It’s a sad fact that we all grow old, including our dogs; they don’t live forever. When we grow old, our bodies change, and so do our dog’s. Let’s find out if dogs shed more in their senior years.
When a dog grows old, its skin and coat will become less healthy than a younger dog resulting in more shedding and breaking off. You will also notice more shedding of an older dog’s fur in one place. This is because most older dogs are less active than younger dogs, and the pile will gather in particular areas more so, such as where they like to sleep.
We know now that older dogs will inevitably shed more due to weaker skin, root and fur. However, there are other possibilities on top of the ageing process that older dog can lose more hair as they age. Let’s go through the common reasons and ways in which you can manage the shedding.
Common reasons why older dogs shed more and resolutions
Older dog’s move less
Since our older dogs dont tend to move around as much, the fur isn’t spread out as much as the younger dogs, which could give off that your dog is shedding more than you think. However, we could look at the positive side of this, and it could be a good thing since most of the hair will be in one or two places—less overall hoovering of your house.
You could get a little handheld hoover and concentrate on removing the excessive hair from their favourite places, usually where they sleep. If it’s handheld it quicker to get out rather than the main hoover.
Extra brushing, if your dog enjoys a good brush, then take the opportunity to brush them more. Please note that older dogs will be more delicate and frail. Some dogs do not like to be fussed as much. Depending on your dog, you can increase the brushing if they don’t mind. Extra brushing will help with the excess hair of an older dog.
Frustration and stress
Older dogs are still young at heart, and they still want to do all the same things when they were younger, greet you at the door, bark at the neighbours as they go by. The older they get, the less they can do what they used to enjoy, leading to older dogs being a bit stressed and frustrated. This has a knock-on effect that can affect their coat’s health condition and cause more shedding than usual.
By understanding your older dogs needs, you can resolve the frustration with ease. Perhaps you have the dog bed located next to the window, why not move it away from the window or when you come in from being out of the house, greet your dog straight away, you go to them rather than them struggling to come to you.
I had an older JRT who lived to 16 years old, and he was a big-time door greeter all his life. Like all Jack Russell terriers, they are devoted to their owners. When he got older, when I returned home, my first thought was to see my dog. I would go straight to him rather than call him and wait for him to hopple to me.
Just changing these little habits can have a substantial impact on the mental condition of an older dog. Which also plays a significant role in the state of their coat.
It’s a known fact that when dogs get older, they can go off their food now and then. When older dogs dont eat, they are missing out on their essential vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals contribute to and support the condition of their skin and coat. If the skin and coat don’t get the desired amount of goodness, a senior dog will, in doubt, shed more.
If you have a fussy senior dog that tends not to eat all its food, you could consider changing the food brand for better quality—giving your dog a smaller portion but more servings per day. If your dog eats dry food, try soaking the dry food in water for a few hours, then serving it to your dog. Plus, be mindful that older dogs have fewer teeth and could make mealtime header if given dry food.
Please speak with your veterinary professional about some older dog health supplements. All dogs are different, so you should contact your dog’s vet, and they will recommend supplements specifically for your older dog. Many brands on the market are suitable for dogs coat health. Still, as dogs get older, they become more sensitive to the ingredients, and you could do more harm than good.
Depending on if your dog has any underlying health issues, you should always consult a vet first.
Top Tip – Dry food! – For dogs fed on dry food, try soaking them in water before serving to your dog. The little bits of dry food will soak up all the water and go nice and fluffy. This way, it’s easier for your dog to chew, swallow and digest. Another benefit to soaking dry food is that your older dog will be getting some extra hydration.
Underlying health problem
Your dog can shed more due to an underlying health problem. As dogs grow up and get to a certain age, their bodies can’t fight off illnesses like they used to. Usually, if your dog is poorly, there will be other signs as well.
The common illnesses of an older dog:
- Gum Disease
- Kidney Disease
If you believe your dog could be shedding excessively due to an illness, you must contact your veterinary professional. Senior dogs are never too old to receive treatment, even if the only treatment available is to make them more comfortable.
Top Tip: Smother your older dog in love and cuddles!
More than just shedding
If your dog is balding in certain areas, you must take them to the vets to get treatment, as they could be suffering from some skin infection that needs to be looked at ASAP. Mostly because they are old, their bodies are no longer equipped to deal with such diseases.
If you have a dog thats not entirely of age just yet, I hope the above has given you an insight into the future expectations of what is to come with shedding. If you already have an older dog, please take on board the top tips. Soaking their dry food so they can eat with more ease and give plenty of love and cuddles to your older dog.
Happy senior or soon to be senior dog parenting!
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.