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Dog Shedding - A 'Hairy' Situation!

Dog shedding is a totally natural process and something that you can't stop or 'cure'.

Unless you own a hairless breed, dog hair on your floors, clothing and furniture is pretty much just a fact of life.

Your dog's hair is continually growing and then falling out (much the same way as ours does), and this 3-part cycle can last anywhere from a month to a year depending on the breed and coat type. There are also certain times of the year, or certain situations, where your dog is going to shed more than normal.

Major shedding usually happens twice a year during the major change of seasons (from cold to hot and back again) and is called 'blowing coat'... also often happens in a female dog after she's had a litter.

There are many different types of dogs, there are many different types of coats and some will shed more than others, or shed more noticeably than others.

Dog brush with hair stuck in bristles

Breeds that were originally created to live/work outdoors (especially in cold climates), such as German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Alaskan Malamutes, Pomeranians and so on have tons of hair - both the longer 'outer-coat' hairs and the softer, denser 'under-coat'.

However, it's not only these longer-coated breeds that are prone to heavy-duty dog shedding! I own Rottweilers, whose coats are much smoother and shorter than the breeds I just mentioned.

Sadly, this doesn't seem to reduce their ability to shed, and this seems to apply to Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and other similar breeds too.

Alaskan Malamute dog

Dog breeds who have long, silky outer-coats and little, or no, undercoat (such as Yorkies, Lhasa Apsos and Afghan Hounds for example) tend to shed less than many other breeds, so do dog breeds with curly coats such as Poodles or Bichon Frise. These could be considered to be low shedding dog breeds.

Wire-haired dogs such as many of the terrier breeds need not only at-home grooming sessions, but regular clipping or stripping to keep their coat mat-free and 'in order'. The up-side of this is that a regularly clipped/stripped coat will shed less too.

So, to sum it up... pretty much all dogs shed (except hairless ones) but that's not any real consolation for dog owners who spend what seems like half their waking hours removing dog hair from their clothes, furniture, carpets... even coffee cups - and I'm one of them!

How To Reduce Dog Shedding

Although there's no 'magic bullet' that will stop your dog from blowing coat, or gradually depositing his hair all over the furniture, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the amount of loose hair he has to share.

Removing it from his coat manually, before it floats off by itself, can really help.....

Reduce Shedding With Regular Grooming

When it comes to controlling or reducing the amount of hair your pet is losing, regular and proper grooming is the key.

Young girl grooming her Golden Retriever dog at home

If you don't brush/comb your dog regularly, that hair is going to fall (or fly!) off your dog and land all over the place..... all the time.

BUT if you groom your dog regularly then YOU will be in control of that hair loss, and you can remove an amazing amount of hair in a fairly short time with the right dog grooming tools/equipment.

In addition to brushing/combing your dog, a bath now and then helps to remove loose hair and dander.

Bathing once or twice a month should be enough, although if you or someone else in your family has an allergy to dog hair, bathing weekly may be better as long as it doesn't irritate the dogs' skin.

Always remember to use a very mild shampoo such as a puppy formula, Oatmeal Shampoo or hypoallergenic formula (no medicated or highly-scented ones please!).

There are even a whole range of special dog shedding shampoos such as FURminator deShedding Shampoo.

If you or someone in your family has allergies, this  Anti-allergen Pet Shampoo can really help reduce the dog dander that's the number one trigger for sneezing, itching and other common dog allergy symptoms.

Here's a quick look at the best tools to use when you're trying to keep dog shedding to a minimum in different breeds:

  • Dogs with thick 'double coats'
    You'll need a rake such as this Dematting Comb  to make sure that the loose hair is removed properly. A simple comb or bristle brush won't do the job. They need to be groomed daily if possible, failing that at least 3 times a week.

  • Dogs with long, silky hair
    You'll need a metal grooming comb and a dog slicker brush (the wide-flat type with bent-wire 'teeth') to take care of these breeds (for example the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Setters, Spaniels etc.), who are pretty high-maintenance in terms of grooming! Be prepared for daily grooming sessions. Do be careful when using the slicker brush though, as you don't want to scratch or hurt the delicate skin under that beautiful flowing hair! Setters and Spaniels also need regular 'stripping' or 'plucking' and dogs like Yorkies can get a 'puppy cut or clip' which makes life easier.

  • Dogs with short, wiry coats
    Many terriers (such as the Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, wire-haired Fox terrier and so on) and other breeds such as the Irish Wolfhound, have a soft undercoat and a tough, wiry top coat. To reduce dog shedding in these breeds you'll need a steel comb and a 'pin' brush to remove all the loose hair. They also need 'stripping' or 'plucking' and bathing every 3 months or so, and it's best to have this done by a professional groomer. An alternative is to have the coat of your wiry little guy (or gal) clipped short, and 'trimmed' every 2 - 3 months after that.

  • Dogs with smooth, short coats
    These are the easiest ones to groom and the least labor-intesive breeds in that respect. This group includes breeds such as the Boxer, Bulldogs, certain Hounds such as short-coated Dachshund and the Weimaraner, Doberman Pinschers and many others. For these guys, a weekly date with a small bristle brush  or a dog grooming glove/mitt is enough to keep them neat and tidy and keep dog shedding to a minimum.

Groomer Recommended Tool!

Using the Facebook commenting feature towards the bottom of this page, Nadine recommended two dog grooming tools (and process) which are used at her Pet Spa with great success.

The key one is the PawsPamper Undercoat Rake and once I checked it out I can see why Nadine gives it such a glowing recommendation.  

I personally haven't used this tool before but am going to buy one. I wonder how it's going to stack up against my Furminator. I will find out!

Using this rake, a slicker brush and de-shedding shampoo seem to be a winning combination. You can check out the whole step-by-step process Nadine recommends in the FB commenting section.

Thanks for the tips Nadine, really appreciate it :)

More Ways To Reduce Dog Shedding

There are a few other things you can do to reduce the amount of hair your dog loses.

Diet can play a role in hair loss and of course it's the foundation for good health, so feeding a premium dog food that has all the nutrients your pet needs is very important.

There are also 'anti-shedding' supplements and natural products that may help. Generally they contain different oils which are known to improve the condition of a dogs' coat and skin.

The all natural Naturals Royal Coat Express is a great choice, and is packed full of essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega 6) which may not be present in sufficient levels in your dogs food.

Given daily this can improve the health and condition of your dogs skin and give him a shiny, healthy coat and healthy coats often shed less!

If your puppy or dog is losing more hair in some areas than others and has bald spots or a patchy coat, or there is irritation alongside the hair loss, then you need to have your veterinarian examine him.

Sometimes allergies, fungus or parasites, can cause hair loss in puppies and dogs, and conditions such as Mange or Ringworm can only be diagnosed by your veterinarian.

Whether your dogs' shedding is due to normal breed/coat type and seasonal/developmental fluctuations or allergies or disease, all of that hair floating around your home can drive you nuts!  

That's why I decided to take a closer look at some pet hair remover tools for clothing, furnishings and cars. 

You can find the three that I love (they're all you need for keeping fabrics fur-free!), read my personal reviews and find out why I think they're so great on this page... Dog Hair Removers - My Reviews .

I also recently discovered a fantastic little vacuum that deals with dust bunnies (aka 'pet hair bunnies') like a pro... and has made keeping our home dog-hair free a snap.

It's the lightweight, cordless and super-effective Dyson DC59 Animal Vac and it's amazing! 

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