What Is The Origin Of Gray Hair In Dogs?
It is very common for dogs to have gray hair. As in humans, aging is one of the main causes of the appearance of these white hairs in our pet. However, there may be a premature origin of gray hair in dogs.
If a dog is less than five years old and many gray hair can be a symptom that something goes wrong with his health. Below, we will look at some factors to understand what is the origin of gray hair in dogs and when we should worry.
The appearance of premature gray hair in dogs
The most common origin of gray hair in dogs is aging. However, when a young animal starts to grow gray hair, it is spoken of premature gray hair. There are many reasons for this, but most often they indicate that there is a problem.
A young dog that has many gray hair usually has other health problems as well. In that case, the appearance of gray hair may be accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, lack of appetite or hair loss.
There are also many cases where gray hair is associated with stress problems. The dog will then have, in addition to premature gray hair, a behavior associated with symptoms of anxiety or aggression.
Finally, on some occasions, premature gray hair in dogs have a genetic origin. For example, dogs of black color are more likely to have gray hair ahead of time. Race can also be a determining factor.
Origin of gray hair in dogs
If a dog has white hairs around the muzzle, it is most likely that it is gray hair. These white hairs also often appear elsewhere on the body and face: over the eyes, for example.
Regardless of any health problem, from a certain age the hair of dogs begins to lose its color. This usually happens at approximately seven or eight years of age.
The color of the hair is marked by a molecule called melanin; it is a pigment that is produced in each hair follicle. With age, DNA has less and less capacity to produce cells that are responsible for creating melanin.
There are also other hypotheses that explain the origin of gray hair, mainly when they appear prematurely. It is believed, for example, that sometimes follicles produce more hydrogen peroxide than usual. And this element would be responsible for hair whitening.
Why do premature gray hair appear?
As we have seen above, the appearance of premature gray hair in a dog can have its origin in various causes. It is important to know them and take appropriate measures in time to correct this situation and prevent problems that may compromise the health of the dogs.
One of the causes of these premature gray hair may be insufficient nutrition. Sometimes dog hair discoloration is due to a lack of nutrients. This can happen for example in dogs that do not eat meat.
If in addition to gray hair our pet has symptoms such as decay, lack of appetite or weight loss, it can be a parasite infection or even something more serious. In this case it is necessary to take it to the veterinarian for proper treatment.
In practice, it often happens that one of the most common reasons for dogs to have premature gray hair is stress:
Stress in dogs
The relationship between premature gray hair in dogs and anxiety is very common. There is no doubt: dogs suffering from stress age at an early age. It is important to pay attention to the signals to be able to make the necessary changes that contribute to the well-being of our pet.
Anxiety and stress in dogs often manifests itself, for example, through the destruction of objects in their environment when they are alone.
This psychic state also often results in hyperactivity even after physical exercise, inability to calm down, permanent nervousness or behaviors like jumping on people.
Dogs can suffer anxiety when they are left alone for a long time or when they do not leave long enough. They can also be stressed when living with stressed people or in very tense environments.