While the trees begin to lose their leaves, many dogs are beginning to lose piles of hair. Have you ever wondered how dogs know when it’s time to shed? Or why some dogs shed more than others? Read on to discover the science of shedding.
To understand shedding you must first understand a dog’s hair growth cycle. The cycle has four parts with super scientific names. They even rhyme to make it easier to remember.
- Anagen. This is when the hair is growing.
- Catagen. The point when the hair transitions from growing to lying dormant.
- Telogen: When the hair just sits there.
- Exogen: When the hair falls out.
Every dog’s coat goes through this four-step process, not just the known shedders. Breeds that are considered “non-shedding” just take years to go from Anagen to Exogen, making the shedding so infrequent that we hardly notice it. On the other hand, double coated breeds (like labs, huskies, and golden retrievers) have shorter hair cycles. They complete the process in a matter of days or weeks. That’s a lot of hair falling off them!
In addition to the regular shedding cycle, double coated dogs shed even more in the fall and spring. The lessening of daylight in the fall triggers dogs’ bodies to start growing their winter coats. In order to make way for it, they first need to shed their lighter summer coat. The same thing happens in the spring when the summer coat is coming in. That’s why there tends to be even more fur balls floating around your house those times of year.
When this intense season of shedding occurs, it’s extra important to take care of your dog’s coat. Brushing frequently will help keep your house from being carpeted in hair. (Though perhaps it would be cheap alternative for regular carpeting.) For dogs with thick coats, like Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Newfoundlands, it’s especially important to brush thoroughly and frequently during this time because the shedding undercoat can build up in the rest of the coat. When this hair get packed in, it can lead to matting and a very uncomfortable dog.
In addition to brushing, bathing often and using a blow dryer is another way to get a lot of that loose hair out. We’re not trying to toot our own horn, but stopping by Ollu a little more frequently is always a good idea during shedding season.
A good chunk of this information is on petcha.com, so check it out if you want to read more.