Most pet owners have spent hours sweeping, vacuuming and dusting dog hair from floors, clothing and furniture. The experienced ones know that they cannot stop shedding and that it is a normal, if not annoying, part of owing a dog. Dog shedding is known as ‘blowing the coat’ and most long and medium haired breeds with double coats, blow their coat twice annually. And it does not even matter what breed you have; barring the hairless breeds, all dog breeds shed. So today we will discuss some dog shedding remedies and ways to cope with dog shedding season.
Expect shedding season
Most dog breeds shed around spring and fall; shedding is usually in response to the changes in light than that to changes in temperature. Of course, most dogs are indoors these days and they shed all year round more or less since the light indoors remains constant. Obviously, one cannot do much about shedding but daily grooming can reduce the dog hair that lands up on your belongings. If you are planning to get a dog, below is a list of dog breeds categorized according to heavy, medium and low shedding.
Heavy duty shedders
All double coated, long haired breeds shed a lot. Australian Shepherds are heavy shedders. They blow their coat twice a year and if you do not keep up with brushing, your house will be filled with Aussie Shepherd hair. Some double coated dogs with short fuzzy undercoats can still leave a trail of dust bunnies in the house. Labrador retrievers are some other notorious shedders. They only have a misled impression that they are easy to maintain. In reality; labrador shedding is tremendous and it even lasts for months. Sometimes, it even goes on for an entire year. Other heavy shedders are Dalmatians, German Shepherds, Collies, and Pomeranians.
Setter type dogs shed minimally. However, you must still brush them twice a week to prevent tangles.
Low shedding coats still need regular grooming and haircuts. Dogs with low shedding coats are terriers, poodles and Bichon frisse. These dogs still need regular brushing and grooming. Poodles especially need clipping and trimming to prevent mats in their tight curls.
No matter how much they shed, all dogs need to be brushed regularly. Belgian Malinois and Australian shepherds do well with daily brushing to keep their shed hair to minimum. Brushing removes surplus hair before it hits the carpet. Get your pet used to daily brushing from an early age. This will help him get used to it and also help with pet-human bonding.
Tools to invest in
Different breeds have different coats so you need to brush and comb your pet with the right combs. It helps if you can invest in 2-3 different types of combs and brushes. A combined approach of brushing followed by combing will remove tremendous amount of loose hairs. Here are some tools to invest in to help you keep up with shedding dog.
Wide toothed comb
This helps remove excess loose hair, especially for long haired dogs.
Soft bristle brush with pin cushion side
Use the pin cushion brush side for short haired or wiry haired breeds.
Slicker brush/metal combs
Slicker brushes or metallic combs are useful for many breeds. They catch loose hair, dander and even parasites.
This removes loose hair after brushing. You can use the shedding glove for most coat types. One can also use regular gloves for removing loose hairs on short haired dogs like pugs and Labradors.
Grooming rakes are good for removing loose undercoats of long haired breeds. Never use a rake on a dog that hasn’t been groomed before. Doing so will hurt him especially if he has serious tangles.
How to keep up with a shedding dog
Schedule bath times
Bathing your pet can prevent loose hairs during shedding season. Use a mild shampoo and warm water. The wet coat helps you trap loose hairs which would otherwise end up on your furniture and clothes. Clumps of wet hair are easier to pick up and dispose off. You can also trim the mats and tangles or gently detangle the hair during bath. So schedule regular bath times during shedding season.
Use gentle strokes
Dog’s coat is thicker than human hair. But when it comes to human hair, we use longer strokes. These won’t work on your shedding dog. Use firm, deep, short and gentle strokes and make sure the brush goes all the way down to the skin. Start from the head and brush down towards the tail. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Once you have finished brushing, give one final brush against the direction of hair growth to remove all loose hair.
Use a vacuum cleaner
Yes-You read that right! For excessive shedding, run a gentle vacuum over your dog. Most dogs love it especially the low-noise, power vacuums. These remove loose hair and can save you a lot of hassle during excessive dog shedding season. Many pet-friendly vacuums are available in pet shops or through mail order catalogs.
Know when shedding is excessive
As stated above, almost all dog breeds shed heavily twice a year. Bitches tend to shed more during pregnancy owing to hormonal changes. Some dogs may shed a lot one week and none the next week. Naturally, a pet parent should know the difference between normal shedding and excessive shedding. Massive amounts of hair loss can lead to bald patches on your dog. Patchy hair loss that does not grow back could be due to mange, ringworm or other skin disease. Dogs with thyroid issue or hormonal problems can also shed excessively. Do not hesitate to see your vet immediately if you suspect a problem.
Seek dog deshedding services
Professional dog groomers can help you groom a pet during shedding season. Call a groomer to ask about medicated baths and specialized grooming. A groomer can also take a look at your pet’s coat to ensure there are not parasites or skin issues causing the excess shedding.
How to reduce shedding?
Shedding is a normal process. It regulates body temperature and leads to renewed hair growth. Normal shedding should be encouraged as it keeps the dog’s coat in mint condition. If the shedding is excessive, see your vet. You can bathe your pet with special shampoo and try changing his diet to include food with Omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and protein. Your vet can suggest a good brand of dog food. You could also change the food to prevent allergies which could be responsible for hair loss and shedding. A good fish oil supplement can also improve your dog’s coat health and prevent excess shedding in labs and other heavy and moderate shedders.