Shedding hair is seasonal business. Pet-owners expect their dogs to shed during springtime as they thin out their winter coats in preparation for summer. But fall is another season when shedding – or blowing – increases dramatically as dogs relieve themselves of their old undercoat in preparation for a new one. Autumn blowing often means that the undercoat comes out in clumps – leaving a trail of fur bunnies all over the house.
The amount of shedding differs from breed to breed. Collies, golden retrievers, Queensland heelers, keeshonden and shelties, for example, blow significant amounts of fur during spring and fall. German shepherds, on the other hand, shed throughout the year, though their coat blowing process is pretty intense too. (Their undercoat comes out in a fur explosion, in a matter of days.) Poodles seem to lose hardly any fur at all, as they have a longer growth cycle.
But no matter how heavy the shedding, with a proper dog grooming and housekeeping routine, you can manage even the worst shedding episodes during fall, and keep the exasperating army of fur bunnies from taking over your living space.
# 1: UNCLOG AIR VENTS AND HEAT DUCTS
When dogs are blowing their coat and there are fur balls everywhere, it is important to take some measures to safeguard the human family’s health. Dog hair can clog air vents and heating ducts, and cause respiratory ailments and allergies. Have your air ducts cleaned annually, and use an air purifier in rooms where you and the dogs spend a lot of time. And of course, vacuum regularly, groom the dog outside the house and take all the other basic housekeeping measures that are necessary for pet-owners at this time of year.
# 2: GROOM DAILY DURING BLOWING SEASON
The unending supply of hair that comes off a dog blowing its coat is pretty incredible. And this is precisely why you must do it every single day. The job may feel like it will never get done, but the more you take off and dispose, the less there will be left to gather behind the sofa, under the bed and under the dining table.
# 3: USE A PROPER SHED-CONTROL BRUSH
The best kind of brush to use for a double-coated dog that is shedding its undercoat is the double-row undercoat rakes that have rotating teeth. These do a great job of removing only the loose undercoat fur, leaving the exterior guard hairs intact.
A lot of pet-owners consider daily brushing to be a matter of choice because it’s only purpose is to achieve a shiny, glossy coat. This is not true. Loose hair that has not been removed can mat easily and attract mites, fleas and ticks, cause skin irritation and even pain.
# 4: USE DE-TANGLING CONDITIONER TO REMOVE MATS
Matted hair can be moisturized and de-tangled with a dog coat conditioner. Brush your dog with the slicker brush to locate mats and tangles. Mats often form under the ears, below the neck, under the belly and along the back legs. Rub the product into the matted parts of the coat especially, so it penetrates the problem area. Now, work the tangles out with your fingers. When you have removed as much as you can, use the slicker brush to finish the job.
# 5: BATHE DOUBLE-COATED DOGS REGULARLY
While bathing, the process of blowing gets speeded up. A lot of undercoat hair is washed out at once.
# 6: ADD SUPPLEMENTS TO THE DIET
Give an Omega-3 fish oil supplement daily or add a tablespoon of olive oil to your dog’s food.