Just about every breed of dog sheds as a normal part of their hair growth cycle. But as the spring and summer temperature goes up, shedding increases. Before you know it, the fur is everywhere. Together we can combat your shedding dog and clean up your house with a few easy tricks. Before we get to the handy tips, just remember a dog losing fur is perfectly natural and generally nothing to worry about.
Understanding Why You have a Shedding Dog
In the spring and summer, a dog will shed their coats. The purpose of a shedding dog is to make way for a heavier winter coat. Between winter and summer, dogs will begin shedding to thin their coat in an effort to prepare for the heat. This is perfectly natural cycle all dogs experience. Thinning of the coat starting at the end of winter, and eventually rebuilding for the following winter.
How Much is Too Much fur loss for your Shedding Dog?
While most shedding is natural and healthy, excessive shedding can indicate a health problem. Skin allergies, skin parasites and even poor nutrition can cause coat problems, including too much shedding.
Start recognizing your dog’s shedding cycles and how much they shed at each time of year. Contact your veterinarian if you see the coat getting dull or notice excessive shedding.
How to Manage Your Pet’s Shedding
The best way to control shedding is regular brushing – at least once a week. This ritual should start when your pet is young, so you both get used to the routine. I make it a habit to brush my dogs coat, play with their paws, and massage their gums as a puppy. Once my puppy is accustomed to me prodding and poking, eventual hair cuts, brushing and teeth care become a breeze. If you wait, your dog will resist – as that is natural.
Brushing is especially important for those pets with double layers of fur. Dogs with this double coat include Collies, Samoyeds and Malamutes, and Keeshond terriers. They have both a coarse outer layer and a soft under-layer of fur, and both shed heavily. This type of fur mats easily and can be impossible to comb out if left too long. Other breeds that are heavy shedding breeds are Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Even though Pugs are small and have coarse hair, they shed an amazing amount of fur. Poodles shed less than some other breeds and you can get away with minimal brushing.
If you can manage, daily brushing is best for most breeds of dogs. Any breed with fur will shed. In the warmer months I personally try to brush my dogs daily. This is tedious, make no qualms about it. But it pays off in dividends when fur is not all over the house. In the winter months I stick with once a week as most dogs shed less.
You may have to experiment with different kinds of brushes and combs to find out what works best. Brushes with long bristles and combs with wide teeth can get through a thick coat, while a fine comb is all you need for short hair. For coarse coats, some dog groomers even use a horse’s shedding blade, which looks like a bent saw blade with dull teeth. This blade doesn’t hurt the dog, but grabs loose hair by the handful. You can get the blades at tack stores and even some pet stores.
For current puppy, Eevee, we use a regular dog brush. The kind the hundreds of hard teeth. This can be found at any major pet store. Most brushes have a comb like side, and a brush like side. I use the brush like side on my lab – poodle mix. The comb side is optimal for poodles, or dogs with hair. This covers dogs with matter or curly hair. The brush side struggles to get through their coat.
Cleaning up After a Shedding Pet
I love my dogs. But the fur everywhere is beyond annoying. To combat the shedding I have two optimal approaches. One, is a quality portable vacuum. I have a rechargeable Dyson I use to vacuum daily. In addition, I use a sticky paper lint roller to pick up lose hair. Amazingly, the hair will get on top of counters, cabinets, couches and shelves. Due to an active puppy that runs around, the hair goes everywhere.
This is exactly why I make an effort to brush all of my dogs once a day. No matter the breed, an ounce of prevention is absolutely worth a pound of cure. By brushing the hair is picked up and saves at least an equal amount of time cleaning.
To remove hair from your brush, you start at the base of the bristles and pull hair up towards the ends. The hair should all stick together and come off easily in a group. For a comb, you may need to stick a toothpick between the comb to pull out the hair. I would gladly clean the brush ten times in a day over vacuuming my entire house every hour. It is a fair trade off.