How to Prevent Dog Hair Loss

Easy
5 - 45 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

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!

Dog's Perspective

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.

The Topical Treatment Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Step
1
Mix vinegar rinse
Mix organic vinegar 50/50 with water and keep in a squeeze bottle, such as an old ketchup bottle for convenient use.
Step
2
Apply rinse
Apply vinegar rinse to your dog's coat, distribute evenly throughout his coat. The taste of the vinegar will prevent excessive licking and chewing as it acts as a taste deterrent. Vinegar will also address flea infestations if present, which may cause your dog to interfere with his coat and cause hair loss. Repeat every few days as needed to prevent your dog licking and chewing due to anxiety or habit.
Step
3
Apply coconut oil
Melt coconut oil between your hands and spread over your dog to moisturize his coat and treat fungus and bacteria present that are contributing to hair loss. You can put a sweater over your dog to prevent him licking it off and allow it longer contact with skin. If your dog does lick off coconut oil though, it won't hurt him. Repeat weekly
Step
4
Apply lemon rinse
Cut a fresh lemon and place a slice in a cup of warm water and allow to sit for a few hours. Strain out lemon and any seeds and apply lemon water to your dog's skin, or spot treat where hair loss is occurring. Lemon juice counteracts bacteria that may cause hair loss. Use as needed locally.
Step
5
Apply medicated topicals
Apply hydrocortisone sprays, available from a veterinarian, to spots where hair loss is occurring to prevent inflammation from allergies and other conditions that are causing hair loss.
Recommend grooming method?

The Bathe and Groom Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush daily
Brush your dog daily to remove debris, dead hair and dead skin. Buildup can result in mats and tangles, moisture buildup, and bacteria or yeasts becoming trapped in the coat, causing hair loss.
Step
2
Use appropriate shampoo
Bathe your dog with a hydrocortisone soap, if allergies or inflammation are present, to reduce the condition and prevent hair loss. Or, bathe with mild, soothing soaps such as oatmeal or sensitive formula dog shampoo available from veterinarians or pet supply stores.
Step
3
Rinse
Rinse really well to make sure residue does not remain.
Step
4
Pat dry
Towel dry by patting, not rubbing, which can tangle hair or cause inflammation of skin resulting in further hair loss.
Step
5
Air or blow dry
Allow your dog to air dry, or dry carefully on lowest setting to prevent overheating and damage to hair.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Be cautious; do not over bathe your dog, which results in compromised skin and further hair loss.
  • Avoid getting shampoo and vinegar in your dog's eyes.
  • Vinegar can sting, do not use where open wounds are present.
  • Dry carefully, avoid allowing your dog to stay damp for extended periods of time, but avoid damage from heat caused by drying appliances which can damage hair. Try to find a good balance.
  • Only use hydrocortisone shampoo or spray on the advice of a veterinarian.
  • Ensure an appropriate diet with high protein and supplements, such as fish oils recommended by a veterinarian, to prevent hair loss in addition to grooming methods.

Conclusion

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.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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