Do Older Dogs Shed More? Here’s Exactly What To Expect

It’s not always easy getting old and dogs are no exception. When dogs get older they will sometimes start shedding more and they might also experience other problems.

Do Dogs Shed More As They Get Older?
Older dogs will often shed more because the hair gets thinner and the hair roots get weaker. This is natural and it may also seem like they shed more than they used to because they don’t play much around and lose the old fur naturally.

There might also be other reasons why a senior dog is starting to lose (too) much hair.

Here are some answers to common questions about shedding among older dogs.

Helpful Tip
Anti-itch shampoo is a great help in the shedding seasons. Check out our recommendations for a great 100% natural type on our list of 24 must-haves for dog owners. It’s a great list to check out for all dog owners.

How Much Do Old Dogs Generally Shed?

Old dog shedding extensively

Older dogs tend to shed more than younger dogs. This is simply because the skin gets old and the fur gets weaker. So you should expect your old dog to shed a little more.

It normal to observe old dogs shed 10-20% more hair or fur as they become less active and the lifecycle of the hair shortens a bit. This is natural and you should expect your dog to need more brushing and de-shedding as it gets older. You need to establish a good brushing routine if you haven’t done so already.

But generally, an old dog shouldn’t shed a lot more than when it was younger. If you notice extensive shedding you need to pay attention to its health and diet.

Here are some of the most common reasons why older dogs tend to shed more than younger dogs. We also go over how you can detect this in your dog and what you can do about it. It’s important to pay close attention to the well-being of your dog as it gets older.

Old dogs are more likely to suffer from skin diseases and medical conditions.

5 Reasons Old Dogs Shed More

Here are some of the most common reasons why older dogs shed more. Some of the reasons are quite obvious but people often overlook them anyway.

Let’s start with one reason old dogs seem to shed more hair even though it’s not actually the case.

1) They Move Around Less

Older dogs don’t fun and roll as much around as their younger counterparts they don’t lose as much hair and fur naturally.

Normally dogs will shed a lot of hair without the owner noticing it simply because dogs move around a lot and shake and roll on the ground as part of their play. But as the dog gets older it will not play as much around and therefore it might seem like they are shedding more and more.

This is only natural and simply because they don’t lose as much hair naturally as they used to.

Note
You will need to brush older dogs it more often. Here are some of the best brushes we recommend for removing dog hair regularly. It’s important to get the right tools for an old dog as the skin get irritated more easily. A daily de-shedding routine is a good idea.

2) Stress & Anxiety

Stress and anxiety cause dogs to shed more.

When they get nervous (or excited) their skin retracts and this causes more hair to fall off. This can be hair that is already dead or premature fur that is expelled from the skin.

This is quite normal and something that will often happen more frequently among older dogs.

Older dogs tend to have more physical problems (just like humans) and this can often lead to a frustrated or worried dog. And then we often observe increased shedding when older dogs cannot move around as much anymore.

Many senior dogs will have a harder time moving around and when they get really old they will often be exhausted from walking and moving around.

This can also stress the dog if you push him/her too hard. Make sure you don’t take too long walks if you notice the dog getting tired from walking.

It’s often better to let them out in the garden where they can do their business at their own pace.

3) Lack of nutrition

It can be hard for older dogs to chew their food and this can often lead to an unhealthy diet. It might also be the case that the dog is not eating enough because it has a hard time working its way through the dry food.

It’s a good idea to consult your vet in order to find the best food for your senior dog.

When he/she gets the right nutrients and vitamins there’s a good chance the fur will stay healthier and not shed as much.

It’s also important to offer your dog fatty acids in the food if you experience extensive shedding. Choose a diet with healthy supplements and finish off with a bit of coconut oil. Coconut oil has been proven to strengthen the coat on the dog and you can even spray it unto the coat if you mix it will water in a spray can.

These are good and natural ways to help an aging dog to keep the fur as long as possible and to make sure the skin and hair stay healthy.

4) Changing surroundings

Dogs do not always respond well to changing surroundings. An old dog will be used to specific routines and ways of doing things and if you move to a new location or someone new moves into the house, the dog may start shedding more than normal.

This is quite normal and if you suspect this to be the case you can help the dog by keeping some of the items it already knows.

This will not be the best time to get a new bed or a new crate if the dog already feels safe around some of the old gear from the house. By doing so, you can help the dog feel at home and this can eventually reduce the shedding because it reduces anxiety and nervousness.

5) Illnesses

If you suspect that the increased shedding is caused by a medical condition you should consult a vet. They will know what to do and they are the ones who can diagnose the condition.

You can read more here about common health problems among older dogs.

Do Dying Dogs Shed More?

Don on couch shedding hair

As the dog reaches its final year, dog owners sometimes experience (even) more shedding than usual. But it’s not a general thing and you can not conclude that your dog is dying just from watching how much it sheds.

Shedding is related to aging in dogs but not to the extent that you can use it as an indicator of how long time the poor creature has left.

You might notice that it is losing larger chunks of hair and this can be due to the list of reasons we mentioned above but normally it has to do with nervousness and stress more than old age.

If you notice extensive hair loss on your dog it’s time to take it to the vet. It might be a sign that you need to treat it differently regarding nutrients or fatty acids.

If you want to know whether your dog is reaching it’s final years you can look for these signs instead:

  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Shaking
  • Incontinence
  • Weight Loss
  • Less Appetite

In Closing

Old dogs do shed more than younger dogs but for not for the reasons people think. Often it is just because they don’t move around as much anymore and therefore a higher percentage of the dog hair ends up on the sofa.

The best way to get around it is by getting a vacuum cleaner that can handle the hair well.

Here are some of the best vacuum cleaners for dog hair that you can get a very reasonable price.

I hope you learned what you needed to know about what to expect when your dog gets old. Shedding is always a challenge for dog owners and it doesn’t go away when our furry friends get older. On the contrary.

Morten Storgaard

I love pets and I've had several pets including hamsters, reptiles, birds, and fish. I have written extensively about pets and educational content about wild animals.

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