why dogs shed and what to do about it
As pet parents know, a home with a dog is a home full of fur. It’s on every carpet or rug, in every corner, all over your clothes and maybe even in your morning coffee. While a house full of fur is a fair exchange for the loyalty and unconditional love provided by our favorite canine companions, dog shedding can become overwhelming if left unchecked. Here’s all you need to know about shedding, how to keep that fur tamed, and how to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Dogs shed for an important reason: to get rid of old, dead fur to make room for new growth, according to Vetstreet.com. This happens year-round, but some breeds shed heavily twice a year in what’s called “blowing their coat.” This typically occurs in the spring, when many dogs shed their winter coat to make way for a lighter summer coat, and again in the fall when dogs get rid of that lighter coat in favor of warmer, denser fur. And dogs that are mostly indoor dogs tend to shed more evenly throughout the year as their coat density tends to be more uniform.
Before you blame the furry tumbleweeds in your house solely on your dog, know this: Humans shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day. And we shed hair for the same reason—to get rid of old hair and make way for the new.
Not All Breeds Shed the Same
There are some dog breeds that shed more than others. Shedding is most apparent in double-coated breeds. They have a long protective overcoat as well as an insulating undercoat.
According a poll of veterinarians by Vetstreet.com, the breeds that shed the most include Saint Bernards, Great Pyrenees, Chow Chows, Akitas, Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Alaskan Malamutes and Alaskan Huskies.
Shedding and Medical Issues
According to the Animal Medical Center, most shedding is normal, but excessive shedding can be cause for concern. If your dog sheds quickly or excessively, visit your veterinarian. One common reason for excessive shedding is fleas, many times leaving bare skin behind. Dogs who are allergic to flea bites scratch, which causes fur to fall out quickly and in large quantities. Excessive scratching can lead to skin infections, which can also cause fur loss. This is why it’s especially important to prioritize flea prevention.
Other issues may include thyroid disorders, diabetes, allergies, cancer or more. Sometimes excessive shedding can be due to a nutritional deficiency, so making sure your dog eats a high-quality diet is key to overall well being, including skin and coat health. Regular checkups with your veterinarian help you detect any issues you may need to address.
Tips to Help Reduce or Control Shedding
The good news is that while most dogs shed, there are ways to keep the shedding under control. The key is to stay on top of it. Here are some ways to keep the fur from flying.
Brush your dog regularly
Brushing is a great way to keep pet fur under control and your dog happy and comfortable; it loosens the undercoat and removes excess fur. (Plus it’s a bonding experience for you and your dog.) Brushing is also healthy for the live fur and the dog’s skin, because it increases circulation and distributes oils throughout the coat and skin. Additionally, brushing benefits your dog because you can remove any uncomfortable knots and matted areas as well as look out for any injuries or ticks. There are wonderful products such as the FURminator to make grooming time as productive and enjoyable as possible.
Bathe your dog
You can bathe your dog at home and/or incorporate professional grooming sessions to keep your pet’s fur under control. This can include a bath, brushing, blow dry or a haircut. Just like a shower can make us feel better, freshly groomed skin and fur that’s free of tangles, dirt, and pests can help your dog feel more comfortable. Most dogs should be bathed at least once every three months, while others should be bathed more often depending on their breed or if they spend a lot of time outside or have certain skin conditions.
Feed your dog high-quality food
While shedding is normal no matter what your dog eats, a high-quality diet helps keep coats healthy; a low-quality diet can increase shedding.
Keep your home clean
No matter how diligent a pet parent may be about keeping shedding under control, pet fur is just a fact of life. Here are some ways to control the fur in your home.
Remove pet fur from upholstery and bedding
Remove fur as soon as possible; it builds up very quickly. Lint brushes or rollers are great tools. In a pinch, you can pick up fur by rubbing a damp sponge across a surface.
Consider leather furniture instead of upholstery
Leather repels fur, making hair easier to vacuum up.
Cover furniture and car seats with removable, washable covers
With regular washing, seat covers help keep your home and car clean and (mostly) fur-free.
Wash bedding frequently
You should wash your pet’s bedding at least once a week to keep fur at bay; it also cuts down on dirt, bacteria, allergens and pests in your home.
Take note: When washing pet bedding or covers, it may take a little extra work to get the pet fur out. First remove all visible pet fur with a lint brush or roller. Then, put the items in the dryer on tumble dry/no heat for about 10 minutes. This loosens the material’s fibers to release hidden fur. Remove the items and shake them out. Then, run through your normal wash cycle.
Invest in a good vacuum that can handle pet fur. Many brands have a special model that is designed to deal with heavy pet fur.
Be sure to clean out your vacuum often to keep it in tiptop shape. Make sure to empty canisters and check the wheels and brushes to remove fur that’s been wound around. And remember, dog fur tends to congregate anywhere and everywhere. In fact, fur often ends up in places we don’t even think about.
Stay on top of dog fur with frequent grooming, brushing and cleaning to cut down on the tufts of fur that can collect in every corner of your home. And look at it this way: A house full of fur means you’re lucky enough to live with a dog.
Let’s call in the professionals. Set up a grooming appointment today.
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written by : Caroline Golon