8 Reasons Dog Is Pooping Hair [Explained]

by Stuart | Last Updated:   July 14, 2021

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Here are 8 common reasons why a dog might be pooping hair:

  1. Normal puppy exploration
  2. Pica
  3. Allergies
  4. Boredom
  5. Fleas, ticks, and other parasites
  6. Seeking attention
  7. Something is lacking in their diet
  8. Stress and anxiety

Being a pet parent, one of the most unexpected and unsettling things is seeing hair in your dog’s poop. Whilst your dog pooping hair might seem puzzling to say the least, the good news is that, for the most part, eating hair isn’t dangerous for a dog.

However, it is important to understand that there might be complications in certain cases. If your dog is compulsively eating hair, you should know why and have a plan of ways to stop it.

Female adult on one knee picking up dog poop with hair in it

Why Does My Dog’s Poop Have Hair In It?

Well, it’s very freaky when you see your dog has hair in its poop. If the hair is strand-like and not in the stomach as hair balI, you don’t need to be worried as it shouldn’t hurt your dog.

To stop finding human hair in your dog’s poop, you need to identify the source. Your dog’s hair eating addiction could be caused by a variety of things. These explanations can range from behavioural issues to a health condition known as pica. Hair eating habits could even stem from natural puppy curiosity. 

Here are some reasons why dogs eat hair:

Normal puppy exploration: 

Puppies explore the world through their mouths. They normally tend to put things in their mouths. At a young age, it is perfectly natural for them to do so. While exploring, hair can seem especially tempting to these curious pups. 

You can prevent your puppy’s exploratory chewing and eating of odd things by giving them appropriate and safe chew toys for dogs instead.

Pica:

Pica is an underlying health condition characterized by an irresistible urge to eat inedible things. Dogs with pica might eat hair, cloth, plastic, etc. This is more common in senior dogs where they are inclined to eat non-food items. 

In rare cases, your dog may be pooping hair due to pica. The root cause of pica in canines can be either behavioural or medical.

If your dog is having some type of health problem, you need to examine it and take it seriously. Talk to your vet about your dog’s health concerns. Discuss with them if you suspect there might be an underlying medical issue causing your dog to eat hair.

Allergies:

If your dog is dealing with environmental or food allergies, you may notice your fur buddy chewing, licking, and eating its own hair due to itching. Try to remove the allergens from your dog’s environment. If food allergies are making your dog itch, you should eliminate potential trigger foods.

Talk to your vet about getting an allergy panel done if you do not already know what your dog is having a reaction to. 

Boredom:

Your dog might be eating hair because it’s bored. Dogs who are left alone for extended periods without any activity or attention may turn to chewing and licking at themselves simply to pass the time. It’s not unusual for dogs to pick up undesirable habits if they don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation.

You can provide appropriate enrichment and physical exercise to prevent boredom. Physical activity can be long walks, running at the dog park, games of fetch, tug of war, flyball, or trying out a backyard agility course. There are plenty of interactive toys including chew toys or puzzle toys that can help prevent your dog from becoming bored, and subsequently resorting to chewing their own fur, when alone.  

Fleas, ticks, and other parasites:

If your dog is obsessively chewing their own fur, this may be due to parasites, fleas, or ticks. You may notice a loss of fur in the area in which they have been chewing. There are a variety of flea and tick treatments for dogs that your vet can recommend.

Seeking attention:

Sometimes, a dog starts eating hair because it’s simply looking for attention. You must ensure that your furry pal is getting enough regular exercise, attention, and affection. A tired dog will have less excess energy and be less likely to engage in attention seeking behaviours like chewing their own paws.

Something is lacking in their diet:

Some vets attribute pica, and its resultant hair eating, to a deficiency of certain minerals and fibres in a dog’s diet. 

Your dog’s daily diet should contain the right balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbs. The diet should be based on your dog’s breed, age, gender, and activity level. 

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Stress and anxiety:

Stress and anxiety might cause a dog to eat its own or human hair. A dog suffering from these concerns needs extra support, love, and patience. Examine your dog’s environment for possible anxiety triggers and try to remove any stressors, if possible.

Give your anxious dog a sense of security and safety. Avoid leaving a lonely dog by itself for long periods, if possible. You can also try natural supplements to keep your dog calm. If, after trying all these solutions, your dog still seems to be anxious or stressed, you should consult your vet.

Can Dogs Get Hairballs?

When a dog ingests more hair than it can expel in its poop, that hair can begin to congeal around any other small, stray item present in the stomach.

Hairball formation has a sort of snowball effect. Once a hairball begins to form, as your dog ingests more hair, the hairball will continue to grow in size and volume. If your dog has large enough hairballs that cause physical discomfort, it would probably be vomiting it all back up. Think of how a cat will expel a hairball. Otherwise, it may get lodged in the digestive system leading to constipation.

Here are some general tips for preventing hairball accumulation in dogs: 

  • Provide your dog with omega 3 fatty acids as a supplement. These will help lubricate the digestive system and help ingested hair to pass naturally through the digestive system. 
  • Pay attention to grooming, cleaning, and clipping your dog. This will help to remove excess hair and prevent the formation of hairballs. 
  • Laxatives and digestive aids can help break down or pass hairballs when they do occur.  
  • Ensure your dog is well hydrated so their digestive tract will naturally pass hair accumulations. A dehydrated dog is more prone to digestive blockages.

Almost all dogs will eat some hair at some point in their life and poop it out. It’s a weird thing to see, but thankfully it is easy enough to solve this issue.

Can Eating Hair Cause Diarrhea in Dogs? 

Sometimes, dogs ingest hair and it does not smoothly pass through the digestive system but accumulates, forming a hairball. Common signs of a hairball are coughing, vomiting, loss of appetite (in case of blockage), and sometimes gastrointestinal distress including diarrhea.

Most hairballs can be passed with the assistance of laxatives to get the hairball moving. However, it’s better to prevent hairballs in the first place using the tips we described above.

When Is It Time To See The Vet?

If your dog becomes constipated from eating hair and doesn’t have a bowel movement for more than 48 hours, it’s time to see the vet.

If a serious blockage develops due to hairballs that cannot be vomited or passed, you may observe severe gastrointestinal symptoms and pain. If this occurs, your dog can end up in serious medical distress and require veterinary care. There might be a need for surgical intervention to remove the obstruction.

Your dog could also develop a toxicity issue if it eats hair that’s coated in hair care products or topical parasite treatments. If your dog becomes sick and you suspect that this is the issue, talk to your vet right away.

Having pet insurance from the time that your dog is a puppy is a great way to ensure that you are financially prepared in case of an emergency like those described above. You can get a free quote from Embrace Pet Insurance by clicking here.

Owner cleaning up after the dog with plastic bag

Wrapping Up

Remember that dogs can eat all sorts of strange things, which will often pass through their digestive system and later appear in their poop. It’s important to understand what may be causing your dog to eat hair. This will help you to put a stop to it and prevent these issues from developing.

If your dog eats a small amount of hair and doesn’t make a regular habit of it, it won’t be a problem. However, if your fur buddy often eats a lot of hair, it could become constipated or even develop a life-threatening intestinal blockage.

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.
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