Every dog owner knows when spring arrives. They see it in the green of their lawns, the flowers budding in the gardens, and the dog hair tumbleweeds blowing gracefully across the hardwood floors. One day it seems your dog is fluffy and snuggly, and the next his hair thick, packed in, and sticking out in clumps reminiscent of a shaggy buffalo. This is because in the spring, a dog loses his thick winter coat and grows in a lighter summer coat.
It surprises some dog owners to learn that this process also happen in the fall. It seems a little counterintuitive to lose hair in preparation for winter, but they actually shed out that thinner summer coat in order to make room for the bulk they need to grow. This isn’t usually as severe a process as its springtime counterpart, but for some breeds matting can occur as the dead undercoat gets tangled up in the topcoat. If left long enough, the old undercoat can get stuck to such a degree that it impacts itself into the new undercoat. This creates a thick, solid feeling coat that is hard to get your fingers through. In some cases, it can get so bad that it’s hard to part it to even see the dogs skin. This reduces the amount of airflow the skin receives and it can be very uncomfortable for the dog, or even turn into a skin infection should moisture get trapped beneath it.
Regular brushing and maintenance is the key to preventing your dog’s discomfort during shedding seasons, and to keep him looking his best. Remember, regardless of how thick an undercoat he grows, your dog’s hair should always be easy to get your fingers though. His coat should seem to move with him, instead of seeming like he’s wearing a heavy blanket. Always make sure to use the appropriate brushes and tools for your dog’s coat. What works great for an Akita’s coat can be damaging on a labs skin and coat, so ask your groomer for advice if you are unsure.
Your groomer can help in other ways during shedding season. Talk to them about scheduling a few bath appointments throughout the heaviest part of your dog’s shedding cycle to remove the coat that is ready before it gets stuck or matted into its hair. Besides, every hair that your groomer removes is one that doesn’t end up on your furniture, floors and clothes.