All About Shedding

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Shedding is natural; “non-shedding” is a misconception

Shedding hair and skin is natural and all dogs shed to some extent; non-shedding is a misconception. A dog’s fur helps control his body temperature and protects his skin against the sun and other environmental elements. When a dog’s hair stops growing, he will naturally lose it by shedding. The amount and frequency will depend on several things, including the dog’s health condition, breed and sometimes the season and environment. With most dogs now living indoors as pets versus working and living outside, shedding tends to happen year round.

HowThe shedding cycle is directly related to the hair growth cycle. During the shedding phase of the hair growth cycle, hair sheds from the hair follicle. As the growth stage begins, new hair comes in. Hairs that are in the resting stage are held in the follicle by friction and are not anchored in. They fall out very easily, especially during grooming. Dogs, cats and rabbits go through these stages continuously. Several factors affect the amount of hair the animal will shed and when shedding is more pronounced.

WhenShedding in animals is intimately related to seasonal cycles. In most cases, the cycle of shedding is cued by changes in the amount of daylight. Hair growth and shedding are regulated by fluctuations in the amount of melatonin, the “hormone of darkness”, secreted by the pineal gland in response to seasonal sunlight variations. Increasing day length stimulates hair growth in the spring. Spring shedding is typically heavier because the winter coat is progressively replaced for a lighter, summer coat.

Double-coated dogs generally drop their soft undercoats twice a year and lose their topcoat once a year. If they shed all at once, the fur will come out in tufts and is often called “blowing a coat”. Other dogs might shed continuously throughout the year. Each hair (topcoat/guard hair and undercoat) goes through a hair cycle just like human hair. This cycle typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete depending on breed and species.

What to DoUnlike brushing and combing, deshedding is done to remove the loose, dead undercoat from the pet without cutting or damaging the topcoat. Undercoat deshedding reduces the shed hair in all pets and also can help reduce hairball formation in cats. The undercoat regulates the pet’s body temperature. When used properly quality deShedding tools, such as the Furminator, do not cut or damage the coat, Thus, you do not have to worry about removing coat that your pet needs to stay warm or keep cool. Undercoat that has shed from your pet’s skin, but gets trapped under the topcoat, can cause mats or tangles to form.  For a full deShedding treatment that includes a special shampoo and “blow-out” with a high-speed dryer, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

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