How To Prevent My Chihuahua From Shedding?
Shedding can be a difficult and frustrating part of dog ownership. When your dog sheds, they can leave hair on your floors, your furniture, your clothes, and every other surface in the house. For those with allergies to dog danger, extra shedding can cause allergies to flare up. Cleaning hair off of surfaces can be tedious and time-consuming.
Lots of Chihuahua owners want to know what they can do to prevent the shedding instead of just cleaning it up. While there are certain things that can be done to temper excessive shedding, you cannot completely stop your Chihuahua from shedding.
In this article, we will help you understand your Chihuahua’s coat and list some reasons why your dog may shed excessively. Then we will provide you with solutions to help reduce excess shedding.
Understanding Your Chihuahua’s Coat
Shedding occurs when your Chihuahua’s coat needs to make room for new hairs to grow. Just like humans, dogs naturally lose hair over time.
Unlike humans, though, dogs shed their coats as a way to manage temperatures. While humans are able to regulate their own body temperature with sweat, Chihuahuas need to grow thicker hair in the winter and shed excess coats in warm weather to manage their body temperature.
This is why your dog may shed more in spring, as Chihuahua’s no longer need their winter coat to manage warmer weather.
- Single-Coat Chihuahuas
Your Chihuahua will either have a single or a double-coat. Single-coat Chihuahuas have a single coat of fur that is made up of coarser guard hairs. These Chihuahuas usually shed once in the spring or gradually throughout the year.
- Double-Coat Chihuahuas
Double-coat Chihuahuas have both a top coat made up of guard hairs and an undercoat that is made up of softer, thinner hair. These Chihuahuas typically shed excess coats in spring and again in late fall. They may also shed their topcoat gradually throughout the year.
Why Does My Chihuahua Shed Excessively?
Your Chihuahua may shed excessively for a wide variety of reasons. Below are things that may cause your dog to shed more and what you can do about it.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your Chihuahua is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Just like in humans, hypothyroidism in dogs can lead to hair loss. Your dog may also experience high blood cholesterol, lethargy, weight gain, and anemia. If you suspect that your dog has hypothyroidism, you should make an appointment to have your pet’s blood tested.
- Cushing’s Disease
Cushing’s Disease occurs when your Chihuahua overproduces their adrenal gland hormones. In addition to hair loss, this disease can cause increased appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination. If you suspect your Chihuahua has Cushing’s Disease, you should seek your vet’s advice for diagnosis and treatment.
- Heat Cycle
As for the female Chihuahuas, hormones play a big role when it comes to shedding. When your Chihuahua is in heat, she is more likely to shed because of her elevated estrogen levels. Female Chihuahuas can also have excessive shedding after giving birth. This is also due to hormonal changes in your dog. You can reduce this type of shedding by having your dog spayed.
Stress can cause your Chihuahua’s hair to fall out. Your dog may feel stress due to separation anxiety, punishment-based behavioral training, moving into a new home, a death in the family, the addition of a new family pet, and more.
If you need to leave your Chihuahua home alone for periods of time, separation training can help minimize your dog’s anxiety. You can also help reduce anxiety by providing your pet with stimulating toys to keep his or her mind busy while you’re out.
Punishment-based behavioral training can cause serious stress to your Chihuahua and is not recommended for training your dog. Try reward-based training, which gives your pet a reward each time he or she successfully produces desired behavior.
Some stressors cannot be avoided. Moving to a new home, a death in the family or other environmental changes are a part of life. Do what you can to minimize your Chihuahuas stress in these situations.
- Food Allergies
Your Chihuahua may be allergic to an ingredient or ingredients in their food. When your pet eats something they’re allergic to, the immune system responds to the allergen by causing skin irritation and shedding. If you suspect your Chihuahua has allergies, try different foods to see if the shedding and other allergic reaction symptoms go away.
- Contact Allergies
Your dog may be allergic to things in his or her environment. Not only can food cause allergic reactions, but things like shampoo, flea medicine, antibiotics, metals like nickel, rubber, plastic, and household cleaning products can all cause an allergic reaction in your Chihuahua.
If excessive shedding is a new development, consider what new environmental changes have been made in your home. If you’re using a new cleaning product or if your Chihuahua has recently started a new flea medicine, see if eliminating those things clears up the excessive shedding.
If your Chihuahua is sick, he or she may shed more. Both fungal and bacterial infections can cause excessive shedding in dogs. Ringworm and pyoderma or just two of many illnesses that may cause your Chihuahua to shed more. If you suspect your dog has an infection, schedule a visit with the vet to help properly treat the illness.
Not all Chihuahuas lose hair when they get fleas, but an allergy to flea saliva can cause your dog to scratch more. This results in excessive shedding and even bald spots. If your Chihuahua has fleas, it is important to treat them promptly. Visit your vet to find out what flea treatment is recommended for your dog.
Mange is caused by a parasitic mite, called Demodex. This can cause intense itching, which may result in hair loss. To treat mange, you should seek the medical advice of your dog’s vet.
- Concerning Symptoms
A lot of excessive shedding in Chihuahuas is caused by things that irritate your dog’s skin. When your pet scratches, shedding can occur. If you see bald spots or red, irritated skin, you should take your Chihuahua to the vet. Hair that is falling out in large clumps is also a reason for concern. A vet can help you properly diagnose the problem when there’s an underlying medical reason for your dog’s symptoms.
How To Reduce My Chihuahua’s Shedding?
Shedding is going to happen no matter what, but there are some ways you can reduce the amount your Chihuahua sheds.
Brushing is the single most effective way to control shedding. You should brush your Chihuahua daily. This removes loose hair, straightens tangled knots, helps distribute your dog’s natural oil throughout her coat, and helps promote healthy hair growth.
To brush your Chihuahua, choose a brush designed for your dog’s coat and gently but firmly work your way through each section of his coat. As needed, remove excess hair from the brush.
- Change Your Brush
If brushing alone doesn’t help reduce your Chihuahua’s shedding, you may need a different brush. For Chihuahuas with an undercoat, a slicker brush is best. A bristle brush can be used on Chihuahuas that don’t have an undercoat.
There are also special brushes designed to help with de-shedding. Many owners like the Furminator brush for keeping shedding under control. It can be surprising how much more hair can be brushed away when using the proper tools.
If you're still unsure which brush to pick, maybe our Daily Care collection can help you out.
Your Chihuahua needs to be bathed regularly. Bathing removes dirt, dander, debris, and loose hair from your Chihuahua. For most of the year, you should bathe your Chihuahua once every two to three weeks. During his or her seasonal shed, you may choose to give your dog a bath once a week.
It’s important to not over-bathe your Chihuahua, as too many baths can cause their natural oils to dry up. This can cause skin irritation and hair loss.
Both before and after bathing, you should brush your Chihuahua to remove loose hair. Use a mild shampoo and make sure to dry your little pooch completely after his or her bath.
- Use Hydrocortisone Shampoo
Hydrocortisone shampoo can be helpful if your dog is shedding due to an allergic reaction or skin irritation. This shampoo can help suppress inflammation and itching from allergic reactions. It’s important that you ask your vet before using hydrocortisone shampoo on your Chihuahua.
- Blow Drying
After your Chihuahua’s bath, you can use a blow dryer on a cool setting to help remove loose hair from your dog’s coat. The combination of brushing, bathing, and drying your dog’s coat can help reduce the overall shedding in your home.
- De-shedding Spray
De-shedding sprays often use natural ingredients designed specifically to strengthen your Chihuahua’s hair. Before using it for the first time, consult your veterinarian to find out if this spray is a good fit for your dog. Once approved, you can use this product regularly to improve the health of your dog’s coat.
- Change Your Chihuahua’s Diet
Your Chihuahua might be shedding because he or she is not getting the nutrition they need. You should not feed your dog food that is made with mostly corn or other filler ingredients. Use a variety of food to make up your dog’s diet. A high-quality protein should be the first ingredient in any food given to your Chihuahua.
There are a lot of quality dog food options out there. A healthy diet will promote a better coat and will reduce shedding. If you suspect your dog’s diet may be the cause of his or her shedding, try switching foods. If your Chihuahua’s shedding does not improve, seek the advice of your dog’s vet.
Dehydration can lead to excessive shedding. You should make sure that your Chihuahua always has plenty of water in his or her water bowl. Keep track of how much water your pet is drinking. Dogs should drink one ounce of water for each pound of weight every day.
- Nutritional Supplements
There are a lot of nutritional supplements out there to help your dog get proper nutrients. While your dog should get most of its nutrients from food, supplements can help target specific problem areas.
Supplements designed to reduce shedding in dogs usually contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, flaxseed oil, and vitamins. You should always ask your vet before starting a dietary supplement for your dog.
- Regular Medical Checkups
You should take your Chihuahua to the vet for checkups every six months. When your pet gets regular checkups, this can help catch infections, hormone imbalances, and other medical causes of excessive shedding.
Medical checkups are also a great time to talk to your vet about dietary changes, supplements, topical treatments, or other changes to help your Chihuahua thrive.
- Reduce Stress
If your Chihuahua is losing hair because of stress, make changes to reduce your dog’s stress. Training to help with separation anxiety can help if your dog gets stressed from being alone. It’s important to make sure your Chihuahua is getting enough attention and exercise, as these can help reduce stress.
Clothing for pets isn’t just cute. It can hold loose hair in place until you brush and bath your Chihuahua. Immediately after removing clothing, brush your dog’s coat. While this won’t reduce the amount of hair that sheds, it can help catch it.
You can’t stop your Chihuahua’s shedding entirely. After all, shedding is the main way your pet will regulate its body temperature in warmer weather.
However, regular maintenance can help reduce how much of your dog’s hair ends up on your home’s surfaces. If your dog is shedding more than normal, interventions may be necessary to deal with underlying medical conditions.
You should never give medications or supplements to your dog or use any medicated shampoo without first asking your Chihuahua’s vet.