Getting a dog means hair, lots and lots of loose hair, and as much as we love our pooch, seeing our furniture covered in fur can definitely be frustrating. But while you can’t stop our pets from shedding, you can control how much it messes up our home allowing you to regain some much-needed relief.
Why Dogs Shed
Shedding is a natural process for all dogs and occurs due to a variety of internal and external factors. Of course, the degree of shedding differs from each breed but generally speaking, you can expect more loose fur from dogs with thick, heavy coats.
Seasonal Shedding - Most dogs shed on the onset of spring and fall in order to adapt to the temperature change that happens. When the weather starts to become warmer, dogs generally trade their winter undercoats for something lighter and vice versa.
Year-Round Shedding - In places where seasonal changes aren’t as drastic, dogs tend to shed their coats on a regular basis. While the amount of hair lost during shedding isn’t as substantial, it can prove frustrating due to its frequency.
Health-Related Shedding - Outside of their normal shedding cycles, dogs can also lose their fur due to health factors such as skin problems and nutritional deficiencies. If your dog suddenly experiences excessive shedding, make sure to check with your vet to determine the cause.
How To Control Shedding
While it’s impossible to stop our dogs from shedding entirely, we can reduce the amount of hair that they leave around the house.
Your Dog’s Diet - As stated earlier, one cause for excessive shedding is a poor diet that generally fails to supply the nutrients required for healthy skin and hair. Thus, switching to a well-balanced and healthy diet that is rich in protein and essential fatty acids can greatly less your dog's shedding.
Another approach to shedding caused by nutrient deficiency is to add supplements to your dog’s diet so they can achieve their daily nutritional requirements and keep their natural fur loss at an acceptable level.
Regular Grooming - Of course, you don’t have to worry about loose fur if you take care of them before they fall off from your dog. This is why regular grooming is the most effective way to manage shedding, especially for dogs with a thick coat.
While brushing on a daily basis is the optimal way to control excessive shedding, most of us don’t have the time for that so most vets recommended brushing at least once or twice a week depending on your dog’s coat to minimize the mess your shedding dog makes.
Tools And Techniques For Effective Grooming
Because grooming is the primary way of managing your dog’s shedding, you should have an idea of how to do it not only properly but also efficiently.
Coats differ from breed to breed which means choosing the right grooming tools can make a big difference in the number of grooming sessions they need as well as the time you spend in each one. So before grabbing the nearest brush or comb, make sure you have intimate knowledge of your dog’s coat.
Short Coats - For short hair dogs, a natural-bristle brush or grooming glove is enough to take care of their grooming needs.
Without a thick undercoat filled with thin, soft hairs, grooming for these types of dogs can be done by simply brushing to the opposite direction of their hair growth to loosen their fur. After this, you can then stroke towards their hair growth to remove the loose strands.
Not only does this make grooming more efficient but it also helps distribute the natural oils that keep your dog’s coat clean and shiny. Repeat this process all over your dog until there is little to no loose fur left.
Long Coats With Thin Undercoat - This category includes breeds with long, silky hair that are also continuously growing - think Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers. For these dogs, you are more concerned about keeping their coats clean and lustrous and than the amount of shedding.
For this, both a slick brush and a dense bristle brush are needed with the former removing loose hair while the latter taking off dust and debris. A slick brush with rounded tips also massages the skin, helping improve blood flow and keep your dog’s coat healthy.
Long Coats With Downy Undercoat - This is perhaps the most time-consuming as double-coated dogs are not only the most frequent shedders but they are also the ones whose hairs are the hardest to remove. To tackle these masses of fur, you need a strong metal comb and a slick brush both of which can reach deep under the outer coat.
The strong metal comb loosens the fur of the undercoat, some of which come off with the combing itself. To truly finish the job, however, the slick brush is needed as it allows for more thorough cleaning of the coat.
Cleaning Up After Your Dog
Of course, even if you groom your dog regularly, some of their fur will still make its way onto your rugs and furniture. With that in mind, you should always follow up a bit of cleaning, especially during and after the shedding season.
Tools that might help in this regard are a lint remover and a handheld vacuum. The former lets you remove fur that adheres to your clothes, carpets, and upholstery while the latter makes it easier to pick up loose hair from hard-to-reach areas of your home.