Many people have this question about chihuahuas whether they shed or not. The answer to this question is, unfortunately, yes. People indirectly ask how can this smallest of dogs shed so much? Well, it is understood that dogs with fur have this problem of shedding and this can be minimized too. It is just that the owner of the chihuahua has to understand when he should bathe the canine and brush it properly.
Chihuahuas shed their hair throughout the year. It is seen that in the season of winter shedding of hairs is quite less as compared to that in summers. When it comes to the size of chihuahuas the dog sheds moderately. Because there are a lot of breeds of dogs with fur which shed much more than chihuahuas. Minimizing chihuahua shedding-how can the smallest dog breed sheds so much? This question will be answered very soon just have patience and read the article.
What is shedding?
Shedding is a process that generally happens in dogs with a lot of furs. When the hairs in the fur of dogs start to lose their identity it is known as shedding. Chihuahuas may lose all of their hair in the process of shedding. It is harmful to the health of dogs and may also lead to baldness around some regions of the body. This can sometimes become serious and the beautiful dog may lose all of its furs if proper care is not given. The owner of the chihuahua must catch the signs of shedding and take proper action against his dog. There is also a variant of dog breeds where there are no or very fewer hairs.
Why my chihuahua sheds
The reason why chihuahuas shed is to have a new coat that can be more protective. The coat also helps the dog to regulate the internal body temperature. It contains Keratin(a type of protein) and dead skin cells. The dog’s body maintains a constant temperature, which is around 101-1002.5 degrees °F. In order to adjust their body temperature dogs depend on some special means.
Therefore, in order to cool off, The first thing dogs do is limit their physical activities, then lie down and pant. Also, to stay snug the dog will bring down the metabolic rate, lying in a sunny spot as you may notice a lot of dogs do. Or they hide under a blanket.
The role of a chihuahua’s coat is to help him stay cool or warm. The thickness of the coat is a crucial factor. In other words, chihuahua may possess a thicker coat during the cold seasons and a thinner one during the hot seasons. The thicker coat prevents the heat from getting away from a dog’s body, this way he stays warm. While the thin coat decreases the rate of heat absorption to keep chihuahuas cool.
Who sheds more, long-coat or smooth-coat chihuahua?
Logic will push you to think that long-coat chihuahuas shed more than the other variant, however, this is not the case all the time. For example, a smooth-coat chihuahua with an undercoat will necessarily shed less than a long-coat chihuahua without an undercoat. Even if some long-coat chihuahuas have only a top coat, most of them have two coats.
long-coat Chihuahuas often shed their hair in clumps, making it easier to clean up.
Moreover, long-coat chihuahuas always shed their hair in small masses which makes it easier for the owner to clean up.
Shedding schedule of Chihuahua
There is a difference in the timing of shedding between double-coated chihuahuas and single-coat. While the majority of double-coated chihuahuas shed their coat twice per year( once in spring and again in late autumn), and their top coat progressively during all the year. On the other hand, single-coat chihuahuas Shed in spring or by degrees throughout the year.
The benefit of shedding in spring is to develop a lighter and thinner coat while shedding in autumn develops a heavier and thicker coat. However, there are cases when a dog sheds all his coat in a limited period of time, this phenomenon is called “blowing a coat”.Moreover, your chihuahua regardless of their coat type(single or double-coat) will Shed all the year.
This schedule is not a constant rule, it is possible that your chihuahua will shed once or twice per year, or even throughout the year progressively.
The Shedding Cycle
All mammals including humans and dogs have a 4- stage cycle for growing and shedding hair. They are:
- Anagen: it is the phase of growing the hair, the blood which is rich in nutrients stimulates hair growth.
- Catagen: the phase when the hair will stop growing as the hair follicle separates from the papilla.
- Telogen: the phase that comes before the hair is falling out.
- Exogen: the phase when the hair is shedding.
After the fourth phase, the cycle is repeating itself.
Below is an illustration that can help.
How light of the day Affects Shedding
Until now we know that shedding is related to seasonal temperature. However, the biological process of shedding is provoked by daylight variations.
Just like humans dogs also have what we call circadian rhythm, and it’s their biological clock. The circadian rhythm controls the physical activities, mental and behavioral changes that react to light and darkness. While the circadian rhythm tells the dogs when to sleep, it tells them also when to shed. In addition, the shedding is affected by the amount of light in the day.
The amount of daylight or what is known as a photoperiod regulates the amount of melatonin that a chihuahua’s pineal gland produces. Melatonin can control a lot of things, it can trigger mood, body rhythms, and shedding. The difference in daylight in seasons impacts the production of melatonin, therefore deciding when a chihuahua sheds his coat and when to grow a new one.
The Causes of Excessive Shedding or Hair Loss
Shedding is a normal process in all dogs. However, If you notice that shedding on your chihuahua is beyond the normal, for example, if you notice bald spots, patches of uneven fur, or brittle fur, they could be a bad indication of some health issues.
- Hypothyroidism: It is a condition that can cause a lot of health problems such as blood cholesterol, lethargy, obesity, and excessive shedding. This condition may happen in middle-aged dogs. When your dog suffers from this condition, it means that his thyroid gland produces small amount of thyroid hormone. In order to deal with this situation, your vet may ask for a blood test to check your dog’s thyroid hormone levels.
- Heat cycle: female chihuahua may shed a lot throughout the heat cycle because of the high level of estrogen hormone.
- Contact allergies: Like other animals, your chihuahua could be allergic to one of a lot of things that exist in his environment regardless of its type such as wood, plastic, nickel…. So in order to determine the cause of the chihuahua’s allergy eliminate one by one until you identify the cause then remove it.
- Mange: it’s a skin disease that triggers a very intense itching followed by hair loss, this condition is caused by the parasitic mite Demodex that lives in the bottom of your dog’s fur.
- Infections: some bacterial infections could be the origin of excessive shedding.
- Stress: When your chihuahua is under unbearable stress that can occur during hard training or because of separation anxiety. He may lose his hair.
- Cushing’s Disease: in this condition, there is an excess of production of adrenal gland hormones, as a result, your chihuahua may lose hair, may also suffer from increased appetite, thirst, and urination.
- Food Allergies: a chihuahua can be allergic to one food or more, there he may shed.
- Fleas: Some chihuahuas will experience this condition called also flea allergy dermatitis, which pushes them to scratch until they create bald spots.
Variants of dog breed
Dogs come in a lot of different variants some with fewer hairs and others with a lot of furs. It is a common misconception that it is easier to maintain the chihuahua with fewer hairs because of less shedding. But actually, here the case is totally different. Chihuahuas with fewer hairs have an undercoat because of which they shed twice more than the other variants of dogs. It is very easy to maintain a chihuahua with furs as compared to the one with fewer hairs. However, don’t be afraid to buy a chihuahua because of this drawback. Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed. Every breed sheds hair. The small size of this means that you would cope with fewer hairs as compared to the other breeds of dogs.
It is an impossible task to completely stop the shedding of chihuahua hair. But certainly, there are measures that you can take to minimize the effect. The most important methods are :
- Brush your chihuahua and apply the lint rollers. Daily brushing can control your dog’s shedding, this tip is effective as it has other roles such as removing loose hair, distributing your dog’s natural skin oils throughout his coat.
- Type of brush. There are some unique tools that can help you brush your chihuahua’s coat.
- Bathing your chihuahua. Bathing your chihuahua once every 3 weeks is a must. However, the number of bathing your chihuahua must be increased during the seasonal sheds. ( once a week)
- Deshedding spray. You can use deshedding spray, as it contains some natural ingredients that strengthen a dog’s hair.
- Blow dryer. You can use it after bathing your dog to remove loose hair from his coat.
- Use hydrocortisone shampoo to treat allergies.
- Vacuum. To remove hair on the floor.
- High-quality food. You should provide high-quality food which contains high-quality protein.
- Use olive oil: you should add olive oil to your chihuahua’s diet as it contains omega-3 fatty acids because it develops a healthy, shiny coat.
- Nutritional supplements: they can also help because the market is full of these nutritional supplements that reduce shedding in dogs. These supplements have some good elements like omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids…
- Dog’s clothes. Some owners think that dog clothes are made for fashion reasons. However, these clothes can help to keep your dog warm during cold seasons and vice versa. Put in mind that after undressing your dog, you have to brush him gently to remove stray hair.
How to Examine if shedding has begun.
Shedding of hair in the chihuahua is a very sensitive process. As an owner of the chihuahua, you have to take proper care of this process. You should always check when your puppy is sitting on your lap about the shedding of hairs. Shedding is a normal process and it will happen no matter how much cautionary you are. It is something that cannot avoid. But you can reduce its effect to a great extent. Take your chihuahua to a bath regularly so that you can minimize the shedding. Do not let the allergens affect your dog’s hair. Adding a proper supplement to ensure that the puppy is receiving all the required nutrients in his/her diet.
Shedding happens in every breed of dogs
It can be very easily understood from the above article that shedding happens in every breed of dog. some dogs are not special in this case. But the small chihuahua makes it difficult to identify whether the shedding has begun or not. You are wrong if you question that it might be the nature of dogs to shed, but it is not so. Every dog breeds suffer the same problem of shedding and in the chihuahua’s case, it is in very small quantity. Because of the small size of the dog. So it is now you have got the answer to the question which you previously asked in the beginning.
Excessive shedding is a nightmare for every chihuahua’s owner, however, you should keep in mind that even if this situation can overwhelm you, YOU MUST NEVER SHAVE YOUR DOG. As we said before the coat has a crucial role in regulating the body temperature. It keeps your dog warm during cold seasons as it protects him against UV during summer.