The days are getting longer and the sun is shining more often: spring is in the air! And for us as owners, this means not only more outdoor fun, but also mountains of hair coming out of your pet's fur again. Spring, as well as autumn, are the periods when your pet will be shedding again. But what exactly is shedding? But, how do you get rid of all that hair? Read on for all the facts and figures on shedding!
Why is my pet shedding?
All hairy animals shed hair all year round, including humans! Hair has its own life cycle: a new hair is 'born', grows to a certain length and then dies off. A completely natural process! How much hair your pet usually loses depends on a number of factors, including breed, age, hormones, environment and health. These factors determine not only how often the hair falls out, but also how long it becomes and what texture it has.
There are two periods of the year when your pet loses a lot of hair. These periods, in spring and autumn, are called shedding. They usually last around 3 to 4 weeks. Think of it as a wardrobe change: just like people, dogs and cats change their summer coats for winter coats, and vice versa!
The coat of cats and dogs is slightly different to the hair on our human heads. Your pet has a double coat: an outer coat and an inner coat consisting of soft, short hairs that grow around the outer coat. This undercoat undergoes a true transformation during the shedding period. In spring, the undercoat becomes thin, with a breathable outer coat, keeping your pet cool in summer. In autumn, the undercoat becomes denser and more dense, with longer hairs in the topcoat. Nice and warm!
How much your pet shines depends on how thick its undercoat is. That's why you'll find certain breeds shed less than breeds that come from cold areas, like huskies. These sturdy dogs have a thick undercoat, which has to come off for the summer!
Of course, you will notice the biggest differences if your pet is regularly outdoors. Pets that mainly live indoors will not experience large temperature fluctuations. This way the seasonal shedding is not triggered and your pet will shed a little all year round. Be aware if your pet is losing an unusually large amount of hair or is losing it at odd times, sometimes to the point of going bald. There could be a medical reason for this, such as a skin condition or vitamin deficiency. It's best to visit your vet and have it checked out.
What should you do about all the hair?
The same rule applies to shedding: prevention is better than cure! You can reduce the amount of hair by brushing your dog or cat regularly. You will be combing out all the dead hairs and skin cells from the coat before they get the chance to swirl around your home. Regular brushing also stops the dead hairs from causing itching and you also brush the natural oils over the coat, keeping it in good condition.
But even with regular brushing, tufts of hair will still appear all over the house. In the shedding season, you will need to vacuum regularly to keep things fresh. Also, wash the baskets more often or shake them out (this way the garden birds have some filling for their nests 😉). Stubborn hairs that stick to your clothes or furniture can easily be removed with a clothes roller. So always have one handy when your pet changes its coat! Another handy trick is to use a rubber window wiper. Dampen it a little and run it over your sofa. This way you sweep up all the hairs. This also works with rubber gloves.
Healthy skin, healthy coat.
The coat is usually a good indicator of your pet's health. If the coat is dull and dry, he is (literally) not feeling well. For a healthy dog or cat, and with it a healthy coat, you need a high quality, balanced diet with good ingredients. If your pet has a healthy coat, you will notice that it sheds less.
There are also a number of ingredients that make an extra positive contribution to skin and coat health. In fact, food that is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids helps to keep the coat shiny and healthy! Salmon, for example, is an ingredient rich in these fatty acids. Salmon also features prominently in some of our snacks, such as the Salmon strips for dogs and the Deli line for cats. So give your pet a tasty and healthy extra treat, especially in the shedding period. 😉
Moulting, shedding, hairy patches on couches and carpets: it's all part of life for us pet owners, especially in spring and autumn. But before you shave your dog or cat, remember that you don't like going out without a coat in winter either. So, swap that razor for a brush, healthy food and a sticky roller for the hairs that still flutter about. That way, you will both get through the shedding period together!