What Do You Do for a Little Dog That Sheds Alot?by Eric Mohrman
Your dog's size doesn't have much to do with how much she sheds or how you handle it. Some small breeds, like Pomeranians, shed a lot, and some small breeds, like many terriers, shed minimally. You can't stop natural shedding, but you can limit the spread of hair around your home. If your little dog sheds more than is normal, you and your vet can address the cause of the excessive shedding.
Every dog sheds. In fact, every animal with hair sheds, even you. How much shedding is normal depends on your dog's breed and type of coat, her general health, the time of year and other factors. Shedding occurs as older hair falls out to make way for new hair. The seasons -- and the changing length of daylight in particular -- regulate your dog's shedding cycles. This can be thrown off some by dogs living in an environment with artificial light and temperature regulation, especially in dogs who spend little or no time outdoors. Discuss how much shedding is normal for your breed of small dog with your veterinarian to determine whether her hair loss would be considered excessive.
Daily brushing is important for removing loose hairs from your dog's coat. It facilitates easy disposal so the hair doesn't get all over the place, and it helps keep your dog looking her best. Ask your vet or groomer about an appropriate dog brush or comb; if you don't use a good tool for your dog's style of coat, you'll miss hair and she may develop matting. Also, take your dog into your groomer at recommended intervals, for a trim, a brushing and other professional care to keep her coat well-maintained and healthy. Bathing helps control hair, too, but it can exacerbate dry skin and other superficial problems. Talk to your vet about how much you should be washing your dog and what sort of shampoo and conditioner to use.
Controlling Hair in the Environment
Much of what you do when your little dog sheds a lot is focused on keeping the hair under control in your environment, rather than stopping the shedding. This is especially true if your pet's shedding is in the normal range. Little dogs are more likely to be allowed on the furniture. If applicable, consider training your dog to stay off if her hair is becoming a nuisance there. If you happen to be buying new furniture, leather is a good pick, as hair doesn't stick to it and easily brushes off. Denim and suede are more manageable fabrics, if you don't want leather. Also, use allergen-resistant covers on your mattress and pillows to repel hair on your bed. Little dogs are also more likely to get in your closet and leave hair on your clothing, so keep the closet doors closed. Regular vacuuming and a lint roller are helpful, too.
Treating Excessive Shedding
If your vet determines your little dog is shedding too much, he'll diagnose the cause. How you remedy the excessive shedding depends on the diagnosis. Nutritional deficiencies are a common problem, so your vet may suggest a better dog food or dietary supplements. Often, nutritional support helps reduce excessive shedding even in the absence of a deficiency. In particular, fatty acids are beneficial, so ask your vet about increasing your dog's intake. Dog foods formulated to reduce shedding are also available. If fleas or intestinal parasites are making your dog shed a lot, use the antiparasitic agent prescribed by your vet. Allergies and various skin conditions are often to blame, too; your vet will recommend a medicated shampoo or other products. Other common causes of excessive shedding include infections, organ dysfunction, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Your vet will supervise treatment, which should reduce symptoms like hair loss.
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