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All dogs will shed hair from time to time, requiring them to be regularly brushed in order to maintain their coat. This may be due to the natural replacement of hair from week to week or it can be because a dog is shedding a winter coat as warmer weather starts to appear.
From time to time, a canine can fall victim to health problems that will cause them to lose hair at a vastly accelerated rate. Not only does this mean your house is full of dog hair, but excessive loss of fur can negatively affect your dog. Your pooch will no longer have their coat to help regulate their body temperature and protect their skin. Learn the causes of molting or excessive shedding, as well as how to take care of your pooch if it occurs.
Infection – Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungus can at times make their home within a dog’s body. These infections are usually brought to heel fairly quickly by the immune system, but sometimes they can be too powerful to stop and will begin to wreak havoc on localized parts of the body.
In order to avoid excessive molting caused by infection, dog owners can do several things. Maintain your pup's coat and supplement their diet so that the coat is soft and not brittle. Bathe them as needed and wash your dog's bedding regularly. Check their skin and paws for injury on a consistent basis. Injuries, resulting from walking on both grass and asphalt may occur and it's best to tend to them before infection sets in.
Parasites – Direct trauma to the skin can cause the hair follicles to become so damaged that they can no longer retain the hairs themselves. While mild dermatitis can sometimes cause your dog to scratch so much that this happens, the primary reason is parasites such as fleas or mites. These tiny creatures crawl across the skin, causing itching that needs to be incessantly scratched.
Parasites can be prevented from taking up residence on your dog’s skin by following a few simple steps. The primary thing to do is to make sure your pooch is well-groomed, giving the fleas and mites less chance of being picked up and making possible symptoms easier to spot. Make sure your pet is regularly under a vet's care for flea, tick, and parasite prevention. This will ensure your pup stays free of parasitic infection and protected from heartworm, too.
Stress – It is not unusual for humans to start to shed hair if they are placed under a great amount of stress for prolonged periods of time. The same is true of dogs, who will usually lose hair from localized patches of their body (as opposed to a general thinning of the hair across the whole coat). The reasons for this are mostly hormonal changes within the body, but can also be because of things such as excessive grooming, personality changes because of anxiety, and depression.
In order to stop a dog from becoming stressed, owners need to take several things into account. The need for regular exercise and play is crucial, allowing your pup to expend excess energy and avoid the need to become destructive and misbehave. Additionally, play and regular interaction with other members of the household can help to meet your furry companion’s need for socialization and inclusion.
The second thing that needs to be taken into account is the possibility of external factors causing stress in your pooch, such as interaction with aggressive animals or dietary problems. By taking simple steps to rectify these concerns (such as by improving your dog’s quality of food or by altering their usual walking routes to avoid conflict with other animals), owners can lower their dog’s stress levels considerably. On a long-term basis, making sure your dog is kept stress-free will not just improve their life in terms of stopping molting, but will also help them avoid an array of other health concerns.
Endocrine Disorders – As mentioned above, hormones can play a large role in hair loss, meaning that direct damage to or disruption of the endocrine system (which is responsible for regulating a large number of bodily processes) can cause quick and excessive shedding. One of the main causes of rapid changes in a dog’s hormones can be various types of cancers. While these will often affect certain glands individually, some tumors can spread through the body and grow throughout a large part of the endocrine system. Other causes can be environmental, with the dog encountering a dietary deficiency or coming under large amounts of stress.
To prevent endocrine problems, make sure your dog is getting the proper amount of nourishment from their diet in order to support their lifestyle. The nutritional requirements for this can vary from dog to dog but in general, protein-rich meals with healthy levels of fats are preferred so as to keep your pooch’s body working properly. Cancers can be especially hard to predict and many are impossible to stop from developing, though some vets offer genetic screening tests that can gauge an animal’s likelihood of developing a congenital instance of the disease. With regular examinations by the vet, a tumor can be caught in its early stages. It is also important to note that some dogs may have such a high risk of developing cancer that the vet may recommend sterilizing them, so as to prevent them from passing the condition on.
All pet owners have a responsibility to provide the best possible standard of care for their dog and while many people may view this as seeking out the most qualified vet possible to deal with any problems that may arise, it can also be done by making a few easy changes in their pet’s life. While the solutions discussed in this article can be of great help when trying to stop the occurrence of molting, they will also have compounding benefits in other areas.
Firstly, the root cause of many health problems is a poor diet and correcting this with a view to preventing molting can also mean that illnesses such as depression, lethargy and malnutrition are warded off. Also, regular exercise will greatly improve the mood of any four-legger, and regular check-ups from a vet can keep them healthy year-round.
Molting can be an especially annoying condition to deal with, both for the dog and owner. Large amounts of shed hair can accumulate in a home, attracting parasites and helping dirt accumulate and the dog can become vulnerable to damage to the skin. By taking a holistic approach to tackling the issue before it has a chance to happen, dog owners can prevent excessive shedding. When required, seeking the assistance of a vet is a wise decision, too.
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