Dog shedding is one of those complaints most dog parents have. There are some dog breeds that shed less than others, but most will lose hair throughout their lives just like we do. Most dogs have two shedding seasons, spring and fall, though for many shedding happens year round .
A dog’s fur helps regulate body temperature, keeping the dog warm in winter and protecting against the sun and heat in the summer. Which is why we usually see a change in coat during spring and fall.
The dogs who shed the most are usually those with double coats. These dogs have an overcoat like most dogs that is just one type of hair with the same quality all over the body. But, they also have the ability to grow what is called an undercoat. The undercoat is comprised of shorter, rather curly, soft, down like hair that is dense. This layer of hair doesn’t only keep a dog warm but also dry during the cold months. When dogs with double coats are shedding, they are normally shedding their undercoat.
Breeds that normally have double coats include, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranian, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Huskies, etc. Single coat dog breeds can have either long hair like Poodles, Shih Tzus, Yorkies etc. or short hair like Beagles, Boxers, Great Danes, etc.
Poodles, Shih-tzu and Yorkies are considered to have hair, not fur. This is because the single coat will grow very long, like human hair when it is not cut. Single coat, short haired dog breeds usually shed year round. This is because they are not trying to get rid of an undercoat, the hair is just following the normal growth and shed cycle. Due to the short length of each hair, the cycle is quite fast in comparison to long hair.
Now that we’ve explained this, what do we do with the different types of fur? When should you shave a dog? When should you brush out the undercoat?
Most people shave their dogs because they are either shedding a lot or the y think that shaving the dog will help them cool down in the hotter months. But many people don’t know that shaving a dog close to the skin will actually make it harder for them to cool down. Dogs can’t sweat like humans do so they need at least some of their hair to form a protective shield from the sun. So dogs that have a single coat, like Poodles, Shih Tzus and Yorkies can be shaved but should always have at least one inch of hair to protect their skin from the sun and help them stay cool.
Dogs with double coats shouldn’t be shaved, unless it is suggested by your veterinarian for a medical issue or the amount of matting makes it impossible to brush. The ideal thing to do is a de-shed, we call it a Shed-out at Animal America Pet Resort’s Spa and it involves a full day of brushing, blow drying and special shampoos and conditioners that will release all that lose undercoat that we talked about. This process will allow the dog to keep the over or top coat that guards against the harsh sun and can even protect them from mosquito bites in the summer. While the undercoat that was starting to fall out in big chunks is removed.
Dogs with short hair like Boxers, Beagles and Danes will usually do great with regular baths and a thorough brushing. They shouldn’t be shaved, as that would leave them exposed to the sun’s harmful rays and leave them unable to regulate their body temperature.
If your dog is shedding and you are not sure about what type of coat your dog has, or which grooming process would be the best for your dog, our professional groomers are always happy to take a peek at your dog and give you some advice, just stop by the Resort.