Excessive Shedding

All breeds shed to some extent, but if your pets fur is patchy or developing bald spots, he may need special attention.

Chances are the extra hair on your furniture, carpet, and clothes is just biology at work. Hair grows and sheds in cycles and all but a few breeds experience regular fur fallout. Outdoor pets tend to shed according to seasonal changes, while indoor pets will shed year-round.

But excessive hair loss or brittle hair isnt normal. If your pets shedding creates bald spots or the entire coat appears thin, he may have a problem.

In dogs, patchy bald spots or an all-over thinning coat usually result from mange mites or hormone imbalances associated with such diseases as hypothyroidism or Cushings syndrome. Some pets suffering nutritional deficiencies or stress also lose their fur.

Female dogs can shed excessively shortly after giving birth. And anything that causes itchy skin, such as fleas or allergies (atopy), can lead to excessive scratching and shedding.

What You Can Do at Home
Daily brushings and regular bathing can help contain stray hairs, and feeding your pet a high-quality diet helps maintain his skin and coat. Just keep an eye on your pet to make sure his behavior and appetite dont change and make sure youve got a good vacuum cleaner, and extra bags, on hand.

When to Call the Veterinarian
Bald spots, overall thinning, skin irritation, or excessive scratching warrant a visit to your pets doctor. Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet develops other signs of illness, including lethargy or appetite loss.

What the Veterinarian Will Do
Your veterinarian will ask about your pets medical history and examine your pets skin for lesions and parasites. He or she also may recommend blood work to uncover any hormonal disease. If your veterinarian rules out illness, he or she may suggest nutritional supplements, a different diet, or a special shampoo to help curb the shedding.

Your patchy-furred pal will appreciate a fast, effective treatment.