What Time Of The Year Do Dogs Shed The Most

May 20, 2013 by

Dog Shedding

A big factor when choosing a dog to take home as your new pet is the amount of shedding that will inevitably take place. After all, dog hair is not a desirable condiment when eating, and hair on furniture and tables is always a nuisance. As every dog lover knows dealing with shedding is an unavoidable part of dog ownership. Though some dog breeds shed more than others, every breed sheds to at least some degree, and that means that floors, furniture, and car interiors will be covered in a fine coat of dog hairs several times per year. But when do dogs shed the most, and what factors can lead to increased shedding? Many people don’t realize that certian times of the year will promt more shedding from dogs, and that there are actually phases of shedding that the dogs go through.

The Four Phases Of Shedding

Dogs go through four phases of hair growth and shedding: the anagen phase, during which hair grows to its genetically-determined maximum length; the catagen phase, during which hair goes through a transitional process that leads to a cessation in hair growth; the telogen phase, during which hair is dormant; and the exogen phase, during which hair is shed. While some dog breeds, like poodles, remain primarily in the anagen phase and grow hair almost constantly, most breeds are “telogen-predominant,” meaning that their hair grows to the genetically-determined maximum and then remains dormant in the telogen phase for a long period of time. In either case, dogs will typically spend only about ten percent of their lives in the actively shedding exogen phase. Note that the rate of shedding is unrelated to the breed’s hair length; long-haired dogs may appear to shed more, but this only an illusion caused by the greater visibility of longer hairs.

Shedding By The Seasons

Exogen can be triggered by a number of factors – stress, grooming (or a lack thereof), or a shift in diet can all lead a dog to enter the exogen phase. By far the most important factor, however, is temperature. During the early fall, usually in September and October, cooling temperatures will cause dogs to enter exogen and shed their light summer coats so that they can grow thicker, warmer coats for the winter months. Likewise, warming springtime temperatures in April and May will cause dogs to shed their warmer coats that would be uncomfortable and unnecessary during the summer. Dogs that live in tropical regions or other regions that don’t experience as much temperature shift will often shed throughout the year, or simply remain in the dormant telogen phase for much longer periods. Dogs that live in regions with more erratic climates, like Colorado or Texas, may enter exogen more often than other dogs.

Regular grooming can help to keep shedding to a minimum, but no matter how well-groomed a dog may be, it will still go through hair growth and shedding cycles during the spring and the fall.

Eric Blair is a pet owner and avid blogger. After reading testimonials about NuVet Eric started using the product on his French Bulldog Louie, and his stamina and morale has gone up tenfold ever since.

Featured images: License: Creative Commons image source

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