Does your dog seem to be losing massive amounts of hair? Is your vacuum filling up rather quickly? It’s not your imagination. Seasonal shedding is underway. Although it takes awhile for the weather to finally feel like fall here in the southwest, our dogs and cats have already been preparing for cooler temperatures. The most noticeable change is the increased shedding in early fall.
Many breeds shed year-round, especially in warmer climates. It may seem like a lot, but they shed even more in the spring as the winter coat is replaced by the lighter, shorter summer coat. When the days grow shorter, they shed again in preparation for the heavier winter coat.
Regular, frequent brushing and grooming can help keep the fur from matting as the old hair gets caught up in the new coat. Specialized brushes made to remove a lot of hair at once are well worth the higher price. They are more effective at removing the loose undercoat and the more hair removed with a brush, the less that ends up on the carpet.
Cats are also big shedders, and longhaired cats will often form mats if not brushed or clipped regularly. Do not, however, pick up the scissors. The mats will be closely attached to the skin which can be accidentally cut.
Heavy seasonal and continued year-round shedding is perfectly normal. However, excessive shedding can also be a sign of health problems. Skin allergies, parasites, poor nutrition and low thyroid levels can all lead to abnormal shedding. If your pet’s coat or shedding pattern has changed, see your veterinarian.