If you’re noticing a lot more pet hair clinging to your clothes or tufting around the corners of your rooms like furry tumbleweeds, fear not, it’s just a sign of the season! Hand in hand with the cheerful flowers and warmer temperatures of spring comes the unwelcome accompaniment of increased shedding. Shedding is one of the biggest complaints of pet owners, and alas, this time of year the problem only gets worse.
While some breeds (e.g.,wire-haired dogs like terriers and schnauzers or curly-haired dogs like poodles, Bichon Frises, and poodle mixes) do shed less than others, only the hairless breeds like the American Hairless Terrier and the Chinese Crested don’t shed at all.
Short-haired dogs like labradors and pugs actually shed the most often and most continuously! Long-haired dogs with an undercoat, like a Siberian husky or Alaskan malamute usually shed once a year in the springtime (and sometimes also in the autumn) by “blowing” their coat with nature’s anticipation of the changing temperatures, which means that their fur will come out in huge chunks.
The good news is that there are several things that you can do to keep the unwanted hair at bay regardless of the way your particular dog sheds. Read on to find out how:
The best option for those of us that don’t enjoy going out covered in an extra layer – of our pets’ hair – is regular grooming. In general, if you brush your dog regularly (which can mean anything from twice a week to every day, depending on the kind of coat your dog has and how much s/he sheds) you’ll notice much less shedding, and will also see the added benefit of a shinier coat and less matting. Brushing spreads the natural oils throughout the coat, removes dead hair that can cause mats, and makes the coat silky.
There are a perplexingly large variety of brush types available, each with special characteristics and attributes that may be more appropriate for one breed and coat-type over another. It’s up to you and perhaps some trial-and-error or the advice of your groomer or vet to find the best brush for your dog’s coat, but this article provides some good guidance on how to choose a brush.
One mistake that some people make is to bathe their dog too frequently, particularly when they notice an increase in shedding. Yes, you’ll get a lot of dead hair out of the coat with a bath but you run the risk of drying out the skin if you shampoo too frequently, and/or use shampoos with harsh ingredients like sulfates, and petroleum-based parabens. That can lead to an increase in dry, flaky skin, uncomfortable itching and a dull coat.
All of earthbath shampoos contain renewable gentle coconut-based cleansers, and never contain parabens, stripping phosphates, harsh pthalates, DEA, or the synthetic dyes or perfumes that can cause irritation. Our shine-enhancing crème rinse and conditioner contains colloidal oatmeal which helps to remoisturize and soothe skin, while bringing out the coat’s natural luster and brilliance. This also won’t wash away topical flea control applications. Shampooing approximately every 6-8 weeks is a good schedule for most dogs. In addition, conditioning is critical in order to detangle and moisturize.
To ensure that your pup isn’t getting too many water-based baths, earthbath also offers waterless grooming foams that ensure easy and irritation-free grooming. Gentle sucrose-based cleansers whisk away dander, dirt, dead hair, and residual saliva, helping control shedding between baths.
An oft neglected but important point is the familiarity with the health of your dog that comes from regular grooming. If you’re regularly grooming your pet, you can become familiar with your dog’s skin and notice if there are any irregularities such as sores, bumps, sensitive spots, or ticks and fleas, which can be treated before they become more dangerous health hazards. Coats that are neglected become matted, which are very difficult and painful (to the pet) to brush out, and can hide skin irritations and sores.
If the flying fur is becoming overwhelming, consider a trip to the doggy salon. The professional bathing which also includes a shampoo massage and conditioning followed by drying equipment loosens a lot of hair, which then gets left behind – on the grooming table – not on your furniture (or in your bathtub)!
Now that warmer weather is around the corner, it’s also the time to start a prevention program to protect your pet against fleas and ticks. Consult with your vet on finding the best product for your pet.
All of us pet owners are familiar with the sacrifices that come with the privilege of allowing a dog or cat (or a few) to share our lives. We are all too happy to get up early and brave the elements for a walk, or suffer the occasional “accident” that needs to be cleaned up. I think we’d all agree: liberal use of the lint roller and vacuum are a small price to pay for the unconditional love and daily rewards our animal companions offer us.
Image credit: Sasha Gulish Photography