Do healthy dogs normally shed hair?

April 13, 2012

Dog hair on the floor, dog hair on the furniture… dog hair clinging on the clothes and still some more dog hair decorating the car seat… dog hair is everywhere! Some are even floating on your drink. Dog shedding can really be a problem but you should have thought about this concern before you have decided to get a dog for a pet. Shedding is a part of a dog’s life. No matter what a pet shop owner or a dog breeder say, all dogs shed. Compared to short haired dogs, long haired and double coated breeds would appear to shed more. Some breeds would be heavy shedders and others would hardly lose hair but the bottom line is that all breeds of dogs shed. Obviously, hairless breeds are not included as these dogs would have no hair to shed.

Shedding is a normal process that allows the growth of the new coat. Some dog breeds are seasonal shedders. Other breeds will shed all year long. In summer, the dog’s system will react to a stimulus triggered by the hot weather. The heavy winter coat will be released by the hair follicle to give way for the emergence of a new lighter coat that is more ideal for the hot summer months. At the onset of the cold months, dogs will again shed heavily. A new thicker coat will be grown to allow the dog to withstand the cold winter months. These seasonal shedders though would shed moderately all year long if allowed to live with the family in temperature controlled homes.

Human hair grows continuously. This is not so with canines as human’s best friends grow hair in cycles. There are four phases in a dog’s hair growth cycle. The Anagen or the growing phase is characterized by the growth of new hair. This phase will be followed by the Catagen or the transitional phase where hair growth stops. Telogen phase is the resting period. In this phase the hair will neither grow now shed. Exogen is the phase where the hair is shed and the follicles fall back into the anagen phase to grow new hair. Spring and fall will prompt the dog’s system to blow coat. Old hair will be shed and new hair will be grown. The hair growth of dogs is an unending cycle.

To maintain the health and the wellbeing of the pet, owners would provide their four legged companions with premium quality nutritious food. A dog with healthy, shiny and vibrant looking coat will certainly attract attention. As shedding is a process that eliminates damaged unhealthy hair, does this mean that healthy dogs would not shed? The answer of course is no. All dogs, healthy or unhealthy would shed. However there are situations and conditions that influence the shedding process of a dog. A diet that is low in nutrients, skin infections, allergies and other health concerns can cause the dog to shed excessively.

Although shedding is a normal process, excessive shedding can be resolved. A vet consult is necessary for the administration of treatments for excessive hair loss caused by health issues. The pet owner on the other hand has an important role in conquering excessive shedding. To maintain the overall good health of the pet, good nutrition, proper grooming and regular exercise will be necessary. As mentioned, good quality food results to impressive healthy looking hair. A dog that is deprived of the essential nutrients will have a coarse, brittle and damaged hair that is shed heavily. Proper grooming not only lessens the amount of hair inside the house but also enhances blood circulation in the skin. Grooming also distributes the natural oils that maintain the health of the coat.

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