Put Down The Vacuum And Shed The Stress! Understanding And Treating Your Dog's Excessive Shedding

Bringing a dog into your home and family can be a wonderful thing. However, many new dog owners struggle with the overwhelming tasks to ensure their dog remains healthy and happy. From the cost and responsibility of feeding to the challenge of potty-training, it is easy to see new dog owners may experience stress. Unfortunately, one problem that affects many pet parents is shedding. Dog hair is lightweight, so it can easily accumulate on your furniture, flooring, and clothing. Although it coats surfaces quickly, dog hair can be difficult to remove.

If your dog is shedding excessively, it may be time to put down the vacuum. Using this guide, you and your vet can determine the cause of your dog's excessive shedding and find the best option for treatment.

Possible Causes

It is important to note that most dog breeds shed all through the year. In addition, many will shed their coats seasonally and some breeds shed excessively even in perfect health. However, if your dog's shedding seems outside the normal realm, it may stem from the following issues:

  • Allergies – Your dog may be allergic to an ingredient in their food or their shampoo. Unfortunately, allergy testing is the only way to receive a definite answer on a possible allergy. If your dog is allergic to an ingredient or chemical, you will need to find an alternative option.
  • Hormonal Imbalances – As with humans, your dog's hormones may change with time. Hypothyroidism, a condition affecting the thyroid gland, is actually very common in dogs. The condition causes your dog's hair to be brittle and fall out.
  • Skin Problems – Considering many dogs spend a large portion of time outdoors, they are susceptible to a variety of skin problems. Dermatitis, ringworm, mites, bacterial infections, and fungal infections will cause your dog to scratch, leading to hair loss.
  • Stress – While surprising to hear, stress can also affect your dog physically.  Loneliness, worry, fear, and pain can all lead to continuous stress and excessive shedding.

Possible Treatments

Once you understand why your dog is shedding so much, you and your vet can work on a treatment plan.

While the treatment process may require some trial and error, replacing foods, shampoos, and other belongings that contain allergens is imperative. For dogs with hormonal imbalances, skin infections, or chronic anxiety, your vet will need to prescribe medication to prevent heavy shedding.

Treatment for your dog should revolve around their specific issue, but proper diet, bathing, and grooming is helpful, too. Here are a few tips that will help your dog's coat and reduce their shedding:

  • Brush – If time permits, brush your dog each day. Brushing the coat will remove dead follicles and weak strands, but increase the shine and strength of their hair. Be sure to use a brush designed for their specific coat. For example, bristle brushes are best for all types of coats. Wire-pin brushes are perfect for dogs with medium to long or curly-haired coats. Lastly, if your dog's coat is prone to mats and tangles, use a slicker brush.
  • Supplement – Even the highest quality food may not have sufficient fatty acids. To increase the strength, shine, and health of your dog's skin and coat, supplement with an Omega 3 fatty acid. Coconut oil is a great option, as well. Mixing a teaspoon of organic coconut oil with every cup of your dog's food offers incredible benefits. Not only is coconut oil loaded with fatty acids, but it is also antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. These supplements are available at most pet stores, but a vet clinic like Pet Medical Center – Full Service Veterinary Care may also offer them.

Your dog does not have to be a cause of stress for your home and family. Using this guide on excessive shedding causes and treatment, you can put the vacuum away and stress less.