Causes for Extreme Shedding in Dogs

Regular grooming can reduce shedding.
Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

All dogs shed to some extent, though you're more likely to notice the shedding of a long-haired dog than a curly or short-haired one because of the greater volume of hair. Regular brushing and grooming can help ensure your pup’s coat is thick and healthy. Regular brushing also helps you identify any potential health or skin problems that can present themselves in the form of excessive shedding.


A dog who develops hyperthyroidism often has noticeable thinning of his hair as well as excessive shedding. The hair loss is typically limited to the dog’s body, with the head and legs unaffected. Shedding may be accompanied by thick skin with increased pigmentation. Dogs most susceptible to this condition are large breed, middle-aged dogs.

Skin Disorders

A variety of different factors can lead to canine skin disorders that result in excessive shedding. Mange, parasites, insect bites or even allergens can irritate your dog’s skin and result in substantial hair loss. You may see overall shedding or patchy hair loss, depending on the skin condition and the severity of the problem. This type of symptom should be assessed by your vet to ensure proper diagnosis is made and treatment provided. In many cases, skin conditions can be treated with topical medications, and on occasion, allergy medicines or antibiotics.


Dogs who are stressed may exhibit excessive shedding. Stress can be caused by different factors, such as anxiety at being left alone for long periods of time, moving to a new home or seeing the introduction of a new baby or new pet to a household. Stressed dogs usually exhibit other signs such as more frequent accidents in the house, lack of appetite, excessive whining or neediness. If you can identify the stressors and find ways to make your dog more comfortable and relaxed, you may see these symptoms disappear. If not, consult a healthcare professional for more information.

Dog Coat Care

Learn about your breed’s specific grooming needs to ensure you’re taking good care of your dog’s coat. For example, some dogs, like poodles, cockapoos and cocker spaniels, have long, curly hair that requires frequent grooming or it can become matted and cause skin problems. Other dogs with oily coats, like Labrador retrievers, don't require regular bathing, which can, in fact, reduce necessary oils on their skin. Your vet can provide you with advice as to the best grooming routine to keep your pup’s coat in good condition and reduce excessive shedding.