Pet parents will agree that every outfit is incomplete without puppy hair. While a few strands here and there are acceptable and even adorable, if you and your home are constantly covered in fur because of shedding, it is a problem. But a problem that is common to all breeds and also quite easily controllable.
WHY DO PUPPIES SHED
When a puppy starts shedding depends upon its breed, but most pups start the shedding process between 4-6 months of age. They have a soft single coat of fur that is replaced by stiffer, thicker hair usually over a period of two years. A double-coated breed will grow two layers of fur after shedding the puppy coat.
Once the puppy fur is gone, the new coat will have a different color, texture and of course, none of that calming puppy smell.
Dog hair does not shed all the time: it is continuously going through a cycle of growth, rest and loss. Shorthaired breeds shed a significant amount frequently because they complete this cycle in a short period of time. Longhaired breeds like Poodles, Lhasa Apsos etc. are often referred to as ‘non-shedding’ breeds. This does not mean that longhaired breed puppies won’t shed their first coat; but after the puppy period, you may not notice the shedding because they will grow their hair for long periods of time, years even, before they lose their hair.
Other than the genetically predestined cycle, puppies go through seasonal shedding in spring and fall. It’s a myth that hair loss has anything to do with temperature; it actually is related to exposure to light. Maximum hair is shed during the greatest exposure to light. During the autumn months, days are short, and the pups are prompted to lose their light summer coat to give way to a thicker coat for warmth in winter. Similarly, during spring when days are longer and they spend more time in sunlight, puppies start to replace their thick winter coat with a short breezy one suitable for summer.
HOW TO MANAGE SHEDDING
- Start grooming your puppy from the very start. Brush his soft coat 15 minutes every day to fasten the shedding process. Make it a pleasant experience so your little one gets acclimatized to being brushed.
- Give your puppy a healthy balanced diet to maintain a smooth coat and keep him protected from parasites. His skin and fur is the first sign of his internal health. So it needs to be looked after from the very start. A high-quality dog food promotes healthy hair growth and may reduce excessive shedding.
- During the shedding months of spring and fall, spend a good amount of time grooming your dog. It will confine the fur to one space and keep your environment clean.
- This one is pretty simple: take your puppy outdoors for walks and play time. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how much hair will get blown away with the wind.
While shedding is a fairly normal process, keep an eye out for when you see some abnormal or excessive shedding. Losing hair in patches, the skin appearing inflamed or scaly, or continuous itching all point toward health issues. In this case, consult your veterinarian.