The Beagle is considered a moderate shedding dog breed. He has a short, thick, tightly packed coat. Some of the shedded hairs will fall back into the coat and some, of course, will fall out. It will be important to brush the coat on a regular basis to remove shedded hairs from the base and to brush off loose hairs.
There are some elements that will affect coat health and shedding amounts such as nutrition, coat care and environment. With good grooming practices, it's relatively easy to keep shedding under control.
The Process of the Shedding Cycle for the Beagle Breed
Shedding is the process by which old fur naturally falls out and new fur begins to grow in its place. The new fur does not "push out" the old hair. Each single hair follicle on the coat has its own life cycle of: grow, rest and fall.
Since growth and loss is a continual cycle, there is no true starting point. There will be months when the process slows down & months when the process is sped up; however it never truly stops.
Despite the appearance of a short coat, the Beagle has is a double coated breed; this means that there are two layers of fur. There is an undercoat which is soft and dense and an outer coat which consists of coarse hairs that are somewhat water-repellent.
While there will be light shedding all throughout the year; during the fall and again when springtime begins, shedding will be at its highest level. This will happen even if you live in an area that does not experience cold weather because the process of shedding is triggered by changes in the number of daylight hours. Although, changing temperatures due to a cold winter and a warmer springtime can exasperate this.
How to Control Shedding
1) The #1 way to control Beagle shedding is to brush on a regular basis with proper groomingtools. A de-shedding mitt is a good choice. This slips over your hand and allows you to easily reach all areas of the dog's body, pulling trapped dead hairs from the inner layers of the coat.
Another option is a good de-shedding tool which pulls out dead hairs from deep within the coat.
During times of high shedding, go over the coat with one of these tools on a regular basis; 3 days per week is usually sufficient. During low shedding times, once per week will keep things under control.
2)Using a light spritz of a quality leave-in spray is a bonus that will protect a Beagle's fur from such things summer sunlight, dry arid air of winter and contact friction. These are all elements that can add up to cause extra loose hairs and in turn, higher shedding.
3)Keep your Beagle on a healthy dietfor both main meals and snacks; as good nutrition is vital to coat health; unhealthy dry coats will shed more.
4)An Omega 3 supplement can work well to keep the coat healthy.This fish oil supplement is great in so many ways. It keeps both skin and coat healthy. Can help with itching and dry skin. And it is great for joint health, an issue common with this breed.
Other Reasons for Fur Loss
There are skin conditions and health issues which can cause fur loss in a dog. This may appear to be shedding in some cases...and in others there will be other signs that clearly point to a larger problem.
Acantosis Nigricans - This is a medical condition that is rare; however can occur. This can cause a fur loss due to hormonal imbalances, hypersensitivities or friction. Testing will be done by a veterinarian to determine the exact cause. Treatment may include steroids and/or vitamin E supplements.
Allergic Dermatitis - This is the term that applies when a dog losses fur due to a contact allergy. This means an element that comes into contact with the Beagle. The most common culprits are inexpensive canine shampoo, rug cleaner and lawn care chemicals.
Aside from fur loss there may be red blisters, sores or lesions on the skin as well. This can be corrected once it is determined what is causing the dog's reaction. A veterinarian should perform patch testing to find the cause and then the owner must eliminate that element. In moderate to severe cases, antihistamines and/or steroids may be prescribed to help the Beagle recover.
Alopecia - This is a health issue that is still being studied, as the cause is unknown. Currently, it is theorized that it may be an autoimmune disorder. It comes quickly and then leaves quickly. In the meantime, it causes patches (sometimes large) of very thin fur and sometimes the fur falls out right down to the dog's skin. There is no itching and no discomfort.
Dermatomyositis - This is a rare disorder in which the fur loss on the Beagle actually occurs due to a negative reaction to sunlight or UV rays. This condition can be confirmed with a small skin biopsy. Not only will the coat thin, the dog's skin will be affected also.
There may be scabs, sores, redness and irritation. If this is diagnosed, the dog must be kept out of the sun as much as possible. The medication Prednisone may be given in small doses initially, and then treatment is followed by vitamin E.
Food and Flea Allergies - A thinning coat due to food or flea allergies is reversible and can be quickly diagnosed. An owner should always bring their dog to the veterinarian when any unexplained fur loss occurs; however in these cases it will be treatment at home that resolves the issue. Only in very severe cases, will a veterinarian prescribe steroids for severe swelling, or antihistamines if the dog cannot breath well... as the dog's owner works on making changes in the home environment.
Flea allergies are fixed by ridding both the dog and home of all fleas with topical solutions and foggers. Food allergies are usually treated by strict diet restrictions to determine the exact ingredient that the dog is allergic to.
Hypothyroidism -This condition happens when the thyroid begins to slow down and produce a smaller amount of hormones. Before fur loss occurs, the coat may become very dry and hair may break off easily.
The under active thyroid may also cause a Beagle to gain weight and grow weak. This can be diagnosed when the veterinarian runs thyroid tests. Treatment will be medication, often needed for the rest of the dog's life. Recovery is a progressive process; in most cases dogs will make a full recovery.
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