My dog is very well right now, no obvious problems, and loads of energy: ie, her usual happy self. But every year, twice a year, in the summer, and in the winter, she sheds. This is just what she does, I have never considered this to be indicative of any allergy or ill-health, as she (generally) is fit and well. The shedding-thing ALWAYS happens right before she comes into season. Once the shedding stops, her season starts. Every year the same.
I was brushing out the loose hairs today, and ruffled her fur to help shake out more loose hairs, and I noticed she has a little bit of scurf or dandruff. I wonder what could cause this, and what I can do to get rid of it.
She eats a healthy-option dry dog food which I bought especially. It contains Rabbit/brown rice/oats/omega3 fatty acids/organic sunflower oil/alfalfa/seaweed/carrot/cranberry/with a very tiny amount of Dandelion and Cleavers (herbal supplements for healthy skin) Nothing else, and no chemicals or preservatives. Because she likes some juicy food as well as the dry mix, I mix in a little fairly good quality canned meat as well, and she does love this, and it seems to suit her. Sometimes I give her a few dog biscuits, and sometimes a few pieces of apple. That's what she eats.
A few years ago I once noticed she had this slightly scurfy skin, (it passed off that time and didn't come back) and that was when she was eating different, lower-quality food. So I'm wondering if diet has anything to do with it or not.
I don't have central heating (cannot afford it) but have a log fire. She never gets up too close to the fire, so I don't think her skin could be getting dry from too much heat. Also where I live the weather is not very very cold right now.
But I wonder if she might be deficient in something, a mineral/vitamin, which I don't know about.
Does anyone have any advice?
ALL dogs shed twice a year, normally spring and fall. The shedding coinciding with them coming into season is no accident, either. When a female is bred, the puppies, naturally, will need to nurse. Since shedding isn't something that takes place overnight, a few weeks before the puppies, if there were puppies, were to be born, the female sheds so that the puppies have easy access to her nipples. By the time her coat comes back in fully, it's time for her to come into season again, and the pattern continues. If you were to have her spayed, you could knock the shedding down to once a year, though, either spring or fall, but spayed females normally "blow coat" only once a year, as do males. It's only the females who might have to nurse puppies who shed twice a year.
With regard to the dandruff, this also is normal. Unless it is excessive, when they are shedding out the old, dead, hair, there is always some flaky skin that goes along with it. It couldn't hurt to give her a good multivitamin. If you feel the dandruff is becoming severe, your vet can recommend a good anti-dandruff shampoo for dogs. You might also try more frequent brushing to remove the dry skin. Humans "shed" skin, too, it's a natural occurrence. Old skin cells slough off and are replaced by new ones. But unless it is severe, I wouldn't worry about it.
I should have memtioned that what you are seeing might not even BE dandruff, it might be dander. Dander is entirely different from dandruff, and is the result of the dog's saliva drying on their skin and fur after they lick themselves. In many cases of allergies to pets, it isn't the hair that the person is allergic to at all, it's the dander. Some people who are severely allergic to pets will develop a red streak on their skin if a dog or cat licks them, which is further proof that it's not the hair they're allergic to, but the saliva. The idea that the saliva is dried into the dander form doesn't make it any less irritating to people who are allergic to it. But it could very well be the dander that you are seeing and not really dry, flaky skin at all.
Thank you. This really helped me understand about why she sheds twice a year. The dandruff thing she ONLY ever gets when shedding, and not other times I've noticed. I'm not certain if it is dander though in her case.....(?) It does seem to be more like dead skin-cells She also is not inclined to lick her fur, except the hair-free parts of her belly, (and dog-bits!) When I rub my hands in her fur for a while, shaking loose hairs and dandruff, my hands come away slightly white, with a slightly waxy film on them. She smells very clean, and seems to keep naturally clean, and because I didn't want to get rid of her natural oils I haven't bathed her for quite a while. She absolutely HATES baths (except in summer when it's very hot) And because she shivers and 'hunches' when chilled, I've put off bathing her (re: no central heating in my house for her to dry off well! and I cannot make her stay by the log fire to dry or go anywhere near a hair-dryer)
I wonder if the dead skin cells, most likely absolutely normal, have kind of mounted up a bit because she's not been bathed?
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