Dog’s hair growth and shedding

Dog hair grows in cycles. Each follicle has a period of rapid growth (the anagen phase), followed by slower growth and then a resting phase (the catagen phase). During the resting phase, mature hair remains in the follicles and eventually detaches at the base. When the dog sheds her coat (the telogen phase), a young hair pushes out the old hair and the cycle begins anew. The average dog takes about four months to grow a coat, but there are individual and breed variations. The Afghan Hound, for example, grows her coat in about 18 months.

There are “hairless” dog breeds, such as the Chinese Crested (which has hair on the head, tail, and legs) and the Xoloitzcuintal (which is normally hairless except for a single tuft on the head and some long hairs on the tail). Both of these breeds have coated versions as well. The hairless condition in these dogs is due to a genetic mutation, not a health problem.

Most dogs shed or “blow” their coat at least once a year. Dams often blow their coat six to eight weeks after delivering puppies. Major shedding may follow a bitch’s heat cycle as well, due to the hormonal swings.

Many people assume that temperature changes govern when a dog sheds her coat. In fact, the seasonal length of daylight exerts the major influence. Longer periods of daylight in spring activate a shedding process that lasts four to six weeks. In fall, as the daylight hours grow shorter, many dogs may again shed their coat. Sensitivity to ambient light is most pronounced in dogs who live outdoors. Dogs who live primarily indoors are exposed to artificial light and a rather fixed photo period. These dogs may shed and grow new coats all
year long.

Some breeds, such as Poodles, Bedlington Terriers, and Kerry Blue Terriers, have what is called a nonshedding curly coat. These breeds do not shed loose hair into your house. Instead, their loose hair tends to collect into mats that remain on the body. Dogs with corded coats, such as the Puli and Komondor, have similar coats, but their hair works itself into cords.

Some dogs have a double coat comprised of long, coarse outer guard hairs and a soft, fine, wooly undercoat. When a dog with a double coat begins to shed, the appearance of the coat can be quite alarming. The undercoat is shed in a mosaic or patchy fashion, giving the dog a moth-eaten appearance that may suggest a skin disease.

When shedding begins, remove as much of the irritating dead hair as possible by daily brushing. In breeds with a thick double coat, a bath will loosen the dead hair and make it easier to remove. Always brush out a dog before bathing to help prevent the formation of mats.

Benefits of Dogs and Children Growing Up Together

1. Constant Companionship
Although childhood isn’t always easy, having a pet provides constant companionship through the ups and downs. Dogs can be a great source of comfort for kids — even when they’re coming to grips with difficult life lessons. Whenever kids feel sad, angry, or afraid, they can always turn to their pet. Petting and cuddling dogs has also been shown to relieve stress and help people relax.

2. A More Active Lifestyle

Caring for a dog also encourages a more active lifestyle. In fact, a recent study showed that kids with dogs exercise eleven minutes a day more than their non-dog owning peers. That might not sound like a lot, but over a week or month, it really adds up. Many dogs require daily walks or runs and plenty of play time. Those adorable puppy eyes they give you are sure to motivate you — even when you’re not feeling up to it.

3. Learning Responsibility

Having a pet is a great way to teach responsibility to kids. Making sure that the family dog has food and water gives children a first glimpse of accountability and obligation. Children also learn empathy and compassion by caring for their pet, while developing a higher level of self-esteem by taking care of their pet-owning responsibilities.

4. Health Is Wealth

Recent studies have found that babies raised in close contact with a pet get sick less often in their first year of life, meaning fewer visits to the doctor’s office. Exposure to pet dander and the microbes that pets carry into the home from the outdoors is suggested to improve babies’ developing immune systems. Research has also found that children who grow up with dogs experience a reduced risk of allergies.

5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of dogs in early childhood is simply that they make children happy! Interaction with animals has been proven to raise levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are the chemical building blocks of positive feelings. All science aside, playing and interacting with dogs is just plain fun — and it’s bound to brighten any kid’s day.

Summer Management For Dogs

Summer can mean lots of fun outside with your dog. But when the temps soar, take steps to protect your pet. Whether you take him for a walk down the street, a ride in the car, or just out in the yard to play, the heat can be hard on him. Here’s how to keep your furry best friend safe.

1. Never leave your dog in the car. No, not even if you think you’ll only be a few minutes. Even when it isn’t that hot outside, the temp can soar inside a closed car. On an 85-degree day, it can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. And that’s with a window cracked. After 30 minutes, it could be up to 120. Leave your dog at home, or go places where he can come with you.

2. Keep your house cool. If Fido’s home alone, make sure he can truly chill. Leave the air conditioner on and close the drapes. If you don’t have AC, open the windows and turn on a fan. You may want to try a cooling vest or mat to see if they help.

3. Watch when you exercise. Limit when and how much you do when it’s hot and humid. Take walks in the cooler part of the day, in the early morning and evening hours. Carry water, too — enough for both of you.

4. Check the pavement. Before you head out for a walk, touch the pavement. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. You also might want to try booties for your dog so his paws don’t burn.

5. Offer plenty of water and shade. Don’t leave your pooch alone outside for long. And when he is there, make sure he has shade and lots of fresh, cool water. Add ice cubes when you can. Trees are better than doghouses for shade. They let air flow through. Doghouses can trap the heat and make it worse. Think about a kiddie pool or a sprinkler to help your pal cool off in the yard.Make cool treats. Help your canine chill from the inside out. For puppy popsicles, make ice cubes with tasty treats inside. Or fill and freeze a chew toy to make a chilly snack.

6. Keep an eye on the humidity, too. When the air is full of moisture, your dog may not be able to pant enough to cool himself off. That can raise his temperature, which can lead to heatstroke. Stay inside, and limit exercise, too.

7. Take care of at-risk dogs. Be watchful if you have a snub-nosed pet like a pug or bulldog. Their smaller airways make it harder for them to release heat when they pant. It’s also easy for old and overweight dogs, or those with heart and breathing problems, to get heatstroke.

8. Groom your pet. If your dog has long hair, get rid of any mats and tangles. It will help keep him cool. Don’t shave or clip his coat before you talk to your vet or groomer. The extra fur that keeps him warm in winter may also keep him cool in summer.

9. Watch for signs of overheating. Your dog can’t tell you when he doesn’t feel well, so keep an eye out for heatstroke, which can have these symptoms:

  • Heavy panting
  • Heavy drooling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dark or red gums and tongue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Agitation

5 Essential Commands You Can Teach Your Dog

1. Sit
This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach, so it’s a good one to start with.

  • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
  • Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
  • Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.

Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog has it mastered. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks, and during other situations where you’d like him calm and seated.

2. Come
This command can help keep a dog out of trouble, bringing him back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.

  • Put a leash and collar on your dog.
  • Go down to his level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
  • When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.

Once he’s mastered it with the leash, remove it — and practice the command in a safe, enclosed area.

3. Down
This can be one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training. Why? Because the position is a submissive posture. You can help by keeping training positive and relaxed, particularly with fearful or anxious dogs.

  • Find a particularly good smelling treat, and hold it in your closed fist.
  • Hold your hand up to your dog’s snout. When he sniffs it, move your hand to the floor, so he follows.
  • Then slide your hand along the ground in front of him to encourage his body to follow his head.
  • Once he’s in the down position, say “Down,” give him the treat, and share affection.

Repeat it every day. If your dog tries to sit up or lunges toward your hand, say “No” and take your hand away. Don’t push him into a down position, and encourage every step your dog takes toward the right position. After all, he’s working hard to figure it out!

4. Stay
Before attempting this one, make sure your dog is an expert at the “Sit” command.

  • First, ask your dog to “Sit.”
  • Then open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say “Stay.”
  • Take a few steps back. Reward him with a treat and affection if he stays.
  • Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
  • Always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a few seconds.

This is an exercise in self-control for your dog, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to master, particularly for puppies and high-energy dogs. After all, they want to be on the move and not just sitting there waiting.

5. Leave it
This can help keep your dog safe when his curiosity gets the better of him, like if he smells something intriguing but possibly dangerous on the ground! The goal is to teach your pup that he gets something even better for ignoring the other item.

  • Place a treat in both hands.
  • Show him one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say, “Leave it.”
  • Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it — and ignore the behaviors.
  • Once he stops trying, give him the treat from the other hand.
  • Repeat until your dog moves away from that first fist when you say, “Leave it.”
  • Next, only give your dog the treat when he moves away from that first fist and also looks up at you.

Once your dog consistently moves away from the first treat and gives you eye contact when you say the command, you’re ready to take it up a notch. For this, use two different treats — one that’s just all right and one that’s a particularly good smelling and tasty favorite for your pup.

  • Say “Leave it,” place the less attractive treat on the floor, and cover it with your hand.
  • Wait until your dog ignores that treat and looks at you. Then remove that treat from the floor, give him the better treat and share affection immediately.
  • Once he’s got it, place the less tasty treat on the floor… but don’t completely cover it with your hand. Instead hold it a little bit above the treat. Over time, gradually move your hand farther and farther away until your hand is about 6 inches above.
  • Now he’s ready to practice with you standing up! Follow the same steps, but if he tries to snatch the less tasty treat, cover it with your foot.

Don’t rush the process. Remember, you’re asking a lot of your dog. If you take it up a notch and he’s really struggling, go back to the previous stage.

Just these five simple commands can help keep your dog safer and improve your communication with him. It’s well worth the investment of your time and effort. Remember, the process takes time, so only start a dog obedience training session if you’re in the right mindset to practice calm-assertive energy and patience.

Hormone-Related Skin Diseases

Cortisone excess: Symmetric hair loss over trunk and body. Abdomen is pot bellied and pendulous. Seen with Cushing’s syndrome. In some cases, the dog is taking steroids.

Growth hormone-responsive alopecia: Bilaterally symmetric hair loss, mainly in male dogs. Begins around puberty. More prevalent in certain breeds, including Chow Chows, Keeshonds, Pomeranians, Miniature Poodles, Airedales, and Boxers.

Hyperestrogenism (estrogen excess): Occurs in females and males. Bilateral symmetric hair loss in perineum and around genitals. Enlarged vulva and clitoris; in males, pendulous prepuce.

Hypoestrogenism (estrogen deficiency): Occurs in older spayed females. Scanty hair growth and thinning coat, initially around vulva and later over entire body. Skin is smooth and soft, like a baby’s.

Hypothyroidism: Most common cause of bilaterally symmetric hair loss without itching. Coat is thin, scanty, and falls out easily. Involves the neck beneath the chin to the brisket, sides of body, backs of thighs, and top of tail.