When you’re sitting on the sofa stroking your furry friend, a few strands of loose dog hair left on your lap as a result of a moment of cuddling is completely normal. Particularly in winter – and regardless of your dog’s thick fur, wiry coat or short hair – regular shedding will often simply reflect the age or breed of your pretty pooch.
However, while your dog will often leave a little reminder of their presence on all kinds of fabrics in your home, in some cases molting can become excessive – which means it might be time to put measures in place to reduce the amount you spend on your trusty lint roller.
Today, we’re offering up the reasons why your furry companion may suddenly be losing their coat and the many ways there are to minimize the effect of this on your clothes and home. This way, you can ensure that your all-black work outfit stays that way without a generous sprinkle of fur.
While pet shedding is often no cause for concern, in a few instances, a sudden and amplified amount of fur-loss may be the direct result of health issues that are impacting your four-legged friend’s wellbeing. So, in order to help abolish any worries you may have, we’re delving deep into the many possible causes behind the sudden trail of dog fur around your home.
One of the most common and normal causes of shedding is a simple seasonal change. Similar to many other animals, as a measure to control and regulate their body temperature, your dog will shed away its thick and toasty-warm winter coat in favor of a lighter and more comfortable coat.
Naturally, though, this is also dependant on the type of dog you own. Therefore, if the carpet beneath your border collie, labrador, beagle or German shepherd’s paws seems to be a little furrier than usual and the weather is beginning to change drastically, it’s more likely to do with the time of year, the breed of dog or how old they are rather than anything else.
With the changing seasons comes a plethora of skin problems that many of man’s best friends are particularly prone to. Dogs with sensitive skin conditions, or those whose short coats give their skin a larger exposure to the sun, become particularly at risk from shedding as if their skin becomes damaged and dry their hair struggles to grow. In summer, it’s important not to turn a blind eye to your pooch’s sunbathing. While they might not be lapping up UV rays in a bikini, this doesn’t mean that they’re not at risk of getting sunburnt out on their country walk or on your backyard’s decking.
While all dogs are at risk of feeling the negative effects of the sun’s strong glare, certain breeds are more likely to start to sizzle before others. These breeds include Dalmatian, Pitbull, Boxer, Weimaraner, and Labrador, try to minimize the time they spend soaking up the sun by giving them plenty of shade and regularly cooling them down. Additionally, there are plenty of chemical-free sunscreens that you can lather on your pet’s body – however, be careful to keep the human equivalent away from their coat as they often contain chemicals harmful to your dog.
In some unfortunate cases, an increase in hair loss can be a symptom of an illness that your dog has recently contracted. If constant scratching has resulted in stray hairs covering your floor, it could be the result of parasites such as lice or mites that have decided to call your dog’s fur their home. On rare occasions, certain cancers and fungal infections can also cause your dog to rapidly lose hair. If you’re concerned about the amount of hair that’s being shed, it’s always best to check in with your local vet.
For dogs whose environments have recently changed, it’s not uncommon for their levels of anxiety to increase in their unfamiliar surroundings – and with it, the amount of hair they shed. Fireworks and other sudden circumstantial changes can result in stress. Do your best to keep your dog in comfortable surroundings where possible – especially if you have a nervous rescue dog or a puppy. You might even consider speaking with a vet about calming medication if your dog is showing extreme signs of stress.
How to Manage It
Luckily for both you and your dog, there are plenty of solutions available out there to help manage your pooch’s hair-shedding problem. From active changes to their routine and health regime to interior measures within your home to help prevent the spread of fur. Below, we’re sharing a few smart hair-loss handling hacks.
Bathe It Away
Naturally, hair falling into the bath is better than in every room around your home. Give your dog regular baths to significantly reduce the amount of hair loss they experience in other parts of your home.
Be careful, though. Bathing your four-legged-friend might be best for your furniture, washing them too often can dry out and irritate their skin. This’ll produce the opposite effect of your intentions. No more than once a week is advised for most breeds, while once a month seems to work best for most. If you must wash them more, use a moisturizing, gentle and fragrance-free shampoo to avoid drying out their skin.
Take Grooming Seriously
It’s not only your pampered poodle that deserves a good brush. When it comes to grooming your dog’s coat, make sure you do it thoroughly and often in order to distribute all the essential oils that are packed in your pooch’s skin. By dispersing the oils around their body, your dog’s coat is protected and their hairs are locked in place to minimize the potential for over-shedding.
Dog hairs are easily caught and maintained within the brush’s bristles to eliminate the probability of hair falling out on your sofa instead.
Depending on your dog’s breed, you’ll need a different brush to suit their unique coat. For short-haired hounds, use a standard bristle brush that doesn’t look too dissimilar to the kind you’d use on your own hair. For your curly-coated companion, use a slicker, fine-wired brush to glide through those knotted twists. While for long-haired dogs with thick undercoats, consider a rake brush with bristles about as long as the thickness of your dog’s fur.
Try Out a New Diet
Another simple change you can make to your dog’s routine is trying new diet hacks to see which suit your dog’s lifestyle. This’ll save your home’s furnishings from piles of fur. In most cases, cheap dog food is packed with fillers that make it hard for your pet to digest their meal.
Fido’s food should contain meat as its main ingredient. This will help your furry friend absorb all the nutrients needed to grow and condition their coat. Simultaneously, nourishing his skin.
For an inexpensive and valuable addition to your dog’s diet, why not feed them the occasional healthy human food snack? Foods such as sliced, seedless apples, bananas, and cucumbers are rich in healthy nutrients. If they make up 5-10% of your dog’s daily food intake, they have the potential to reduce shedding and keep their coat shiny.
Hair-Proof Your Home
In some cases, there’s only so much you can do to your dog to stop fur-shedding on your furniture and floor. Not only is finding miscellaneous hair in your morning coffee annoying, but it can also be incredibly unhygienic too.
Before buying a pet, preparation really is key.
Opting for easy-to-clean furniture is a sound way of pet-proofing your home. Swap your porous, wooden kitchen top for an impermeable and wipe-clean granite worktop. A leather (or pleather) sofa is another alternative to keep those stray hairs at bay.
While you can’t protect everything from your curly companion’s locks, there are things you can do to keep their hairs at a minimum. You can alter your dog’s daily diet until you find something that fits. Clean their coat routinely or shield your home from the fur’s impact. Beginning the process of minimizing your pet’s excessive shedding will not only keep your home clean but keep your pet healthy, too.
About the Author
Sophie Armstrong is a content creator for granite and quartz worktop specialists Burlington Granite, who provide a full bespoke worktop solution by offering templating, cutting, polishing and fitting, all driven by 25 years of industry experience.