Dogs and cats alike naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding. Although this is a normal, healthy process, the frequency and amount of shedding that occurs often depends on overall health, breed type and time of the year. While most dogs and cats have a thicker coat during the winter and shed this as spring arrives, pets that are always kept indoors are prone to smaller changes in coat thickness and tend to shed evenly throughout the year.
Although normal amounts of healthy shedding cannot be stopped, the amount of hair accumulating on the floor and furniture can be reduced by regular brushing, grooming and proper nutrition.
Some breeds just shed more than others. Cats, in particular, spend 10 percent of every day grooming. What may seem like excessive shedding may actually be normal for a particular breed. However, large amounts of hair loss also can signal that an animal may be experiencing stress, poor diet or a medical issue. A trip to the vet is the best way to tell if a pet’s shedding is of the normal variety or if it is a symptom of an underlying problem.
It is important to talk to a vet, as excessive hair loss or bald patches may be due to the following:
Parasites such as fleas, lice or mites
Fungal or bacterial infections
Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s)
Pregnancy or lactation
Reaction to medications
Trauma due to excessive licking
If open sores, redness or bumps are present, make a vet appointment immediately.
NEW ORLEANS PET ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will have adoptable dogs at the Bark Park at the New Orleans Home and Garden Show Friday and Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. For information, email email@example.com.
METAIRIE PET ADOPTION EVENT: The LA/SPCA will hold a pet adoption event and bake sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org.
CRITTER CINEMA: A Critter Cinema event for children ages 5 to 10 will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids will play with puppies and kittens and enjoy a G-rated critter movie, crafts, games and more. Participants are invited to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and pajamas.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, email email@example.com and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail. com, www.animalrescue neworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.