Why Do Dogs Shed?

four white puppies in a basket

Why do dogs shed? It’s a pretty common question, right? Unless you get a hairless dog, fur is something you will need to deal with. Even if your dog is low-shedding and considered “hypoallergenic”, you’re still going to have to deal with some fur. Knowing why dogs shed more or less can help you better manage your dog’s fur. Here are a few reasons why your dog might be shedding:

1. Your Dog May be Prone to Shedding

Some dogs shed more heavily than others. That is a fact that you cannot escape. When a dog’s fur is done growing, they will naturally lose it by shedding it. Some dog breeds just shed loose fur at a higher rate than other dog breeds. Labs, German Shepherds, Beagles, and more tend to be heavier-shedding dog breeds while Poodles, Bichon Frise, and more are known for their low-shedding coats.

2. The Seasons Are Changing

Most dogs will shed more heavily as the seasons change. This is especially true for dog breeds with a double coat. These breeds will often shed their undercoat twice a year. Huskies, Shiba Inu, Sheepdogs, and more are double-coated dog breeds that tend to shed throughout the year and then more heavily as they shed their undercoats.

3. Your Dog Spends a lot of Time Outside

Your dog’s coat helps them control and regulate their body temperature and also helps protect their skin from the sun and other elements. As such, the amount of time your dog spends outside and in the sun can also affect how much they shed. Spending time in the sun warms your dog’s body and raises their temperature.

So, the more time they spend in the sun, the more likely their body may trigger the shedding process to help keep them cool. The same could also be true for a home with unstable temperatures or one that is kept warm. If your dog has a thick coat or still has their winter coat and spends a lot of their time in a warm environment, they may start shedding more to help keep their body from overheating.

4. You’re Not Grooming Them Enough

You can’t do much to control the normal rate at which your dog sheds, but you can help control it a bit with proper grooming. Brushing your dog’s coat regularly, daily or a few times a week, can help remove tangle to prevent matting and also remove loose fur.

Not only does this make your dog more comfortable, but it also keeps a lot of the loose fur that would have ended up all over your house contained to your brush instead. Plus, brushing your dog can become a positive bonding experience you and your dog enjoy. So, if it seems like your dog is shedding a lot, think about the last time you brushed them and then start a grooming routine to help keep their fur under control.

5. Your Dog is Stressed or Anxious

When a dog is experiencing increased levels of stress or anxiety, they may start to shed more heavily in response. Shedding more than normal can also be caused by an allergic reaction. If your dog is shedding abnormally, try to figure out what might be causing it and go from there.

Was there a big change in the household? Did you switch their food? Did they eat something they shouldn’t have? Are you using a new household cleaner on surfaces they come into contact with?

These areas can give you a place to start if you suspect shedding is occurring because of an allergic reaction. If it’s stress, you may need to spend some more time with your dog. If it’s due to stress caused by separation anxiety, you can start taking steps to manage it or get help from a trainer.

6. Your Dog is Overweight

Although self-cleaning is usually associated with cats, dogs do it too. A dog that is overweight cannot properly groom themselves. So, all of that fur you normally wouldn’t have to deal with sticks around and ends up everywhere else.

Plus, overweight dogs may also experience some stress and hormonal changes because of the weight, which may contribute to increased shedding. If this is the case, you can start by brushing your dog more while also making sure they are getting enough exercise and eating properly.

There are a lot of normal reasons why dogs shed and there are a lot of things you can do to help manage it. You won’t be able to get rid of loose fur completely, but you can at least do a few things to help make your dog more comfortable and to help contain it.