If you are thinking of adding a new canine sidekick to your home, a dog that sheds minimally might rank fairly high on your list of “must haves.” All dogs do shed; however, there is no question that some breeds shed less than others. If you’ve got your heart set on a Pit Bull, you might be wondering the answer to this question: do Pit Bulls shed?
What is a Pit Bull?
Many people are surprised to discover that Pit Bull is not an actual breed, but instead is a term that is applied across a broad spectrum of dog types that all bear similar physical characteristics such as a muscular frame and a block-like or square head. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a specific breed, but at present, is not recognized by the American or Canadian Kennel Clubs, having its own separate breed registry for tracking pedigrees and registration certificates for participation in club sanctioned events.
Whether you are planning to purchase an American Pit Bull Terrier or a dog that has been classified as a Pit Bull at a rescue or shelter, it’s important to note that each dog’s coat type will vary slightly, and yes, all of them will shed.
What is the Pit Bull’s Coat Like?
The American Pit Bull Terrier and most Pit Bulls possess a single coat that consists of a short layer of smooth hair. Because their coat is quite short, it is very low maintenance, requiring no regular grooming. However, short, smooth coats like that of the Pit Bull do shed and shed fairly frequently.
Double coated breeds possess a thick under coat and typically blow their coat twice per year. During these seasons of heavy shedding, you can expect a lot of excess hair in your home and mild to moderate shedding the remainder of the year. However, Pit Bulls have short single layer coats that shed fairly heavily on a year-round basis.
Some breed experts purport that the coat color of the Pit Bull does have some bearing on the amount of shedding you will see in your home throughout the year. However, it may be that shedding from dogs with very light or very dark hair may simply be more noticeable in your carpets, on your flooring, and on your furniture and is not actually larger in volume at all.
Is There a Reason Why a Pit Bull Might Shed More Often Than Normal?
There are many things that might cause a change in the amount of shedding your Pit Bull does. If you have noticed an increase in overall shedding recently, here are a few reasons that might be to blame:
Change of regular routine
Dogs are creatures of habit and can exhibit signs of anxiety when their household is disrupted. As a result of this excess stress, your dog may shed more than usual.
Anxiety in dogs can be attributed to many different things. However, particularly stressful conditions such as separation anxiety are often evidenced by excessive shedding.
When it comes to diet, there are several things that could play a role in how much shedding your dog does. A diet that is not suited to your dog’s nutritional needs can trigger additional shedding. In addition to this, transitioning your dog from his old food to a new one at too rapid a pace can also have negative effects not only on his digestive system but also on the amount of shedding he does. Allergic reactions to certain ingredients in a food have also been known to result in hair loss.
Some dogs have very sensitive skin that reacts with the ingredients in some types of shampoo and conditioner. This can lead to increased shedding and hair loss. For best results, make use of a gentle shampoo formulated specifically for dogs with sensitive skin and keep bathing to an absolute minimum. Bathing your dog too frequently can dry out the skin and hair, leading to additional shedding as well as flaky and uncomfortable skin.
Sadly, many Pit Bulls are predisposed to skin conditions that make them itchy and uncomfortable. If your dog is scratching or licking himself excessively, this will lead to baldness and hair loss in the affected areas.
Mites or other parasites can cause an increase in shedding in your dog. If you suspect your dog’s shedding may be attributed to a parasite, you will need to see your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan to resolve the issue.
What Can I Do to Minimize My Pit Bull’s Shedding?
Though you cannot completely eliminate shedding, there are things that you can do to help minimize the amount of magical Pit Bull hair fibers in your home. These include:
Though Pit Bulls have very short, smooth coats, they can still benefit from weekly brushing. Taking the time to brush your dog regularly can help control the spread of hair throughout your home by allowing you to remove most of the dead hair during the brushing process.
For best results, purchase a brush with metal pins from a pet store. Be sure to purchase a brush of high quality and one that has pins with balls on the end to prevent irritation to your dog’s skin.
Using the correct shampoo
Pit Bulls are known to have skin sensitivities. As a result of this, they require a shampoo that has been formulated to be gentle on their skin and that is suited for dog use. This means that the typical commercial shampoos on the market today are not suitable for use on your Pit Bull. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo, or you can contact an online retailer that specializes in dog shampoos for dogs with skin sensitivities. By keeping the skin and hair healthy and hydrated, you will reduce the amount of shedding associated with itching and allergies.
Bathing as needed
Every Pit Bull is different which means their coats are slightly different as well. What one Pit Bull can tolerate in a bathing schedule would be absolute torture for another. There is no question that regular bathing can help reduce the amount of shedding your Pit Bull does. However, bathing your dog too frequently can also pose problems such as dry and irritated skin and hair loss.
As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend giving your Pit Bull a bath once monthly unless he rolls in something unpleasant or develops an odor.
The food you feed your dog will make a huge difference when it comes to coat and skin health. For best results, feed your dog the best quality diet that you can afford. Pay careful attention to how the diet you feed affects your dog’s coat. If you notice his coat is thinning or dull in appearance, it may be time to investigate making a switch to a different diet or assessing whether or not his food contains an ingredient he cannot tolerate well.
Since nutrition alone does not always supply everything our dogs need, it is a great idea to consider giving your Pit Bull some supplements to boost coat and skin health. Most veterinarians recommend beginning with an essential fatty acid supplement. You can purchase salmon oil at a pet store and apply the recommended amount to your dog’s food or purchase a fish oil supplement in capsule form to feed orally with a generous helping of peanut butter on the outside to disguise it. Some owners also like to feed their dogs sardines with their meals to improve coat and skin quality.
Do Pit Bulls shed? Yes, they do and more than you might think. Follow our top tips to keep your Pit Bull’s coat and skin in tip top shape and to ensure the shedding in your home is minimal at best.