Dogs shed and lose hair, usually on your best clothes and furniture, as opposed to let's say an old blanket or outside! Not sure how they manage that... All dogs lose hair naturally, even non-shedding breeds lose some hair naturally. However, if hair loss is excessive or patchy it is an indication that something may be wrong which needs addressing. If hair loss seems in excess of what would be normally expected you should address this with your veterinarian to check for underlying health conditions such as hormonal or metabolic conditions, allergies or the presence of parasites that can be treated. There are also general care and grooming steps pet owners can take to reduce normal hair loss and prevent excessive hair loss in their dogs--and save their furniture and clothes from constant vacuuming and judicious use of a lint roller!
Although hair loss may bother you, especially when it gets all over your good wool pants and your light colored sweaters, it probably does not concern your dog much. He probably is perfectly happy to curl up in his fur or hair-lined bed! Unless hair loss is caused by a condition that leads to itching and sores, your dog is probably more or less ambivalent about it. Of course, if dead hair builds up in his undercoat, causing mats or resulting in bacterial or yeast infections that are uncomfortable, then hair loss becomes an unpleasant issue for your dog as well. Your dog may even contribute to hair loss with excessive chewing and licking. This behavior may be because of discomfort from parasites or skin conditions, or it could be a result of anxiety. Excessive licking and chewing, resulting in hair loss, can cause sores on your dog that will be uncomfortable and preventing this behavior and addressing underlying conditions will make your dog feel better.
If your furry friend is not looking so furry lately, but your couch is, there are several things you can do to prevent excessive hair loss. Regular daily brushing and weekly skin treatments to improve hair and skin health are great steps toward reducing unwanted hair loss. Regular bathing with appropriate shampoos, and medicated shampoos if necessary, to address skin conditions may be required to prevent hair loss. Remember that reducing anxiety and providing a good diet to your dog are additional steps that will help your dog “hold onto his hair”, in addition to good grooming practices. If excessive hair loss is present that is not addressed with regular care, seek veterinary advice to address any medical conditions that may be present.