Pet Owners: Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Is Shedding Excessively

A girl and her dog

It’s completely normal for your dog to shed hair in their home. After all, it’s a natural way for them to get rid of old or damaged hair. And it’s also a good way for them to get rid of the thick coat that they developed in winter! But when your pooch starts to shed more regularly, there might be something going on. Here are some surprising reasons why your dog is shedding excessively.

Your dog is under too much stress

A lot of pet owners don’t realise that their pet is under stress. But it can cause health problems for your dog. And one of these is excessive shedding. The first thing your family should do is work out why your pooch is stressed. Have you moved home recently? Or have you got a new pet? It might be something as simple as their bed is not in its normal position. Once you have figured out why your dog is stressed, you can sort the issue. However, if there is no explanation, you can buy a calming remedy for your dog. It might be a calming spray that you plug-in, or some chews which will help reduce anxiety.

Phelps was really stressed out this morning. You can tell.
Source: Flickr

Your pooch is eating a poor diet

If you have been scrimping on pet food, it could be the reason for excessive shedding. Low-quality dog food might not have the adequate nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy. Therefore, you should buy an excellent quality dog food which will stop the excessive shedding. As well as making sure the food is good quality, you need to make sure your pooch hasn’t got any allergies to particular food. As this article says, experiment with different brands to find one which will help your pooch’s coat to stay thick and healthy.

Importanance of dog diet
Source: Flickr

Your pet has fleas

I think fleas are the biggest pain pet owners face. Once your pet has them, it’s hard to get rid of them quickly. And you might not realise that excessive shedding could be down to fleas. After all, your dog is trying to remove them quickly from their body. Therefore, buy a flea comb and look for any signs of the pests. If you do spot them, you need to buy some flea treatment as soon as possible. And buy some preventive tablets, so that it won’t be a regular occurrence. Also, make sure you clean your home to get rid of the flea-infested fur; you can click here to find a good vacuum to remove dog hair in your home!

Your dog has an underlying medical problem

Unfortunately, if your dog is shedding, it might be down to something more serious. Underlying medical problems such as kidney or liver issues could be causing the excessive shedding. In fact, excessive shedding is a symptom of kidney failure. Therefore, it’s time to take your beloved pooch to the vet so that they can check everything is okay. The sooner you take them, the more likely there will be something that they can do to help your pet.

Dog at the vet
Source

And make sure you go to see the vet if the shedding is causing bald spots and skin irritation. They will be able to suggest a treatment which can help to reduce the shedding and give your pooch some much-needed relief.

Hypersensitivity (allergic reactions) and washing cats… (Day 92)

Drying a cat

Today was the last Immunology lecture and was looking at hypersensitivity reactions in animals. Hypersensitivity is when the immune system exagerates the response to allegens (which is the name for antigens involved in hypersensitivity reactions) and is the cause of most allergic responses. There are four different types of hypersensitivity reactions…

  • Type I – Reaction mediated by IgE – atopy
  • Type II – Reaction mediated by IgG and IgM -cytotoxic
  • Type III – Reaction mediated by immune complexes
  • Type IV – Reaction mediated by cells – delayed type hypersensitivity DTH

Now type 1 hypersensitivity is usually caused by genetic or environmental factors, with the levels of IgE (a immunoglobulin responsible for the immune response) being higher than normal. The reactions are usually localised and form your general allergic reactions such as hayfever, asthma, conjunctivitis, food alergys and atopic dermatitis. This is usually tested for using intradermal tests where small amounts of the substance are placed under the skin and the results monitored or by using serum tests in a laboratory.

Type 2 hypersensitivity usually involved IgG and IgM and the complement pathways (the cell interactions for destroying cells). The IgG and IgM cells are produced that act against the bodies own cells, with the activated complement pathway which then destroys the cells. This often occurs with transfusion reactions or against red blood cells in new born animals such as foals which are born healthy and then sicken several hours after suckling for colostrum. This is tested for by a direct or indirect coombs test which works by testing the blood against the antibodies showing agglutination (cells sticking together) when it is positive.

Type 3 hypersensitivity involves soluble immune complexes, the complement system and neutrophils. These soluble immune complexes are deposited in tissues and organs which then activates the complement pathways causing inflammation and distruction of tissues. It is often responsible for pneumonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever and associated conditions. There are ELISA tests available to test for this in addition to testing of the levels of the immune complexes or the presence of antibodies.

Type IV hypersensitivity (also called Delayed Type Hypersensitivity) involves Th1 memory lymphocytes, macrophages and cytokines. As it is cell mediated it has a prolonged onset (hence the “delayed type”). Generally this is contact allergy where as exposure to a substance for a second time causes a exageratted inflammatory response. The most well known of these is the response to TB, if the body has been previously exposed to TB, then when the skin test is taken an abnormally large response is recorded.

I am at the stage now where I can see the stuff I am learning being directly beneficial to me when I reach practice and start seeing animals which is pretty cool. Animals are fun when they are well, however sometimes they are not. This evening (well more like 10pm) I helped a friend wash her cat after he laid down in his own urine. Most cats would try to kill you if you washed them, however this guy is so tame that he barely objected, and most definately enjoyed being toweled dry…

Cat being washed = I'll get youAnd off course the cuteness here makes it all worthwhile…

Drying a cat