The Shedding Challenge

Does your dog or cat shed like mad? Is hair all over your house, your car and your clothes? Lets face it, pets shed. At least once a year, dogs and cats “blow” their coats, losing all the old hair and growing new. Female pets often blow their coats following a heat cycle, pregnancy or nursing. Many pets will also “blow” after they have been administered anesthetic for any reason, such as surgery. Periodic shedding is perfectly normal and part of the hair growth cycle: the hair grows, rests, dies and falls out. In most pets this takes about 130 days, although some breeds cycle can take much longer.

What Causes Shedding?

Some people believe that it is prompted by seasonal temperature changes; others attribute it to seasonal light changes. The more exposure to light, the greater the amount of hair shed. This is why, as explained by some vets, house pets exposed to long hours of artificial light seem to shed excessively. What can you do? First, realize that it is normal for most dogs to shed, some breeds shed more than others, and some breeds, such as the Dalmatian or Jack Russell, shed year round.

How Much is too Much?

There are times when shedding is an indication of a problem. Stress, illness or a poor diet can cause excessive shedding. Hair that falls out in patches, leaving bald spots, or shedding that is accompanied by chewing or scratching is not normal. If you believe that your dog or cat is shedding excessively, consult your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to determine if the shedding is normal, or the symptom of some other problem, such as allergies or hypothyroidism.

What Can You Do?

Normal shedding cannot be stopped, but there are many things that you can do to make it more manageable and reduce the amount of hair in your home. The most effective method is the simplest – brushing. Brush your pet daily, and the hair will end up in the brush and not on your furniture. There are many brush styles; ask a Pet Planet Ambassador for advice on which one(s) will best suit your dog or cat.

Feed your pet a complete and balanced high-quality diet. A quality food provides your pet with all the nutrients he or she needs to grow and shed hair properly. There are many nutritional products such as supplements aimed at maximizing the beauty of your pet’s coat; speak to a Pet Planet Ambassador to find out what products will work best for your pet.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that cutting your pet’s hair short will stop it from shedding. A short coat may be easier for you to manage, but it will still shed the same number of hairs. The only difference will be that now those hairs are shorter, and more likely to stick into your clothes and carpet, being much more difficult to vacuum or sweep up.