When you are a dog owner, there are several things you need to take care of in addition to only providing the pooch with shelter and food. You have to care for their every need and ensure they are happy and healthy. Taking care of a dog is not too different from taking care of a baby. They need you for most things and neglect could lead to serious repercussions.
A signature aspect about most pet owners is that one may often find dog hair on their clothes. Even a dog with the shortest coat will invariably shed some fur, just like humans with short hair do as well. But what should you know about how pit bulls shed their hair? The following sections will throw light on some important pit bull questions.
What Is a Pit Bull?
Before going into whether or not pit bulls shed, it is important to clarify what is meant when one uses the term ‘pit bull’. It is a common misconception to think that pit bull is a singular breed of dog. However, when it comes to classification, pit bull actually refers to a group of dogs and not a single type of dog.
Pit bull is an umbrella term that is generally used to refer to four pit type, pedigree breeds, though several mixed breeds of dogs are also colloquially referred to as pit bulls. These breeds include the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bulldog and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. So when you hear somebody say the word pit bull, they are likely referring to one of these breeds. For this article, pit bull refers to all four pit-type breeds mentioned earlier.
Since the main question being addressed here is whether or not pit bulls shed, the short answer is yes, they do. All four types of pit bulls have similar coats and all of them shed, though the pattern of their shedding may have slight variations.
Related: Why Are Pitbulls So Popular?
How Much Do Pit Bulls Shed?
Most dog breeds shed, though the degree to which they shed may differ. Pit bulls are no different. While all four pit bull breeds may have some differences in how much they shed, roughly the pattern of the shedding is the same for all. Pit bulls have a short coat and are not heavy shedders. Having said that, however, though pit bulls have a short coat, they are by no means hypoallergenic dogs. Their short coat may mislead people into thinking they do not shed as much, but this is not the case.
However, their single coat is also the reason they are not heavy shedders like Huskies or Golden Retrievers. Pit bulls do not have an undercoat which sheds heavily during the winters. Their coat remains consistently thick throughout the year, which also means that they shed consistently throughout the year. Leading up to spring and fall, the shedding may be more than usual but only marginally so.
Most pit bull owners do not have to worry about shedding too much. With the right kind of management and care, pit bull shedding does not have to be any kind of menace for their owners.
When Should You Be Worried?
As described above, pit bulls are not heavy shedders. So if you find that your pit bull is shedding a lot or find that clumps of hair are missing from its coat, this is not normal. You may want to consult with the veterinarian about your pit bull’s nutrition and diet and get a full workup to see what the problem is.
There are a few different reasons why pit bulls may suddenly have a spike in their hair shedding. Dehydration is often a common reason for hair shedding so if the temperatures have soared, you may want to ensure that your pooch is getting enough hydration.
Another common reason can be some kind of food allergy. You may want to look back and think about whether anything has changed in their diet. Perhaps, a new element in their diet has triggered an allergic reaction that causes heavy shedding.
Finally, just how stress or worry can cause hair loss in humans, the same can also happen for dogs. If your pit bull is anxious about something or if you notice any changes in their behavior, you may want to find the trigger of the stress. Often it can be a physical trigger or an environmental trigger that you can find a quicker solution for. If it is a mental trigger, that may be more difficult to diagnose but it is important to observe more keenly.
Either way, the main point is that if you notice heavy shedding in your pit bull, that is a cause for concern and you should certainly bring it up with the vet.
Related: Do Pitbulls Howl?
How to Deal with Pit Bull Shedding?
Now, for normal amounts of shedding, there are certain things you can do to keep it under control. While pit bulls are low to moderate shedders, that does not mean you can do without managing the shedding. As the owner, you will need to maintain their coat and pay attention to the shedding (unless you want your clothes and upholstery to be covered in fur).
There is not a lot of work that goes into maintaining a pit bull, but there are a few basics you may want to practice.
Brushing is a grooming practice that you will need to follow with all breeds, not only with pit bulls. Even if the breed you have has a short coat that will not matt without brushing, running a brush through your dog’s fur allows you to remove the loose strands. This will ensure that the loose strands of hair will not keep falling about in the whole house but you can gather them in a bag or on a paper.
For a pit bull, brushing their coat twice or thrice a week should be enough though the needs of individual dogs may differ. If you feel your dog will benefit from more brushing sessions during the week, you can gradually increase the frequency as well. However, be careful not to over brush as that can irritate a pit bull’s sensitive skin (more on that later). This also means that it is important to invest in a soft brush for your pit bull so you do not cut their sensitive skin.
Bathing a pit bull is certainly important, but since their coat is not as thick, you can get away with bathing them only once a month. You can increase the frequency of bathing if they have played in the dirt and brought mud back home—you certainly do not want to allow the mud to dry on their coat and bring other infections. However, the general rule is that pit bulls should not be bathed too frequently. For starters, they have a short coat that will not accumulate dirt like breeds with heavier coats.
However, overwashing your pit bull will also result in the stripping away of natural oils which is something you do not want to do. If their coat becomes too dry, it will lose its natural shine and the dryness can cause even more shedding. What’s more, the dryness of the coat will certainly irritate the skin as well which could lead to other problems in addition to shedding.
Since pit bulls already have sensitive skin, you may want to invest in a mild dog shampoo. Do not make the mistake of using human shampoo on any dog, let alone pit bulls. Even baby shampoo, which is more gentle, should be avoided. Oatmeal-based dog shampoos are a popular option if you are looking for something mild and gentle for your pooch.
How Often Does Your Pit Bull Need Haircuts?
The answer is ‘rarely’. Pit bulls, like most other short-haired dogs, do not need haircuts. In fact, hair cuts can be actively damaging for a pit bull as any trimmer or scissor would have to cut too close to the skin which can cause irritation or worse, even injuries.
The length of a pit bull’s coat will remain short even if you do not give them a haircut. If you are worried about thickness, then the natural shedding of hair will ensure that the pit bull has a thin and short coat.
The only time a pit bull should be given a haircut is if it is medically necessitated. For example, if a pit bull is going in for surgery and the area of the incision needs to be shaved or trimmed, that would warrant a haircut from a professional. For all other instances, regular brushing alone should suffice to manage a pit bull’s shedding.
Even if your pit bull has brought ticks or mites back home, you may want to find ways other than haircuts to manage the situation. Perhaps a medicinal shampoo, ointments and other medications may help solve the problem. Only in extreme cases would a haircut be suggested.
Do Pit Bulls Have Sensitive Skin?
From the descriptions above, it may have become extremely clear that pit bulls have sensitive skin. Since pit bulls have short hair, they do become vulnerable to certain skin conditions as their skin is more exposed to the natural elements.
Some of the common things you may have to worry about with a pit bull is excessive itching, dry skin, hives, rashes, etc. While mostly these things can be managed if you maintain the right oil balance on their skin and ensure the skin does not get too dry from overwashing, excessive scratching can also lead to hematomas.
Hematomas are the abrasions on the skin which occur when blood vessels begin to form blisters under the top layer of the skin. For dogs, hematomas are most commonly found in the ears. The inner ear often swells up and causes a lot of pain to the dog. A hematoma must be looked at immediately once you have discovered it. They are usually easy to spot as your dog will let it be known by their apparent discomfort.
Atopic dermatitis is another ailment that is common among pit bulls and can also cause hair loss and excessive shedding. Pit bulls can also be prone to other kinds of skin allergies.
Pit bulls are also prone to mange, such as canine demodicosis. This is a parasitic mite that is found in the oil glands and at the hair follicles. It is important to care for a pit bull’s nutrition as a dog with a weaker immunity will be more prone to parasitic mites such as this.
Since pit bulls also have a short coat, their skin is more vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer as a consequence of that sun exposure. You may want to do some research on ultraviolet exposure in dogs and the various kinds of canine sunscreen available in the market.
As an alternative to sunscreen, you can also look into various kinds of protective clothing for your pooch. There are special dog outfits that will protect the most vulnerable parts of the skin. And who doesn’t want to see a dog waddling about in a cute pair of shorts and a shirt?
Taking care of a pit bull is a serious responsibility, as is the case with any other breed. They are not particularly difficult pets to care for but there are certain things you cannot take lightly in a pit bull’s care.
Related: Do Pitbulls Drool a Lot?
To recap, pit bulls do shed though they are usually not heavy shedders barring a few individual exceptions. They have a short coat that does not require too much work. However, just because a pit bull does not shed as a Golden Retriever does not mean you do not need to pay attention to their grooming.
Like any other breed, pit bulls also need their coats brushed out a few times a week. In some cases, pit bulls even actively enjoy how the brush feels on their skin, though you should ensure you use a soft brush for their sensitive skin.
Pit bulls are easy to care for when it comes to maintaining their coat and ensuring the furniture in your house is not covered in hair. However, their short coat also leaves their skin sensitive to several ailments and problems and you will have to take extra care to ensure their skin does not feel irritated at any cost.
The rest is up to individual pit bulls and their temperaments. But when it comes to dealing with pit bull shedding, it isn’t the most difficult thing about having them as a pet.