Is Your Dog "Blowing Coat"? Here's How to Manage Their Shedding Season
While many dogs will shed their coats year-round, some breeds will shed seasonally—especially if they are a double-coated dog. When a dog has a double coat, it means he has an undercoat that is typically shorter than his outer coat, and his hair has a dense, woolly texture. "Most dogs shed, but there are some breeds that shed excessively," explains Laura Pletz, DVM and scientific services manager at Royal Canin. "The Siberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Corgi, German Shepherd, Pekingese, and Great Pyrenees are a few that fall into this category." In these breeds, you will see a change in your dog's coat twice—in the spring and in the fall. In the spring, your dog's coat will become lighter, in preparation for the warm weather; similarly, in the fall, you will see a higher incidence of shedding in preparation for the cold weather.
It's important to brush and groom your dog regularly, especially during their shedding seasons. Here's how to keep Fido looking his best and your house looking well-kept and clean.
Grooming Your Dog's Coat
No matter if you live with a single-coated dog or double-coated dog, Dr. Pletz recommends that owners maintain their regular grooming regimen for their dogs. Brushing removes loose hair, and helps to keep the coat healthy and shiny. She recommends that owners brush their dogs' coat weekly at minimum; however, "this may be needed more frequently during periods of heavy shedding," she adds.
You can find brushes that are tailored for coat type, like long hair or double coat. These brushes gently separate the fur and remove loose strands without pulling. For a top-rated pick, the FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool (from $28, amazon.com) comes in several sizes. Your veterinarian may also have recommendations for the types of brushes you can use on your dog to manage shedding, and prevent matting and tangling.
What else can owners do for shedding? "Feeding a highly digestible diet that is tailored for the specific coat needs is also helpful," Dr. Pletz says. The nutrients in the dog food contributes to the health of the dog's coat, which can reduce shedding. Royal Canin offers several choices based on the length and thickness of the dog's coat or on the size of the dog. Tailored nutrition delivers what your dogs need most, so speak to your vet about which options would be best for your pup.
Cleaning the House
In addition to the care that you give to your dog during shedding season, you have options to manage the fur that does end up around the house. Invest in a long-handled lint roller ($19.97, amazon.com) that can be used to clean up hair on carpeting, furniture, and clothing every day. Regular vacuuming is also important, even if you opt for a small handheld vacuum like the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum ($69.99, amazon.com), which is designed for pet-friendly households.
Carpet also tends to collect dust mites and fur much faster than hardwood floors, so you may want to consider removing the carpet for hardwood floors instead. A throw rug that can be easily tossed into the washing machine removes dust and hair, reducing allergens in the home. But if you want to keep carpet, make sure to have seasonal shampooing and cleaning that removes deep-seated dirt and hair within the fibers, and keeps the carpet fresh and beautiful.