Ahh, spring is finally here. The smell of fragrant flowers and the sweet chirping of birds floats on the air, followed by billowing puffs of—wait, is that dog hair? Yes, it's spring, so that means it's also the shedding season. If you have a furrier dog or cat such as an Arctic breed, you may experience the seasonal headache of "blowing coat"—a term for when your pet sheds (a lot) and turns your house into a fuzzy mess.
Most dogs and some long-haired cats shed once or twice a year. Dogs have two different kinds of coats. Breeds like the Siberian Husky and the Shiba have a fur coat made up of two layers: a warm, soft layer underneath a topcoat that serves as a protectant. Other breeds like Terriers and Shih Tzus have a single coat known as a hair coat.
If your dog was bred in a harsher Northern climate, you'll probably experience more shedding woes than someone with, say, a Poodle. Double-coated dogs have evolved to withstand frigid temperatures during the winter. They lose their coat in the spring because they don't need it, resulting in enough shed fur to knit them a stuffed companion (if you're so inclined).
Now that you know about the "blowing coat," let's tackle how to handle the shedding.
Managing Blowing Coats
If you have a double-coated dog starting its great spring shed, it's time to take action. Here are the steps you should take to give your vacuum cleaner a break and make your life a little less fuzzy.
- Groom, groom, groom: If your dog has a very thick coat, it's essential that you groom him or her regularly. Consult your vet or groomer to find the perfect brush for your dog's coat and go to town—regularly. The more hair you remove, the less you'll have up your nose or on your rug. Also, it's a smart idea to brush every other day outside where the birds can use that fluff to pad their nests. If you do it inside, it can clog up your air ducts.
- Bathe your dog: Bathing can make the shedding process faster, making it easier to deal with the frustration of fur everywhere. Bring your dog to a groomer for a bath during shedding season. You can grab a soap-free, non-irritating shampoo and do it yourself too (your vet can help you choose a shampoo that's safe for your pet). Baths will loosen up a lot of hair, so be prepared to brush more while your dog is in the water. A blow-dryer can also help loosen up and remove shedding hair after your dog's bath.
- Supplement with oil: Your dog's coat will be healthiest if you add omega-3 fatty acids to his or her diet. Talk to your vet to find the best supplement for keeping your pet's coat shiny and healthy.
Contact us if you have any questions about your pet's health and wellbeing or to schedule an exam.