Some dogs shed on and off during shedding season while others shed almost evenly throughout the year. Though it is very normal it’s not fun having a layer of fur on the sofa, the carpet and the floor. So, how do we treat hair fall in dogs? Let’s find out!
Hair Fall in Dogs – Why Is My Dog Shedding?
Before we look into some remedies for hair fall in dogs, it’s important to understand why they are shedding in the first place. Once we know what is causing the problem, we can help them treat it.
1. Change of season
This is perhaps the most common reason for shedding in dogs. There is usually nothing to worry about if your dog naturally sheds during certain times of the year.
Any allergy can trigger hair fall. The most common is pollen allergy but food allergies can also cause hair fall.
Protein allergy is rare in dogs but it is important to try new and healthy dog food formulas in small quantities. This will allow us to react immediately if they have any negative reaction.
Hairloss from allergies may exhibit other symptoms like redness and dry patchy skin.
3. Nutritional Deficiency
If you give your dog a wholesome formula they shouldn’t have nutritional deficiencies. Some marketed dog foods are nutritionally deficient and this may cause deficiencies.
Other symptoms of deficiencies include stunted growth, poor eyesight, sluggishness and weak bones.
This is usually an external problem. If there is a major change in their lifestyle they may get stressed. Every dog is different and anything can cause them to stress out. Things like:
- Death of a family member
- New family member (human or dog)
- New furniture
Can cause stress. Stress works the same way for dogs and humans.
When we’re stressed, we produce large amounts of cortisol – the flight or fight hormone. This hormone puts the body in conservation mode because it is prepared to go without food for a few days. Fat is stored in the stomach, and blood supply to the skin is restricted so that the vital organs get a constant supply of blood. This is why they start to get hair fall.
Certain illnesses can cause hair to fall. They are:
- Infections – the most common of it is UTI in dogs
- Kidney problems
- Cushing’s Disease
If the illness is the main reason for hair fall, you may see them loosing too much hair for a long period of time. You may also notice other symptoms like excessive thirst and hunger (which is common in diabetes), weight loss, excessive licking (common in infections), pain, weight gain/loss, sudden weight gain around the belly (common in Cushing’s disease) etc.
The side effects of certain medicines lead to hair fall. A higher dose of hormonal medications often have severe side effects and hair fall is one of them.
7. Ticks and Fleas
Dogs with ticks and fleas will itch their skin often and you will see loose hair flying out in all direction.
8. Intestinal Parasites
Just like ticks, fleas and parasite thrive on the blood and nutrition in their food. When these parasites start to suck their blood, the supply to the skin is constricted. Hence it affects the quality of their skin and fur.
How To Treat Hair fall In Dogs?
Now that we know what is causing the hair fall, we can treat it more effectively. Here are some general protocols that you can follow to keep the hair fall at bay.
Dogs can be heavy to moderate shedders. When shedding season is around the corner, start brushing them twice a day. There are special de-shedding brushes available for heavy shedders. It removes loose and tangled dead hair and allows healthy hair to grow.
Almost all shedding problems are solved by brushing them twice a day. Brushing will get rid of all the loose strands of hair and keep your house clean.
2. Remove Allergens
If allergies are the root cause of hair fall, you must identify what is causing the allergy. Make a list of everything they do on a daily basis – this should include everything from what they eat to where they go to poop. Also, make a note of the time the allergy is most common.
Try to replace each element every week and see if it causes a difference. For instance, if your dog eats chicken every day, gradually change them to another formula and see if that makes a difference. Likewise, you can take a different route, one that doesn’t have grass for a week and see if that changes the allergic reaction.
This is a slow, calculated method, but it will definitely help you identify what is causing the allergy. If the hair fall and inflammation persists, you should show your vet.
This is not needed when you are giving your dog the best dog food available near you, you may not need supplements. But supplements are important for dogs with continuous hair fall. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are commonly found in fish oil and is great for their skin and fur.
You can drizzle a bit of fish oil on their food. It usually works as a great taste enhancer as well.
4. Remove Stress
If it’s stress-related, you must identify and address it immediately. Identifying the stress may not be the hard part but addressing is. Usually different stressful reactions have different remedies. Some may need a simple fix, while others will need consistent training.
5. Coconut/Olive Oil Massage
A 100% natural cold-pressed coconut/olive oil massage will increase blood circulation around the surface of the skin and will encourage blood flow. Coconut oil is also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, hence it keeps ticks and fleas. So, it helps them in more than one ways.
6. Flea and Tick Care
If your dog has really long fur you should check for fleas and ticks at least once a day when, preferably after a walk; that’s when fleas and ticks are most common. You can also use flea and tick repellants to keep them at bay.
7. Timely De-worming
Typically, an adult dog should be dewormed once every 3-4 months. De-worming prevents a host of health problem and reduced hair fall is just one of many advantages.
8. Talk To A Vet
Typically if they are shedding too much hair for more than a week you should consult a vet. Other reason for consulting a vet for hair loss includes:
- Gradual thinning of hair
- Hair loss causing patches in the skin
- Other symptoms like weight loss, mood swings etc
Doctors can asses their health and also check their medications (if they are having any) and address the issue.
Hair fall may not seem like a serious problem. But extra nutrition is always sent to the fur. Hence a luscious coat is always a sign of good health. That is why when your dog suddenly looses too much hair, their body is giving out signals. If we pay attention to these signals and take timely action, we can save our dogs from a lot worse.