We love our dogs. No amount of hair they spread all over every corner, nook, cranny and crevice of our homes will change that. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we would all appreciate some relief from the scourge of all-consuming fur that covers our clothes, furniture and carpeting. After all, that gorgeous new black suit or dress that looked so good in the store probably won’t have the same impact once it is covered in a layer of Fido’s fur. And we all have that friend from whom we have become distant due to their allergy to our dogs’ hair.
So what is to be done? In this post we will talk about what contributes to shedding, and how we can combat this annoyance to the best of our abilities.
First, let’s make one thing clear. All dogs shed. There is no such thing as a completely non shedding dog, except for those which do not have any hair to begin with. So don’t think this is a problem unique to your dog. Even you, yes you, shed hair here and there.
Why do dogs shed?
However, some dogs shed more than others. Poodles, terriers and other dogs with curly hair are examples of dogs which shed at a below average rate. Now if you think you are going to save yourself some effort from the get-go and pick up one of these low shedding breeds, slow down. Due to the fact that their hair does not fall out as much, these dogs require more hair care and maintenance. Otherwise they become a giant miserable ball of matted fur. So consider the trade-off carefully, taking into account the knowledge that if the breed you choose sheds little, you are probably going to end up removing its hair manually.
If you think your dog might be shedding more than normal, there are some questions you can ask yourself (and your vet) to determine what, if anything, may be the culprit.
First, what time of the year is it? Lots of dogs shed seasonally. This happens when a dog builds up a winter coat to manage colder weather and then sheds it in the spring when things start to warm up. However, for those dogs which typically stay indoors, it is unlikely that they will be outside long enough to develop a winter coat, so if yours is an indoor dog which is suddenly shedding heavily, you may want to rule that out.
There are a number of medical conditions which contribute to an increase in shedding. If your dog recently spent a lot of time in the sun, the shedding could be a symptom of sunburn. Yes, sunburns aren’t just for people, dogs can get them too. Your dog may also be allergic to something newly introduced to its environment. Even pregnancy can cause shedding. If your dog is shedding in a major and unexplained way, you may want to take him/her to a vet to consider these, or some other medical explanation.
How to Control Dog Shedding
For those of you who have chosen or will choose a breed which sheds a considerable amount, there is plenty you can do to counteract the annoyances of dog hair. As you might imagine, this starts with a plan for grooming and bathing your pet. Dry or itchy skin can contribute to shedding. If your dog suffers from this, an oatmeal shampoo can go a long way to providing some relief.
Brushing your dog’s hair might be the single most effective means of minimizing the spread of fur around your house. This will put the loose fur on your brush rather than all over your couch. Length, texture and thickness of fur can vary depending on the dog so initially equipping yourself with the proper brushing materials becomes of paramount importance in this endeavor. Be sure to pick the right size tool to deshed your dog.
When deshedding, be sure to make your dog as comfortable as possible. Some dogs require brushing almost daily, so it will be much easier on you if your dog is relaxed and docile during the brushing process, rather than uncomfortable and agitated. In order to ensure this, do not press the teeth of the brush too hard into your dog’s skin as this can be quite painful for the dog. You will also want to try and untangle as much of your dog’s fur as possible before deshedding so that your brush does not get caught in the fur, creating discomfort. You may also want to pet your dog, as a means of relaxing him/her during the deshedding process. All of these things go a long way towards making sure you and your dog have a good grooming experience.
If all of this fails, there are some things you can do to keep your home relatively dog hair free. A lint roller is a fantastic weapon against dog hair. Just roll one of them over your clothes and furniture and they’ll be good as new. You may also want to spread baking soda over your carpet before vacuuming. This can help to loosen the pet hairs from the carpet so they can make an efficient journey from there into your vacuum bag.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of all things dog shedding, you shouldn’t have any trouble handling this problem and getting back to what you do best, loving your dog.