There are different pets that shed, (e.g. cats, dogs, etc.) but as the popular saying goes, “A dog is man’s best friend” so, let’s focus more on dogs. Shedding is a normal process for dogs and it involves losing damaged or dead furs to enable new and healthy furs to grow. There are different breeds of dogs and the amount of shedding is peculiar to the various breeds, the health of the dog, as well as the time and seasons of the year.
Although, pet shedding is natural for dogs, managing pet shedding might be a bit difficult for a pet owner, especially if the cause isn’t known as there are other factors that can cause excessive shedding. Sometimes, what we term excessive shedding is actually normal depending on the breed of the dog, especially if it’s a golden retriever shedding as they have a thicker double-coat, are known to be playful and shed all year-round.
As humans all have hair follicles, so also does a dog have hair follicles and below is the life cycle of dogs which helps in knowing how often and at what stage a dog sheds.
The Fur Life Cycle of Dogs
The fur on the dog’s body has a life cycle and this life cycle determines the shedding process of a dog.
There is the:
Anagen phase: which is when the fur grows actively
Catagen phase: which is when the fur stops growing
Telegen phase: which is when the furs are shed and replaced.
Most dogs shed at this phase and what is shed is the thick, protective undercoat.
Breeds and seasons also determine how often a dog sheds. Some breeds like Siberian Huskies, “blow their coat” two times in a year which makes them shed excessively twice yearly. The German Shepherds, on the other hand are prolific year-round shedders, whereas, Poodles shed only a little of their fur.
Dogs who stay indoors shed moderately all year whereas, dogs who stay outside all year, tend to shed profusely during Spring and Fall. During spring, the dog’s coat becomes lighter, preparing it for the warm weather while during fall, there’s a higher amount of shedding or change in the dog’s coat in preparation for winter.
However, one might need to pay close attention when big chunks of hair are lost because they might be due to: poor diets, pregnancy, fleas, allergies, sunburns, stress, lack of air, bacterial infections etc.
The next section tells of a couple of ways to prevent excessive shedding.
Prevention of Excessive Shedding
Healthy diets: Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet helps keep the furs healthy which reduces unnecessarily shedding.
Bathing: Showering your dog regularly is important and should include De-Shedding Shampoo which helps control shedding. It also helps clean and soften the pet’s hair.
Brushing: This can be done twice or thrice a week or even daily if its shedding season. The brush can be made a bit damp to achieve effective results. Daily brushing enables a tangle-free fur, controls shedding and makes the coat free from dirt.
De-Shedding tools: Apart from de-shedding shampoo, a shedding blade can also be used to give your pet a good trim or a regular visit to the pet groomer also makes it easier to remove undercoat without damaging the pet’s skin.
Finally, as concerned dog owners, we sometimes wonder how. Well, making regular visits to the Vet will help with that as you will get an overlook of the general well-being of your pet which will help identify your pet’s normal shedding and go a long way in preventing excessive shedding of the pet.