Cleaning up all that dog hair can seem like a losing battle at times, but understanding shedding patterns can help you better manage this common household struggle. Here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to dog shedding:
#1: Expect Your Puppy to Get a New Coat
Puppies are born with a coat of soft, fluffy fur that eventually sheds and a thicker, stiffer adult coat grows in. You can typically expect this to occur when your puppy is four to six months old, but the age range can vary depending on the breed. Sometimes the colors and markings on your puppy’s new coat will even change.
#2: Know That All Dogs Shed
Shedding is natural and helps our pets transition to their winter or summer coats. Unless your dog or cat is a hairless breed, they are going to shed. However, some breeds shed minimally while others shed a lot—for example, think Poodles versus Siberian Huskies.
#3: Understand Seasonal Shedding
Historically, dogs grew a heavy winter coat in the fall and a light summer coat in the spring, making spring and fall high-shedding seasons. However, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Now that pets mainly live indoors with us, many no longer require seasonal shedding and instead shed gradually all year long.
#4: Help Minimize Shedding
Although you can’t stop your pet from shedding, you can reduce the amount of loose hair in your home. The most important step is to brush
your dog regularly. This not only captures loose, dead hair but also distributes natural oils throughout the coat, making it softer, sleeker, and more likely to stay put. Also choose a diet that best supports your dog’s nutritional needs, and always give him access to plenty of fresh water—poor nutrition and dehydration can cause him to shed too much healthy hair.
#5: Know When to Seek Veterinary Care
If you notice that your dog is shedding excessively, consult your veterinarian. Unusual shedding patterns, such as hair loss in patches, symmetrical hair loss on certain parts of the body, hair loss accompanied by another skin problem, etc., may indicate a more serious issue. Dogs who suffer from allergies or stress may also shed excessively and benefit from a vet visit to target and treat the cause of their health issues.