Hair, Hair Everywhere!

“My pet is shedding all over my house!  What should I do?!” Maybe you have this issue. Maybe you can’t wear black out of the house, because your Golden Retriever laid on your clean laundry pile last night and now all you see is hair. Maybe you “throw your hands in the air” in hopeless doubting, wondering if you’ll ever get your house clean enough for your mother-in-law, after your longhair tabby rubbed all over EVERY PIECE of furniture. Does this sound like you?

Don’t worry. You are not alone. Every pet owner, especially those of us with an indoor buddy, has felt this way. Why is your pet shedding so much?

Dog shedding is based on a few factors: breed, health and seasonal changes. There are a handful of breeds that have a more hypoallergenic coat that produce less dander. Dander is what is attached to the hair and what is considered the main, contributing factor to the allergens passed from canine to human. And while no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, according to the American Kennel Club, it is possible to find breeds that produce less dander, with limited shedding and fewer allergies.

Your dog’s health also affects their shedding habits. Stress, poor nutrition or an underlying medical condition can cause abnormal shedding in your furry friend. High quality pet-food manufacturers work hard to offer the correct amount of nutrients for your pet, so that extra supplements may not be needed. Yet, like how every human body is unique and responds to diets in different ways, dogs are similar in their uniqueness as well! You may have to experiment with different brands, or formulas to find that perfect, “fits-like-a-glove” match for your canine companion. Keep an eye out for excessive shedding, bald patches, red skin, bumps, rashes or scabs. If your pet experiences any of these conditions, please contact your veterinarian for advice. “Let’s bubble up, Buster!” Okay, so now you may be thinking, “I can work with the breed and health factors, but I can’t choose or change the weather!!” Many indoor dogs are not affected by the seasonal changes quite as much as outdoor dogs, so they are more prone to smaller fluctuations of coat thickness and so, they typically shed evenly all year. The best thing for our domesticated doggy is daily brushing, adding moisture to their diet and keeping that vacuum and lint roller handy, for our own convenience. A regular bath is also helpful with shedding management. Depending on the coat type, regular baths can vary from weekly, to every 4-6 weeks, to seasonally. Over-bathing can strip too much oil from your pet’s skin. And be sure to use your canine friendly shampoo! Products specifically for shedding are a huge plus for you AND your canine counterpart. 

But what about cats? Cats were created in a way that their regenerative coats are necessary to regulate their temperature. So, why are they shedding? To put it simply, that is how their bodies were designed. And, unless you have a hairless cat, your cat will shed. Maintaining through brushing and occasional baths can help you and your feline family member. The National Cat Groomers of America recommend cats get a bath and blow-dried every 4-6 weeks to keep their coats from getting matted or pelted. For strictly indoor cats, on average, bath time can be even more sparse! An average indoor cat can experience the “heart racing, eyes wide, claws out” bath time only once to twice a year. Choosing the frequency of this experience for you and your cat is up to you! However, remember, that even though baths can help the shedding issue, too often they can strip those healthy, skin oils your feline friend needs. 

Health is, of course, another contributing factor to shedding in cats just as in dogs. If your furry feline starts shedding significantly more than normal in a short amount of time, seek counsel from your veterinarian; we are talking about a few days or weeks. Some of those contributing health factors include cat allergies, ringworm, thyroid disease or simply, anxiety, among others. But overall, just remember, shedding is a sign of a healthy cat! 

Hair, hair everywhere! Let me guess what you are thinking. “Where there is hair, there is a furry friend. Where there is a furry friend, there are lots of cuddles. Where there are lots of cuddles, there is a lot of love and memories!” Am I right?!  Hmm…maybe I should read minds for a living… ​

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