Dog shedding | how to manage extra fur loss
Is increased dog shedding normal?
It's perfectly normal for dog shedding (or cat shedding) to increase when the weather gets warmer or colder. This shedding season can last 3 or 4 weeks and can cause a lot of irritation to both pets and their owners. For some cats and dogs, the fur loss seems never-ending! Therefore, it is important to know how to help your pet during this period.
A dog or cat's coat is amazing - it regulates your pet's body temperature and keeps their skin dry, clean and healthy.
Is shedding the same for all pets?
Shedding varies between individual breeds because every cat and dog's coat is different. Therefore, each dog or cat will need a different approach to coat care.
Some pets shed a constant amount of fur throughout the year. For example, dogs and cats with woolly or curly coats, such as Labradoodles, might shed a small amount during the year. Therefore, loose hairs should be brushed out regularly.
Dogs and cats with long coats may not physically lose all of their seasonal fur. As such, most long-haired dogs should visit the groomer to remove the old hair and release the new undercoat. Your groomer may also recommend a brush for your long-haired cat if visiting with them is too stressful. If you don't look after a long-haired coat, it will start tangling and become dirty and smelly.
Dogs and cats with smooth or short fur also shed all year, but when the seasons change they will suddenly shed a LOT. Now that it is getting colder, many dogs and cats will lose their summer coat and grow a thick winter coat. As a result, you might start to find more fluff on your floors.
What causes dog shedding?
Shedding is naturally triggered by temperature and light. When the seasons change, the animal's coat responds to the new conditions.
Dogs and cats do 'groom' their own fur to an extent. Likewise, the oils in the coat keep it clean and naturally regulated. During shedding season, wild dogs and cats would care for their fur by licking themselves.
As many dogs and cats now live indoors, that balance gets disturbed. For example, your pet may also spend a lot of time indoors by the heater during winter. Likewise, they may often be in air conditioning one moment and outside in the warmth the next. Breeding also contributes to shedding, as we have bred long-haired and wire-haired breeds.
Does brushing reduce dog shedding?
Regular brushing helps to manage shedding by removing excess fur and giving relief from itchiness. This is especially important for long-haired breeds.
For short and smooth-haired dogs and cats, it is best to be gentle with the brushing. Outside shedding season, you can brush your dog or cat less frequently.
Be sure to always use the right dog or cat brush. For dogs with a shorter coat, use a soft brush such as a rubber or bristle brush. For dogs with long, wire coats, use a comb or slicker brush.
Brushing a cat also has the benefit of reducing furballs. For long-haired cats, use a comb to detangle. Short-haired cats will usually only need a de-shedding brush or glove. Be gentle and don't press too hard, as this might hurt your pet.
How to prevent tangled fur for long-haired pets
To prevent tangling on pets with long fur, it is important to use a detangling comb regularly. Pay attention to these areas of the coat:
- Inside and around the ears
- Around the nose
- Under and around the mouth
- In the pet's armpits
- Around the paws and between the toes
- Under the tail
Does bathing my dog help them shed less fur?
Bathing can provide some relief for some long-haired dogs during shedding season. The running water and dog shampoo can loosen and release some of the dead hair. Here are some more tips on washing your dog.
You may want to wash your long-haired dog a few times during shedding season. However, remember that too much washing can disturb the natural balance of the skin and coat.
A healthy dog or cat has a healthy coat. Does your dog or cat lose a lot of hair outside of shedding season? Or do you see irritation, itching, redness or bald spots? This may be a sign of a health issue such as stress, an infection or vitamin deficiency. As such, be sure to visit your vet.
How to avoid pet hairs all over the house?
We're afraid you will be doomed to some extra vacuuming at this time of year! But fear not....a daily brush will limit the hair loss on your floors and furniture.
For more reading, here are a few tricks to get rid of the excess dog and cat hair around the house.