Shed Happens

March 30, 2019

Let’s Shed Some Light On Pet Shedding

If you share your home with dogs or cats you are all too familiar with finding your pets' hair in every nook and cranny of your house. It can often seem like an uphill battle when dealing with all that loose hair and as the owner of a husky, let me tell you that I appreciate the struggle! I go through more lint roller sheets than I care to admit, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally pull a rogue dog hair out of my coffee cup. Oh, the unspoken woes, err, joys of pet ownership! So let’s talk about what causes it, how to reduce it, and some common myths surrounding it.

Myth: Not All Dog Breeds Shed

I know some breeders out there who love to tell people that the puppy they are purchasing is non-shedding. How wonderful it would be if this were true. I promise you, it is a bold faced lie. While some breeds do indeed shed more than others, they still all shed. Dog hair, like human hair, grows continuously until it reaches the end of its life cycle at which point it gets weak and breaks off. So if shedding is a concern for you, you may want to look into breeds that are known to shed less. Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire terriers, and the Bichon Frise are breeds that tend to be light shedders. Frequent brushings can also help control shedding because it allows you to remove the dead hair on your terms and not wait for it to fall all over your home.

Myth: Some Dogs Only Shed Twice a Year

It’s true that double coated breeds like Siberian Huskies, Great Pyrenees, and Alaskan Malamutes often “blow coat” twice a year. This is when you see large clumps of hair falling out instead of loose, individual strands. However, the dog will still shed naturally year round. There’s no avoiding it. A groomer is your best friend during these times! Save yourself the headache and have them professionally groomed when they’re blowing coat. Your back and arms will thank you when you don’t have to spend hours trying to remove that undercoat yourself!

What Causes Shedding?

So we discussed in the previous paragraph that hair has a natural life cycle, and at the end of the life cycle it dies and breaks off. There are other factors, however, that also contribute to shedding.

Seasonal shifts may play a role in the amount your dog is shedding. If you live in an area with extreme seasons, you may notice that your dog sheds a lot more in the spring time. As the temperature warms up in the spring time your dog may start to naturally lose more hair than usual. This is especially true in double coated dogs like huskies. Taking your dog to a groomer during this heavy shedding can help speed the process along. Groomers use high velocity force dryers that are able to blow a lot of the undercoat out.

Stress can be another trigger of excessive shedding. Just how we tend to lose more hair when we’re stressed, the same goes for our furry friends. If there’s been a change in routine such as moving or adding a new addition to the family (whether it’s a new pet or a new baby) you may find that your dog sheds more than usual.

There may also be health reasons your dog is shedding more than usual. Parasites such as fleas or mites can cause excessive hair loss as well as fungal infections like ringworm. Your dog may also experience an allergic reaction to a household cleaner, an ingredient in their food, or a medication they are taking that can induce heavy shedding. If you notice a significant change in hair loss in your pet you should contact your vet to rule out any potential medical conditions.

How To Reduce Shedding

The biggest role you can play in reducing and controlling shedding is routine coat maintenance. Brushing your dog daily and removing the hair yourself will help reduce the amount of hair your dog so lovingly scatters around the house. Taking your dog to the groomer on a regular schedule will also make a huge difference. On top of the high velocity force dryers mentioned earlier, groomers also have special tools that help rake out undercoat and remove dead hair better than a lot of the brushes pet owners tend to have on hand. Groomers can also alert you to abnormalities in the skin that may require a vet visit to be properly treated.

Shed Happens

Bottom line, shedding is a natural and healthy process. Shedding the dead hair allows new, healthy hair to grow. You can’t stop it, but you can take steps to contain it. While it may be a bit of a hassle lint rolling those black pants for a third time before leaving the house, the unconditional love of a dog makes it more than worth it.

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