Shedding Dog Question

Updated on October 11, 2010
E.M. asks from Boulder, CO
12 answers

We have the sweetest, gentlest Rott/Shepard Mix. She is 10.5 years old and about 106 pounds. She has been shedding like crazy for the past couple months and I am wondering if this is a sign of old age? She has always been a high volume shedder. This has been worse than ever. We don't even want to pet her anymore because the hair just comes off in your hands. :( We just started adding canola oil with omegas to her dry food and her food that is going to be delivered on Monday is for skin and coat (salmon based). Do dogs shed more as they age? We brush her every week or so and bathe her every month at least. The hair just keeps coming. Why would she be shedding more as winter approaches? Shouldn't she be shedding less?

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answers from Dallas on

I have a pug that sheds all year round. They are known for their shedding problems. I started using salmon oil and it's helped SO much. You can get liquid to pump on her food but I just roll a capsule up in some bread or cheese that I get at Walmart. I would suggest 1000mg per 30 pounds. Also will help her joints as well since she is an older girl ")
Also you could get some blood work done and see if she is having some thyroid issues and that could be the cause.
Best Regards,

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I don't know if it has anything to do with age, but it can have to do with the weather - MAYBE; our dogs (Labs/Goldens) have always started shedding like crazy in the late summer and into the fall. I don't know why - I would think, too, that they would have shed their winter coats earlier! Like any Coloradan, I blame it on the altitude.

Why don't you try brushing her gently every day for a while? I use a dog brush, a comb, and (carefully) one of those shedders with the nasty serrated edge - it helps get the loose undercoat hair out. Be very careful not to hurt her skin. My husband and I raise CCI pups, and we've been warned not to bathe them too often because of the dryness of the climate. But your vet is your best guide.

Love your "old lady" all to pieces - dogs are just as great when they're old as they are when they're young. But I don't need to tell you that.



answers from Boston on

Shedding more at the end of summer is normal. My dogs and horses all start shedding their summer coats in August & build a different kind of coat (longer, fatter hairs) for the winter. Increasing fats (canola oil) and adding the Omega-3s (salmon based food or supplements) is terrific & will help -- but it takes time. When my critters go through this (and I have an older pooch also), I try to brush them more often. I agree with the poster who recommended not increasing the bathing. I find that it makes for drier hair which then encourages shedding. BTW -- my vet says that, as they age, dogs (like people) have a harder time processing food. Even if she hasn't needed extra fats before, it may be time to add them.

I'll have to check into a furminator & would love to hear more. With 3 dogs (one old lab guy, a middle aged shephard-boxer mix & a younger beagle-basset mix), a good brush is a necessity!



answers from Detroit on

If her coat is really dry, they can shed more. Adding Omega 3 supplements may help - fish oil capsules are a much better source than canola oil or other plant/vegetable oils. Also, your vet may carry Hill's Prescription Diet j/d formula - it comes in dry and canned and is basically already full of fish oils that can be helpful for her joints as well as her skin and coat. I've seen many dogs go on it for their arthritis and they end up with these gorgeous coats that they didn't have before as a bonus. I know you mentioned that your vet is ordering food for her, I'm wondering if that's what it is or similar.



answers from State College on

You have some great ideas already. We also use a furminator brush about once a week and I love it. You may have already had talked to your vet and run bloodwork, but if not that may rule out that there is nothing underlying that is causing the hair loss since it is new and it sounds like it coming off in chunks. If your weather is anything like here we have had 50 degree days and then mid 70s, which might throw off a dog if they spend much time outside.



answers from Denver on

Sadly Shepherds are notorious shedders from my experience. But shedding in the fall is perfectly normal. When I was in grooming it was a busy season. Dogs will shed in fall to lose the summer coat and make room for the thicker winter coat, then in the spring loose the thicker coat for the thinner. Brushing will help and same with the oils. If you can, take her to a groomer or look for a doggy wash place that offers the blowers. We would use the blowers where I use to groom dogs and watch to loose hairs fly. With that being said if it seems even worse than a normal fall shed you may want to talk to your vet just to rule out any health issues. I do remember a few years back my 3 girls didn't blow their coats till the last minute so it came fast and furious, and by November life was back to normal. Hang in there and good luck.



answers from St. Louis on

yes, it could be age. & actually, since it's fall....she should be building her coat! BUT, try daily really helps with our dogs.


answers from Los Angeles on

I had a Rot/Shepard mix. At one time I think I could have stuffed a queen size comforter with all her hair she shed. Big clump fulls would come out. Make sure you get a brush that reaches the undercoat and brush her daily. Weekly or bi-weekly bathing helps too. My dogs hair did fall out a little more as she aged, and grew back less. If that makes any sense. Good Luck!



answers from Kansas City on

We have a glove brush, so we can pet our dog with that and it gets up all the hair. Sometimes we have to use it more than others, most often in the spring, but she's been doing some shedding now too. We have a really small dog, though so it's not too bad.



answers from Sacramento on

I have a lab/shephard mix who is also shedding handfuls of hair daily. We bought a Furminator dog brush which helped a LOT. We can usually half fill a paper grocery bag with the fur that brush lifts off her. The brush is expensive but I found mine on eBay. The best part about these brushes is the dogs don't mind them like the other styles of brushes.

I don't know about dogs shedding more as they age. If she's not developing bare patches, I'd suspect the weather. When I speak to other owners at our dog park, they are all complaining about shedding right now. Another thing I learned is dogs shed before they get their winter coat so maybe that is what's happening?



answers from Provo on

My australian shepherd - border collie mix sheds in the spring and the fall - just as you describe your dog's shedding. She gets a summer and a winter coat. The only things I found that help with this normal process are using Furminator shampoo/rinse on her and then combing her with a Furminator comb. Expensive but helpful. This process helps to dislodge some of the loose hair so that it doesn't go all over your house.



answers from Tampa on

I don't know what to say to help you. Is she having any anxiety? We have a lab/chow/?greyhound or whippet mix. She's 10yrs old and I swear the shedding has worsened. She seems to have anxiety issues though. She started having hair loss on the back of her paws around April when we went on a camping trip (her first one ever since we had 2 dogs before that). Now she seems to pick/lick her legs more recently. We are thinking since she's always been a "nervous nellie" it's just worsened as our son, now 3yr, gets older and loves to be near her, run around, hug her, etc. We've started giving her benadryl in hopes that that will help calm her a bit. She wasn't really doing the licking/picking when we left her here while we went out of town recently.
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I suppose it could be age. I mean, our dogs are about the same age. She shed really bad during the summer, then it seemed to calm down, now it seems like it's picking up again.....IDK. Good luck and I'll keep watching to see if anyone else knows if increased shedding may be age related cause I'm thinking our dog is anxiety related.

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