If you have a dog of the “working” or “sporting” breeds (such as German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers) your animal may have a double coat of hair. If this is the case, and your dog was outside doing the activity he or she was bred for, then the double coat probably wouldn’t bother you. In fact, you might not even notice.
Natural Double Coat Shedding During the Summer
However, many of these animals are indoor pets rather than outdoors, and the natural shedding that occurs is often a frustration to you and other human companions around the house. That winter coat that grew nice and thick to keep the animal warm outdoors will shed everywhere during the summer.
Shedding Requires Care
It is important to take care of the extra hair that is shedding off your dog’s coat. If you do not remove the hair from your dog, as he is shedding, it can cause thick clump-like mats. Unfortunately, if your pet has clumps of unattended hair on his body, bugs (such as fleas and ticks) can get aboard and hide from you. Also, twigs and other material can get tangled in his fur and cause hard and tight knots.
Bathing and Brushing
There are a couple of ways you can take care of shedding hair. Bathing regularly is important. Some of that extra loose hair can be flushed away with the bath water. Another thing to do is brush! When the hair is dry, very gently brush your pet’s fur. Pet supply stores have tools such as a “rake” or “slicker”. These are designed to get under the top layer of fur and pull at the lower undercoat.
When you brush your dog’s coat with these items, make sure to use short gentle strokes. You do not want to pull hard or scrape the dog’s skin. Hard brushing can cause a brush burn on the skin. If the brushing becomes painful the dog will struggle to get away and it will be unpleasant for both of you. Worse, your pet might get skittish and will not cooperate with brushing in the future. You want a cooperative pooch since the brushing sessions must be frequent, so be gentle!
Before Shaving - Consult a Groomer
Some owners will try to avoid the whole problem by having their pet shaved. This does not prevent shedding one hundred percent. Yes, this will take the hair off the dog, but Fido will still shed little hairs left behind by the clippers. Also, while the double coat kept out the cold, it also helps keep out the heat! So shaving might unwittingly cause the dog a temperature discomfort. Check with a professional dog groomer before taking this step.
If you have a groomer do the job they may charge a little more then normal, especially if your dog’s undercoat was not previously tended to, but they will be sure to remove the under coat and make your dog feels comfortable and happy!