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Having a pet is easily one of the most wonderful experiences that you could ever be fortunate enough to have. Most pet owners would agree that it’s an opportunity that enriches their lives tremendously. Unfortunately, it can also cause a fair amount of worry, especially when you realize that something isn’t quite right with your best friend. One of the biggest concerns most pet parents have is excessive dog hair loss.
If you are a dog owner, you might have noticed that your dog is starting to lose its hair. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than routine shedding but at other times, it’s obvious that there’s something else involved that could potentially be more serious. By the same token, she might be losing hair in just one spot or it could be hair loss that happens all over her body. The question is, how do you know when it’s time to start being concerned about the situation? When does the hair loss stop being about regular shedding and become something more? When is it time to take your dog to the veterinarian and when can you use home remedies to deal with the situation?
Is Your Dog’s Hair Loss Just Regular Shedding?
There’s a better than average chance that your dog’s hair loss problem is indeed associated with regular shedding. Of course, that isn’t always the case but you have to rule that out before you can start considering other possibilities. If your dog is losing more hair than usual, it might be associated with the time of year. Different breeds shed differently, but it’s important to remember that on average, your dog will usually start shedding as the weather gets warmer because they’re trying to get rid of all of that excess hair. By the same token, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for a dog to start shedding again as the weather begins to change, even during cooler times of the year. It’s largely because they’re constantly growing new hair and as such, the old hair will eventually be shed away.
Seasonal shedding is especially true for dogs that have a very thick undercoat such as Border Collies, Australian shepherds, Huskies, and Malamutes. These types of dogs have a thick undercoat and then an outer coat on top of it. When they start to shed their undercoat, dog hair has a tendency to wind up everywhere because they are shedding at such an excessive rate that you probably feel like you can’t keep up with it all, even if you are constantly vacuuming and brushing your dog on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s abnormal. In fact, shedding is a perfectly normal thing that most dog owners experience. If you’re concerned you need to know how to stop dogs from shedding excessively.
Does Excessive Shedding Mean That Your Dog Is Ill?
If you have a dog that is experiencing excessive shedding, there can be a number of reasons that it’s happening. Typically, it’s a direct result of some type of change in her environment. She may be experiencing an overwhelming amount of stress and that can in turn cause her to lose more hair than normal. If she’s already in a shedding cycle, it can make it far worse. It can also cause her to start shedding even when she hasn’t been doing so in the days or weeks leading up to the event.
Virtually any change in her routine can cause this, as dogs have a tendency to thrive on routine and they don’t necessarily respond well when that routine is interrupted. If you’ve moved to a new house or someone inside your home has gone away to college, this can trigger a shedding episode. A new addition to the family or even getting a new pet can also cause it. Believe it or not, something as seemingly benign as having company over more often than usual or starting a new job that entails a slightly different schedule can be enough to cause your dog to start shedding excessively. That’s because something that might seem like a relatively minor change to your routine can seem like a monumental change to your dog and it can cause enough stress to cause excessive hair loss. This is especially true if you have a dog that already has a tendency to be slightly neurotic. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety (there are ways on how to help dogs with separation anxiety) or that get very hyped up over relatively small things are far more likely to experience excessive hair loss as a direct result of any change in their routine, no matter how small it might be.
Hair Loss That Isn’t Associated With Shedding
Are there times when you might start to notice that your dog is losing hair that isn’t associated with typical shedding? Of course, it can happen. If you notice that it is happening, the first thing you have to do is figure out what’s happening to cause it.
There are many things that can cause your dog’s hair to fall out so you have to be aware of what’s going on with her and the situation around her. For example, she might be losing hair because she’s nervous about something, but it could also be because she is experiencing an allergy of some type. Keep in mind, she can be allergic to anything from the grass that she rolls in when she’s outside to the food that she’s eating. The truth of the matter is that dogs often have a tendency to be allergic to a lot more things than people think they are and this can inadvertently cause you to place your dog directly in harm’s way.
If your pup’s never had a problem with her hair falling out before, it might be because she’s been exposed to something different. Have you recently changed to a different type of food or did you plant some new grass seed? If it’s not readily apparent why she’s losing her hair, then it’s probably a good idea to make a trip to your veterinarian just so you can figure out what’s going on. Excessive hair loss can also be caused by a number of physical conditions, so it’s imperative that you rule those conditions out and make sure that your dog is healthy. The best way to do that is through a thorough physical exam. It’s also a good idea to have a blood test done just so you can rule out anything that could potentially be missed without one.
What About Hair Loss In Only One Spot?
What happens if your dog starts losing hair in one spot? If she isn’t losing hair anywhere else, then it’s probably because of some type of issue that she’s having in the one spot that’s being affected. This can be anything from a skin issue to an injury that’s become infected. In some cases, it can also be systemic. If she’s losing hair in one spot and you can’t figure out why then you should go ahead and make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Fortunately, there are also some at-home remedies that you can try, but it’s important to remember that if you don’t see a dramatic improvement after a week or so then it’s time to let your veterinarian sort things out before the condition gets worse than it already is. More information will be discussed about specific home remedies in the frequently asked questions section of this article. For now, you need to know that at-home treatment is fine as long as you’re seeing an improvement and your dog doesn’t seem like the affected area is really bothering her. However, if she starts to lick or bite at that area excessively, then it’s time to get her seen so you can get to the bottom of things and figure out what’s actually happening.
Can Hot Spots Cause Hair Loss?
Sometimes your dog will get what is frequently known as a hotspot. Essentially, this refers to a part of the skin that has become irritated for one reason or another. It can happen because of an allergic reaction, as has already been discussed. In addition, it can also be the result of a scratch or a bite that your dog has exacerbated by constantly scratching or biting at the itchy skin. In some cases, it can be the direct result of dry skin, especially if your dog has a tendency to scratch that particular spot frequently. The more that she scratches, the more irritated the skin becomes, and before you know it, your dog’s skin is inflamed and the hair is falling out because the hair follicles are no longer healthy. In some cases, this is something that can be treated with over-the-counter remedies and in other cases, it becomes severe enough that it is necessary to make a trip to your veterinarian. It really depends on the reason that it’s happening, how severe it is, and how well your dog responds to treatment. You can certainly learn how to treat your dog’s hot spots at home. Of course, it should go without saying that it also depends on any additional medical conditions that your dog might have which could affect how well any given treatment works. To a certain extent, your dog’s age also plays a certain role.
Again, the best thing to remember is that if you try an over-the-counter remedy and it doesn’t work after a few days (a week at the most), then it’s time to let your veterinarian take a look . This rule of thumb is also true if the condition keeps getting worse or if it starts to improve, only to get worse yet again.
As you can see, there are a lot of different reasons that your dog’s hair could be falling out. It can range from everything from a bona fide medical condition to stress and anxiety. There are times when something as simple as changing your dog’s food or even feeding a treat that you haven’t previously fed can cause a problem. At other times, it’s related to some type of physical ailment that your dog has which needs to be addressed.
As previously mentioned, it’s fine to try at-home remedies but it’s also important to closely watch your dog and make sure that she is seen by your veterinarian if the natural remedies aren’t working within just a few days of starting treatment.
If you’re still wondering about a few questions that you might have or you have a question about a specific at-home remedy such as coconut oil, continue reading the frequently asked questions section. It might help you gain a little more insight on why your dog is losing her hair and what you can do to help make things better for her.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I give my dog for hair loss?
If you’re wondering what you can do at home because your dog is losing her hair, there are several different courses of action that you can potentially take. Try giving her a bath with medicated shampoo and then apply some topical treatment to the affected area that is made specifically for dogs. If the hair loss seems to be occurring all over, it might be a good idea to include an oral supplement that can be added to her food, one that is designed to minimize shedding and other types of hair loss. These can be found at any pet food store worth visiting so if you get confused about the options available to you, ask to speak with someone there that can help guide you. If you still have specific concerns about adding supplements, don’t hesitate to speak to your veterinarian before doing so.
How can I get my dog’s hair to grow back?
Typically, doing the things that are listed in the above paragraph will help your dog’s hair grow back. That said, it sometimes takes a while for this to happen. In addition, it might be necessary to start bathing her with a medicated shampoo on a weekly basis as well as including other types of treatment in order to successfully grow her hair back. It will largely depend on exactly what is causing the hair loss and how well your dog is responding to whatever treatment regimen you and your veterinarian have decided on.
How can I stop my dog’s hair from falling out?
The first thing you have to do is figure out why your dog’s hair is falling out in the first place. Is it something that can be treated with a topical treatment or oral medication? On the other hand, is it due to stress and anxiety or a change in routine? Once you figure out why it’s happening, it’s a lot easier to target that particular cause in order to stop it from continuing.
Is coconut oil good for hair loss in dogs?
You might be surprised to know that coconut oil is indeed good for hair loss in dogs. You don’t necessarily want your dog to lick excessive oil from her hair, but there are topical treatments as well as shampoos that include coconut oil which can be used. Coconut oil makes the hair healthier and fuller by keeping the hair follicles healthy. That in turn can minimize shedding and even help grow back some hair that’s already fallen out.
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