Shed Happens – But there are Ways to Reduce It!
Veterinarian Reviewed on May 21, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
It is almost inevitable and unavoidable that if you have pets, you will have varying degrees of animal fur at various times of the year! Shedding is a natural process so you cannot eliminate it entirely.
The volume of shedding does depend on genetics and there are variations within that, depending on the overall health of the animal, their age, how much they exercise, lifestyle, stress factors, frequency of grooming, diet etc.
Diet and supplementation can make a major difference in the amount of hair your animal loses. We recommend species appropriate diets. For carnivores like cats and dogs, the most natural diet and the one that will provide the most bioavailability of nutrients is raw. A carnivore, from their nose to their tail, is designed to eat and process raw meat…and some vegetables. When not on a species appropriate diet, they simply cannot reach optimal health. If your animal is not currently on raw, and you want to switch, make sure you do it correctly. We will have a “changing to raw” article to come. If you are not prepared to do a raw diet, then the next best thing would be home cooked but that too must be done correctly. Dehydrated diets are also very good, all you do is add water! We do not recommend dry food. No matter how good the ingredients, it’s still highly processed and very difficult for an animal to digest.
Dogs and cats are not designed to eat grains so in looking for a canned food, make sure it does not have grains and that it’s made from human grade ingredients. Grains, especially wheat and rice, can lead to inflammation in the body and one of the ways that can manifest is in the skin and coat. Skin can become dry and itchy and certainly hair loss and a dull coat can be the result.
There are other reasons why your pet might be suffering from hair loss including:
Hypothyroidism in dogs, Hyperthyroidism in cats, Kidney disease, Liver disease, Cushings, Addisons, Stress, etc.
If your dog or cat is shedding excessively and doesn’t respond to better nutrition and supplementation, see your vet to ensure that any underlying disease is caught early!
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan