Molting in dogs is a natural physiological process that usually continues in the fall and spring. In winter and summer, the wool practically does not fall out. At the same time, owners negatively perceive the annual shedding periods in dogs, when wool covers furniture, floor, and clothing.
To speed up the hair loss process, you can increase the frequency of bathing your dog and brush your pet daily. But if molting occurs during winter or summer, it is worth checking the animal for diseases.
When does molt occur?
The first molt in puppies begins at the age of 6-7 months. At the same time, in females, shedding of hair can be observed at 3 months. This is a natural process during which the puppy gets rid of the soft fluff and becomes covered with adult hair. Its color may differ from the original color of the young dog. The structure of the coat becomes harder and denser, and an undercoat appears.
In the future, the dog will molt 2 times a year in the fall and spring. In the first case, the pet’s body begins to prepare for the coming winter. In place of the old wool, a thick undercoat grows, which will retain body heat during frosts. With the onset of spring, the animal sheds excess hair.
Least of all wool falls out in winter. At this time, the physical activity of the pet decreases. Animals instinctively conserve nutrient reserves, so their body does not spend extra energy on the formation of new wool.
If moulting causes inconvenience to a person, then they should purchase a short-haired, medium-haired, or hairless dog. Animals from these breeds practically do not shed their hair. Such dogs are suitable for people prone to developing allergic reactions. Breeds with a short or no molting period include:
- shih tzu;
- different types of poodles;
- hairless dogs: Xoloitzcuintle, Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier, Peruvian Hairless Dog;
- water spaniel.
Due to the lack of hair, dogs are not only not subject to shedding, but also do not have a specific smell.
How long does shedding last?
As part of the physiological norm, dogs molt 2 times a year for 2-3 weeks. If the pet lives at home, then discarding the old fur can cause a lot of inconvenience to the pet owner. If the apartment has good heating and regular meals are given to the dog, then daily hair loss in small quantities is possible.
This is due to the favorable living conditions: the dog gets used to living in warmth and the constant supply of nutrients. Therefore, It does not need to shed a lot of wool during spring and autumn.
On rare occasions, a dog may shed all year round. It might shed a lot of hair every few days. The following factors can serve as the reason for this phenomenon:
- disruption of the endocrine system, as a result of which hormonal imbalance appears in the animal’s body;
- the presence of parasites: pinworms, Ascaris, helminths;
- disorders in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, in which the dog does not receive enough nutrients;
- low level of humidity in the room where the animal lives;
- high ambient temperature.
To prevent hair loss, it is necessary to fight diseases with drugs and diet therapy. You should consult with your veterinarian so that they can diagnose and help with the choice of medicines.
Why do dogs molt during winter?
Normally, dogs should not lose their hair with the onset of cold weather. Premature molt during the winter season can be a symptom of a medical condition. If during the month of February you notice that your dog is shedding, you should analyze the behavior of your dog in the previous month and observe It throughout the day. Often a symptom of a pathological process can be a decrease in physical activity and a lack of appetite.
In the absence of signs of illness, it is recommended to let the dog bathe outside in clean snow. This will help get rid of the excess hair.
There are the following reasons for the appearance of early winter molt.
Dermatitis. To detect the disease, it is necessary to examine the skin of the animal. With dermatitis, red spots appear on the skin. To get rid of the pathological process, you need to seek help from a veterinarian. The specialist will prescribe the appropriate medications.
Allergic reaction. Hair loss is observed with individual intolerance to food, shampoos, household chemicals. A negative reaction of the immune system can be caused by dust or pollen. Often, an allergy in dogs is provoked by salt, which is sprinkled on icy asphalt. In addition to alopecia, the dog’s paws will show bleeding wounds and foul-smelling ulceration. In such a situation, it is necessary to change the walking route, avoiding areas with salt, and begin treatment of the injured paws to prevent infection.
Hypovitaminosis, nutritional deficiency. Alopecia may be due to a lack of beta-carotene, tocopherol, omega-3, and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The deficiency of these substances worsens the condition of the coat and hair follicles. Winter molt, which occurs against the background of hypovitaminosis, can be caused by constantly feeding your dog dry food.
Parasitic invasion. Fleas and lice can appear even in winter. To exclude the presence of parasites in a dog, it is necessary to carefully examine its coat. Insect colonies usually form behind the ears, on the belly, in the armpits, and inner thighs. In addition to adults, larvae and redness of the skin after a bite can be found on the pet’s body.
Many people ask what to do to prevent winter shedding. First, you need to find out the cause of hair loss yourself or with the help of a veterinarian.
You can get rid of winter shedding in dogs in the following ways:
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Determining the cause. You will need to examine the skin of the dog for allergic dermatitis, parasites and their larvae. If fleas or lice are found, the dog should undergo anthelmintic therapy. Often, blood-sucking insects are carriers of worm eggs. If there is no damage to the skin and coat, it is necessary to take a blood test to exclude infections and hypovitaminosis.
Diet, taking vitamins. It’s necessary to purchase premium dry food for the dog. Vitamins can be dissolved in a bowl of water or mixed with animal food. It is recommended to switch the dog from dry food to organic food.
Room temperature normalization. Winter molting can begin due to excessive heating of the apartment. If the coat falls out for this reason, it is not recommended to take the dog outside. Walking in freezing temperatures can cause colds in dogs. It is better to leave your pet in the apartment until spring.
Providing peace. During the molting period, you cannot shout at the dog, introduce the animal to new pets and people.
If the reason for molting is not excessive heating of the house, you can take the animal for a walk 2-3 times a day for half an hour. Prolonged outdoor exposure increases the physical activity of dogs, which has a positive effect on metabolic rate.
How to speed up and reduce hair loss?
During the period of natural shedding, it’s impossible to stop hair loss. At the same time, the physiological process can be accelerated, due to which the pet’s hair will recover much faster. To get rid of shedding in a short time, you can resort to the following measures to combat alopecia.
Do not overheat. To do this, it is worth adjusting the temperature in the room, excluding walks in direct sunlight.
Comb out excess hair 2-3 times a day. Timely disposal of the fallen fur will prevent its spread throughout the apartment. The comb should be purchased from pet stores. When choosing a product, you need to consider the type of pet hair. Short-haired dogs should be additionally wiped with a hand towel to remove excess hair remaining after brushing.
Balanced pet feeding. The dog spends all internal reserves of energy for the formation of new hair, the hair follicles are intensively supplied with blood. Therefore, vitamin therapy and a correct diet will help the animal to quickly get rid of the old hairline and build up a renewed coat.
It is recommended that you feed your dog foods containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: fish oil or vegetable oil. For 10 pounds of body weight, there should be 1 tsp. facilities. It’s worth feeding your pet weekly seafood or sea fish fillets.
Bathing. To fight alopecia more effectively, you can give your pet a warm bath. The animal should be washed with a special product – protein shampoo. The proteins in the product will cause the renewal of the hair and skin. After bathing, wrap the animal in a towel for 2 hours, and then comb it out thoroughly.
Express molt. You can go through the procedure in a special salon or do it yourself at home. To speed up molting, you will need to buy a special mask. After bathing, the animal’s fur is covered with this agent, covered with a film on top, creating a greenhouse effect, wrapped in a blanket or towel for an hour. The pores of the skin expand, so 90% of the old hair begins to fall out. After the procedure, it is necessary to wash off the mask in warm water and dry the dog with a hairdryer.
At the same time, such measures to accelerate shedding do not work with prolonged and unnatural hair loss. If the dog begins to shed hair intensively, this indicates the development of a pathological process or age-related changes in the dog’s body. If the owner notices that molting continues longer than usual and the dog becomes lethargic, they should contact the veterinarian for tests. In most cases, pathological hair loss occurs in the following cases:
- violation of water and electrolyte balance, dehydration;
- unbalanced diet;
- hormonal imbalance;
- parasitic invasion;
- disorders of the immune system;
- damage to the gastrointestinal tract;
- renal and hepatic impairment;
- severe stress, emotional upheaval;
With the development of molt against the background of any disease, it is necessary to provide it with nutrients. You can buy ready-made food, vitamin and mineral complexes, or preparations in pet pharmacies, or prepare food for your pet yourself.
Eating natural foods can help your dog cope with prolonged hair loss more effectively. At the same time, this method hits the owner’s wallet and requires strict control over the content of vitamins in food that are responsible for the condition of the coat.
Before adjusting the diet, you should familiarize yourself with the nutrients that your dog needs during molting.
Vitamin A. Retinol is responsible for the production of elastin, collagen, and keratin fibers. With its deficiency, the fragility of the hairline increases, the coat begins to fade.
Vitamin group B. Responsible for the condition of the sebaceous and sweat glands. If the production of sebum is disturbed, the condition of the skin improves, peeling and itching develop. Progressive pathology can develop into dermatitis.
Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is not only responsible for immunity. The nutritious compound improves blood circulation to soft tissues, including hair follicles in the subcutaneous fat. Thanks to the increased microcirculation, the hair follicles receive a sufficient amount of oxygen and energy, which helps to speed up the shedding process.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They shorten the renewal of the hairline, improve the structure of the coat. With regular intake of fatty acids, the animal’s fur becomes soft and begins to shine.
Mineral components. Manganese and copper are responsible for the formation of new wool. Sulfur prevents the development of hyperkeratosis, the appearance of dandruff normalizes the sebaceous glands. Phosphorus and calcium restore shine and silkiness to the coat.
How To Prevent Prolonged Shedding In Dogs
To prevent prolonged shedding in dogs, the following preventive measures should be followed.
Routine veterinary examination. A visit to a specialist will help to prevent the development of pathology in time, which could cause premature molting.
Regular brushing of the coat after bathing.
Self-examination of the animal 1-2 times a month. It’s worth checking the fur for the presence of parasites, examining the skin for allergies. The onset of the disease can be indicated by the deterioration of the condition of the gums and teeth.
Elimination of stress. Emotional stress negatively affects the health of the animal.
Providing essential vitamins. Regular balanced nutrition activates metabolic processes, strengthens the immune system, and improves the condition of the hairline.
At the same time, the most effective protective measures for your pet are constant care and attention. It is worth walking the dog daily, avoiding overheating or hypothermia. Walking your dog in the fresh air restores the psychoemotional state of the animal, increase its physical activity.