Sometimes, taking care of a dog can be a real bother, especially when your pet is going through its shedding season.
Trails of fur are left all over the house, and cleaning them up is often tedious and exhausting.
But, before you scratch your head in exasperation and lose a couple of locks of hair yourself, do you even understand how and why your dog goes through this shedding process? Why does it happen, and what can you do to stop it?
If you are asking yourself questions like these, here is where you find your answers. We will be answering six of the most common questions about dog shedding.
By the end of this article, you will finally understand what shedding is about and, hopefully, learn a few new tricks on how to deal with this typical pet problem.
Why do dogs shed?
If you are looking for ways on how to stop dog shedding, you might be disappointed to know that you can’t exactly prevent your pet’s hair from falling. Shedding is a natural process that furry animals experience in their lifetime. It is a part of the hair growth cycle, which has four phases.
The first phase is the anagen phase, or the growth phase, wherein furry animals like dogs grow new hair. The length of this phase varies depending on the animal’s genetics.
For those who shed often and in great volumes, the anagen phase is relatively short. For those who shed infrequently and in smaller quantities, the anagen phase is comparatively long.
Between the anagen phase and the catagen phase (which is the third phase of the hair growth cycle), there is the telogen phase. Basically, the telogen phase is the resting period of the cycle, during which hair growth begins to slow down.
During the catagen phase, or the regressing phase, the creation of new hair cells is signaled to stop. Meanwhile, the outer root sheath (or ORS, a stratified epithelium that acts like a sleeve) attaches itself to the hair.
The catagen phase also prepares the hair follicles for the last phase of the hair growth cycle, which is the exogen phase or the shedding phase.
After the dog sheds its coat during the exogen phase, the entire cycle of hair growth begins again. Note, however, that not every strand of hair goes through these phases at the same time. If they do, your dog will be bald for a certain period of time.
Why is my dog shedding so much?
Excessive shedding isn’t automatically a problem. Some breeds of dogs naturally shed excessively. In fact, here are ten dog breeds that are natural shedders:
Though the name of this breed is American Eskimo, it does not really originate from America. It actually came from the northern parts of Europe. It is closely related to the German Spitz, a breed of dog originating from Central Europe. Anyway, the American Eskimo is a small breed not taller than 30 to 46 centimeters. However, despite its small size, its hair sheds frequently and in great volumes.
The Corgi is another small breed of dog. It only measures up to 25 to 30 centimeters, but it does shed a lot of hair during its shedding season. Like most of the dogs in this list, it came from a cold part of the world. It is originally from Wales, England, and it used to be trained as a herding dog.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Corgi’s cousin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, also sheds heavily throughout the year. This breed has developed a thick coat of fur to keep it warm in England’s cold and wet weather.
The Great Pyrenees comes from the mountainous regions of Spain and France. With the cold weather in these regions, the breed adapted by developing long and thick coats of fur.
The Akita is a breed of dog that originated from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Because this breed is historically accustomed to the extreme cold winters of this region, it has developed an excessive shedding cycle. The double layer of hair protects this breed from the freezing temperatures, but it also sheds constantly when the weather gets warm.
Just like the Akita, the Alaskan Malamute comes from a cold part of the word, the icy regions of Alaska. Its double coats also act as a barrier to the cold temperature of these regions. However, during the warmer months of the year, the Alaskan Malamute sheds tons of hair to keep its body in normal temperature.
Despite having a short coat that keeps it warm and dry, the Labrador Retriever can shed a lot of hair. In fact, the common complaint of Labrador Retriever owners is its constant and often inconvenient shedding.
Of all the dogs in this list, the Chow Chow has the thickest hair. This dog breed comes from China, which is no stranger from extreme winter weather. Because of its thick coat, the Chow Chow loses a lot of hair during its shedding season.
Siberia is considered the coldest inhabited town in the entire world. It’s no secret why the Siberian Husky has developed a kind of coat that protects it from the extreme temperature. Throughout the year, this breed sheds heavily and consistently. Some owners even keep their Siberian Huskies inside cold air-conditioned rooms to lessen the amount of shedding.
The German Shepherd is a popular breed of dog. It is a huge breed that has a short to medium-length coat. But how much do German Shepherds shed really?
Well, its shedding season only happens about twice annually. However, you will still find a lot of hair falling from of its body throughout the year, in-between shedding.
If your dog is not one of these natural shedders, then its excessive shedding can be attributed to stress, parasites, allergies, sunburn, poor nutrition, cancer, or other health-related problems.
You might need to bring your pet to the vet to make sure that it does not have any serious medical conditions.
When Is the Dog Shedding Season?
Certain breeds shed their hair throughout the year, but when do dogs shed the most?
While the dog shedding season varies among different breeds, there are certain times of the year when most breeds shed their coats at the same time. These shedding seasons for dogs are usually during spring and fall.
During spring, dogs normally shed the coat that they have grown during winter. This prepares them for the upcoming warmer months of summer. It helps them to maintain their normal body temperatures. It also prevents them from experiencing heat stroke.
But why do dogs shed in the fall?
Winter is coming, yet clumps of hair can be found all around the house during this season. Well, “blowing”, or shedding of older coats, happen in the fall so that new hair can grow. (Again, refer to the hair growth cycle of dogs.)
Dogs lose hair in clumps because their bodies are trying to remove any older undercoat that prevents the new hair to grow naturally.
How to Stop a Dog from Shedding?
As mentioned earlier, you cannot stop a dog from shedding. Shedding is a part of the hair growth cycle that every single dog naturally goes through. It is a dog’s way of adapting to changing temperatures in different seasons. Hence, your pet’s coat might be thicker in some months and thinner in others.
How to Control or Reduce Dog Shedding?
While preventing dog shedding is not an option, there are ways on how to reduce dog shedding.
One, you can regularly brush your dog’s hair. When you brush your pet’s coat, you remove hair that will otherwise fall all around your home.
You can also give your dog pet food from expert manufacturers. These quality brands include the right amounts of nutrients in their products to ensure your pet’s overall health and well-being.
You can also check for parasites that might be causing the shedding. Normally, your vet will prescribe a kind of medicine that you need to apply to kill these parasites and effectively remove them from your dog’s body.
How to Get Rid of Dog Hair Everywhere?
If you have a shedding problem with your pet that causes them to leave clumps of hair all over the house, there are two things that you can do.
The first thing is to, again, brush your dog’s hair regularly. You can bring them out in the backyard and comb through their coat to remove shedding hair. By doing this, you relocate the mess from inside to outside your house.
In other words, you don’t have to clean as much as you probably would. You can also lay a blanket inside the house if you don’t have a backyard where you can brush your pet’s shedding hair. The fallout will pile on the blanket, which makes cleanup a lot easier.
Your other option is to invest in quality vacuum cleaners. There are several brands that have models specifically designed for pet hair cleanup. There are also other brands that come with special attachments for pet hair.
When choosing a vacuum cleaner, you might want to invest in a unit that can be used for different surfaces. Since pets normally roam around the house and leave their fur on carpets, hardwood floors, tiles and furniture, you need a vacuum cleaner that can clean all of this up.