One of the biggest problems experienced by dog owners is the excessive hair shedding in their homes. Hairs can be found on the sofa, bed, car seats, inside kitchen and even on your clothes. Hair everywhere can give a tough time to hygiene freaks and can become one of the biggest reasons for not keeping a pet. Dog hair is also reported to cause allergy to humans, especially children, due to the skin cells attached to the shed hair.
Why do dogs have hair?
Hair on a dogs body serve multiple purposes like protection of the skin from inclement weather, regulation of body temperature, sensation of things, attracting mates etc.
When do dogs shed hair?
Some dogs shed all the year round while some shed only seasonally.
Most short coated dog’s breeds like a Labrador or a Boxer shed hair all year round while the long coated ones like a Golden Retriever shed hair before any season changes either during the spring or fall.
Seasonal shedding happens before spring as the dog is getting ready to have a lighter coat in anticipation of the hot a summer and also before fall as the coat tries to adapt to the oncoming winters.
Some dog breeds are heavy shedders while some are light ones. Labradors shed a lot throughout the year while a Dachshund shed very less even during seasonal changes.
Why do dogs shed hair?
Natural process of replacing old and damaged hair with new hair.
Endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism or hereditary diseases like follicular dysplasia can also cause excessive shedding. Allergies in dogs can also cause shedding problems. You should talk to your Vet in case you feel that your dog may have any of these problems.
Careless breeding of dogs with genetically transmitted shedding problems is another probable cause. One should source a pet from good quality pet breeders only.
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There can be no magic pill to shedding problems but to minimize the hair being scattered everywhere.
Why should you brush your dog?
Brushing is good for your dog as it stimulates the skin, removes excess hair and cleans the coat. A suitable dog brush or a deshedding tool is one that suits your dog’s size, hair type and length. Brushing helps remove some of the ticks or dirt sticking inside dog hair and can be a welcome relief to your dog.
What is the right deshedding tool?
A natural bristle brush, glove with bristles or a hound mitt can do a good job of combing out the dead hair from dogs having small coats like a Pug or a Beagle. Try brushing the coat in the opposite direction of hair growth. How many times you do depends upon the intensity of shedding but brushing at least once a week is highly recommended irrespective of the breed.
Dense coat is found in breeds like Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Poodle, Siberian Husky etc. Slicker brushes, coat rakes or a shedding tool is required for dogs with heavy double-coats as a small brush is unable to reach the deeper second double coat. A deshedder is a grooming tool that can prevent tangling and matting of the underlying coat hairs.
Some people take their dogs to professional grooming centres to get them brushed periodically. Professional grooming every month is a good way to keep shedding to a minimum and avoid a mess at your home.
How to reduce shedding?
Dietary imbalances greatly determine skin related problems in pets. Your focus should be to provide a nutritional diet to your dog as any acute shortages can result into excessive shedding. Specific vitamin supplements as advised by your Vet can be quite useful. A well balanced diet goes a long way in keeping shedding to an acceptable level. High quality protein and fatty acids must be an integral part of your pet’s diet.
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Dogs that are continuously stressed or suffering from separation anxiety also tend to shed a lot. In that case, finding out the stress related factors and soothing your dog may bring you some relief.
In case your dog is persistently scratching himself in a lot of places, you should take him to a Vet. There could be skin infections, ticks or fleas leading to excessive shedding.
Bathe your dog periodically (minimum once every month) as a clean dog has a healthier coat. Invest in a right shampoo that suits your dog’s hair. pH balance of a dog is different from that of a human and hence only dog shampoo should be used for bathing.
How to keep your home hair free?
Vacuum Cleaning: Invest in a good quality vacuum cleaner and regularly vacuum the most frequented hot spots of your dog. A robotic vacuum cleaner can be quite useful as it continuously and effortlessly keeps your floors clean of messy hair.
Modify/Cover your furniture and car seats: Shed hair is difficult to clean out of fabric sofas and cotton bed covers. You can cover your sofa’s with synthetic or leather covers that can simply be wiped clean. Laying out washable covers over your dog’s favourite resting places is another good move.
Velcro type lint brushes: Velcro type brushes are great for removing hair from your clothes and fabric upholstery. Always keep one handy.
Air filter systems: In case you have people at your home or children who are allergic to pet hair and dander or are asthmatic, you should invest in a good air filter system. Air filters are proven to significantly reduce such allergens (pet dander) floating inside your room. Do not forget to periodically change the air filters as soon as they become clogged.
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