As any dog owner can tell you, shedding just comes with the territory. It’s a natural and healthy process for dogs, no matter how annoying it can sometimes be to their owners. The amount of fur shed by individual dogs depends on a variety of different factors, including their breed, temperament, the time of year, and whether they have a single layer or double layer of fur.
You won’t be able to keep your canine from shedding. However, if your dog is excessively shedding, then there are steps you can take to try to reduce it. It’s important to recognize when your dog is losing too much hair, as that could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
When Is It Too Much Shedding?
If you notice your pup is losing more hair than usual, then it may be the result of a bodily imbalance, illness, or health condition. Here are some issues that may cause excessive shedding:
- Fungal infections
- Inflamed skin
- Skin infections
- Thyroid imbalance
It’s important to contact your vet if your furry friend is losing much more fur than normal. A quick checkup can determine whether everything is okay or whether there is a more serious underlying health condition behind all the hair loss.
Methods to Keep Shedding under Control
While you can’t stop your pet from shedding, there are methods for managing it effectively. Again, we want to emphasize that if you see any abnormal shedding or anything seems off, then contact your vet. However, if you just want to keep normal amounts of shedding under control and maybe even reduce it a little bit, then you can try these strategies.
- Brush your dog regularly – consistently brushing your pet will help remove excess hair and hair that is ready to come off, before it finds its way on your floor and furniture. Bristle brushes are great for all types of coats, with long bristles better for a longer coat and stiff brushes better for shorter hair dogs. Wire pin brushes are the best option for woolly or curly coats that require detangling, slicker brushes are perfect for dogs prone to matting, and rubber curry combs can be used on short haired dogs.
- Utilize shedding tools – shedding tools are made for removing dead hair from your canine’s coat, which, similar to brushing, can help reduce the amount of hair clumps you find throughout your home. They resemble brushes with closely spaced, stainless steel tines that remove the undercoat.
- Ensure a healthy diet – a healthy coat depends on the right balance of nutrients and vitamins to keep hair growing strong. Make sure you are giving your dog high quality, nutritious food and that they are eating all of their meals.
- Increase your dog’s water intake – if you notice an abnormal amount of shedding and don’t know why, then try monitoring your dog’s water intake. If they are consuming too little water, this could the culprit behind the excess hair loss. Encourage them to drink more if you see that they are not drinking as much as they normally do.
CBD May Also Help
Conditions like itchiness, stress, sunburns, and even allergies lead to inflammation that can result in canine hair loss. The good news is, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat these underlying causes of excessive shedding. There have been several studies looking into CBD’s positive and relieving effect on inflammation.
This investigation published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that CBD consistently reduces inflammation in laboratory mice. A later study found that it has a similar pain reducing effect in humans, without any adverse side effects. Additionally, a clinical trial undertaken by the pharmaceutical company Zynerba found that a CBD based, topical drug provided pain relief to patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
I know what you’re thinking, these studies found positive results with CBD for lab mice and humans, not dogs. Well, the truth of the matter is that we are not all that different from our four legged friends. We have similar immune and nervous systems, which means that conditions like inflammation affect us in similar ways. Additionally, dogs, like most animals, also have an endocannabinoid system, which allows CBD to interact with their bodies.
Dog Endocannabinoid Systems
CBD may help dogs the same way it may help the rest of us, by tapping into our biochemical communication highway called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is full of receptors in the nervous system and around our bodies that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with in order to trigger changes.
What are endocannabinoids? They are essentially the body’s equivalent to “external” cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with the receptors found throughout the nervous system that make up the endocannabinoid system. When it comes to excessive shedding, CBD may help by binding to ECS receptors and moderate your pup’s bodily responses like inflammation.
Less inflammation may lead to a reduced amount of shedding.
CBD and Canine Stress
Canine stress, like human stress, is a natural and healthy (to a point) bodily response to certain external situations. In a nutshell, the feeling of stress is the physical and mental reaction when the body and mind feel attacked or threatened.
When it comes to your dog, the signs of immediate extreme stress often take the form of growling, crying, and whining. For more long term stress, you may notice changes in your dog’s behavior, like restlessness, pacing, and panting. Stressful situations can also cause your dog to shed excessively. For prolonged stress, this can lead to significant hair loss.
Similar to inflammation, CBD may help your pet’s stress by acting through the endocannabinoid system. In humans, CBD is thought to help chronic stress by preventing the overstimulation of our body’s CB1 receptors and by boosting our body’s production of endocannabinoids. This then reins in the body’s response to stress and helps lead to the proper chemical levels and a balanced emotional state.
Although dogs and humans are not exactly the same, it can be safe to assume that CBD may interact with their ECS in a similar way. However, to be definitive there would need to be further research into the subject.
If your dog is shedding excessively or you want to try to reduce it, there are several methods you can try. CBD may help your dog shed less if the underlying cause of the shedding is related to stress or inflammation. The good news is, CBD only has shown mild side effects in dogs, including dry mouth, slight, temporary drops in blood pressure, and, in some cases, drowsiness. Most of these effects are related to incorrect dosage.
If you choose to give CBD to your pet, we recommend starting off with a low dosage and slowly working your way up as you see how it affects your dog. In any case, you should always talk to your vet first about your pup’s excessive shedding and ask them if they think it’s a good idea to give your animal CBD or not.
We are working to partner with local animal clinics, spas, and daycare centers to make access for your furry family member as easy as possible. Let us know if there’s a local retailer you’d like us to reach out to!