Shedding As A Natural Function
You may wish to start by refreshing yourself on the characteristics of your dogs breed and the extent to which they traditionally shed. In healthy dogs, shedding is typically a natural way for your dog to rid itself of the old, unneeded and/or damaged hair that makes up its undercoat. Many breeds grow thicker coats as winter progresses, then lose them in the spring to better regulate their body temps. What surprises many pet owners is that sudden hot or cold spells at any time of the year can also kick that process into gear.
As a rule of thumb, your dogs shedding is likely natural and healthy if it occurs uniformly all over the body and doesnt create missing patches of fur. The most common times of the year for dogs to shed? In the spring, as he rids himself of excess insulation for the warmer weather, and in the fall as his new undercoat grows in to protect him from the cold.
Surprisingly, long-haired breeds are not necessarily the biggest shedders. Dogs that do shed most include Akitas, Siberian huskies, Bernese mountain dogs, Boston terriers, chow chows, corgis, Labrador retrievers, Pekingese, German shepherds and Newfoundlands.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Hair Loss
If your dog has a bald spot or her coat is looking thinner than it used to, consider consulting your vet.
You may also want to take a look at the kind of dog food theyre eating, and if the symptoms are mild, exploring some hypoallergenic dog food options to see if that alleviates the issue.
Its also a good idea to slowly eliminate the possible causes above. Checking for fleas in the home, ruling out mange and ensuring your dog has a calm environment may help stop the hair loss.
If you dont see improvement, however, its a good idea to visit your vet to rule out some of the more serious conditions before things get worse.
WebMD recommends that you take your dog to the vet immediately if she has a bald spot in combination with:
Pressure Sores May Limit Hair Growth
Dogs may also lose hair where their elbows and other bony body parts come into contract with the floor and other hard surfaces. Over time, this pressure causes the hair to fall out. The skin will thicken into calluses, which can in turn pressure sores if the calluses crack, become infected, or are otherwise damaged. Dogs that are prone to this condition include:
- Older and middle-aged dogs
- Overweight or naturally bulky dogs
- Lean and naturally bony dogs
Each of these types of dogs tends to put more pressure on their joints.Pressure sores can be easily treated with antibiotics and bracing. You can also use moisturizers and thicker bedding to treat sores and prevent future ones from forming.
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Invest In A Powerful Vacuum
Vacuums, however, cannot reduce your German Shepherd from shedding, but can surely make your life easier in removing the furball around the house.
Trust me, no one on earth can survive the non-stop shedding at home without a powerful vacuum.
Heck yes! It is all too common for GSD owners to own multiple vacuums.
Look for a vacuum that can pick up lots of large clumps of hair without getting clogged. Sometimes it can be a challenging task.
Dont worry, you are not alone.
We have actually asked current GSD owners for their suggestions: Roomba is one the most common vacuum they are using. Check out more suggestions from existing GSD owners in our: Shopping List for Shedding Dogs.
iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal-Empties Itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
What Is A German Shepherds Coat Like
German Shepherds have thick, luxurious, double-layer coats. The fur you see at first glance is the coarse outer coat, which is often the signature black and tan colors.
However, the AKC outlines that German Shepherds can also be white, black, gray, blue, liver, sable, or a variety of bi-color options. These colored outer guard hairs protect your dog from cuts, sunburn, and so on.
Less obvious is their fluffy white inner coat, which is only visible when you part your German Shepherds fur with your hands or a brush. This coat serves as an insulator, growing in thick in the winter to keep your German Shepherd warm and then being replaced by a thinner coat in the summer to provide a natural cooling mechanism.
Historically this was critical since German Shepherds were outside much of the time herding livestock.
Their outer coat is medium to long, and can either be straight or a bit wavy. Most German Shepherds have medium length coats, but theres actually a recessive gene that can cause longer, fluffier hair. In some cases , long-haired German Shepherds have only a single layer coat.
Although the AKC accepts the long-haired variation, its considered a defect but shh, dont tell your extra-floofy German Shepherds that. Hes perfect just the way he is!
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German Shepherd Hair Loss Thats Not Normal
Does your GSD show any of these signs?
Its important to remember that shedding is a normal and necessary function of your dogs life. Regular hair loss is designed to maintain your German Shepherds coat and skin in healthy condition.
But how and when this hair loss takes place depends on your German Shepherds overall health, genetics, and lifestyle. German Shepherds are heavy shedders and their coat requires regular maintenance to show optimum health.
Watch out for hair loss and skin disease that needs to be addressed and treated by your vet.
Ger your dog evaluated by a veterinarian when you see any unusual hair or skin problems.
Hypothyroidism Causes Hair Loss Among Other Things
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesnt produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. Without enough of this hormone, your dogs metabolism will slow to dangerous levels. This can cause hair loss, among other symptoms related to your dogs coat. Other symptoms include:
- Lethargy, exercise intolerance, or generally decreased energy levels
- Mental dullness and a lack of interest in food, toys, and/or people
- Weight gain regardless of diet, potentially resulting in obesity
- An intolerance to hot and cold weather, specifically cold weather
- Changes in the coat and skin, such as skin thickening
This disease commonly affects middle-aged medium and large breeds. Because of this, German Shepherds are at risk. However, they are not a breed that is predisposed to developing this condition. High-risk breeds include: Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers and Golden Retrievers.If you have any of these breeds in addition to your German Shepherd, pay close attention to the symptoms. And remember, although German Shepherds are less likely to be affected by hypothyroidism, they can still be at risk because of their size and age.Hypopituitarism is another congenital disease that is characterized by hair loss, and which may present similar symptoms to hypothyroidism.
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Keep Your Dog As Healthy As Possible
While there is little you can do to reduce the amount of fur that sheds during the seasonal blowout, there are some things you can do to reduce how much your German Shepherd sheds the rest of the year. One of the things you can do is to keep your dog as healthy as possible.
A top suggestion is to spend a little extra money feeding your dog a higher-quality diet. Why?
Cheap dog food is the equivalent of junk food for humans. It includes poor-quality ingredients and lots of filler that may keep your dog full but dont have much nutritional value.
If you arent already aware of the health problems that people who eat too much junk food can face, check out the documentary Super Size Me. Dogs can suffer many of the same health problems, and shedding is one more side effect of eating a low-quality diet.
Another way to reduce how much your dog sheds is to keep them on a flea and tick preventative, such as Seresto or Frontline Plus. Flea infestations can cause intense itching, and the more your GSD scratches themselves, the more loose hair theyll kick out of their fur and into the air of your home.
One overlooked cause of itching in dogs is food allergies. If your vet has ruled out fleas or skin problems, food allergies may be causing your dog to be itchier than usual. Some ingredients that are more likely to cause allergies in dogs include grains, corn, beef, and chicken.
The Causes Behind Excessive Shedding
There are myriad reasons why a dog or cat sheds excessively. One of the first things to do if it occurs is to look at the animals hair. Does it have a healthy sheen? Does the skin beneath the fur appear normal, or is it flaky, dry, or discolored?
Feeding an Imbalanced Diet
The number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet, said Cruzen. People go to discount stores, by a 40-pound bag of cheap food, and then see their pets shedding increase. Even though the food meets the minimum quality requirements, it may not have enough protein or nutrients for your pet.
Although you shouldnt buy the cheapest pet food, you also dont need to spend $8 a pound, said Cruzen. A quality pet food generally costs about $4 a pound, he estimated.
Besides the quality of food, the number one pet peeve I have is giving pets gluten-free diets, said Pete Lands, DVM, of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. A grain-free diet may actually cause health issues in the pet, said Lands. There are very few breeds that are gluten intolerant.
Using the Wrong Shampoo
If the pet sheds excessively but you dont believe food quality, intolerance, or allergies are to blame, consider grooming.
I cringe when people tell me they use their own shampoo on animals, said Mouser. Its too harsh on their skin and coats.
Stress at Home
If eliminating or lessening the stress does not help, a veterinarian will consider the judicious use of drugs, supplements, and even acupuncture, said Cruzen.
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The Truth About Dog Allergies
Its not actually dog fur which causes those with allergies to suffer symptoms.
Its inhaling tiny airborne protein molecules that are in their saliva, urine, and dander that creates breathing problems.
All dogs produce these allergens, including those thought of as hypoallergenic.
This 2011 study found no difference in the amount of allergen in homes with so-called hypoallergenic dogs compared to homes with other dog breeds.
The truth is, every dog is unique, with their own distinct chemical makeup.
And our immune systems are exclusive to us as individuals.
So what triggers a persons allergies may be the singular dog and not the entire breed.
The only way to know for sure if a dog will produce allergy symptoms is to spend time with them in different environments.
How Is Seborrhea Treated
Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause. If no underlying cause can be found, then a diagnosis of primary or idiopathic seborrhea is made. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for primary or idiopathic seborrhea. In general, treatments that help manage seborrhea include:
- omega-3 fatty acid supplements
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- Teach: We provide educational resources to help your dog get better, feel better, and stay better. From reducing shedding or successful recovery after surgery to aging comfortably into their golden years, we are your partner on your faithful companions journey.
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We look forward to getting to know you and your dog!
Types Of Dog Hair Loss
Hair loss can often be diagnosed according to different patterns. Most causes come with their own pattern, making it easier to determine the best form of treatment. A common example would be flea infestation in a particular area thats easy for a dog to chew at, such as the base of the tail or along the inside of the legs. The most common patterns of hair loss in dogs include:
- All-over thinning of hair
- Thinning over the back and sides of the body
- Thinning over the ears
- Complete hair loss along the sides
- Circular bald patches
- Patches of baldness on the legs
- Balding over the scrotum at the back of the hind legs
Hair loss is just one symptom of a medical problem it can also be accompanied by changes in behavior or irritability, and your dog may become restless or lethargic. Common with hair loss is change in the skin. Your dog may suffer from redness or swelling, flaking, crusting, changes in color or discharge, along with an unpleasant odor from an infection.
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Why Is My German Shepherd Shedding A Lot
If your German Shepherd has been shedding a lot then you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be shedding a lot and a number of possible solutions.
So, why is my German Shepherd shedding a lot? German Shepherds naturally shed a lot all year round. They shed more when its getting hotter by shedding their undercoat and they shed more when its getting colder by shedding their overcoat and having denser undercoats.
There are actually a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be shedding a lot especially if the shedding seems to be very sudden. There are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Symptoms Of Hair Loss In Dogs
Dog hair loss is typically an obvious condition and can occur at any age, in any breed, and anywhere on the body. A variety of patterns and symptoms may develop depending on the underlying cause:
- Overall thinning of the hair
- Hair loss around eyes and mouth
- Patches of complete hair loss
- Symmetrical patterns of hair loss in the same place on both sides of the body
- Foul odor
- Black or dark grey skin under hair loss
- Dry, scaly skin around area of hair loss
- Red, inflamed skin around area of hair loss
- Oozing moisture or bleeding around area of hair loss
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Combine Fish Oil Into Their Daily Diet
If your dog is lacking in fatty acids, then adding fish oil may help be a simple solution to reduce their shedding.
Fish oil contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which significantly decreases hair shedding. Fish oil also contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA that help promote skin and coat health.
Given daily fish oils can help aid in excessive shedding. Look for a natural supplement that also contains other proven skin-healthy oils, like flaxseed oil.
Zesty Paws contains both salmon and hemp seed oil and is great for a healthy coat. Moreover, a blend of wild Alaskan salmon and refined virgin hemp seed oils work together to pack a powerful punch of nutrients and omega fatty acids. These ingredients may improve coat health, joint mobility, heart health, stress levels, and immunity.
A strong coat starts with supple skin that prevents excessive hair loss and protects your GSD from irritations. If youre seeing excessive hair loss try the blend of fish and hemp oil.
Keep in mind that positive effects take a few months to notice. So stay consistent with daily use for the best results.
Brush Your Husky Daily
As soon as you notice some shedding, make it part of your daily routine to brush your husky and remove as much hair as possible. Have your equipment handy and dedicate a spot for brushing.
For my husky, we have her jump up on top of her kennel to be brushed. She loves getting brushed, so it quickly becomes a normal part of her day.
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Bathing With Deshedding Treatment
Ideally, bathe your dog once every 6 – 10 weeks. Again, this process helps remove a lot of loose and dead hair, along with keeping their coat smelling great.
But we can take it one step further by applying deshedding shampoos and conditioners that slick hair down and allow for easier removal.
Simply bathe your dog like you normally would, but apply a deshedding treatment and allow it work it’s magic for 5 minutes before rinsing.
Deshedding Once A Week
Deshedding a dog involves removing those loose undercoat hairs using a tool designed to do just that. This will help you get rid of the hair that might otherwise end up on the carpet, furniture, and clothes.
It helps your dog feel comfortable and can be a relaxing experience for you and your German Shepherd as well. The FURminator is a great tool, but be warned – lots of hair comes as a result of using this, so it may be useful to do this outdoors.
You should use a deshedding tool once a week to keep shedding under control. Also, you will get the best results by bathing your dog once a month and deshedding him before and after the bath. Remember to use a high-quality dog shampoo to prevent damage to the coat and stripping it from its natural oils.
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