Even though they have short coats, Catahoula Leopard dogs shed. They shed moderately throughout the year, which makes them non-hypoallergenic dogs.
However, you can minimize the shedding by brushing their hair regularly. Doing so removes the dead hair and maintains their coat's shine.
Moreover, bathing also eliminates excess and dead hair before it falls.
Catahoula Leopard dogs are low shedders. Yet, most of the time, the fur gets stuck on their bodies because their coats lie flat.
Usually, a few strands of fur will fall from their bodies now and then, especially when they’re moving a lot. You’ll only notice the shed when it drops to the ground or if you manually remove it using a brush.
It’s important to note that these dogs’ health status significantly affects how much hair they shed.
Healthier Catahoula Leopard dogs only shed the usual amount of hair. However, if there’s lots of pet dander on the ground, your dog might be experiencing a health issue, which we’ll cover later.
Unlike other dogs, this breed doesn’t undergo a shedding season. Instead, its fur sheds on a regular basis, which is normal because it’s part of this pup’s hair growth cycle.
Catahoulas constantly undergo four growth cycles: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
Anagen is the phase wherein the hair grows to its genetically determined length. This phase doesn’t last long for Catahoula Leopards because they have short fur.
Next, they undergo the catagen phase. It’s where the hair stops growing entirely, and it begins to detach itself from the blood supply.
Afterward, they enter the telogen phase or the resting period. During this time, the hair remains in the follicle, but it doesn’t grow further.
Lastly, they experience the exogen phase or the shedding phase. The individual hair strands fall out from the follicles, signaling that a new cycle will begin.
There are underlying factors that make your Catahoula Leopard dog shed excessively.
Reasons vary for every dog, but it’s usually because there's something wrong with a Catahoula Leopard's health, physical condition, or overall wellness.
1. Parasite Infection
External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, cause hair loss in dogs.
If you've noticed that the hair around your Catahoula Leopard's neck and tail is shedding excessively, it's because of fleas. Flea bites cause intense itching, which will cause your dog to scratch those areas repeatedly.
Scratching makes the skin red and flaky. When your dog's skin becomes dry, the hair becomes brittle, which is the reason for excessive shedding.
Aside from hair loss, the constant scratching also makes your Catahoula Leopard prone to developing a bald patch. Bald patches can lead to further infections, making your dog susceptible to other health issues.
2. Food Allergy
Catahoula Leopards don't typically have sensitive stomachs. However, they eat lots of protein, especially beef, chicken, and wheat gluten, which are ingredients that cause allergies in dogs.
Allergy to food makes the skin of the dog itchy. It's a typical symptom of an underlying food allergy.
Again, when Catahoula Leopards scratch their skin too much, it results in skin lesions. Said skin condition increases hair loss in dogs.
Like other dog breeds, Catahoula Leopards can get sunburns.
Spending a long time outdoors can make a Catahoula Leoapard’s skin red, tight, and tender. Over time, the skin may become dry and cracked.
As mentioned earlier, dry skin equates to itchiness, which is a major cause of hair loss.
Since Catahoula Leopards are large dogs, they are also at risk of hypothyroidism. This disease slows down the dogs' metabolism whenever their thyroid doesn't secrete enough thyroid hormones.
A common symptom that Catahoula Leopards experience is a change in their coat and skin. Their fur thins out, and their hair sheds excessively.
Female Catahoula Leopards become prone to hair loss whenever they're pregnant. Pregnancy and lactation exhaust the essential minerals in their bodies, such as zinc, which they need to maintain a healthy coat.
Aside from keeping their coat luscious, zinc promotes higher hair retention and growth rate in dogs.
Methods to Reduce Excessive Shedding on Your Catahoula Leopard Dog
You can take measures to reduce the excessive shedding of your Catahoula Leopard.
It would help if you considered changing your dog's diet and lifestyle and keeping your house clean at all times.
1. Change Your Dog's Diet
If you suspect that the cause of excessive shedding is a food allergy, it’ll be time to make adjustments to your dog’s diet.
Using medications works, too. However, a natural approach is better because it'll benefit your dog's health in the long run thanks to a reduced chemical intake.
Keep in mind that changing your Catahoula Leopard's diet can get tricky. You should determine what food item triggers your dog's allergy through the process of elimination.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to get a vet’s opinion on how to go about changing your pup’s eating habits. They’ll also let you know whether or not you should involve medication in your dog’s treatment routine.
2. Brush and Bathe Your Catahoula Regularly
Aside from keeping him free from any foul odor, bathing your Catahoula Leopard also removes dead hair. Many deshedding shampoos in the market help remove and loosen your dog's excess hair.
It's ideal to bathe your Catahoula whenever you exercise with your dog outdoors. Yet, if you go out every day, don't bathe him daily as it can dry out his skin, which causes itching and flaking.
Moreover, brushing him regularly removes excess undercoat.
A bristle brush is the right brush to use for the coat of a Catahoula Leopard dog. It has tightly-packed bristles that are perfect for short coats.
3. Get Rid of Parasites and Keep Your House Clean
If your dog has ticks or fleas, you should treat him using an oral fast-acting tablet or a tick-repellant spray.
Once you've solved that issue, try your best to keep your home clean from parasites by spraying a tick-repellant solution outdoors.
Moreover, you should make it a priority to properly wash your clothes. If you're using a washing machine to dry your clothes, put it on high heat to kill the pests.
Paul has been creating content for the dog niche for many years. The information he shares comes his first hand experience growing up in dog lovers household and then owning multiple dog breeds of his own as an adult. Paul enjoys doing the hard research to collect, analyze and present our dogtemperament.com readers with the best answers to their questions.