Why Shedding Happens in Pets (And How to Keep Your Home from Being Inundated with Hair)

The change of season brings cold, dry leaves and also lots of hair. How to manage shedding in dogs and cats? Here are the tips so that the treatment of the subject does not become so “hairy”.

It is still easy to identify the change of season: the temperature drops, clouds become more frequent in the sky, dry leaves abound on the ground, it gets darker earlier and there are more hairs everywhere. More hair?

When fall arrives, those with dogs and cats at home begin to suffer from seasonal coat shedding. Shedding, as it is commonly known, is a cyclical and inevitable process for animals, which can be a challenge at home.

“The coat is important to help them control their body temperature: whether they need a thicker coat to protect against the cold or a lighter coat to stay warm,” explains Aline Vera, certified specialty groomer. ethology and animal welfare. . and founder of Hybrid barber dog . “This is the purpose of the pelecha: to protect the animal from seasonal changes in the environment.”

But this has domestic consequences: clumps of hair roll on the floor like steppicursor in the desert , marks on armchairs, on clothes, on the bed, on pillows; even in the glass of water you just poured yourself. A real invasion.

Fur can test our patience and tolerance for pets, and even make us wonder why we live with them. But for animals, it fulfills a fundamental function.

“Dogs struggle in the fall to lose their fine, light hair which allowed them to resist the high temperatures of summer,” adds Catherine Soto, veterinary doctor at Laboratoire Drag Pharma. “They are replacing it with thicker, denser fur, which will protect them from the cold in winter. The drop in temperature and the hours of sunshine cause this molt.

I’m going to ask you how many hairs there are on this couch.

This process, in both dogs and cats, usually occurs twice a year, although it can occur up to four times depending on seasonal changes. The process can last up to two months, although the peak usually lasts a few weeks.

“It will depend on the pet’s coat type, breed, health, nutrition and other environmental factors, such as whether it lives inside the house or outside” , explains Alejandra Santelices, veterinarian, ethologist and director. of the EMA Foundation.

How can we minimize the impact of this phenomenon which threatens the cleanliness of the house?

Beware of myths

Those who have cats know that they fight almost all year round. But it is precisely during the transition between summer and autumn, as well as at the end of spring, that this situation is most marked. Especially in those with long hair, such as those of the Angora or Persian breed.

Something similar happens with German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Siberian Dogs, some of the breeds that shed the most during shedding and require more work to keep the house from becoming a hair storm.

Nowadays, it is common for some people to choose to cut their dog’s hair or even shave it to avoid dirt. According to experts, this is a serious mistake that can only harm animals.

Aline Vera says that cutting the hair of dogs like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Pugs or Bulldogs can end up causing alopecia, which is chronic hair loss. “Also, when double-layered hairs are cut, which is usually the case with these breeds, they begin to weaken, becoming fluffier and duller,” the groomer adds.

Other breeds have the particularity of not shedding, but their hair grows quickly. This is the case of the poodle which, being hypoallergenic, does not lose its hair. For this reason, says Vera, “it is important to cut so as not to generate stains.”

In the case of cats, the situation is similar. In most cases, cutting hair during seasonal shedding is generally not advisable, as it deprives them of the natural coat that protects them from the environment and temperatures, and puts them at greater risk of contracting respiratory diseases.

For this reason, if a cat’s hair is cut, it will have to be kept at home permanently, in a regulated and protected environment, until it regains a coat that offers it shelter and autonomy.

Brushing: much more than just controlling the hair

Ok, cutting pet hair is not the solution for dogs and cats to this hygienic disaster. So what is it ?

“Brushing is always the best option when changing coats,” answers Vera. Alejandra Santelices adds that in addition to being an “excellent solution for removing dead hair,” brushing “plays a role in bonding and allows us to be attentive to any abnormalities that may occur in the skin of our animals, like tumors, lesions. . , etc”.

Catherine Soto, for her part, says that brushing oxygenates the skin, helping new hair follicles to “develop and grow strong, compact new hair, which provides winter shelter.” At the same time, this practice avoids the accumulation of hair which “can promote the development of bacteria, with consequences such as dermatitis and bad odors”.

Ideally, experts say, brushing should be done daily, although it’s important to do it at least three times a week. The more often this is done, the less loose hair there will be in the house and the less difficult it will be to remove loose hair from the pet’s coat.

How to brush?

The idea is to do it gently and in the direction of hair growth. This way it is more effective in removing dead hair and also in oxygenating the skin.

But be careful, you shouldn’t use just any brush. “It’s important to choose wisely, because there are some that are wonderful for massages but don’t remove dead hair,” says Santelices. Therefore, you must also understand that the brush to use on a golden retriever will be different from that recommended for a greyhound dog, for example.

“The brush must be chosen according to the coat,” adds the veterinarian. Some models will be useful for long-haired fur, others for a shorter type. There are even some ideal for animals that tend to generate knots.

For example, Aline Vera recommends a card-style comb for single-coat and fine hair, such as poodles, shih tzu or Maltese dogs. In the case of a double-layered coat, denser and shinier than the previous one, the groomer advises the use of brushes with thick and spacious teeth.

Brush for long-haired dogs and cats Double grooming brush

“There are also rubber gloves that can be used after releasing the hair. The lint sticks to the glove so it doesn’t fly everywhere,” adds the founder of Hybrida Barbershop.

Some accessories

In addition to brushing, other actions complement each other, both so that seasonal shedding gives a healthy, firm and beautiful coat, and to minimize the impact of shedding dead hair on house cleaning.

In the case of dogs, a recommended measure is to maintain regular baths. But beware ! These should not be carried out less than 15 days apart. “Bathing too frequently can be harmful by stripping the skin of its natural oil, causing more dryness and increasing hair loss,” warns Santelices.

Nutrition is another relevant point. “It is ideal to feed an extruded or pelleted food with a high level of protein – hopefully between 23 and 26%, in the case of adult dogs – and which incorporates omega 3 fatty acids which strengthen the hair follicles so that winter hair grows. strong and brilliant,” explains Catherine Soto.

Superpet food supplement

Controlling parasites and providing a comfortable, safe space for the pet is also essential, as is paying attention to its coat. “The coat is a reflection of the health of the animal,” explains Santelices. And that’s because this process could be confused with another situation that could affect the animal.

Hair loss can also be associated with factors such as stress, anxiety or other health problems that will require veterinary attention, such as allergies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, among other possibilities.

How do you differentiate seasonal shedding from a situation like this?

“During seasonal shedding, it is common for dogs or cats to lose hair evenly and evenly across the entire body. On the other hand, if hair loss is caused by stress or other health issues, you may notice specific areas where hair is thinner or completely absent,” says Santelices.

What about cleaning up the mess?

There are many vacuum cleaners on the market today designed to remove pet hair from household surfaces. Some of them are based on HEPA filters, which can be useful for users suffering from allergy-related complications. Others, on the other hand, use water-based systems which guarantee better retention of particles, dust and other dirt.

Thomas Vacuum Cleaner for Pets and Family

Washing blankets and pet beds regularly is another measure that will help combat hairballs circulating around the house. Using a damp cloth on surfaces also helps to better retain marks left on furniture. And for clothing, sticky rollers offer a quick and effective solution, especially in a pinch.

In this way, the impact of seasonal molting can be minimized and, at the same time, offer care according to the needs that the animals may have in a process that does not necessarily have to be. “hairy”.

*Product prices in this article are current as of April 16, 2024. Values ​​and availability are subject to change.

Source: Latercera

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