Some owners are led to believe that a Poodle will never lose their fur and does not shed at all. While they are classed as hypoallergenic dogs, this doesn’t mean they never lose hair. Let’s take a closer look at what is considered normal for a Poodle and when a pet parent needs to be worried.
Hair loss in poodles is normal to some extent as it is in all dogs. Excessive and sudden hair loss, however, could be triggered by temperature change, stress, allergies, parasites, skin infections, poor nutrition, or hormone issues.
Are Poodles Supposed To Shed?
Many Poodle owners have been ‘sold the dream’. Their Poodle is supposed to never lose any fur. On top of this, people with dog allergies should not react to a Poodle. In reality, this is not 100% true.
Indeed, the Poodle does shed, albeit not very much. When they lose fur, it typically gets trapped under their curly coat and isn’t spread all around the home. Compared to some other breeds, they do shed a lot less.
The nice thing about Poodles is that their shedding can be easily contained. As long as we brush them often enough, the majority of their fur will fall out into the brush. For house proud owners, this is a real plus.
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Why Is My Poodle Losing Hair?
Remember, it is normal for every Poodle to lose hair and the same is true for all dog breeds as well as humans! Fur grows in a cycle and will eventually shed in order for new hair to grow. If a Poodle never lost any fur, they would end up with a rather shabby and sad-looking coat.
So, if you’re noticing some fur in the dog brush or a couple of loose strands around the home, don’t panic. This is normal, even for a low-shedding breed like the Poodle.
However, if you notice that your Poodle is suddenly shedding like nobody’s business or is losing more fur than you might have expected, you need to consider a possible medical issue.
Recommended read: Poodle Tail Styles: Everything To Know
Why Is My Poodle Suddenly Losing Lots Of Hair?
There are many reasons why your Poodle may be shedding more.
We’ve listed the Top eight possibilities below:
- An increase in temperature:
This may mean a heatwave, or that your Poodle has been spending lots of time inside with the central heating on. Their body is very clever and if they’re overheating, fur will be shed in an attempt to cool them.
Can also lead to a burst of fur loss. This is especially evident at certain times, such as when your Poodle is in the vet’s office and shedding fur onto the consultation table.
Poodles are more prone than other breeds to a condition known as atopic dermatitis. Affected individuals may lick their paws, have red skin and shed their coat. They might even have scabby skin and bald patches due to the excessive chewing and licking. Allergies cannot be cured but we can prevent reactions by trying to identify your dog’s trigger and avoiding it. This may mean e.g. feeding them a hydrolysed diet or walking them on pavement rather than grass.
Such as fleas, lice or mites. Not only do parasites cause skin inflammation, they also lead to intense itching. The combination of the Poodle trying to scratch their itch and the parasites running amok on their skin makes for more fur loss than normal. If your Poodle has a flea allergy, they will be especially irritated by a flea infestation. Any fur loss tends to be concentrated over the rump.
- Skin infections:
Both bacterial and fungal skin infections can lead to fur loss due to skin barrier disruption and self trauma as the dog attempts to scratch their itch. Infections can lead to greasy, musty-smelling skin as well as red skin and ooze. A vet can swab the skin and perform a culture and analysis to determine which infection is present and what medication would be most appropriate. Dogs often need several weeks of oral medicine as well as a medicated wash.
- Poor nutrition:
Dogs need a balanced diet in order to maintain their health and for their fur to keep growing at the normal rate. There are certain ingredients which are especially important for fur growth including Biotin and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. For some dogs, the issue is not the diet itself but their ability to absorb it. If they have e.g. a Protein Losing Enteropathy, they may struggle to absorb the nutrients they need from their diet.
- A natural hormone shift:
Due to pregnancy or lactation. Hormone changes can lead to alopecia (baldness). Unlike with infectious or parasitic causes, the skin should be settled and not itchy for the Poodle. This shedding will be out of season and will occur relatively quickly. Once hormones return to normal, the fur should regrow.
- A hormonal disorder:
Such as Cushing’s disease or Hypothyroidism. Endocrine disease often results in baldness in places such as the flanks or tail. Dogs will show other signs that something is wrong, such as panting, sluggish behaviour or a change in their thirst levels. Importantly, dogs should not be itchy.
Is It Common For Poodles To Have Bald Spots?
While it is not unheard of for Poodles to have bald spots, it should not be considered normal. Unless their groomer has shaved them too short, your Poodle should not have any bald patches.
Bald spots warrant a vet visit and the vet will ask if your Poodle has been showing any other signs. They will closely examine the skin, checking for any abnormalities such as a skin color change or scabs.
Bald spots may be swabbed or scraped, to check for localized disease. If the skin is unaffected, the vet will likely consider further testing such as blood tests, to determine why the fur has fallen out and not grown back.
Is It Normal For Poodle Puppies To Lose Hair?
Older puppies will shed much like adults, with shedding increasing in warmer weather or during periods of change or stress.
The most common time for a Poodle puppy to shed their puppy coat and for their adult fur to come in is between three to five months. Unlike in many other breeds, this is not really a noticeable event but you will notice more dead fur in the brush as you groom your pup at home.
Can I Prevent Fur Loss In My Poodle?
Certain things that you can do will ensure your Poodle’s coat remains in tip-top shape. This includes:
- Feeding a balanced diet that is rich in ingredients such as fatty acids and B vitamins. There are also skin supplements available which can strengthen the fur and prevent it from falling out
- It is important to brush your Poodle regularly, preventing mats and ensuring that the dead coat is shed as it should be. Dead fur can get trapped under healthy fur and this can pose issues down the line.
- Keeping your Poodle up to date with their parasite prevention is essential, especially if they suffer from flea allergy dermatitis or have had mange in the past.
- How often you have your Poodle professionally groomed will depend on your preferences, but a visit to the Poodle parlour at least every 3 months is advised. This ensures old fur is stripped away and new fur is given room to grow in a healthy manner.
- If your Poodle is showing signs of skin discomfort, such as paw gnawing or face rubbing, have them seen by their vet right away for a check up.
When To See a Vet
Poodles do shed, though not as much as most other breeds. Some owners think their Poodle should not shed at all, but this is simply not the case. A small amount of regular shedding is completely normal. Despite the visible fur being lost in the grooming brush, your Poodle should not have any bald patches or irritated skin. Nor should they be showing signs such as paw licking, scratching or skin chewing.
It is important to bring your Poodle to a vet if they are losing more fur than they did before or if their fur is thin or sparse. Similarly, any bald patches are a cause for concern and require further investigation.
The Bottom Line
Poodles will lose fur, just like any other dog. However, they are a low-shedding breed so do not tend to shed very obviously, even in the summer.
If your Poodle is losing lots of fur or has bald spots, it’s time for a trip to the vet office. As there are many medical conditions that can cause your Poodle to lose fur, your vet will be sure to take your concerns seriously.
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