7 Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Shedding Hair

Dogs shed hair for many reasons. It’s important to know if it’s normal behavior or if we need to make lifestyle changes like changing diets.

Jun 25, 2024byDarren Ryding

reasons why your dog keeps shedding hair

Being a dog owner isn’t always glamorous. We love our pets but we spend our days picking up their poo and hair. Every dog owner knows that hair gets everywhere; from the sofa to your cute outfit. However, sometimes dogs shed excess amounts and it can cause one to worry.

Often it’s because of natural reasons like seasonal changes. But sometimes it may be more serious like a fungal infection or a nutrient deficiency. Many dogs also suffer from allergies. This article will tell you everything you need to know.

1. Seasonal Changes

husky snow winter
Image Credit: The Spruce Pets

This is the main reason why double-coated dogs shed hair. There are two main shedding periods in the year. The likes of Golden Retrievers and Akitas have thick outer coats for cold conditions. They naturally thin this layer in spring because the weather is warmer.

In the fall, they’ll shed their thinner inner coat so that they can grow out the thicker layer. This process can be very frustrating for owners. It’s crucial to brush your dog every day because this will help gather the loose hair and prevent it from going everywhere. A good deshedder can remove large quantities of hair without hurting your pooch.

2. Fungal/Bacteria Infection

dog panting summer hot park
Image Credit: Good RX

Environmental factors can severely impact our dogs. Heat and humidity wreak havoc on their systems. They also increase the risk of fungal or bacterial infections. These are more likely in tropical climates like in Florida. Your dog might start biting and plucking patches of hair around the infected area.

The vet will usually prescribe creams and antibiotics. Unfortunately, the dog will probably have to wear the cone of shame too. Long-haired dogs are very susceptible to these health problems. That’s why it’s inadvisable to bring huskies or similar breeds to these warm climates. However, if you’ve no choice, it’s essential to consistently groom your pooch! Remember to wash them too so that they don’t suffer from skin conditions.

3. Diet

dog eating kibble
Image Credit: Southern Living

Many owners don’t appreciate how sensitive their dogs can be. It’s not always as simple as pouring some kibble into a bowl and walking away. Some dogs have allergies to chicken or grains and this can trigger hair loss. Patches and thinning hair may occur. Trial and error is the best way to find out what works best for your pet. It can be expensive but in the long term, it’s worth it. Remember, dogs are members of our families!

Another issue is that many mainstream dog foods don’t contain enough nutrients. Dogs often suffer protein or omega-3 deficiencies because their diets are poor. The portion may be the right size but the quality of the ingredients is bad. Consult your veterinarian because they can advise dietary changes and suitable pet food brands or wholefood substitutions.

4. Fleas and Mites

labrador biting itchy
Image Credit: The Bluffs Pet Clinic

Parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks are every dog owner’s worst nightmare. They latch onto our pooches with many potential health implications. But they can also trigger dog hair loss because they’re itchy and uncomfortable. Dogs will scratch around the area because they want to get rid of the parasite. They can also contract more serious infections if we don’t remove the ticks or fleas.

Mites are the worst because they cause mange. Hairless patches may spread across the body. Take the dog to the vet immediately because it can be dangerous if it goes untreated. It’s also contagious to humans. Doctors will offer antiparasitic treatments and help prevent further hair loss.

5. Hormonal Imbalance

pregnant dog terrier
Image Credit: Dogster

Dogs can suffer from hormonal imbalances at multiple stages in their lives. Pregnant females often shed hair during their pregnancy or when they’re nursing their puppies. Pregnancy places great strain on their bodies but usually, the hair loss will stop quickly. You may need to adjust a pregnant dog’s diet if they’re not getting enough nutrients.

Older dogs can also experience hair-shedding problems. They are more susceptible to hormonal imbalances and this can cause other conditions. Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism occur in dogs as well as humans. They’re not so different from us as we might think!

6. External Allergies

puppy grass playing
Image Credit: Gecko Green

Dogs can suffer from food allergies. But their external environment can also impact their overall quality of life. Pollen, dust mites, and mold can all harm your dog’s health. Itchy skin is one of the most obvious symptoms because the dog will scratch affected areas. This causes increased hair loss. Owners should be mindful if they’re doing construction work at home. This can trigger large amounts of dust and exacerbate the hair-shedding problem.

Meanwhile, be careful walking dogs through fields and parks in spring and fall because these are the worst seasons for pollen. It may be better to take an urban route instead. It’s also worth noting that the lowest pollen counts are in the early morning and late afternoon or early evening. Vets will usually prescribe antihistamines to soothe the skin. The trouble is that these can also cause inflammation. Dogs will try to lick the swollen areas because it’s uncomfortable and this can cause more shedding.

7. Stress

dog home alone
Image Credit: Newsweek

Stress is a very common cause of dog hair loss. Our canine pals don’t like sudden changes to their environment or life. So many factors can cause stress. Moving house or getting another dog could have negative effects. They may also struggle if their owner disappears for long periods, so consider this if you get a new job.

Thunderstorms and fireworks are also very stressful for dogs. Consider desensitization training because it can help. Try hiring a dog walker or sending your dog to daycare if you know you’re going to be away for long periods. Stress causes dogs to release epinephrine and excess shedding is a side effect. Try to find solutions to your dog’s life changes. It will be better for your pet’s mental and physical health. Meanwhile, it will save you from spending time picking up their hair!

Darren Ryding
byDarren Ryding

Darren is a passionate animal lover. He grew up on an organic vegetable farm with an ensemble of adopted animals including pygmy goats, pot-belly pigs, and donkeys. He currently lives with his Vietnamese rescue dog Bee.