Mother dogs who have recently whelped a litter of puppies frequently lose their coat once the puppies are weaned. The coat blow takes place over several months, sometimes coming out in clumps. This is a natural process, but you can take steps to speed it up and help your puppy mom recover her full, shiny coat.
What Causes Coat Loss?
A dog's hair goes through periods of growth -- growing and resting. When a bitch is pregnant and nursing her puppies, hormone changes cause her hair follicles to enter a resting phase in order allow her to nourish her puppies. This resting phase, the telagen phase, causes the coat to shed to make way for new coat growth, the anagen stage. When puppy care is complete, her body redirects itself to the growth phase, and the new hair growth pushes out the old coat at a faster-than-normal rate.
Speeding Up the Shed
Once your dog's coat begins to shed, brush her daily. This will help remove the old coat and keep it from accumulating around your house. Fill a spray bottle with water and mist your dog's coat lightly before you brush. It eliminates static and keeps the new coat from being damaged while it grows.
Bathe Your Dog
Give your dog a warm bath once a week. This will relax her hair follicles and help them release the old hair faster. Brush the dog before and after the bath. You will notice that she sheds more hair for several days after a bath. In a month to six weeks, you will notice the new hair growing, although it can take up to several months for her coat replacement to be complete.
Feed for Coat
Help your dog's body recover from pregnancy by feeding a high-quality dog food. Add supplements that will aid her coat growth, such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon oil or krill oil made for canines are a good source of fatty acids for skin and coat. Consult your veterinarian to establish a feeding program to meet your dog's needs. Overfeeding supplements can be harmful. Your vet will help you determine the correct amount.
Herbal compounds can help promote hair growth. Look for supplements that contain kelp, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil or lecithin. Introduce any new supplement gradually to your dog's diet. Add a small amount each day over a week to reach the full dose, and use supplements designed for dogs. Consult your vet before administering supplements and if your dog develops problems such as diarrhea or vomiting.
- Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education: Why Nursing Dogs Lose Their Hair
- Modern Dog Magazine: Sorting Out Supplements
- Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education: Causes of Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Dogs
- Natural Dog Health Remedies: Hair Loss in Dogs (Canine Alopecia)
- Cleary Lake Vet Hospital - Gestation, Whelping, and Post-Natal Care in Dogs: Care of the Bitch After Whelping
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images