Dog Hair Shedding – What a Delight!

Dog Hair Shedding – What a Delight!

By Keith Perrett

Dog hair shedding is one of those little “add ons” that comes with owning most breeds of dogs. It is usually one of those factors that no one considers when selecting the type of dog they want but which sometimes becomes a major “Arrrgh!” when dog hair starts being noticed all over the house.

So lets be clear – dog hair shedding is a normal physiological occurrence. The volume of hair shed will likely vary but one can only really consider it to be an abnormal amount if the shedding is so great that bald patches of skin start appearing.

Dog hair naturally grows in cycles – each hair has a growth phase,followed by a resting phase. After a while in the resting phase, the hair detaches at its base and is pushed out by a new hair in the growth phase. The period from the start of a hair growing till it is pushed out by the next one varies between breeds and between individuals within breeds and can vary from about 4 months to in excess of 12 months!

Dog hair shedding takes place throughout the year but there are times when an animal “sheds” its coat. This is governed mainly by the number of daylight hours with lengthening (spring) and shortening (autumn/fall) daylight hours being the trigger to change the coat and prepare for summer or winter.Of course this presents a problem to animals primarily kept indoors and not exposed to the changing hours of light – these animals may shed and grow hair throughout the year – and hence the hair on furniture, floors etc all year round.

The only real “cure” for normal dog hair shedding is to groom them regularly and remove the old detached or about to be detached hair from the animal before it removes itself onto the carpet/chair/floor etc! The frequency with which you will need to do this will vary depending on the type of haircoat, time of year and the individual. Grooming is not every dog’s favourite activity (but many love it!), so its best to get them into the habit from an early age.

Do remember that factors such as nutrition, genetics, hormones, climate, parasites and so on can influence the quality of a dog’s haircoat and need to be taken into account when considering the cause of excessive dog hair shedding.

Keith Perrett is a qualified Veterinarian

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