Fort Lauderdale, FL Pet Owners: Why is Your Dog Excessively Shedding?
With so many dog breeds in the world, it comes as no surprise that some breeds shed more than others. However, as their pet owner, it is important for you to know when their shedding is a normal aspect of their breed or when it has come to point where it could be indicating a bigger issue.
With that in mind, the following are some reasons your dog is shedding excessively in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding areas.
Seasonal Shifts Cause More Shedding
If you notice that the amount of fur in your house has quadrupled as you move from season to season, then look to further than your furry friend shedding some of their seasonal weight. Your dog, even it is an indoor-only animal or if you live in a warm climate like Ft. Lauderdale, will still grow some level of winter coat.
And this coat will need to be shed as the weather starts to heat up. So, while it may be annoying to clean up, at least there will be an end in sight!
Stress Can Cause Your Dog to Shed Excessively
Sometimes, a dog might shed because of stress. One of a dog’s first responses to an anxiety-inducing situation, after panting, is to begin shedding. Adrenaline, or Epinephrine as it’s known among the scientific community, is one of the primary stress hormones within a dog.
Some people suspect that shedding may be a natural defense mechanism of some kind, but the jury is still out on a definitive answer. So, while the connection between an Epinephrine release and shedding is unclear, the results speak for themselves. Stress = shedding.
This type of shedding could affect your dog in one-time, situational circumstances. Like a trip to the vet, a new situation in their home, or taking them to a behavioral class where they are surrounded by strangers. However, if you are noticing that your dog seems to be ‘blowing their coat’ on a regular basis, it’s probably time to take them to the vet.
Poor Nutrition and Increased Shedding
Extreme hair loss could be a symptom of either a poor or ill-fitting diet. And, frequently you can prevent shedding and improve your dog’s coat by providing them with the proper food. Omega fatty acids, vitamin A, and zinc are all important parts of your dog’s diet that help keep their coat healthy and strong. Most quality pet food manufactures work to include these ingredients in your dog’s food, but sometimes pet food isn’t a one size fits all situation.
You may need to experiment to see which brand works best for your animal, or, you could even look into getting some supplements for your dog if you feel they just aren’t getting the vitamins they need from their daily meals.
There is also a chance that maybe your dog is having some type of allergic reaction to something in the food, or they just have a sensitive stomach. Either of these situations could result in your dog shedding so if you notice it’s a continuous issue don’t be afraid to shop around and try a few brands until you find one that your dog can handle.
Allergies and Fur Loss for Dogs in Ft. Lauderdale
As mentioned above, it is possible that your dog may be having an allergic reaction that is causing them to shed excessively. They could allergic to a wide range of things, their food, shampoo, a household cleaner, or even pest bites that they are having a particularly strong reaction to. They could be having an allergic reaction to something inside their system — meaning they ate or inhaled it.
Or, they could be having an allergic reaction to an external problem. So, something their skin or fur came in contact with. In the case of an allergic reaction, you will mostly likely need to consult with a vet to get the problem fixed, as you’ll have to remove all allergens from your pet’s life and then reintroduce them one by one until you figure out which one was causing the problem.
Skin Conditions Can Lead to Over-Shedding
Your dog could also have a skin condition that is resulting in fur loss. This condition could be a range of things like dermatitis, mites, bacterial or fungal infections, ringworm, and more. If a skin condition is the underlying problem, your dog is likely to be losing hair in patches and clumps, revealing rough or sensitive skin underneath.
Sicknesses That Can Cause Excessive Shedding for Dogs
There is a wide range of sicknesses or infections that could result in excessive shedding in dogs. We’ll go over the most common types below.
If your dog has cancer, the sickness could cause them to shed either from stress or fatigue, and if they are receiving chemo treatments, then just like humans, they can experience hair loss.
Similar to battling cancer, a dog with an immune disease could shed as a symptom of the stress and fatigue their body is under. They may also have a difficult time directing the necessary nutrients to support their coat while their immune system is compromised.
Pregnancy or Lactation
Both being pregnant and lactating can drain your dog of some of the normal nutrients they use to support a healthy coat, like calcium and other minerals.
Kidney, Liver, Adrenal, Thyroid or Cushing’s Disease
All of these diseases could cause your dog to shed an excessive amount because all of these sicknesses involve toxins spreading around your dog’s body and therefore leaching the nutrients out of your dogs coat as their body tries to fight the sickness and protect their main organs.
A parasite can leach nutrients from your dog. Either from their skin directly—resulting in hair loss—or an internal or intestinal parasite would affect their immune system or the internal organs causing them to draw vitamins away from their coat to attempt to fight off the infection.
Issues with the production of hormones from their thyroid can cause hair to become brittle and fall out. And the over or under-production of progesterone, testosterone or estrogen can cause excess shedding.
Self-Induced Trauma Due to Licking
In cases of boredom, pain or anxiety your dog my lick or groom themselves to the point where they create bald patches in their fur by licking down to the skin.
Reddened, warm or, flaking skin all points to a sunburned dog. If the sunburn is severe enough, your dog can experience hair loss around the burned skin.
Other Warning Signs Related to Excessive Shedding in Dogs
Along with all those medical issues, you should also keep an eye out for these following warning signs that can come along with excessive shedding:
- Bald patches or clumps of missing hair
- Dry and brittle fur
- Fur that is easily breakable
- Uneven shedding
- Hair loss in tandem with another skin issue
- If the skin is tender around the balding area
All of these symptoms could be additional signs, along with the shedding, that your dog has a larger medical issue afoot and that you should consider taking them into the vet to get looked at.