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Dog Shedding Part 1
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Dog Shedding Part 1

When I first brought home my German Shepherd I knew she would probably shed a little. I mean, if she weighed 25 pounds then about twenty of that was fur right?

I was not prepared for what happened in the Spring. Hair was falling 24 hours a day. You could actually watch the hair coming off with her every breath. I complained and just kept sweeping until I read that almost half of all German Shepherd dogs in shelters were brought there because the original owners couldn't deal with their "excessive" shedding.

How cruel! That is when I decided to stop complaining and learn more about the shedding, what was going on? Was she shedding too much? Was there anything I could do to help cut the amount of shedding down? Or did I just need to shut up and take a lint brush with me everywhere?

This is one of those things you need to have done your homework about before buying a new dog. How hairy are they and how do you feel about it? Even hypoallergenic or "non shedding breeds" shed a little. Heck, guys that are bald still drop a body hair every once in a while. Same premise.

So your breed will have a normal amount of every day shedding depending on what kind of coat your breed has. For example, German Shepherds were bred to herd sheep through the mountains, they have a double coat. The top coat is black, the hair is course, that is the waterproof layer; the underneath coat is white, the hair is fluffy, that is their warm layer. But daily, they will shed some of each layer.

They will shed more in the Spring, maybe a lot more if Spring is coming late. Your dog is much more in touch with Mother Nature than you are. They know its going to be 90 degrees soon and this extra hot fur needs to go now!

They will shed less in the fall because they're busy growing an extra coat for the winter.

It's not that simple for our domesticated animals though. Hundreds of years ago, dogs lived outside with only the temperature and the hours of sunlight to control their body clocks. Living indoors, in a temperature controlled environment with artificial lighting throws their natural tendencies off. Winter = too hot inside so I start shedding too much; summer = too cold so I start growing winter fur too early? What the heck is going on? You might have just doubled the normal shedding cycle because they are thrown off.

One thing to look at then, if you feel like your dog is shedding too much is what is the temperature like in your house and how much time does your dog spend inside? A little more time spent outdoors, letting their body sync with the real temperature may help control excessive shedding.

Bathing your dog excessively causes more shedding too. When their skin is stripped of its' natural oils, it gets too dry. That turns into dandruff, scratching and dropping more fur. If you feel your dog is shedding excessively, hold off on baths and go for more brushing and an occasional wipe down with a washcloth.

But what kind of brush works best? It depends on what kind of coat your dog has. With a 2 coat German Shepherd you need a pick or a blade to pull out all of the undercoat. If you are grooming your dog once a day, this takes just minutes to run through their coat. If you wait a couple of weeks, this could take you an hour.

Also, before and after a bath is prime time to get rid of loose fur. Before, because it's just going to wind up all over you and after, when they're all dry and fluffy they will shed more than usual. It's also a good time to put in a treatment if you'd like to (more about that in Part 2).

But what if brushing alone doesn't solve the issue? How do you know if your dogs' shedding is a sign of something else and not just a temperature control issue? Is your dog an itchy, miserable mess? Does she have bald spots, dandruff or is she biting herself constantly? These are all signs of a deeper issue and there are other natural, easy fixes that you can do to provide you and your dog some relief.

Coming Soon: Part 2


Street Talk

Great article, I know all too well about dog shedding, I used to have a chow and they leave a lot on the furniture. Thank you

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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