Coping with hair shedding

If you ask people what they love about their pets, there’d be a long list of things. But dealing with shedding hair isn’t one of them. The distinctive fuzzy hair somehow finds its way onto every surface in your home – from couches to carpets to clothes. Let’s talk about some measures that can be taken for a healthy coat, and understand the common reasons for hair shedding.
Why do dogs shed so much?
The main reason is the dog’s unique hair growth cycle and seasonal hair shedding. Below are some of the causes...
1. Infestation and infection: Presence of parasites like fleas and mites triggers hair loss; these infest the dog and irritate the skin, causing severe itching which results in scratching and hair loss . Some bacterial/fungal infections also cause hair loss.
2. Imbalanced nutrition: Nutritional imbalance is one of the major factors leading to hair loss; some nutrients like biotin, zinc and fatty acids are essentials for healthy skin and coat.
3. Hormonal imbalance: Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism cause hormonal imbalance resulting in loss of hair; sex hormones imbalance also can cause hair loss.
4. Stress and illness: Stress experienced during pregnancy and lactation or during certain illness and seasonal changes, especially summer stress, could cause hair loss.
5. Allergies: Some environmental triggers such as pollen, moulds and dust mites, or parasitic triggers like fleas or mites cause hairfall. Food allergies or atopy cause itchiness resulting in excess scratching, biting, and, of course, hair loss.
6. Genetic factors: Some of the breeds are genetically prone to baldness, for example, Doberman, Chihuahua, Dachshund, etc.
If the degree of shedding appears abnormal, or if the pet has signs of serious skin problems, consult your veterinarian.

Hair loss symptoms
Symptoms of hair loss varies depending on the underlying cause but most of the time you would notice dry and brittle coat and/or visible bald patches that could be circular or patchy. Hair loss could be restricted to specific parts or across the body surface. You might also notice reddish blemishes, excessive dead tissue over the skin surface and presence of ticks/fleas. If there’s an infection, your pet might experience severe itching.

Keep shedding under control
* Brush, brush, brush: Daily brushing works best because it helps to get rid of all loose hair. If you can’t brush every day, aim for at least two good brushings per week. Also massage your pet well for soft lustrous hair.
* Nutritious diet: Ensure a balanced diet, meals rich in fatty acids and digestible proteins to keep your dog’s coat strong and healthy.
* Regular bath: Bathing your dog regularly with the skin-specific shampoo will help to keep the coat healthy, without making his skin dry. A healthy coat is less likely to have loose hair to shed.
* Consult a vet: If the degree of shedding appears abnormal, or if your pet has signs of serious skin problems, consult your veterinarian.

— Dr Aradhana Pandey, Veterinarian

Readers’ corner
2(L-R): Prince Viliyam and Purva Nimkar

Meet the Prince
I take care of stray animals. There’s no one to care for them. If I find any injured animal, I provide the necessary treatment. I’m an animal activist too.
— Prince Viliyam, LDA Colony, Lucknow

‘You touched my heart’
This is a thank you letter for my dear four-legged friend.
My Snowbell, you are like an angel who came to my life to give meaning to it. I am a veterinary student, and when I took admission, I was very scared of dogs. But one day I saw you, you were a pillu (puppy) at that time. You were a furry baby – that was the first time I touched a dog. You touched my heart. I started loving you – the way you welcomed me at the college gate, racing along the corridors was so much fun and needless to say, you always won!
Then one day you were gone from my life... Maybe God wanted you back soon to light someone else’s life – the way you lit mine. You will always have a place in my heart. I miss you, angel.
— Purva Nimkar, Nagpur

Are you a proud pet parent?
Have a cute cat story to share? Maybe your guinea pig is giving you trouble? Whatever is your creature companion, we are here to listen to you. Send your photos, queries and stories to [email protected]


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