It’s that time of year again: the leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, and your house is slowly turning into a pet hair disaster. Dog shedding can be a huge problem, especially in the fall when it seems like your poor pup is shedding fur at an alarming rate.
We spoke with Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, a well-known international influencer in the veterinary and animal health care spaces, to learn more about dog shedding and how to manage it this fall.
Just like humans lose hair naturally, shedding is an important part of most dogs’ fur and skin health. Shedding gets rid of old, damaged hair and makes room for new growth.
There are a few different factors that can contribute to pet shedding, including breed, climate, season, and whether a dog has a single or double layer of fur. Dogs that are bred for colder climates, like Huskies and Samoyeds, tend to shed more than other breeds. If your dog loves being outside when it’s cold, there’s a good chance it has an undercoat and will shed a lot.
Regardless of breed, dogs with double coats will shed much more than those with single coats. A double coat means that a dog has an undercoat that is typically shorter than its outer coat and denser in texture. Twice each year, these dogs will shed their undercoats to prepare for the upcoming season.
Single-coated dogs only have one coat, and do not have an undercoat. While these dogs can still shed, they have much less fur than dogs with a double coat, meaning they will shed much less hair. Dogs of any coat length and texture may have single or double coats.
According to Dr. Wooten, shedding can also be caused by stress, skin infection, allergies, and underlying medical conditions. Contact your vet if your dog’s shedding is accompanied by changes in behavior or is concerning to you in any way.
Dogs tend to shed the most in the spring and fall. Dogs shed in the spring because they’re trying to get rid of their thick winter coat and they shed in the fall because they’re getting ready for their thick winter coat to grow back in.
While you’ll notice shedding the most in the spring and fall when it comes to dogs with undercoats, most dogs will shed year-round. The only exceptions are hairless dogs or breeds that don’t shed very much, like the Maltese or Poodle, which shed minimally even though they have quite a bit of fur.
During the fall or spring, you may need to brush your dog weekly or even daily to avoid getting fur all over the house. Regular brushing can also keep them comfortable and help them get through heavy shedding periods more quickly.
CONAIRPRO Dog &Cat Pet-It Boar Bristle Dog Brush
This brush glides effortlessly over short, long, and curly coats.
Unfortunately, most dogs shed a lot, and there isn’t much you can do to stop them from shedding. After all, it is important for their health to do so.
Instead of trying to stop shedding, your focus should be on managing it. Dr. Wooten suggests brushing your dog weekly or several times a week to collect hair before it gets spread all around your home. The best tools for brushing dogs with short hair are a natural-bristle brush, a glove with bristles, or a hound mitt.
HandsOn Pet Grooming Gloves for Shedding & Bathing
Make bathing, grooming, and cleaning an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.
“Brush the coat in the direction opposite in which it lays, which is usually toward the head and up the legs,” Dr. Wooten explained. “This pulls any loose hairs out. Then, brush in the direction of the hair to collect and remove it from your pet. Repeat two or three times to get all the hair and redistribute the natural oils.”
For dogs with long fur or those with an undercoat, the process is about the same, but you’ll want to use a slicker brush, which can reach past the outer coat and grab the soft undercoat. “Brush the haircoat one direction, then the other,” Dr. Wooten said. “Repeat a few times until you see very few hairs in your brush.”
Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs
Retract the bristles with the push of a button for simple clean up.
If your dog is going through a heavy period of shedding, Dr. Wooten recommends adding in a raking tool to their grooming routine. “Gently rake the tool along your pet’s skin in the direction that the hair is growing (usually toward the tail and down the legs), then pull up and out,” she said.
DakPets Pet Grooming Brush
Prevent damaging the topcoat while promoting smooth and healthy fur.
Professional grooming appointments can also be very helpful in removing excess hair during shedding season and keeping your dog’s coat and skin healthy.
For the fur that can’t be captured by a brush or in the bathtub, there are ways you can make cleaning up easier for yourself. “A Roomba is your friend!” said Dr. Wooten.
iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum
Sit back and let this machine do the cleaning for you.
BISSELL 2252 CleanView Swivel Upright Bagless Vacuum
This vacuum comes with a PetTurboEraser tool to clean stairs, upholstery and more.
PetLover Extra Sticky Lint Roller
Enjoy your pet and keep your home clean with these 90-sheet options.
If you let your dog on the couch or bed, you may want to lay down an extra blanket or couch cover to use as a barrier against extra fur. Instead of dealing with cleaning the upholstery, you can simply wash the blanket when it gets too hairy.
Gogobunny 100% Double-Sided Waterproof Pet Blanket
Cover couches, chairs, and beds to keep them safe from pet hair.
Dogs shedding is a natural and necessary process that you can help manage with regular grooming and by keeping your home clean. By following these tips, you can cut down on the amount of fur in your home and make life with your furry friend a little bit easier this fall.