Have you noticed the coat of your 2-year-old canine companion progressively turning silver or grey? Is he having lots of greying around the muzzle or eyebrows? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then your dog must be experiencing premature greying. It is a fact that every dog will go grey eventually. However, there are those that start too early, something that makes their owners worry.
Most dogs start greying around their muzzle when they are 5 years old; however, some can go grey as early as 2 or 3 years. So, why do certain dogs go grey earlier than others? Continue reading to find out:
Let get this myth demystified first before looking into the factors that cause premature greying in dogs. Just like in human beings where grey hair is associated with old age, dogs also go grey as they age. But not every dog you see out there with lots of greying on their coat or around their eyebrows or muzzle is old. Dogs as young as 2 years suffer from premature greying nowadays. And it’s definitely because of other reasons other than age.
Though it hapens rarely, there are certain instances where your dog may go grey due to a medical issue. Hypothyroidism, for instance, causes the following symptoms in dogs – hair coarseness and dryness, hair loss, dark skin pigmentation, retarded hair growth as well as premature greying of the dog’s muzzle. Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if suspect that your pet’s greying is due to a medical problem.
Another reason why our dogs go grey early is stress. Just like in humans, high levels of psychological anxiety or stress can cause pets to go grey early.
According to researchers, dogs that exhibit impulsive behaviors or anxiety at home are likely to experience premature greying. These behaviors include (but not limited to) jumping on people, fear of noises as well as fear of animals or people who are unfamiliar. This should be a wakeup call to every dog owner to avoid putting their dogs in stressful situations.
Genetics alsoplays a big role in premature greying in dogs (as well as in humans). Melanocytes are the pigment cells responsible for giving hair its youthful color. Various studies have found out that when these pigment cells undergo cellular stress, they die off leading to premature greying. Stress from mutagens like ultraviolet light can also damage the DNA causing the supply of melanocytes to diminish. When that happens, greying is inevitable.
Overall, premature greying happens in dogs just the same way it happens to human beings. On average, dogs start going grey at the age of 5 years but this varies greatly from one dog to another. There’s nothing to worry about if your beloved pet starts going grey prematurely as it’s rarely because of a medical problem. But if you mind is unsettled, you can always consult a veterinarian to be sure everything is okay with your pet.