AM Buffalo


Pet Talk Tuesday – Hair vs. fur in pets

Posted at 3:12 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 15:12:54-05

Dr. Jennifer Stachnik is talking about the difference between hair vs. fur in pets. She says it is a common thing that people wonder about. There are some different connotations with that. She says in some circles, hair refers just to human hair and all animals, generally speaking have fur. Dr. Stachnik says hair and fur are both made up of keratin so from a chemically level they are very, very similar if not completely the same, just some very small differences there.

When speaking of dogs, generally vets will say that the non-shedding breeds have hair so hair will continuously grow and needs to be cut periodically. Other breeds have fur where their hair will grow to one length and then fall out rather than continuing to grow.

Dr. Stachnik says breeds that have hair, think about our poodles and doodles especially, and they do need to go to the groomer regularly. She says then you have breeds like our labs, and pugs, goldens and huskies that have more so fur that will just will fall out and shed when it gets to a certain length so they don’t have go be trimmed but they still will benefit from brushing and bathing regularly to keep their coat in good shape.

If you have allergies, you might be thinking more so of a breed with hair that doesn’t shed. Dr. Stachnik says if you don’t mind vacuuming a little more often and you don’t have allergies sometimes the breeds with fur can be a little easier, so you don’t have to go to the groomer.

She says there are pluses and minuses to both sides, people have different preferences, but it is good to do your homework and investigate what sort of coat your dog will have and what sort of maintenance is involved with that before you get a dog.

Other things to think about with hair and fur is if we have areas where the fur/hair is missing it is called alopecia. If you have bald areas or areas with a lot less hair or fir than there should be, it could be a sign of health issues for your dog. Dr. Stachnik says that could be a sign that they are having an endocrine issue, they could a low thyroid level, they could have something called Cushing Syndrome, sometimes there are seasonal factors that can affect that so definitely talk to your veterinarian if you pet does have any issues with their coat and see if that is a sign of an underlying health issue going on.

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