Dog hair on the carpet, the couch, everyone’s clothes—it’s all part of being a pet parent. There are definitely times of the year when it’s common to find more fur than usual around the house—but typically it just means there's more fuzz to love.
There is such a thing as too much or excessive dog shedding. How pet parents should respond, and whether the volume of shed and underlying dog skin and coat conditions are a concern or just an inconvenience, depends on the dog and why they're shedding.
How much shedding is too much shedding?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what constitutes excessive dog shedding. Some breeds shed just a little through the year. Then there are double-coated breeds like Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Samoyeds, Huskies, and the like.
These dogs do something called “blowing their coat.” Twice a year—more so in the spring, less so in the fall—these dogs shed clumps of their undercoat to make room for new hair growth. It’s messy, but it’s normal.
Managing thick coats
For dogs with double coats or extra-thick coats, the right dog skin care regimen can help to control shedding. Start with a regular bathing and brushing routine to get rid of loose fur before it ends up all over the coat.
Be sure a dog’s fur is dry before brushing it, and be gentle with the brush—even if the dog’s hair is tangled. Hard brushing can pull on a dog’s skin and make them avoid getting brushed in the future.
If a dog’s coat seems to be dry, brittle, or otherwise unhealthy, a dog skin and coat supplement may help. Look out for irritated skin. Sometimes, a special shampoo, a digestive gut health supplement, or anti-itch medicine for dogs may be all that’s needed.
Medical conditions that cause excessive shedding
In some cases, when a dog sheds more than usual, there’s an underlying medical reason. That might be the case if:
- The fur is dry or breaks easily
- The fur falls out unevenly or in patches
- The dog develops bald patches or loses clumps of hair
- The dog’s skin is itchy, irritated, red, or otherwise uncomfortable
Potential culprits include:
- Allergies to food, medicine, or something in the environment like a new shampoo or household cleaner
- Dietary deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances, sometimes caused by a condition called hypothyroidism
- Stress and anxiety, often from a change in the household
- Skin health conditions like a rash or infection, which usually cause spotty hair loss rather than overall excessive nose to tail coat shedding
In any of these cases, the best strategy is to chat with an online vet to get some grooming or pet skin and coat care advice.
Responding to fur loss
Patchy fur loss and skin conditions are some of the most common dog health questions that vets get. Fortunately, there’s usually something the pet parent can do to help identify what’s wrong and get the dog feeling better.
Sometimes, the first step is as easy as an at-home virtual vet consult. An online vet may review photos or in video see some things that raise concern and recommend an in-person visit to a vet or at-home tests that may be able to help provide more insight on a non-emergency hair loss situation. At-home testing kits that screen a pet's blood, urine, fecal samples, or other identifiers can help to identify non-emergency causes of the dog’s hair loss or health issue and help a vet point the pet parent toward the right dog health care products, grooming routines, medications, or supplements that might help.
Become a Fuzzy member today and take advantage of 24/7 Live Vet Chat. The Fuzzy vet team is available any hour of the day to give reliable dog health advice, from the best digestive supplements for dogs to what pet parents can do about excessive shedding or fur matting.