‘Tis the season for…shedding? Seasonal shedding is exactly how it sounds – a seasonal event that comes twice a year, when pets shed their coats to adjust to temperature changes. And if you’re one of the 85+ million families in the US with a pet, you’re likely all too familiar with the heaps of pet hair that can pile up in your home (and on you!) when the seasons change.
Much like how humans swap out their t-shirts for parkas as the weather cools down, dogs shed their lighter coats to make room for warmer, thicker winter coats to grow in. As the weather gets warmer in the spring, they shed those winter coats in exchange for a lighter, summer coat, and the cycle continues.
While this natural cycle is inevitable (even for those with breeds known for minimal shedding), it can be better managed to keep the pet hair from accumulating and taking over your living space. Read on for our top tips and products to help keep pet hair to a minimum all year round.
Stop Shedding at the Source
To help your dog speed up the process of shedding (and maybe even get ahead of it!), be sure to groom them regularly (brushing every day or so, and bathing every 3 – 6 weeks) with brushes and shampoos designed specifically to help them shed the old, loose hair from their undercoat and make room for a new coat to grow in.
Brushes designed specifically to “deshed,” like our favorite, the Furminator, removes excess hair as well as loose hair stuck in the undercoat, meaning there will be less shedding since you’re addressing it at the source.
With coat-soothing ingredients containing omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, deshedding shampoos work to reduce shedding from the undercoat. Just be sure not to bathe your pup too often, as this can cause dry skin and irritation, which can lead to even more shedding, not to mention one uncomfortable pup!
While shedding can’t be cured with a pill, there are supplements you can give your dog that contain vitamins and minerals to help improve your dog’s skin and coat health, thus leading to less shedding overall. Look for supplements containing fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids to balance out dog’s nutrients and promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Help for the Home
Sticking to a consistent, regular cleaning routine can help keep you ahead of the shed. Run the vacuum through the house, lint roll, and do a quick sweeping of the floors daily to keep the hair from piling up, and these products will help you save hours of cleaning and allergens down the road.
With air filters designed to handle hair, dander and small particles, pet vacuums are well-worth the investment if you suffer from allergies. Plus, with added attachments to help get hard-to-reach areas, you’ll be sure to capture every last piece of fur!
Check out our favorite for it’s powerful suction (you can even use the attachments to vacuum your dog!): The Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Lint Rollers + Mitts
If you have company coming by and need to make the fur disappear fast, throw on a pet hair pickup mitt or grab a lint-roller to run over the furniture. It’ll look good as new in minutes!
Car Seat Covers
Keep your car seats protected during all of your trips to the dog park with a backseat cover that can easily clip in when needed, and stow away in the trunk when your dog isn’t joining you for a ride. They can also be washed in your washing machine for easy clean up.
When it comes down to it, a consistent cleaning routine, like daily sweeping, paired with regular brushing and grooming will help keep the pet hair overrunning your home, especially during seasonal shedding months.
However, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between natural shedding and an underlying allergy or health issue that could be causing excessive hair loss, such as hypothyroidism. Be on the lookout for health or behavior changes in your pet (like excessive licking of their paws), which can indicate an allergy or more serious issue, and consult your veterinarian with any concerns.
Happy Shedding Season!