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Know the Difference Between Seasonal Dog Shedding & Something More Serious

Know the Difference Between Seasonal Dog Shedding & Something More Serious

Pretty much all dogs shed — although how much they shed and how often varies greatly by breed — and for the most part, shedding is a natural and healthy occurrence. While seasonal shedding can be a bit annoying, it’s an expected part of having a dog at home. The truth is, though, there’s a lot to know about shedding, and understanding more about this common occurrence can help you ensure your dog is shedding normally or if the hair loss could mean something more.

Why is my dog shedding so much?

It makes sense that different breeds have different types of coats — both in terms of length and texture — and that those different coats would shed differently. Here are some of the basics.

Coat Layers:

  • Single coats: Dogs with single coats can have short or long fur, but it will only be in one single layer. Generally speaking, single coats tend to equal less fur, which leads to less shedding.
  • Double coats: Dogs with double coats will have a top coat, as well as a shorter, and usually denser, undercoat. Dogs with double coats tend to shed more (especially seasonally) when they lose the old coat that they no longer need.

Coat Length:

  • Long: Any dog with fur over two inches in length is typically considered longhaired. Dogs with long fur tend to shed less than other lengths, but grooming is still especially important for these dogs, as their long hair can tangle or mat, which can lead to dangerous skin conditions.
  • Short: Shorthaired dogs actually shed just as much, or in some cases even more, than longhaired ones do, as their coat is continuously growing.
  • Medium: Dogs with medium coats fall somewhere between long and shorthaired dogs — with fur that is typically about an inch long — and they shed about the same as longhaired dogs, requiring a moderate amount of brushing to stop mats from forming.
  • Hairless: A dog with no hair obviously won’t shed, but their sensitive skin still requires extra care to be kept moisturized and healthy.

Coat Texture:

  • Smooth: These are shorthaired dogs with fur that is close to the body. This coat type tends to be high shedding.
  • Wire: Wire coats have a dense undercoat that sheds seasonally, while the longer guard coat needs to be properly maintained to avoid mats and tangles.
  • Wavy/Curly: As the name suggests, curly-coated dogs have thick curls that often rest close to the body. This type of fur tends to shed the least in comparison to other types, but they do require a lot of attention to maintain.
  • Corded: Although not prevalent, some dogs have fur that naturally cords itself into patches of fur. Dogs with this fur type shed very little.
couple playing with dog

What causes dogs to shed?

Natural shedding occurs in dogs for a few different reasons. Most dogs shed at some point in the year as a way of getting rid of old or damaged fur, but how much they shed or how often depends on a number of other factors as well, like their coat layers, length and texture. Dogs often shed according to season, too. For example, some dogs grow thicker coats in the winter in an effort to stay warm. That extra fur is then shed in the spring, when it’s no longer necessary.

Diet and health can also impact a dog’s shedding. A poor diet that’s not full of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables can not only make your pup sick, but it can also lead to a coat that’s lacking in vibrancy and strength, and is therefore shed more frequently.

Dog shedding concerns

While most shedding is totally natural and shouldn’t be concerning, there are a couple things to be on the lookout for. Fur loss — which can resemble shedding — could be an indication of an underlying health issue, like hypothyroidism or even Cushing’s disease. If your dog’s fur has changed in texture or is shedding, thinning, or coming out in patches, or if there are additional skin problems or your dog seems sensitive when touched, consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Dog shedding season

Most dogs shed year-round, but there are some times of year when the shedding may be more frequent. Your pup may grow a longer coat in the winter to stay warm, which is then shed in the spring and replaced by a lighter one for summer. That summer coat is then shed again in the fall to be replaced by that heavier winter one, yet again.

How to stop a dog from shedding

Remember that regular shedding is normal, and while you can’t actually stop it from happening, regularly brushing and grooming your dog can help curb the amount of fur that spreads throughout your home.

Professional groomers can help keep your dog’s coat in optimal health, especially if you have a pet with long or tricky fur. Booking an appointment with a groomer is easy at Petco — check out the full services here.

For home care, Petco has everything you need to keep your dog properly groomed and bathed. Staying on top of your dog’s grooming routine will not only keep his coat healthy, shiny and beautiful, but it could help curb the spread of fur in your own home, as well.