8 Tips to Help Manage Dog Shedding Season
dogs shed lightly or moderately year-round, and their people might think they
have it bad. But you don’t know how good you’ve got it until you experience
life with a double-coated breed that sheds in spring and fall.
This small scenthound has a short, thick double coat that can shed more than you might have realized. During shedding season, help keep hair under control with a nubbly hound mitt, also known as a hound glove. You can also look for deshedding shampoos and conditioners that will help to loosen the coat during a warm bath.
Don’t let their short, smooth hair fool you: Pugs have a double coat that’s longer than it looks, and they can shed like crazy. Keep heavy shedding under control with frequent warm baths and daily or weekly brushing with a rubber curry brush. A monthly going-over with a shedding blade can help, too (be gentle, though). During baths, brush him while he’s soaped up. The shampoo lubricates the coat and helps the fur come out more easily.
In fall and spring, Lab coats undergo a major shed. You’ll find their needlelike hairs lodged into clothing, carpet and upholstery. Some Lab owners try to match carpet color to the color of the dog to conceal the mounds of hair. To keep hair from flying all over your house, brush outside, in the garage or over a sheet that you can then shake out and throw in the washing machine.
If you live with a Newfie, you know that they shed. A lot. You can expect to find fur in the butter dish, in the ice cube tray, coming out your ears. Use an 18-inch double-wide stripping tool to aid the fur-removal process, and make sure you have a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Fall is “furricane” season in Berner households. These big, double-coated dogs shed alpine piles of fur. Expect to wear out the motor of your vacuum cleaner more than once. During shedding season, brush with a slicker or shedding blade at least every other day, then follow with a good combing.
A Shiba’s shedding season can seem endless, but frequent brushing and warm baths may help to remove the flying fur. Consider brushing the dog out while he’s wet — that way, the undercoat doesn’t fly around and it’s easier to scoop up and toss in a bag for disposal. Using a high-velocity blow dryer can also help to remove excess fur. Plan on vacuuming daily; some Shiba owners have been known to vacuum up to three times a day
It’s been said that Siberians don’t shed; they molt. If you live with one of these dogs, you can count on never eating another hairless meal again. While a Siberian blows coat, brush with a soft-bristle brush at least a couple of times a week. Start at the head and brush toward the tail, always in the direction the hair grows. Dampen the coat as you brush to help hair come out more easily. Vacuuming every other day will also help to keep hair at bay.
German Shepherd Dog
These dogs are nicknamed “German shedders” for a reason: Their hair comes out in seemingly endless clumps that roll across the floor like tumbleweeds in the desert. Be prepared to brush them at least twice a week (more is better) and gently use a shedding rake to remove even more falling fur. When using shedding blades or rakes, there’s a fine line between removing “just enough” and “too much” hair. Be careful not to cross it.
Hair, Hair EverywhereSeasonal
shedding, the phenomenon known as “blowing coat,” sometimes comes as a
surprise — and not in a good way — to new owners of shorthaired dogs such as
Beagles, Pugs and Labrador Retrievers. Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs,
Shibas, German Shepherds and Siberians are also among the breeds that adorn
their owners’ furniture, floors, clothing, toothbrushes — well, you get the
picture — with large clumps of fur in the fall.
Suddenly, you’re faced with tufts of undercoat sticking out and then falling off. When you pet your dog, your hand comes away covered in fur. Dustpuppies lurk in all corners of your home. You ponder whether you should take your dog to the veterinarian because his coat looks so ratty.
The rhythm of hair loss is four beats: growth, rest, loss and replacement. Hair takes its cues for loss and growth from the hours of daylight to which it’s exposed. As the days grow shorter, from fall into winter, the coat may shed to make way for a thicker winter coat.
Manage the MessBlowing coat can last for a couple of weeks or more than a month. Here are some tips to help you survive with your sanity intact.
Give your dog a warm bath. It will help to loosen dead hair. Use a hound glove on the dog while he’s still in the tub. Follow with a pet-safe coat conditioner and then blow-dry him completely (using a low or cool setting) to make sure you get out all the loose hair and undercoat. Repeat weekly or as needed.
Brush every day or two. It will help you to stay ahead of the avalanche of fur. Between baths and brushings, use a lint roller to remove hair from your dog.
Use tried-and-true fur-removal tools. Although these devices need to be used gently to avoid injuring your pet, wire slicker brushes, undercoat rakes, shedding blades, Furminators, hound gloves and Zoom Grooms can be your friends. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian, breeder or a groomer about the best tool for your dog. For instance, Zoom Grooms or grooming mitts work best on shorthaired dogs. With Furminators, be careful not to go overboard and leave your dog bald. Following up with a pin brush will help prevent mats.
Accustom your dog to being vacuumed. Yes, vacuumed — if you have a dog who won’t freak out, that is. Use an upholstery attachment or the “dog” attachments sold by some companies and run it over his body. Many dogs seem to enjoy the sensation. Just be sure to accustom him to it gradually so he doesn’t think you’re coming at him with a roaring snake.
Get the right tools. Start by investing in a good vacuum cleaner. You’ll need it to get up all that hair. You can also use a rubber dishwashing glove or hound glove on furniture and carpets to remove hair. Look online for pet hair lifters, lint removers and the like.
Enlist a professional groomer. She has the tools and the training to get out excess coat.
Relax. Shedding is normal, and it won’t last forever. It just seems like it. And remember: Dog hair is the new black.
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