How much hair should my dog be shedding?

We all love our dogs, but sometimes we don’t love the amount of fur they leave behind them! Find out why your dog sheds their coat and how to tell if your dog’s shedding is normal, or a cause for concern.

Shedding is a natural process, but sometimes it might seem that the amount of fur coming off your dog is never-ending! Some breeds seem to shed a lot all year round while others shed hardly anything at all. The key is to know what’s normal for your dog, which will make it easier to spot if there’s a potential problem.

Why do dogs shed fur?

All dogs, apart from naturally bald or hairless breeds, shed their fur over time. This natural process is their body’s way of replacing old, dead, or damaged fur with new fur. Some breeds shed more than others and this is often more noticeable in the spring or autumn. During these times of year, their thick winter coat gets replaced by a lighter summer version, or vice versa. This is typically the case for double-coated, heavy-shedding breeds including:

Each dog’s shedding is affected by a range of different factors, including things like heat and light. If you move regions you may find your dog’s shedding patterns change as a result. Shedding can also be affected by anxiety, stress, pregnancy, and certain health conditions.

Why do short-haired dogs shed hair?

Dogs with naturally short or thin coats like Greyhounds still shed their fur. It’s just less noticeable than in breeds with a thicker coat. The reason for this shedding is exactly the same though — to replace old fur with new.

Do hypoallergenic dog breeds shed fur?

The popularity of hypoallergenic dogs has exploded, but are these breeds really that different to regular dogs? The answer is no. Often, the term hypoallergenic is used to describe breeds like Poodles and Poodle crosses such as Cavapoos, Cockapoos and Labradoodles. But these breeds still shed, albeit less than some other breeds. It’s just that any fur that does fall out is trapped within their springy, curly coat rather than falling to the floor.

In addition, dog fur isn’t responsible for most allergic reactions in people anyway. While some people are allergic to fur, the majority of dog allergies are actually triggered by the proteins found in a dog’s saliva and dander (the dead skin cells they shed naturally). Research has shown that even so-called hypoallergenic breeds have the potential to trigger allergic reactions in many allergy sufferers.

How do I know if my dog is shedding too much?

It’s a good idea to take note of how much fur your dog sheds normally. Then you can tell the difference between these normal levels of shedding and heavy hair loss. Keep an eye out for any other indications of excessive hair loss including scratching, bald patches, or inflamed skin. Unusual shedding patterns, or the loss of clumps of fur, can be a sign of an underlying problem, including:

  • Allergies (from shampoos or cleaning products, for example)
  • Certain medical conditions, including cancer, kidney disease and liver conditions
  • Fleas
  • Mange
  • Poor nutrition
  • Side-effects of medication
  • Skin infections
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Sunburn

If you’re concerned that your dog is losing more fur than normal, speak to your vet for advice. They’ll be able to run any necessary tests and offer expert advice for your specific situation.

How can I stop my dog from shedding so much fur?

For seasonal shedding, keeping up a regular grooming routine will help remove as much dead fur as possible and prevent matting. How often you need to groom your dog will depend on their breed and the time of year.

During spring, some breeds like Huskies ‘blow’ their coat as they shed their winter coat for their summer coat. At this time, daily brushing sessions and even a trip to the groomer can help control the amount of fur that is shed. For other breeds you may decide to schedule regular grooming sessions and keep their coat clipped short for easy maintenance.

Dealing with piles of shed fur is one of the less enjoyable aspects of dog ownership. Establishing a regular grooming routine not only helps keep shedding in check, but it’s also the perfect time to bond with your dog as you keep their skin and coat in great condition.

If you’ve got any tips on how to keep shedding under control, let us know. Share your advice on social media using #PethoodStories and help other dog owners keep their dog’s shedding in check.

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