Say Goodbye to Excessive Dog Shedding

Funny portrait of cute puppy dog border collie with fur in moulting lying down on couch. Furry little dog and wool in annual spring or autumn molt at home indoor. Pet hygiene allergy grooming concept

Key Points

  • Shedding is a natural process for dogs, and dogs with double-coat fur tend to shed more than dogs with hair.

  • How to stop dog shedding includes regular grooming in conjunction with other steps to promote a healthy coat.

  • Excessive shedding is sometimes a sign of an underlying health issue.

  • Additional tests such as bloodwork and skin scrapings may provide more insight into how to stop your dog’s shedding.

  • Treatment plans for excessive shedding include dietary changes, medications, supplements, or topical treatments.

Dog shedding is simply a part of life when you’re a pet parent. If you’re one of those pet owners constantly struggling with endless amounts of fur and want to know how to stop dog shedding, you first need to know whether you are dealing with fur or hair. Knowing the difference can help you determine the cause of your dog’s excessive shedding and how to manage your fur baby’s shedding problem.

What Is Dog Fur?

Simply put, fur is thicker than hair. It appears in several different forms. It can be curly, wavy, or straight; long or short; dense or sparse; waterproof or non-waterproof. All fur, however, always has an underlying layer of insulation, known as the undercoat. This insulation helps to keep dogs warm in cold climates and cool in hot climates.

Common Dog Breeds That Have Fur

In general, breeds that are considered working dogs tend to have fur. They need to have extra insulation to help them survive in colder climates. Huskies, Malamutes, shepherds, and collies all have gorgeous, thick fur coats. Some smaller breeds also have fur, such as the Samoyed, keeshond, and Pomeranian.

Dog lays on couch surrounding by shedded fur

What Is Dog Hair?

Hair is thinner than fur and usually grows in much the same way as it does on humans. Unlike fur, hair doesn’t have an undercoat layer beneath its outer layer. Dogs with hair tend to shed less because they don’t need to replace their insulation as frequently as dogs with fur do.

Common Dog Breeds That Have Hair

Common breeds with hair include French bulldogs, poodles, bichon frise, Maltese, and coton de Tulear. These breeds are bred as companion dogs rather than working dogs in extreme climates, so they don’t need the extra insulation that fur provides. As a result, these dogs are a better option for households that don’t want to deal with a lot of shedding.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Fur or Hair

If your dog is a crossbreed or you’re unsure what type of coat your dog has, there are a few key indicators to help you tell the difference between fur and hair. Fur is thicker than hair, so look for thicker hairs to indicate that your dog may have fur rather than hair.

Also, check to see if there is an underlying layer of insulation beneath the outer layer of fur or hair. If there is an undercoat, then it’s likely that your pup has fur. On the other hand, if your dog has sparse or thin hair, it’s probably hair.

The Difference Between Fur and Hair Shedding

Most people think all dogs shed regardless of their coat type, but that isn’t always true. Dogs with fur tend to shed more than dogs with hair because of their extra insulation layer. If you are dealing with fur, more grooming and maintenance is needed to help manage the shedding.

Seasonal Shedding Difference

Another difference between fur and hair is that some breeds tend to shed more during certain seasons. Dogs with fur tend to shed more in the spring and fall, while dogs with hair may shed all year round but in smaller quantities. If your pup has fur, you’ll need to take extra measures to manage their shedding during the shedding season.

How Much Shedding Is Normal? 

Most dogs shed no matter what type of coat they have. However, if you own a dog with fur, then expect more shedding than if you own one with hair. Longer-fur breeds tend to shed more than shorter-haired breeds because there is more coat volume to lose during their daily grooming routine. 

Aside from the type of coat your pup has, the amount of shedding also depends on the breed, health status, age, diet, and the temperature of their environment.

Dog's fur is groomed by groomer

Dog Breeds and Shedding

Certain breeds of dogs tend to shed more than others. Breeds such as Akita, chow-chow, German shepherd, Samoyed, husky, and Malamute are all considered heavy shedders. Other breeds, such as the golden retriever and Labrador retriever, shed moderately. Then there are some low-shedding dogs, such as bichon frise, Yorkie, Maltese, and Shih Tzu.

Age Matters

The age of your pup also affects their shedding rate. Puppies shed more due to their rapid growth rate and changing hormones during adolescence. On the other hand, senior dogs sometimes experience increased shedding due to age-related changes in their skin health and hormone fluctuations associated with aging.

How To Stop Your Dog From Shedding

Unfortunately, you can’t stop your dog from shedding. Just like humans lose their hair, dogs lose a certain amount of their coats throughout the day. However, there are some things you can do to minimize shedding and keep your pup’s hair in check.

Brushing Regularly

Regular brushing drastically reduces shedding by removing dead fur and hair and distributing natural oils throughout the coat, leaving your pup looking healthy and shiny. The type of brush you need depends on your dog’s breed—long-haired and short-haired breeds require different tools. Ask your vet or groomer which brush is best for your dog’s coat.

Brushing isn’t just about making sure your dog looks their best. It also reduces skin irritation and allergies. In addition, it stimulates blood flow and improves skin health, relieves itching, and helps keep allergens at bay.

Use a Shedding Tool

Another great way to reduce shedding is to use a specialized tool known as a shedding blade or comb. These tools are designed with wide teeth and sharp edges, which help break up and remove dead fur from the coat. These shedding tools are essential grooming tools for any medium to long-length fur breeds as they thin out the undercoat and untangle any mats or knots.

Regular Grooming Visits

Regular visits to the groomer keep the coat at a manageable length and volume for dogs with hair so that there is less stress on the skin follicles and less shedding. A well-groomed pooch scratches less and suffers less from skin irritation.

Calming Dog Ad

Dog receives treats during a grooming

Use the Right Grooming Technique

Many dog owners think that shaving their dog’s coat is the answer to eliminating the shedding problem. Certified Master Groomer Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins warns, “if you shave off the top part of a fur guard hair, the undercoat will come back in a fast-growing rage.” In addition, shaving a double coat can permanently damage the coat, causing future growth to become patchy and uneven.

Don’t Use Your Shampoo

Another problem many owners do not understand is that human shampoo contributes to excessive shedding. Because dogs’ skin has a different pH level than human skin, shampoos made for humans are often too harsh and strip natural oils from the coat, leaving it dry and brittle. Always use a dog shampoo with natural ingredients that don’t have fragrance or soap. These types of shampoo allow you to nourish the pup’s skin without stripping essential oils.

Dietary Changes

What you feed your pup can also affect how much they shed. Nutritional deficiencies may cause dry skin and increased shedding. Adding essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, promotes a healthier coat with less shedding. Additionally, adding more protein sources, such as lean meat or fish, nourishes the skin from within and reduces excessive shedding over time. As your fur baby ages, check in with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s diet is nutritionally balanced and fulfills all of their dietary requirements.

Make Sure Your Pup Stays Hydrated

Provide your dog with plenty of water to help minimize shedding. Keeping your pup properly hydrated not only keeps their coat shiny and healthy but also reduces the risk of skin irritation and allergies. If you live in a hotter climate, ensuring that your pup has constant access to clean water is essential to keep them cool and healthy.

Provide the Proper Environment

Sometimes excessive shedding is caused by environmental conditions such as extreme heat or an arid environment. Consider running a humidifier in the winter to increase air moisture and keep your pup’s skin hydrated. In addition, make sure that your dog avoids temperatures that are too hot or too cold for their breed, as this causes skin irritation and increased shedding.

Dog grooming brush next to "?" shaped out of fur tuffs

Common Health Problems Related to Excessive Shedding

If you’ve exhausted all preventative measures, it may be time to consider if the shedding could be caused by a problem with your dog’s health. Many different health issues contribute to increased shedding.


One of the most common causes of excessive shedding in dogs is parasites like fleas, mites, or lice. These parasites live on the skin and within a dog’s fur coat. The infestation may cause an increase in itching and scratching, which often leads to excessive shedding.

Dogs carrying parasites may exhibit hair loss or bald patches due to the damage caused by these pests. An effective way to diagnose parasites is to bring your pup to the vet for a complete examination so they can check for any signs of parasites under the microscope. 

Bacterial Infections 

Bacterial infections are another possible cause of excessive shedding in dogs. Bacterial infections, such as hot spots (also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis), cause areas of inflamed skin which often turn into scabbing and hair loss. If caught early enough, bacterial infections are usually treatable with antibiotics. Left untreated, the infection may result in significant hair loss and other health complications.

Fungal Infections 

Fungal infections, such as ringworm, affect both humans and animals. It sometimes spreads from one species to another through contact with infected individuals or objects near them. Fungal infections often cause skin lesions that result in scabbing and excessive shedding. The best way to diagnose fungal infections is by taking samples from affected areas and sending them off for testing at a laboratory so treatment options can be formulated accordingly. 

Kidney and Liver Disease

Kidney disease is one of the most common health issues associated with excessive shedding in dogs. When the kidneys and liver aren’t working as they should, they fail to filter out toxins from the body. These toxins build up in the bloodstream and result in hair loss. To diagnose kidney disease, the vet performs a blood test to check for high levels of waste products like creatinine and urea. Ultrasound and liver function tests are needed to diagnose liver diseases.

Dog receives a bath at the groomer

Thyroid or Adrenal Issues

Thyroid or adrenal gland problems also cause excessive shedding in dogs as these glands produce hormones that regulate many bodily functions, including fur growth and maintenance. To diagnose thyroid or adrenal issues, your vet will do blood work to check hormone levels. 

Medication Side-effects

Dogs often require medication for various ailments, from allergies to skin conditions. Unfortunately, some medicines may cause your pup to shed excessively, making it challenging to manage the amount of fur around the house. If your pup’s medication seems to be causing excessive shedding, talk to your vet about ways to minimize the effects or switch medications if possible. 

Anxiety or Excessive Stress

Anxiety and stress are often overlooked causes of excessive shedding in dogs. When a pup is anxious or stressed, their fur sheds more than usual. Any transition, like a move, an addition to the family, or even a change in routine, may trigger a stress reaction. Pay attention to your pup’s behavior and try different methods to help reduce their stress levels. Exercise, mental stimulation, and calming treats can help them feel more secure and less anxious.


In rare cases, excessive shedding could be linked to cancer. If your dog loses fur for an extended period of time and nothing seems to help the shedding stop, it may be time for them to get checked out by a vet. They may need blood work or an ultrasound to determine if cancer is behind the excessive hair loss. 

Immune Disease 

Excessive shedding is sometimes an indicator of an underlying immune disorder. Autoimmune diseases like Lupus or Addison’s disease cause the body to attack itself, leading to hair loss and other physical symptoms. If your pup is losing fur in patches or clumps, it could be a sign of a problem with their immune system.

Dog lays down next to "I LOVE YOU" written in dog fur


Like humans, dogs are susceptible to sunburn. The areas most prone to sunburn on dogs are their ears, stomach, and any areas with a thin fur coat. Sunburn may lead to excessive shedding as the skin is damaged and turns flaky or scaly. If your pup is in the sun for a long time, consider investing in dog-safe sunscreen and protective clothing. 

Topical Irritants 

Itchy skin is another common cause of excessive shedding in dogs. Allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores are often the culprits. If you notice your pup scratching more than usual or chewing their fur excessively, it may be time for a trip to the vet so they can prescribe medication or suggest lifestyle changes that alleviate the discomfort. 

How To Find Out Underlying Cause of Excessive Shedding

If you suspect your dog may have an underlying health issue causing excessive shedding, it’s crucial to get them checked out by a vet immediately. Your vet will perform a physical exam on your pup and ask questions about their diet, lifestyle habits, and any recent changes in behavior or appearance. They may also recommend additional tests to diagnose the cause of the problem.    

Treating Excessive Shedding in Dogs 

Once your vet identifies the underlying cause of your pup’s excessive shedding, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored specifically for them. Depending on the health issue, this may include dietary changes, medications, supplements, or topical treatments.

Bottom Line

Shedding is a natural process for dogs, but underlying health issues may cause excessive hair loss. By regularly grooming your dog, you’ll be able to identify any possible causes of excessive shedding, such as parasites or skin infections. Make sure you brush their coat thoroughly to inspect for fleas or ticks, which should be treated as soon as they are found.

Monitor your pup’s diet and lifestyle habits, as any sudden changes could lead to excessive shedding. If you suspect a health issue is the cause of your dog’s hair loss, make sure you visit the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. With a little care and attention, you can help keep your pup comfortable and free from excessive shedding for years to come.

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