Picture dog shedding hair:
Photo ©2005 General - Big Paws Only
Information on Dog Shedding and Hair
Dog shedding occurs in nearly all dogs and is a natural process of eliminating (shedding) dead hair for a couple of reasons – one, to allow a new coat to come in, and two, for seasonal changes in temperature. Several dog breeds like Siberian Husky’s or the Great Pyrenees, are known to have double coats, i.e. a soft undercoat, and the outer and much coarser topcoat. These kind of breeds can shed profusely, blowing their coat twice a year in what seems like endless loads. Blowing coat is a term that describes the heavy shedding that takes place twice a year, once in the spring time and another in the fall.
The picture of Bear the Newfoundland shows how much hair can actually come out during this period; we almost shaped it into a full size Newf!
Sometimes it may seem that your dog sheds all year round – it’s actually possible. Year-round dog shedding typically occurs with indoor dogs as they have a bit more insulation from the extreme temperature that take place outside. With the artificial climate inside, their natural body regulation gets thrown off balance when they step outside and experience a sudden change in weather. Because this takes place every time they go in and out, their body registers smaller changes, thus the continuous light shedding.
Dog Hair out of Control
Dog shedding can certainly be annoying – especially with a full blown shedder like Bear. We experience hair everywhere, on clothes, on the furniture, burning in the candle wax, in our food, I’ve even found it frozen like an ancient artifact in an ice cube. This is despite the fact that we regularly groom him, vacuum 1 – 2 times a day, and are otherwise very clean people. With some breeds, you just have to learn to love them, and all that comes with them. That’s not to say there is nothing one can do about it! Tips on controlling shedding comes up next!
Another common consequence that comes from heavy dog shedding is vacuum cleaner breakage. The topic of dog hair and vacuum cleaners always comes up on here on Big Paws Only, and other boards on the internet. Bear’s personal record is one of killing 3 different vacuums in under 9 months. Granted they were a bit cheap to begin with as our philosophy was one of keeping them cheap if they are just going to break. However many people are testifying to the endurance of they Dyson models; we are seriously considering it and you should too.
Picture of a dog getting groomed:
Photo ©2005 Bitfrost Newfoundlands
Tips to Reduce Dog Hair and Shedding
Grooming your dog is the single most important key to reduce dog shedding. Regular brushing with a slicker brush is the best way to keep the loose hair from falling on the floor or your furniture. Once a week try to sit down and do a thorough grooming session. This would include taking the shedding comb and pulling it through the hair until it runs through smoothly. Alternatively, for the dog breeds with double coats, its best to use an undercoat rake to pull out the loose undercoat. Again, continue until it runs through easily. If you run into mats in the fur, use the dematting rake to cut through it and untangle the matts. Typically, you will pull some small chunks of hair out but that is fine as there was too much hair for the area of skin to begin with – thus the reason for the matt.
Some dogs don’t like these rough tools and you might need to spend some time incorporating them into their routines. In the mean time, you can use regular hair-removal sticky rolls, the same one uses on their clothes, to remove excess loose hair. You can also try using the remote attachment on the vacuum to suck it off, provided they don’t mind the noise.
Other dogs LOVE grooming - to them it is like a private massage. These dogs have typically been regularly groomed since puppyhood and appreciate the finer details in life such as pretty toe nails, fluffy fur etc. See the Newf on the grooming table in the picture.
Picture of common dog grooming tools:
From left to right:
- Undercoat Rake
- Slicker Brush
- Shedding Comb
- Dematting Rake
- Fine Comb (Flea Comb)
What to do with the Dog Hair?
If you groom your dog regularly, you can always make good use of your dogs fur coat by making something warm for yourself! Some people might have a problem wearing the fur of their loved one, why not make a special keepsake or memento out of it?
Remarkably, spinning dog hair into yarn makes an incredible material! Dog fur can be up to 80% warmer than wool, it is extremely durable, and fluffs over time to a soft cashmere like touch. People make all sorts of things out of their dogs fur, from sweaters and scarf’s, to socks and mittens.
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