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D2010-02

Dear Daisy Dog

Several times a year, our 4-year-old spayed female chow mix blows her coat. Not only is her long black hair everywhere, but she seems to tire easily while she sheds. After a few weeks, she stops losing hair and her energy returns.

She doesn’t develop bald spots, and she doesn’t scratch or have other problems. Do shedding and lethargy usually go together? What can I do to help her feel better?

Daisy Responds

I don’t shed much, but I’ve lived with several dogs who completely shed their coats once or twice a year and remain active throughout the process.

So I had Mom confer with board-certified dermatologists, who confirmed that most dogs maintain their stamina during periods of heavy shedding.

Because your dog recovers fully after these episodes, I think you have two options: 1) decide this is normal for her, or 2) ensure she has no underlying problems by having your veterinarian do some blood, fecal and urine testing.

It’s possible your dog has a low-grade problem that is not significant enough to cause clinical signs under normal circumstances but does diminish her energy when she’s shedding heavily.

If your veterinarian discovers a problem, you may find that when you treat it, your dog remains energetic even during periods of heavy shedding. On the other hand, if your vet finds nothing, you can rest assured that your dog is fine but has a unique way of blowing her coat.

 

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