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CAT & DOG SHEDDING? 6 TIPS FOR WHEN THE FUR FLIES

by | May 12, 2021 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 32 comments

Pets shed in both the spring and fall. Shadow-Pup leaves mini-drifts of fuzz I sweep up daily, all summer long. Karma-Kat’s URK-factor (hairballs) increases with pet shedding season. Yuck! The fur flies about the same time as allergy season begins. If you suffer from allergic reactions to your cat or dog, check out these pet allergy tips.

Dog Shedding Time!

Cat and dog shedding may be a big hairy deal—but it is normal. Magical-Dawg used to leave drifts of black fur everywhere. Although Shadow-Pup’s medium-coarse fur, and Karma-Kat’s short light fur isn’t nearly as noticeable, they also shed.

Year-round floating fur increases the challenge of keeping dry cleaned apparel in a Fido-free zone. You can’t stop pet shedding. Unless you’re a passionate pet lover who considers pet hair to be a condiment, understanding how to tame the hairy mess will keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy and simplify housecleaning.

fur shedding

Combing it out means it won’t be swallowed–and end up on your carpet!

Why Pet Shedding Matters

It’s not the temperature that prompts fur shedding. Light exposure, either to sun or artificial light, determines the amount and timing. More hair is shed during the greatest exposure to light. Outdoor cats and dogs living in the northeastern United States shed with the seasons, with the most fur flying in late spring for the several weeks during which daylight increases. But house pets under constant exposure to artificial light shed all year long.

Hair grows in cycles beginning with a period of rapid growth in the spring, followed by slower growth, and then ending in a winter resting stage. Mature hairs loosen in the follicles over the winter. In the spring, another cycle of hair growth begins, and new hair pushes the old loose ones out, resulting in an all-over shed.

Poodles shed–but not as often

What Cats and Dogs Shed Most or Least

All cats and dogs shed—even shorthair pets—but some breeds prompt more aggravation. The so-called “non-shedding” curly-coated dogs like Poodles just have much longer fur-growing seasons in which hair continuously grows for years at a time. They tend not to lose huge amounts of hair all at once. Shed hairs get caught and held in curly coats so shedding isn’t as obviously left on the furniture.

Shorthair pets like Bravo and Karma shed just as much but the tiny hairs don’t create furry drifts–just fuzz-balls. “Double coated” shedding German shepherds, Chows, and Persian cats may look moth-eaten when they shed clumps of fur at a time.

Sphynx cats also shed–you just won’t notice!

Matts, Hairballs & Hotspots–What About Shaving?

Thickly furred pets develop mats when fur is trapped and tangled next to the skin. Mats are terrific flea habitat and create bruises.

Dogs also can develop painful hot spots—a moist bacterial skin infection—from mats. Learn more about hot spots and how to manage them in this post.

Hairballs develop when the dog or cat swallows shed fur during self-grooming. Yes, some dogs get hairballs, so it’s important to address shed fur before it’s swallowed.

Shaving down the pet’s fur may reduce the risk of matting and hotspots. Fur also protects cats and dogs from sunburn, though, so be judicious when trimming up the coat.

6 Tips for How to Stop Pets Shedding

You can’t stop shedding, but you can reduce the aggravation to yourself and health risks to your pet. Refer to this post for more house cleaning tips.

Groom Every Day. Religious fur care prevents problems and keeps skin and coats healthy. Make sure you groom outside or in an area easy to clean, or you’ll deal with a furry tornado inside the house. Seren-Kitty at age 21 doesn’t groom herself anymore, so she relies on Karma-Kat’s help–and mine.

Choose Good Tools. The Furminator FURminator Long Hair deShedding Tool for Dogs, Large (also comes for cats) won’t work on mats, but the close-fitting teeth pull off 80 percent of loose fur. A standard comb or curry or pin brush also works.

Pet Away Fur. For shorthaired pets that hate grooming but love petting, try rubber-nubbed grooming “gloves” like the 2-in-1 Pet Glove: Grooming Tool + Furniture Pet Hair Remover Mitt Or slip the foot-end of old pantyhose over your hand and pet to pull off shed fuzz.

Target Problem Areas. Pay particular attention to mat-prone areas behind the pet’s ears, beneath his tail, and in the “armpits” and groin regions. Longhair cats also develop tummy mats.

Take Your Time. There is no rule that says you must comb or brush the entire pet at one setting. Space it out over several hours or days. Most dogs and cats have “sweet spots” they love to have scratched, so finish on the cat’s cheeks or the dog’s chest. End each session with a favorite treat or game so your cat or dog identifies grooming with good things.

Ask A Pro. If you aren’t able to manage grooming yourself, have it professionally done by a groomer or veterinarian. “Lion cuts” that shave wooly pets for the summer can prevent problem mats or hot spots.

 

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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

 

 

32 Comments

  1. hbethp

    Great post and thanks for the tips. Jack is the first pet I’ve had that doesn’t shed. My cats shed so much it was crazy. I could brush them every day and I felt like there was always enough fur to clothe another cat. I used the furminator and it was amazing. Red only likes being brushed with a rubber mitt and yet she still manages to leave her beautiful red hair on everything I own. What can you do? If you share your life with pets you’re going to have to get used to the hair. Reduce the amount…definitely, but I’d never want to live in a pet free home so hand me the packing tape I have some clothes to de-hair!!

    • Amy Shojai

      Seren loves the Furminator, even though she’s shorthaired. Amazing the amount comes off her tiny body.

  2. Kelly

    Yes it’s that time of the year! Shedding season. Many think that pugs don’t shed, but I have news for them – they do and more than you think! I have two cats as well. My long haired cat sheds in clumps that can be found dropped throughout the house – so brushing and grooming him is very important to help him eliminate hairballs.

  3. nichole

    Shedding is always an issue! 🙂 Don’t forget to recycle the fur if you can… put it outside in the spring for birds to make nests. You can also thinking about having it spun into yarn.

    • Amy Shojai

      I’ve found bunny nests and mouse nests (not just the birds) that use Magic fur!

  4. Lola The Rescued Cat

    I always enjoy reading your tips. Both of my cats are short haired, but Lexy sheds more than Lola does. Luckily for me they both enjoy being brushed! It really does help.

    • Amy Shojai

      Karma just likes having his head rubbed. Get gets a bit too rowdy when I try to groom all of him. Magic loves it all over–scratches, yes!

  5. Heather Wallace

    Great tips! Both my dogs are short-haired and do not shed too much….although we find little blonde fur balls winding across the floor periodically. But I deal with a lot of horses shedding their winter coats. Often before I work on them, I will pull out my de-shedder and give them a once over.

    • Amy Shojai

      Here in Texas most of the horses are allowed to grow coat in winter. When I lived in Lexington and Louisville, I’d often see horses blanketed to keep ’em short and slick looking.

  6. DashKitten

    Our white cat Harvey should be a shedding nightmare but he is such a clean and tidy boy that I realised the others are much worse. We have a Furminator and a slicker brush to help!

  7. raisingyourpetsnaturally

    Great tips. Grooming everyday is so helpful. It’s also a great time to look your pet over for any lumps and bumps. 🙂

    • Amy Shojai

      Yep, the nose-to-tail home exam is a routine we do regularly. The animals just think it’s getting petted and massaged.

  8. Dear Mishu

    the pet glove is the only type of grooming I’ll let anyone do on me. I love it – it’s like a big massage!

  9. Sonja

    I did not know that about light! THAT explains why my boy “drops his coat” only once a year after our LOOOOONNNGGG and painful winters … as soon as the days get a tiny bit longer …. pooooooffffff!

    • Amy Shojai

      I know! Sometimes I think we could make a couple more dogs out of everything Magic sheds!

  10. Debbie Bailey

    Great tips! Here in the South, our pups definitely shed ALL YEAR LONG it seems. Our Border Collie/Lab Mix Helo is a professional shedder. The only chance at surviving the hair war zone is regular brushing and LOTS of sweeping and vacuuming.

    • Amy Shojai

      What kind of vacuum do you have? We have two Dysons, and they seem to do really well.

  11. Beth

    We used to have a Keeshond and when she blew her coat, it was pretty epic. We would just pick up hair by the handful, and it wouldn’t take long to have a whole bagful. I never knew that shedding was related to the light, I always assumed it was due to the temperature changes.

    • Amy Shojai

      A friend of mine used to save the fur and spin it into dog yarn, and use it to weave or knit. She said the dog wool was almost too hot to wear.

  12. Holly Montgomery

    Very interesting! I have three dogs, and the one with the longest hair sheds less than my Boxer. Her hair is EVERYWHERE and it is pokey! Where I live we have long winters so their shedding seasons tend to correlate but this makes sense why!

    • Amy Shojai

      It’s interesting how different the dogs are in their shedding cycle.

  13. Kamira Gayle

    Oh yes. I remember those days of cat hair! The tool I liked the best but also meant taking time and space to work was the Furrminator. My calico/Siamese mixed cat Dusty would shed so much especially in the Spring/Summer months. Furrminator worked great at getting all that undercoat fur out. We’d get a small trash can full of hair in one brushing! Whew!

  14. Sweet Purrfections

    Because the girls are Persians and they live indoors year round with little natural light, they constantly shed. I try to keep them groomed, but it’s a full time job. I’ve learned I need to focused on different areas each day and not try to do everything in one day and they are a little more patient with me.

  15. Talent Hounds

    Kilo the Pug sheds his black hair all year all over the white couches and floor. He gets tons of petting and looks sleek. Isabelle was half chow and shed clumps and dumps each spring and a a bit all year.

  16. Cathy Armato

    I have a Husky so at certain times of the year it looks like it’s snowing in the house, LOL! I do consider dog hair to be a fashion accessory! I have two dogs, one doesn’t shed and the other sheds enough for 5 dogs. Good tips, thanks.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  17. The Daily Pip

    We have two cats, 1 dog and a bunny – who sheds more than all the others combined. Our bunny’s cycles of growth are short and omg, there is always fur flying! I will have to try one of the pet gloves with her.

  18. Dolly the Doxie

    Well Rhette’s going to be happy to hear that he should be brushed every day! I try not to because he get’s spoiled and expects it every time, followed by treats or catnip. This was very informative, I never really knew why pets shed or how, but I have heard that indoor cats shed all year round which does seem to be true.

  19. anjum

    Very informative topics.

  20. Mary McCauley

    The FURminator sound like a very good idea. I just checked the dryer lint trap yesterday after a family member had been doing his laundry. The lint trap was full of dog hair. We have 3 dogs. No kittys. I have the glove. I have a Schweenie–the doxie-shih tzu mix. She gets groomed every few months. Her fur grows very fast. Thank for the tips.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Neatness Freaks: Why and How Cats Groom - […] dirt, sores or parasites and vacuum away buggy pests. Eww! Of course, that also can take care of shedding…
  2. Achoo! What to Do About Allergies to Cats and Dogs? - […] dander that causes reactions. Curly-coated pets like Rex kitties and Poodle-type dogs may not shed as often, but their…
  3. Cat Hairballs: 7 Tips to Solve Cat Hairball Problems - […] shedding season, and cat hairballs (sometimes even dog hairballs, URK!) can be a problem at this time of year.…
  4. Dog Hot Spots: Treating Hot Spots with Home Remedies - […] hot spots are the bane of our canine friends, often happening during both the spring and fall shedding season.…

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