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why dogs moult

Dog Moulting Guide - Why Dogs Moult

Written by Steph McCulloch


Dog moulting, often referred to as shedding, is a natural process where dogs shed old, damaged, or dead hair to make way for new growth. This shedding and loss of hair helps to regulate a dog's body temperature and gets rid of damaged hair, keeping their coat healthy.
jack russell shedding hair and sitting on brown couch


corgi laying down with furball on head

Dog moulting, often referred to as shedding, is a natural process where dogs shed old, damaged, or dead hair to make way for new growth. This shedding and loss of hair helps to regulate a dog's body temperature and gets rid of damaged hair, keeping their coat healthy.

While it might mean a bit of extra vacuuming due to the accumulation of loose hair, understanding moulting is important for your dog's comfort and overall well-being.

In this blog post, we’re here to break down why dogs moult and understand the cycles and variations amongst different breeds and types of coats. Plus, we'll delve into what you can do to support and nurture your dog’s healthy skin and coat.

Understanding dog moulting

Labrador laying down next to piles of hair

Just like how trees shed leaves in autumn, dogs shed fur to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Seasons play a significant role in dog moulting – during warmer months, dogs shed their thicker winter coats to stay cooler, and in colder months, they shed lighter summer coats to make way for a thicker, insulating winter coat.

This cyclical process ensures that a dog's coat remains functional and well-suited to their surroundings, reflecting the incredible way nature equips them to stay comfortable year-round. Unfortunately, this process can sometimes lead to matted hair, which may cause further moulting from inflamed skin or irritated skin if not addressed.

If your pup is feeling the heat this summer, experiencing dry skin, or shows signs of skin allergies, why not try making them an ice lolly to cool them down? Our super simple dog-friendly recipes are sure to get tails wagging.

The domesticated dog’s moulting cycle

husky sitting on grass surrounded by hair tufts

Modern living conditions can influence a dog's moulting cycle due to factors like temperature control and exposure to natural light. Indoor environments with consistent temperature and lighting can sometimes blur the traditional seasonal cues that trigger shedding and hair loss. This might lead to a more constant shedding pattern throughout the year.

Indoor dogs may experience less variation in their moulting cycles compared to their outdoor counterparts. Outdoor dogs (like Huskies and Australian Cattle Dogs) who are exposed to changing temperatures and natural light often have more distinct shedding seasons based on their type of coat. Additionally, factors such as diet, grooming habits, and overall health can further affect a dog's moulting process.

While indoor living can lead to a somewhat altered moulting pattern, it's important for dog owners to recognise and adapt to their pet's natural tendencies. Regular grooming, brushing away loose hair, and a balanced quality food in their diet can help manage shedding and maintain coat health, regardless of whether your dog spends more time indoors or outdoors.

Factors influencing moulting cycles

retriever dog laying on grass surrounded by hair tufts

Shedding in dogs is influenced by hormonal balances, with changes in seasons triggering moulting. Modern living conditions and dietary factors can sometimes disrupt these hormonal cues, impacting the timing and intensity of shedding.

Nutrition plays a crucial role, as a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients supports healthy coat growth and shedding. The phases of hair growth – anagen (growth), catagen (resting), and telogen (shedding) – dictate the moulting process, with shedding occurring at different rates based on the stage of each hair follicle.

Understanding the processes of hormonal influences, nutrition, and hair growth phases provides insights into the complexities of moulting, allowing pet owners to better manage and care for their dog's coat.

Dog supplements are a great way to ensure your dog is receiving all the goodness they can possibly get! Our friends over at Pooch & Mutt have a wide range of supplements and vitamins to help your canine friend feel their best. From joint supplements to salmon oil, whatever you’re looking for Pooch & Mutt has it.

Variations in dog moulting

two corgis laying together on cream rug, a hair tuft is between them

Did you know that factors such as breed, age, gender, and neutering status can influence the shedding patterns of our furry companions? Various breeds exhibit distinct moulting characteristics – some dogs shed minimally, while others seem to undergo a veritable fur transformation (Shiba Inus, we’re looking at you.)

Age and gender also contribute to the moulting equation. For example, puppies and senior dogs have their own shedding dynamics, and gender can impact the intensity of shedding. Neutering can potentially reduce the intensity of moulting, with some dogs experiencing alterations post-procedure, however, this isn’t noted for all breeds.

When learning about moulting, differentiating between double-coated and single-coated breeds is essential. Double-coated breeds boast an intricate fur arrangement with both an insulating undercoat and a sleek outer layer. Consequently, they often shed substantially, particularly during seasonal transitions. In contrast, single-coated breeds have just one fur layer, resulting in comparatively steadier shedding patterns.

So if you’re worried about the fur tumbleweeds dancing about your home, don’t be. Most double-coated dog owners are in the exact same boat.

Nutrition and dog moulting

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a pivotal role in maintaining optimal skin and coat health for our furry friends. These essential fatty acids are amazing for their fur, contributing to a lustrous coat and promoting healthy skin. Omega-3s, found in fish oil and flaxseed, help manage inflammation and maintain skin moisture, while Omega-6s, often derived from plant oils, support the skin's barrier function.

Supplements can provide an extra boost. Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplements can bridge any nutritional gaps, especially if your dog's diet lacks sufficient amounts of these fatty acids. Alongside a balanced diet, these supplements can alleviate skin irritations, reduce excessive shedding, and enhance the overall texture and appearance of your pet's coat.

Dealing with heavy moulting and bald patches

birds eye view of beagle laying next to brush

Managing heavy moulting and preventing bald patches requires a multi-faceted approach. Regular grooming is essential – frequent brushing helps remove loose fur, preventing it from accumulating and forming mats. Bathing with a mild, pet-friendly shampoo can also aid in shedding control and maintaining skin health.

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, particularly Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, supports skin health and hair growth. Supplements containing these fatty acids can help fill nutritional gaps and promote a vibrant coat. Additionally, consulting with a veterinarian is crucial to rule out underlying health issues that might contribute to excessive shedding or bald patches.

Incorporating these strategies into your pet's routine, alongside regular exercise and proper hydration, can minimise heavy moulting, prevent bald spots, and contribute to a healthier, shinier coat.

Minimising the impact of moulting

Managing moulting doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for all. Actually, it can be a breeze with a few helpful strategies.

  • Regular brushing: Brushing your dog's coat frequently helps remove loose fur before it ends up on your furniture. Different coat types may require specific brushes, so choose one that suits your dog's fur.

  • Special grooming tools: Consider using tools

    like de-shedding combs or rubber grooming gloves designed to capture loose fur effectively. These tools can help thin out the undercoat and reduce shedding.

  • Bathing: Regular baths with a mild, pet-safe shampoo can help remove loose fur and promote a healthy coat. Make sure not to overdo it, as excessive bathing can strip the skin of natural oils.

  • Diet: Providing a balanced diet rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids supports healthy skin and reduces shedding. Consult your vet for dietary recommendations and potential supplements to enhance your dog's coat condition.

  • Hydration: Ensure your dog stays properly hydrated, as water is essential for healthy skin and fur.

  • Regular vet check-ups: Regular visits to the vet can help address any underlying health issues that might contribute to excessive shedding.

  • Environment: Maintain a clean living environment by vacuuming regularly and using washable covers for furniture to manage shedding.

  • Stress reduction: Minimise stress as it can exacerbate shedding. Spend quality time with your dog and provide mental and physical stimulation through walks, cuddles, and lots of love.

Remember, while these tips can help manage moulting, some shedding is natural and healthy. If shedding seems excessive or you notice skin issues, consult your veterinarian for personalised guidance and care.


In conclusion, managing your dog's moulting doesn't have to be a mammoth challenge! Regular brushing, aided by special grooming tools, is a cornerstone of shedding control. Bathing with care, maintaining a balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids, and ensuring proper hydration all contribute to a healthy coat and skin.

Regular vet check-ups and stress reduction techniques round out a comprehensive approach to managing moulting. By integrating these strategies into your routine, you can help keep your furry friend's shedding in check, ensuring a happier, healthier, and more comfortable life for both you and your beloved companion.

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What time of year do dogs moult?

Dogs generally moult or shed their fur during seasonal changes, particularly in spring and autumn.

What triggers dog moulting?

Dog moulting, or shedding, is primarily triggered by changes in daylight and temperature. As seasons shift from warmer to cooler or vice versa, the number of daylight hours and the temperature changes signal a dog's body to adjust its coat.

How do I get my dog to stop moulting?

To manage your dog's moulting, brush their coat regularly to remove loose fur, provide a balanced diet with essential fatty acids, and consider supplements. Maintaining proper hygiene, vacuuming, and ensuring your dog is hydrated can also help reduce shedding and keep their coat healthy.

How long does dog moulting last?

The duration of dog moulting can vary depending on factors such as breed, individual genetics, and environmental conditions. In general, moulting cycles can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Do dogs moult more as they get older?

Yes, it's common for dogs to moult more as they get older. As dogs age, their coat and skin condition can change due to factors like hormonal shifts, reduced activity, and overall health changes. This can lead to increased shedding or changes in the moulting pattern.

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