Springtime Dog Shedding Solutions
By Shelley Williams
That time of the year when you find tufts of your dog’s fur everywhere has arrived.
The most frequently asked question I get as a groomer is how do I get my dog to stop shedding? While there isn’t a way to stop the shedding completely, you can help manage it. Shedding is natural and non-shedding is a misconception.
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Fur Grows in Cycles
First, you should know that fur grows in cycles. When fur reaches a certain length, which is determined by the genetic breed profile, growing stops. Each cycle consists of four phases: anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. The duration of each phase and the growth rate determine the length, amount of coat and shedding.
In most animals, the seasons—meaning changes in the length of the day and not changes in the weather—influence each cycle. The amount of melatonin a dog’s system produces in response to seasonal daylight variations regulates his fur’s growth and shedding.
3 Tips for Controlling Your Dog’s Shedding
Daily brushing is essential to help combat mounds of fur. Line brushing is a brushing, or combing, technique used to move through a dog’s coat to remove tangles, debris, loose hair and any undercoat down to the skin. Line brushing is a tried-and-tested method of thoroughly detangling a dog’s entire coat and removing bulky undercoat. The process typically begins with a slicker brush and ends with a metal comb—you should always run a comb through afterwards to make sure the coat is completely tangle-free.
Start From the Bottom
You start at the very bottom of the section of the dog’s body you are working on. For instance, if you were working on the abdomen, you would begin your line brushing on the underside of the dog’s belly. If you were line brushing his legs, you would start at his feet. You are working from the underlying layers of the coat outwards to the top layer of the coat to ensure you brush out every tangle.
Use a Deshedding Tool
A great product that helps control shedding is the FURminator DeShedding Tool, which is essentially a disassembled #40 clipper blade. You use short strokes in the direction of the grain of hair and work through the entire coat with it. FURminator’s product line also includes shampoo and conditioner, which are formulated to loosen the undercoat. When used in conjunction with a high-velocity dryer, they create a magical release of all that fluffy undercoat.
Now, of course, most dog owners don’t have access to or own a high-velocity dryer. However, the shampoo and conditioner work so effectively that you can towel dry your dog and use the FURminator tool to remove the bulk of the remaining undercoat.
Deshedding can be a messy and tedious task. If you’re not up to the challenge, your local groomer can help with the shedding process and get your dog on his way to a shiny new spring coat.
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