on April 12, 2011
Posted in Cats
As winter gives way to spring, there is one inevitable event that many dog owners cannot escape. Our lovely thick coated pooches are shedding.
The dogs that shed the most are those that have a double coat. Two types of fur make up this coat. An undercoat of thinner, fluffier fur which is much like down on a duck, providing insulation by trapping body heat. The top coat has longer, coarser hairs, also called guard hairs that are more resistant to rain and snow and act as protection for the undercoat. For this reason, double coated dogs are much better equipped to deal with cold and the elements. Another interesting point is that short haired dogs can shed just as much as those with long hair, but their coat is often denser and doesn’t float around as much so you may not notice as much hair in your house or car.
A dogs’ hair is always growing, in three phases. Anagen is the first phase, where new hairs are growing in alongside old hairs. Catagen is the transition stage where the hair stops growing and the old hair falls out. Telogen is the dormant or resting phase when you will notice the least amount of shedding. All the hair follicles are not in the same stage at the same time, therefore you will see shedding in greater and lesser degrees all year round.
So what happens in spring?
Dogs are shedding their winter fur to make way for a lighter summer coat.
This phenomenon is triggered by longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures. More dramatic seasonal changes happen in northern climates and it’s more obvious with dogs that spend more time outside. In autumn, we see an equal and opposite occurrence, when the summer coat makes way for a heavier winter coat.
We’ll be talking more about tips for grooming your dog and reducing shedding through nutrition.
And not to be forgotten…..the feline members of your household will shed with the season too!
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan