Hair loss in dogs is a problem which we may all come across as dog owners. The good news is that, most of the time, that hair loss can be controlled by choosing a proper diet.
Moulting is one of the issues facing those of us who live with a dog. Here is some practical advice to make it more bearable.
When and why dogs moult
Moulting is a natural process. Although some hair loss occurs all year round, spring and autumn are the peak times for dog moulting and, therefore, when most hair loss occurs. Most dogs’ coats regenerate as the weather heats up (spring) or cools down (autumn), to adapt to the new climatic conditions and changes in daylight hours. Their coat acts as a protective barrier against both the cold and the heat. That’s why dogs moult to adjust to environmental temperature conditions.
Dogs that live indoors tend to moult less, as there are fewer contrasts in temperature between the seasons: we tend to use central heating or air conditioning to regulate the temperature inside our houses. However, few dog owners can get away without collecting up hairs with a broom or vacuum cleaner during seasonal transitions. The moulting process in dogs is especially noticeable in breeds with thick, dense hair, but short-haired dogs also moult a lot. There are very few breeds that do not moult at all. These include poodles and some spaniel breeds, whose hair grows continuously, and Yorkshire Terriers that don’t have a layer of underfur.
Advice to cope with your dog’s moulting
- Brushing: frequent and ample brushing is the best way to combat a natural process such as moulting. Brushing a dog at least once a day during periods of maximum hair loss will ensure that all the dead hair ends up on the brush and not on the carpet or sofa. Brushing is essential, because it stops the dead hair becoming knotted or matted.
Food: hair is made up of 99% protein. Therefore, food that offers high-quality protein and high biological value can help to maintain strong and healthy hair and skin. It’s also important that the food that we give our dog is rich in sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which help to maintain the health and condition of the dog’s hair and skin.
A dog that is not consuming complete and balanced food will soon see deterioration in its skin and hair.
- Rule out allergies! Some dogs lose hair outside the typical moulting seasons (we have already mentioned that most moulting occurs during spring and autumn). If you notice that your dog is losing excessive amounts of hair all the time, or is constantly scratching, always see your vet to rule out a food allergy, parasites or other allergic reaction. One of the symptoms of an allergy is scratching (incessant itching), so if you have any concerns you should always consult with a professional.