If you’re asking: “Do dogs shed more in winter?” it’s likely you’re concerned about the amount your dog has been shedding. While some breeds do continue to shed year-round, there are some reasons for concern if your dog is shedding more than normal during the winter months.
Do Dogs Shed More in Winter?
Yes, dogs can shed more in winter for a few reasons. While it’s not common, it may be normal if your dog if he/she has always shed throughout the winter. However, if you haven’t noticed excessive shedding in previous winters, there may be a problem.
Why Dogs Shed More in Winter
Hair loss in the winter may be normal if its breed is known to shed throughout the year. Those breeds include:
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Boston Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
The above dogs have a thick undercoat that keeps them warm. Many people call it a winter coat, but sometimes too much grows in, so shedding occurs. This is especially true if it’s a particularly warm winter or your pup spends most of his/her time indoors in the warmth.
A lot of shedding from double-coated dogs is normal. They are known for heavy shedding. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, though. The following information should be read by dog owners with breeds that have thick undercoats and single coats.
When to Be Worried About Shedding During the Winter
Dog shedding is expected in the spring and summer. When it happens in the winter, it can be a cause for concern. The following reasons may explain why your pup is losing dog hair more than normal.
- Medical Condition
- Temperature Changes
- Skin Allergies or Conditions
- Medication Side Effects
- Lack of Grooming
Let’s dive into each cause to learn more about why your dog’s coat may be shedding in the winter.
Medical Conditions Causing Hair Loss
The following medical conditions can cause fur loss in the winter months.
- Ectoparasites (fleas, lice, mosquitoes, mange mites such as Demodex or Sarcoptes)
- Spider bites or insect stings
- Skin infections (bacterial, fungal)
- Allergies (inhaled, contact, insect)
- Anxiety-related or underlying pain with self-trauma
- Autoimmune disorders
- Endocrine diseases
- Genetic causes
- Nutritional (starvation or unbalanced diet, vitamin deficiencies)
- Vaccine site alopecia
- Chemical exposure, burns
List of medical conditions courtesy of PetMD.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to contact the veterinarian if you believe any of the above could be causing your dog to shed more in winter.
How Stress Increases a Dog’s Shedding
When a dog becomes stressed, his/her body goes into a fight-or-flight process. This means all of the functions of the body go to the organs most important in protecting the dog’s body. Unfortunately, the dog’s skin and hair aren’t recognized as important enough in the fight or flight response, so it starts to suffer from not getting what it needs to remain healthy.
The best thing a dog owner can do in this case is to make the stressful situation go away or reduce its impact on your dog. Of course, there are some situations that can’t be helped. In that case, give your pup as much love and attention as you can until the stressor isn’t so stressful anymore.
Some dog owners give their dogs CBD to calm them down, which helps the shedding. CBD is safe and effective at reducing anxiety in dogs and has many health benefits. To learn more about CBD for dogs with anxiety, read this: How Much CBD for Dog with Anxiety
Indoor dogs often experience more shedding during the winter simply because their body overcompensates for the double coat. The new hair growth is just too much and then the body sheds it so the dog doesn’t get overheated.
If your dog has started spending more time indoors, that’s likely why your dog is shedding in winter.
Skin Allergies and Conditions
Skin allergies and conditions can severely impact the health of a dog’s hair. When the skin is compromised, the hair shafts aren’t strong and they easily break.
If you notice redness, itchiness, irritation, hotspots, and other skin problems, you can start by applying Aquaphor or CBD for dogs to the area. If that doesn’t help, it’s worth reaching out to your veterinarian for advice.
Don’t ignore the issue as it can get worse and lead to more serious medical issues.
Hair Loss Due to Pregnancy
Female dogs that become pregnant often suffer from hair loss. If your dog has been shedding more in winter than normal, contact the veterinarian to test for pregnancy if that is a possibility (i.e. your dog has not been spayed).
Shedding Due to Medication Side Effects
Medication like corticosteroids can cause shedding. Contact your vet immediately if you’re seeing an increase in shedding after starting this type of medication because it may not be reversible.
Lack of Proper Grooming
Grooming is extremely important for all dog breeds of every coat type – short-haired dogs, double-coated breeds, long hair dogs, thick coats, and normal coats. ALL dogs need grooming to remove dead hairs and improve the health of existing fur while promoting new hair growth. Learn More: Does Bathing Your Dog Help with Shedding
What to Do About Your Dog’s Shedding in Winter
Seasonal shedding is bad enough, but when you have shedding in the winter, you never get a break. The good news is that there are ways to decrease the amount your dog sheds, including during normal times for shedding.
- Feed your dog a healthy diet. Raw fresh dog food is the best choice, but there are some dog foods that are healthy enough to give your dog essential vitamins and nutrients.
- Consider using a dog shirt to help contain the hair loss until you’re ready to deal with it, which can make cleaning the house much easier. It covers your dog’s body and is really comfortable. Many dog owners use it to help reduce anxiety as well.
- Try CBD oil for dog shedding. It has a calming effect and can improve your dog’s overall health.
- Groom your pup weekly with a brushing. This is especially important for dogs with double coats. It’s important to remove dead hair to aid in the shedding process.
- Use nutrient-rich dog shampoo to improve the health of your dog’s skin and hair. That can keep it from breaking, which will cut down on the shedding.
- Cut long hair so that it doesn’t get tangled with other hair leading to unhealthy strands that break off. If you want to keep your dog’s hair long, be sure to brush your dog’s coat much more than weekly – possibly every two days.
Now you know the answer to do dogs shed more in winter. If you feel that there’s a problem causing the excessive shedding, contact your veterinarian. If you believe it’s an issue you can take care of, then get started now. The sooner you start improving your dog’s skin and hair health, the better the shedding will be moving forward. You may just find that the shedding process for the summer coat won’t be as bad next year.