Although hairballs are less common in dogs than in cats, dogs can get hairballs. What type of dogs are more prone to hairballs? What causes hairballs? Should you be concerned if your dog vomits one up? How do you prevent hairballs in your dog? Don’t worry, we have the answers you’re looking for. Here’s what you need to know about hairballs in dogs.
What is a hairball?
When a dog (or cat) licks or chews itself, it may swallow some of its hair. Normally that hair passes through your pet’s digestive system without any problems, but sometimes the hair wraps around something else indigestible in your dog’s stomach and remains there. If the mass is too large to pass through the digestive system, your dog may regurgitate the hairball.
If your dog is panting and trying to vomit without producing anything for more than a day, you should take him to the vet. This is a sign that something is stuck in your dog’s stomach and won’t come out from either side of the digestive tract. This may require surgery.
Should I be concerned if my dog has hairballs?
Hairballs themselves are not dangerous as long as your dog coughs them up quickly, but they can be a signal that your dog’s digestive tract is not working properly. A hairball that is not expelled quickly can prevent your dog from absorbing fluids properly and can lead to dehydration or loss of appetite. If your dog is experiencing repeated hairballs or seems to gag without vomiting, it may be time for a visit to the vet.
What types of dogs are more prone to hairballs?
Dogs that shed a lot are most prone to developing hairballs. Dogs with medium to long hair that shed a lot are most at risk. Any dog that licks itself obsessively for physical or psychological reasons can develop a hairball, as it may ingest more hair than the average dog.
How can I help prevent my dog from forming hairballs?
The best way to prevent hairballs is to thoroughly groom your dog. If you have a dog that sheds a lot, try brushing him much more often or taking him to the groomer for a professional hair removal service (this may be called a carding, furminating, de-shedding, or another type of service). ). The less hair comes off your dog, the less he can swallow and turn into a hairball.
Another way to help prevent hairballs is to make sure your dog drinks enough water. The more water your dog drinks, the more efficiently he can move his bowels, which prevents the formation of hairballs.
If you suspect your dog is over-grooming himself out of boredom, try taking him on longer walks, playing with him more, or feeding him his food and treats in a puzzle toy.
If your vet doesn’t find any serious complications causing hairballs in your dog, they may recommend hairball medications similar to what you would give to a cat. They lubricate the digestive system, making it easier for the hair to slide through, rather than getting stuck and accumulating more hair.
If your dog seems to lick or chew himself often, try to find out why. Do they have fleas? Do they suffer from allergies? Are they trying to ease joint pain? If you can figure out why your dog is licking so much and treat the underlying cause, you may be able to put an end to the excessive licking that leads to hairballs.
Examine your dog’s diet. Low-quality diets can actually increase your dog’s shedding. Adding an Omega-3 supplement can help reduce your dog’s shedding.
All in all, you want to be attuned to your dog’s behavior. If your dog experiences lethargy, constipation, diarrhea or loss of appetite, he may have a hairball that he cannot tolerate or another serious illness and should be taken to the vet immediately.