Technically, all dogs shed their hair. It is part of the normal life cycle of the hair, which is made up of 4 phases: growth, transition, rest, fall. Thankfully, individual hairs go through these phases at different times. Therefore, during moulting, a dog can shed a lot of hair without any hairless areas remaining. Having a lot of hair also helps: think that on a dog’s coat there are 15,000 hairs per 2.5 square cm of skin!
How often do dogs shed?
The frequency and intensity with which a dog sheds hair may vary according to some factors, such as hormones, type of diet, number of hours of daylight, and temperature. Dogs that live outdoors, in the garden for example, usually shed in spring and autumn. If, on the other hand, they live indoors for most of the time, and therefore their hours of light and their environmental temperature are controlled, we might have to deal with a constant dog shedding.
Genetics also matters
Some breeds, such as Poodles or Bichon frisé, have a single layer of coat, called cover or guard hair. For these dogs, the moult is very contained. However, it is advisable to keep their fur well-trimmed.
Those who live with a retriever or shepherd dog, on the other hand, will surely have wondered why their German shepherd sheds so much hair, or how come their Labrador or Golden Retriever is shedding so much hair? These breeds, as well as Newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs, Alaskan malamutes, Border collie, and Australian shepherds, have a very developed undercoat in addition to the outer coat, and this leads them to moult heavily.
What can you do if your dog sheds too much hair?
If your Labrador or Golden retriever sheds excessively, follow these helpful tips carefully:
1) ensure a quality diet, that is well balanced and rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
2) try to guarantee a happy and relaxing life, full of positive emotions. In fact, the most common cause of excessive moulting is stress!
3) brush them frequently: this will not prevent the hair from falling out, but at least it will prevent you from spending your days picking it up from every corner of the house or having to constantly remove it from your clothes.
Is shedding normal in a golden retriever puppy?
Moulting is a normal occurrence in puppies in general. It happens when they physiologically go from a soft puppy coat to an adult coat. At this stage the puppy may appear a bit scruffy, but there is nothing to worry about: in a short time, when the transition is completed, our four-legged friend will return to their former glory and will be able to show off a magnificent shiny and thick coat!
Federica Pirrone, Mariangela Albertini, Patrizia Piotti researchers at UNIMI Veterinaria