Molting – when a dog sheds its skin – is one of the most common questions asked by pet owners. Many times it’s not clear how much or little a dog sheds, so here are some answers:
• A normal adult Labrador Retriever (or any other breed) will shed their fur once every two weeks. If they have been kept indoors all day, then they may only shed once every three days.
• Some breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Dalmatians shed less often than others. For example, a Golden Retriever might only shed once every four days while a Doberman Pinscher might only shed twice a week.
How Long Does It Take To Molt?
The length of time it takes to molt depends on the breed of dog. However, most Labradors take anywhere from 3 to 7 days.
What Are The Signs Of A Dog Moulting?
A dog that has just molted will usually show signs of stress. They may appear anxious or even fearful. Their coat may become very dirty looking with loose hairs falling out and clumping together. Sometimes they’ll begin to lick themselves excessively.
When Does A Dog Begin To Molt?
The age at which a dog begins molting is usually around 7 months of age and will continue to molt until they die. However, some dogs will begin to slacken the pace at which they molt after they reach adulthood. For example, a lab that is three years old will molt only once every 5-6 months instead of once a month like it did when it was one year old.
What Changes Can You Expect To See?
You may notice that your pet’s coat changes from black to a brownish color. This is due to the fact that their old “dead” hairs are making room for new ones.
The changes won’t just be cosmetic however; you will also notice a change in your dog’s energy level. Since molting requires a lot of energy, your dog will probably spend most of the day sleeping. In fact, this is also the reason why most dogs shed their fur in the spring.
The longer days cause them to become tired easier and in turn they sleep more often.
You will also see a lot of their fur lying around the house. Although some pet owners vacuum it up, others choose to simply sweep or pick it up by hand.
What Should You Do?
As with any question about your dog, you should consult your veterinarian before taking any action. They will be able to tell you if your dog is sick or if molting is the cause of the symptoms.
If you have determined that your dog isn’t sick but is molting, then there are some things you can do to help manage the molting process.
Provide a Comfortable Area: Since molting requires a lot of energy, your pet will probably be spending most of their time sleeping. It is important that they have a very comfortable place to sleep in. If your budget allows, you might want to invest in a dog bed.
However, a pillow or cushion will also do. Since it may get soiled with fur, you may want to keep it in the washing machine from time to time.
Keep The House Clean: Since your pet will be shedding a lot, there will be a lot of loose fur around the house. You can either choose to sweep it up by hand or use a vacuum cleaner.
Give Your Dog Extra Attention: It is extremely important that your dog feels loved during this time. You might want to brush them several times a day or even give them a bath (if they tolerate it). Since most of these actions require a great deal of petting and handling, they will keep you and your dog bonded for years to come.
What Happens After The Dog Molts?
After the dog molts, their new hairs will begin to grow in. This new growth will be darker and thicker than the hairs that were shed. The dog’s general demeanor will also change. They will be more cheerful and energetic as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
What If My Dog Hasn’t Molted Yet?
Although most dogs begin to molt around the age of 7 months, all dogs are different. If your dog is past this age and they have not molted, then you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. There may be a medical reason for this.
Do Not Try To Pull Out The Fur Yourself: While it may be tempting to try to pull out the loose hairs, this will only cause your pet to feel pain and discomfort. It can also result in infections of the skin if you happen to have any open wounds on your hands.
Instead, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. They will be able to determine if your dog is simply going through a “slow molt” or if it is something more serious like alopecia which is often caused by a thyroid disorder.
While dog molting can be a messy process for pet owners, it is natural and usually nothing to be concerned about. As long as your veterinarian gives your dog a clean bill of health, then you should have nothing to worry about. This is especially important if your dog begins molting past the age of one.
It is important that you regularly groom your dog during this time. This will ensure that their new hairs are not caught inside the old hairs. In addition to this, you should spend more time with your dog and give them plenty of love.
They may be a little uncomfortable due to their molting so it is important to stay by their side as they go through this process.
Remember these tips and enjoy the renewed bond with your dog. Although molting can be a messy affair, it is all worth it for the love and attention you will get from your pet. Enjoy it!
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