Treating Hot Spots on Dogs With Cortisone

All dogs shed their coats. It's a fact of life. Base on the breed of dog or the climate they are in, a dog may not shed as much or may shed year round. There are contributing factors as to the when and how much a dog sheds.

Regular Shedding

No matter what breed you own, whether your dog is one considered to be a hypoallergenic dog or if you have a year round shedder, all dogs shed. Regular shedding is the method by which your dog's coat releases damaged or unhealthy hair and allows for the new healthy coat to grow in. Damage can occur from environmental factors, shampoos, dyes, or any number of other contributing elements. Your dog's coat goes through various growth phases and it's the length of these various phases that determine how frequently your dog sheds. The four phases of hair growth are:

  • Anagen is the phase of new hair growth.
  • Catagen is a transition phase where the hair stops growing and the outer root sheath attaches to the hair.
  • Telogen is the resting phase where the hair doesn't grow or shed.
  • Exogen is where the hair falls out and the hair follicles move back into the anagen phase of hair growth.
  • Dogs that do not shed, or appear not to shed, are those dogs whose coats have longer growth, transition and resting phases and have a brief shedding phase.

Seasonal Shedding

Seasonal shedding happens during the transition from the colder months into the warmer, more temperate months. During this time, dogs go through an extended exogen, or shedding phase, of hair growth. The warmer weather triggers a reaction in dog's system, causing the hair follicles to release the heavier winter coat that many dogs develop.

Shedding Due to Health Issues

A dog may also have increased or excessive shedding due to a variety of health issues. Improper diet, skin infections, allergies and systemic infections can all cause your dog to lose his hair. It is important to see your veterinarian to determine the cause of the hair loss and implement treatment to halt the excessive loss of coat.

The Importance of Grooming

One of the most important things you can do for your dog to help him maintain a healthy coat and good overall health is groom his coat. Frequency is determined by the type of coat he has, as is the grooming tool used. Grooming not only removes the hair that's been shed and the environmental contaminants resting on the coast, but it establishes a time for bonding between you and your dog and allows you to see if there are problems with his skin or coat that may normally be hidden from sight.

Shedding is a natural process of your dog's body that is controlled by both breed and by external factors. Whether you have a Poodle whose coat sheds minimally or a Labrador Retriever whose coat sheds year round, keep in mind that this shedding process helps him to maintain a healthy coat and skin and in turn keeps him protected from environmental contaminants. Proper diet, grooming and care all contribute to your dog's beautiful coat, and just as important, his overall health.