All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Short-Haired Dog is Shedding

Dear Marie,
We have a 9-year-old, male Boxer who seems to be shedding hair much more than we remember from past years. He doesn't seem to have any skin problems and he doesn't scratch himself. Is this age related?  Is there some way to reduce the amount of hair he's shedding?

Dear Vicky,
Since a Boxer has short hair, you might think that he won’t shed much.  But actually, short-haired dogs shed just as much as their long-haired counterparts. They just don’t have thick undercoats, like German Shepherds, for example.  But, they still go through complete sheds twice a year, and have continual, minor shedding yearlong.

Now that it is officially spring (and we've had record-breaking heat), it is also officially shedding season for dogs and cats.  So be prepared to do a lot more brushing than usual and stock up on pet hair rollers.  I would also avoid wearing dark colors and stick to springtime prints.

I am somewhat concerned that you said that he seems to be shedding more than what he did in the past.  This may be a symptom of a health problem.  As the owner – you know more than anyone what is normal.  If this seems far beyond the usual to you, than it would be wise to schedule an appointment with your vet just to make sure there is nothing going on. 

Stress can also cause rapid shedding.  If anything has been going on in your home that may have frightened or worried your dog, he may be reacting to that.  Think about anything that may have changed recently and do your best to comfort him. 

The good news is daily brushing of your dog will actually calm him down.  It’s like a mother dog grooming her pup; you will always be the “mother figure” in his life and he looks to you for reassurance, even though he is nine years old.

Another reason for shedding is poor nutrition.  If you don’t feed your dog a good, natural food, you should look into gradually switching him over.  Talk to your veterinarian about what food would be best for your dog at his age. 

There are always a lot of factors to consider when looking into different types of food.  But age is something that cannot be ignored.  At nine years old, your boy is a senior citizen now and shouldn't be eating the same food he was given as a young dog.  If you haven’t already switched over to a senior diet, it is definitely time.

Though you don’t want to bathe your dog too often, as this will wash away important oils and dry out his skin, a good bath at the start of spring is highly recommended.  You will find that you can eliminate a lot of the old winter coat with one good shampoo and towel-dry followed by thorough brushing or combing.  He may not enjoy the bath, but he’ll feel so much better afterwards and you’ll be very pleased with the results.

Finally, try to keep your dog indoors most of the time, especially when it is cold outside.  If you control the climate that he is subjected to, i.e., not making him stay outside during the cold night or damp mornings but rather keeping him in the nice, warm house, he will not go through such intense shedding cycles.

I hope this solves the bulk of your dog’s shedding problems. For me, I've just adjusted my attitude with regards to having fur stuck on my clothes all of the time.  I figure it is a very small price to pay for the wonderful,unconditional love and companionship of my pets.

Best of luck.


  1. But, they still go through complete sheds twice a year, and have continual, minor shedding grooming