Most dog owners know that shedding fur and lost hair is part of the whole pet-owning process. As it is a normal occurrence, most people don’t see the signs that the loss of hair is becoming irregular.
If your dog sheds its hair regularly as usual, you don't need to worry too much. Keep using pet hair remover tools to clean the dog fur in your home and then enjoy you time. However, a dog losing excessive hair can be a sign of problems that the canine is going through. Detecting these signs and treating them allows the dogs to be their lovable, playful, and loyal selves.
Let’s find out why your dog is losing hair and what the possible reasons are.
Why Dogs Shed Hair?
Before we get into it, let’s first explore why dogs lose hair in the first place.
The first reason is the “season”. As the seasons come and go, dogs react to the temperature changes by shedding their hair. As winter blows in, their coats get thicker to battle the cold. Then, when spring comes, they shed to avoid feeling so hot.
This is a cyclical action that is part of their survival mechanisms.
Some dog breeds will have thicker coats than others. As such, breeds like Labrador retrievers and corgis will grow double coats. This means that they will be shedding double coats too.
The final reason why dogs shed hair is to keep it clean and untangled. Longer fur tends to cause knots and tangles that don’t feel good for our canine companions. Shedding is a natural way to avoid this.
How to Know if They Shed Too Much?
With the natural reasons for shedding out of the way, let’s move on to understanding the signs of shedding too much.
Balding on any part of a dog’s body is a natural sign that they are losing hair at an alarming rate. This is especially the case if your dog has never had bald spots on their bodies at all.
Another way to tell is by employing the eye test. Pay close attention to your house and see whether the hair accumulating on furniture, floors, bedding and anywhere else is too much. If you have had your dog for a while, you’ll be able to tell what is normal shedding and what is too much.
Now that we know why they shed hair and how to spot signs if they have shed too much, let’s address the question, “why is my dog losing hair excessively?”
Why Dogs Shed Excessively?
The first possible reason for excessive shedding is an infection. Infections of the skin are a common occurrence in dogs and can be the root cause of their hair loss.
There are various types of infections that your dog could be suffering from. The most common ones include:
- Hot spots
- Yeast infections
A hot spot is an infection that starts when your dog scratches or licks itself excessively. This creates an open wound that is susceptible to bacteria. As the infection grows, so does the irritation, causing your dog to scratch even more. This creates a never-ending cycle that will result in hair loss and balding patches.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects both dogs and humans. It is characterized by itchy, scaly patches that can appear anywhere on the body. The hair in the areas affected will start to thin out and eventually fall out.
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. These can be uncomfortable for dogs and will cause them to scratch a lot. This, in turn, leads to hair loss.
If you think that your dog has an infection, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe the necessary medication.
Another reason why your dog might be losing hair excessively is parasites. Parasites are small organisms that live off of other animals, including dogs. The most common parasites that affect dogs are:
Fleas are small, wingless insects that live off of the blood of animals. They are a common problem for dogs and can cause a lot of irritation. Fleas will bite your dog, causing them to scratch and itch a lot. This can lead to hair loss and bald patches.
Ticks are small, eight-legged parasites that attach themselves to animals to feed on their blood. Ticks can transmit diseases from one animal to another and can cause a lot of irritation. Dogs will often try to remove ticks by biting or scratching at them, which can lead to hair loss.
Mites are tiny parasites that live on the skin of animals. They can cause a lot of irritation and make dogs scratch a lot. This can lead to hair loss and bald patches.
If you think that your dog has parasites, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe the necessary medication.
Allergies are another possible reason for excessive shedding in dogs. Allergies can be caused by anything from pollen to food and everything in between. When a dog is allergic to something, its immune system overreacts and causes a variety of symptoms. One of them is bald spots.
The most common allergies include wheat, dairy, soy, beef, and chicken.
Nutrition problems can also lead to excessive shedding in dogs. If your dog is not getting the right nutrients, its coat can become dry and brittle. This can cause the hair to break and fall out. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can also lead to hair loss. These include vitamin A, B-vitamins, and zinc.
If you think that your dog’s diet is lacking in essential nutrients, it’s important to talk to your vet. They will be able to recommend food that is right for your dog.
A Hairy Problem
Your dog losing hair should not be instantly alarming. It is a normal occurrence that most, if not all, dogs go through. However, there are times when they lose hair too much. This causes a hairy problem that could be a sign of more problems taking place underneath.
Be sure to pay attention to your home and your dog. It is important to see the warning signs early on so that any underlying problems can be caught and treated immediately.