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Dealing with your dog's shedding in the fall

border collie lying on couch with tufts of fur advice
© Shutterstock

Shedding occurs for every animal with hair. But if you’ve got a dog or cat at home, you’ll notice that once fall hits, shedding is much heavier than usual.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 19/09/2020, 17:00

Fall is fast approaching. Over the course of the next few weeks, leaves will start to change colour, temperatures will start to drop, and pets will start shedding!

Shedding is absolutely normal for dogs. Indeed, dogs’ coats have natural life cycles, and their hairs have “lifespans”. Once the hairs have grown to capacity, they die, and detach from the dog’s skin. Though shedding is normal, it can be accentuated by factors such as a change in seasons!

What months do dogs shed the most?

Generally, dogs shed the most in the spring and fall. This is mainly because of the temperature changes - in the spring, dogs lose their winter coat to make way for a lighter summer coat, and in the autumn, dogs shed their undercoat to make way for a thicker, warmer, winter coat. 

There are other factors that affect shedding too. Genetics, health, and environment play an important part. For example, indoor dogs are more likely to shed year-round because they don’t feel the temperature changes as much as outdoor dogs, so their shedding doesn’t follow a seasonal pattern.

Find out in what other ways the fall season can affect your dog!

How long does seasonal shedding last?

During peak shedding season, such as the fall, a dog with a double coat will “blow out” its coat. As the term suggests, loose hair will literally float off the dog at the slightest touch, turning your home into a snowglobe. Luckily, the worst of this only lasts 2-4 weeks, though different breeds will shed differently.

What are the worst shedding dogs?

All dogs shed, but some breeds shed more than others. Heavy seasonal shedding is a trait of double coated breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies for instance, who also shed year-round (though more lightly outside of peak seasons). Dogs like Poodles or Maltese hardly shed at all because their hair growth is so slow that you're likely to trim the coat before the hair actually dies and falls out. Dogs like Italian Greyhounds and Smooth-haired Dachshunds shed very little because they have short and single coats - meaning they don’t have undercoats to blow out. It’s the double coated breeds that you should watch out for!

Check out some other low-shedding dog breeds!

How can I limit my dog’s shedding?

There’s no way to stop shedding, but there are things you can do to limit it. If you’ve got a double-coated breed at home, brushing your dog daily using a slicker brush is highly recommended in the spring and fall. It is recommended that you do this outdoors, so as to keep the dog hair outside the house as much as possible! Some people go as far as vacuuming their dogs, but this may not be every dog’s cup of tea. While it’s entirely safe for them, they will need a lot of early habituation to it using positive reinforcement. Don’t do anything your dog isn’t comfortable with!

The healthier your dog is, the less they’ll shed! Make sure they’re fed premium food. You can even look into feeding them supplements to help make their coat even stronger and healthier.

As for your home, lint rollers and vacuum cleaners are your best allies. If you’re a clean freak, don’t get a double-coated breed!

When should I be concerned about shedding?

Excessive shedding can be indicative of health issues, including skin problems or allergies. If you start to see bald spots appearing, go consult a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

If you’ve got a double coated dog or cat at home, be prepared for a lot of fur in the next few weeks. Happy fall!