Dogs get bored easily. Leave them for a short period of time with nothing to do and you may come home to a house in disarray. It is very probable that your dog has already played and destroyed the pillows and even soiled in the house. Because they are unable to talk, they cannot tell us when they are in pain. There are times dog harm themselves by licking themselves excessively and pulling and chewing their hair out. As their human, it is your duty to determine the cause of their behavior and find solutions to these issues. Some of the most common reasons that result to these distressing behaviors are medical conditions, stress, separation anxiety or boredom.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs are mostly everyone’s favorite pets, and nothing can compare to the pure love we have for our pets. Dogs are loyal and intelligent, and they are conscious of their owners’ feelings most of the time. They are really man’s best friend. However, sometimes they exhibit strange behavior, such as eating their own hair.
When dogs eat fur or hair, it is usually their own. Some of the most common reasons why dogs eat their own fur is because they are bored or they are sick. However, if your dog starts eating other dog’s hair, it is very likely a compulsion. The act of eating their own hair does not achieve anything for the dogs. Rather, it is only a pleasurable act for them, nothing else. Eating hair or fur is something that is not healthy.
This kind of behavior is actually quite dangerous to your dog’s health. Aside from the chronic hair loss that might happen, pulling out and eating their own hair can lead to something that is called acral lick dermatitis which is also known as lick granulomas. These things are infections on the surface of the skin and it is not only painful but it is also very difficult to heal.
Anxiety is the most common cause of pulling out and eating hair in dogs. This type of behavior is almost always a result of a nervous or anxious behavioral problem. If your dog is stressed out about something, they turn to pulling their hair and eating it. The more anxious they get, the more hair they will lose.
Lack of exercise is another reason. Sometimes anxiety is caused by something as simple as inadequate exercise. As you will have noticed, most often the healthiest dogs have far more energy than we do. They will run long distances, swim about, race back and forth and generally just have the time of their lives.
Encouraging the Behavior
Pulling out hair and eating it is something you want to discourage your dogs from doing. You want them to have a healthy and shiny coat, not bald spots here and there that look painful and just plain ugly.
Check if there has been any recent changes to your dog’s diet, medications, shampoo, or food. It is very much possible that your dog is suffering from an allergy and he is trying to relieve himself by pulling his hair out. Take your dog to the vet immediately so that a veterinarian can run some tests that can help determine if the behavior is because of an allergic reaction.
Eliminating things one at a time will help you pinpoint what is the problem. Never stop giving your dog medications without the approval of your veterinarian. However, you can change your canine’s food or shampoo to narrow the possibilities. Pulling out and eating hair that has been brought about by a traumatic event or a change in your pet’s routine such as having a new baby can be alleviated by giving your dog attention, as well as adequate amounts of exercise.
Take your dog out for a walk daily and allow him time to exercise with his favorite person. Other alternatives to chewing, pulling out hair, and eating it must be offered so purchase chew toys for him and alternate toys so that he doesn’t get bored easily.
Other Solutions and Considerations
You must also recognise that eating hair might be an obsessive-compulsive response and this is a habit that is difficult to get over from. It may take some time and a lot of effort to get through this but it is important to help your dog if you want him to be healthy and happy. It is very much possible that your pet’s health is at stake so your support is needed. It is necessary that your ask your veterinarian if there is any need to medicate your dog to solve this problem. Dogs that pull and eat their hair due to stress maybe given several medications.
A dog that is happy and healthy is every dog owner’s dream. We all want pooches that are always happy to see us, well-behaved, and well-groomed. If your dog has started pulling out and eating his hair, you must look at all the possible reasons in order to address the problem correctly to prevent it from getting worse.
By a Chow Chow lover Jhoana Carla de Toro
Published: 03/23/2018, edited: 01/30/2020