It doesn't matter where you live or what the weather's like, unless your dog is hairless, he's going to shed some fur. Many factors, including temperature, day length and breed impact how much Buddy sheds. Indoor life can affect your pup's natural shedding cycle, making him shed year-round.
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Goodbye to Dead Hair
When Buddy sheds hair all over your house, he's going through a natural process of getting rid of dead hair. His hair grows in a three phase cycle. The anagen phase is when his hair grows most rapidly. When his hair has approached its full length, it's in a very short phase -- the catogen phase -- when the hair growth is ending. The telogen phase is the final part, when there is no growth. During this final phase, the dead hair detaches itself from the base of its follicle, making way for the cycle to begin anew.
If Buddy spends most of his time outdoors, his shedding will be driven by circadian rhythms, responding to light and dark. In a natural environment, dogs shed in the spring in response to increasingly long daylight hours. With more sunlight and warmer temperatures, a dog doesn't need so much fur and his body responds, shedding hair to keep him cooler in the heat. In the fall, when days shorten up and temperatures begin to fall, a dog will shed again. Though on the surface it doesn't make sense to lose hair when he actually needs more of it, the dog knows best; the fall coat is the thicker winter coat.
In The House
It may seem like Buddy sheds all the time, which is normal for dogs who spend most of their time indoors. As dogs lose their natural circadian rhythm, their follicles quit shedding at the same time, which explains why indoor dogs tend to shed year-round. Living in a climate-controlled environment with artificial lighting can impact how much Buddy sheds. He'll still be affected by day length, meaning he'll shed a bit more in spring and fall, but temperature won't have as much effect on his shedding schedule.
If Buddy's hair is everywhere and you can't keep up with it, there are a few things you can do to get control of the situation. Regular grooming is a simple, enjoyable way to get a grip on that flying fur. Though it won't stop him from shedding, a weekly brushing or combing will grab loose hair and keep it contained to one place for easy clean up. A healthy, nutritious diet with appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals and fats will help improve his coat and cut down on shedding. Bathing your pup is nice, but if you wash him too often or with the wrong shampoo, his skin may get dry, causing more shedding.
Too Much Hair
If Buddy's shedding seems excessive, check in with your vet. Abnormal shedding, or hair loss, can indicate physical problems, including parasites, infections or other serious illness. If you see bald spots, Buddy's experiencing hair loss, indicating his hair isn't growing back or is growing back very slowly, meaning it's time to see the vet.
By Betty Lewis
DogChannel.com: Excessive Shedding in Your Dog
ASPCA: Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?
Pet Assure: Dog Shedding and Good Grooming
Pet Wave: Dog Shedding 101
2ndChance.info: Why Is My Dog Shedding and What Can I Do About It?
About the Author
Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master's degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.