My dog is shedding, what should I do?

April 13, 2012

Not many dog owners know about the Anagen, Catagen, Telogen and Exogen stages of shedding. But for sure dog owners would know that the pet sheds. The fur that protects the dog’s skin from injuries and serves as insulation against hot and cold weather becomes the concern of dog owners when they are shed by the pet. Dogs are wonderful pets but a lot of dog owners hate the fur that covers every surface of the home. This shedding is one of the reasons why a dog lover is prevented from getting a dog for a pet. Don’t believe a breeder that says the puppy is a non-shedding breed. Except for the totally hairless dogs, all breeds of dogs go through the process of shedding. Some breeds shed lightly. Other dogs would lose hair heavily so that the pile of shedding would appear to be another dog.

Shedding is a natural process that allows old hair to be replaced with new growth. Unlike human hair that grows longer, a dog’s hair would only grow to a set length. The hair would then fall off to be replaced with a new one. Another reason for the shedding is to prepare the dog’s coat for the change in temperature. Dogs breeds like the northern dogs would blow the coat profusely twice a year. The old coat will be discarded in spring time to be replaced with a less dense coat that will be more suited to the hot summer months. This summer coat will again be shed in the fall to be replaced with the thicker fur that will enable the dog to weather the extremely cold temperature of winter. Seasonal shedding is less common in dogs kept in temperature controlled homes. For these pets, shedding will occur all year round. Due to the artificial climate inside the home, the dog’s natural body “thermostat” will be thrown off balance thus the profuse seasonal shedding will be replaced with continuous light shedding.

It is understandable if dog owners would be annoyed if dog hair covers the furniture, clings to clothes and even get into foods. The dog owner is also faced with the constant need to replace broken vacuum cleaners. Are you faced with the same dilemma? What would you do if the non shedding dog that you got from a fast talking breeder is in fact a heavy shedding breed? Shedding or not, the owner would not abandon a dog he/she has grown to love. Dog shedding, unlike an unwanted behavior that can be modified with training, cannot be eliminated. The best thing a dog owner can do is to find ways to reduce the amount of dog hair inside the house. Regular grooming outside the house is one good way of keeping the home dog hair-free. Every other day brushing (or every day brushing if it can be managed) would remove dead hair before it falls on the floor or on the furniture. This grooming routine would maintain the attractive appearance of the coat as formation of unsightly mats can be prevented. Moreover, the grooming session would be ideal bonding moments between owner and pet. For seasonal shedders, expect to see profuse shedding for a whole month. Bathing the dog about once a week will speed up the shedding process. You can never minimize the amount of hair that would be shed by the dog but you can certainly make sure that the shedding would be confined in one part of the house. Use baby gates to confine the dog in a designated area while it is shedding heavily. And don’t forget to use the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners would be you magic wand that will considerably reduce the amount of dog hair inside your home.

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