringworm, skin infections, cancers, manger, stress, tumors, autoimmune disease and hormonal imbalances. If you suspect that your dog has a physical illness, or bald spots start to appear, you should seek veterinary help.
Poor Diet and Lack of Grooming
Two other causes of shedding are a poor diet and a lack of grooming and bathing of your dog. If a dog's diet is poor, then it is likely to cause him a multitude of problems including loss of hair. Add in skin and coat supplements and you should see an improvement over time. You can buy dog supplements that contain living enzymes that are essential to a dog's body. Without these enzymes, your dog's digestive system is unable to fully absorb all of the nutrients from his meal, resulting in poor nutrition and skin problems.
How To Manage Dog Shedding
Rake-Type Grooming Tools
If the weather is getting warmer, your dog may start to lose its heavy undercoat because he thinks the season is changing. This can be easily remedied. For dogs with heavy fur, the rake type of dog grooming equipment works very well. As this combs through the dog's hair, it reaches the undercoat and grabs the loose underlying layers and pulls them out from under their blanketed top layer. Most of the time the dog will love this because it feels great. He may have been itching before due to the excess hair loss and this will relieve that itchiness. If you do this daily, the shedding will almost seem to disappear.
Groom your dog regularly. Depending on the breed and the time of year, you may need to do it every day, or every other day. Make it a habit!! Choose a pet comb that suits your dog. You need to be able to brush your dog's coat thoroughly without hurting him. At the same time, massage the skin to help blood circulation.
Natural Shampoo & Conditioners
Using a good natural shampoo will also help. Choose one that contains colloidal oatmeal, essential oils and Zinc "PCA", as these will all help your dog's coat to become tangle-free, soft and will also help to heal any problems with the skin. You should not wash your dog every single day as this will remove the natural oils from his coat and cause his skin to become dry and flaky, making the problem worse.
Use a leave in conditioner with the same ingredients as your shampoo between baths. This will help keep your dog's coat smooth and more manageable and the healing process will continue. Use this regularly and the grooming will eventually improve the condition of your dog's coat and lessen shedding. Although a small amount of natural shedding will still occur, we can certainly lessen the amount of dog hair left lying all over the floor and furniture. Most importantly, your dog will feel good!