Imagine this — you are relaxing on the couch only to find that your precious pup seemingly left his coat behind! No need to panic; your dog is just shedding. Knowing when do dogs shed is crucial if you want to take better care of your pet.
Dog shedding is bothersome and frustrating, but it is one small price to pay to keep your pup around. It is entirely unavoidable for dog owners since most breeds shed. Read more about the shedding season for dogs and their hair growth cycle!
When Do Dogs Shed a Lot?
As a new pet owner, you should know what months dogs shed the most and when dog shedding season is. Knowing the answer to these will make dealing with the messy event easier.
Typically, the months when your pup sheds the most will ultimately depend on the breed and type of dog you own. Some dog breeds, such as Newfoundlands and Labrador Retrievers, are heavy shedding dogs. Others, like Border Terriers, Poodles, and Dachshunds, are almost shed-free.
Certain breeds tend to shed heavier during particular months of the year, while some shed consistently throughout the year. To put simply, some shed seasonally while others do year-round.
Aside from breed, other factors contribute to shedding. Health can be a primary reason why dogs have unexplained excessive shedding. Nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, endocrine problems, skin problems, and other metabolic conditions can lead to hair loss.
Another is genetics and coat type. A study on coat variation in domestic dogs and three genes (KRT71, RSPO2, and FGF5) found a tiny correlation between coat traits and shedding. According to the results, dogs with wiry coats (which have a variant of the RSPO2 gene) tend to be low-shedders.
Another research, the largest canine genome-wide association study with over 4,200 dogs genotyped at 180,000 markers, discovered the fourth gene, the MC5R gene. This specific gene affects the heavy or moderate shedding of dogs that do not have wiry coats.
When is shedding season for dogs who are always inside? Dogs who live indoors and pretty much copped inside tend to be tricky when it comes to determining their shedding season.
Unlike dogs always out in the sun and natural weather, these pups have more exposure to artificial lighting. They also have more exposure to air conditioning during the summer and heating during the winter season.
Those are enough to disrupt a dog’s natural shedding cycle. In this case, it is kind of hard to tell. Typically, the result is moderate shedding year-round.
Dogs left in the open have a more predictable shedding cycle — you can tell based on the season. Outside dogs left to the elements of Mother Nature usually follow a more natural cycle. You can expect their winter coat to shed in spring, typically around March. It ends or completes by June in most cases.
In fall, your dog’s summer fur and coat will start to shed around September. The shedding process will end by November.
Most dogs with double coats are shed seasonally. Seasonal dog shedding occurs because of temperature changes. You may have heard it as ‘blowing coat’ in passing. Do dogs shed more in summer or winter? The shedding season typically happens during spring and fall, when the temperature is about to get warmer or colder.
During spring, breeds with thicker coats are shed to prepare for the warmer days of summer. During fall, the shorter daylight hours trigger the change in coat, this time, to prepare for the cold winter.
Dog shedding in winter means shedding their lighter undercoats to grow thicker and warmer coats for the cooler weather. When the warmer weather enters, dogs shed their winter undercoats for lighter ones.
Some breeds do not blow their coats during certain seasons. Instead, they drop hair like it’s their business all year-round. Though, their shedding is less noticeable than those who do it seasonally. They shed in much smaller amounts.
Like evergreen trees that grow new leaves quickly, these breeds always grow new hair month after month. Dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and Poodles continuously grow hair and have shafts that have longer lifespans and shed lightly.
Most of their hair follicles are in the anagen stage all year, which causes constant hair growth.
Hair Growth and Shedding Cycle
The shedding cycle differs for every dog, making it difficult to know what controls it. Fortunately, more is known about its influences. To fully understand the shedding cycle of your dog, it would be best to learn and review the stages of hair growth and the type of coat your dog possesses.
Stages Of Hair Growth
There are four stages of dog hair growth.
- This anagen phase is when the dog experiences new hair growth. Their genetic makeup will determine how long the hair follicles will remain in this stage.
- During the catagen phase, new hair follicles stop and cease growth.
- The telogen phase is the rest period. The hair will become dormant, so no new growth nor shedding occurs.
- The exogen phase is the final stage of hair growth. It is when the hair reaches the end of its lifespan.
When do dogs start shedding, you might wonder. The shedding starts in the Exogen phase when the hair starts falling out.
As for when dogs stop shedding, likely, the shedding will not stop nor decrease as they grow old. Instead, the hair’s lifespan may shorten as they age, meaning that the dog will shed more frequently.
Aside from acquainting better with a dog’s hair growth, it might also serve you well to know the different types of dog hairs.
Primary hairs, or guard hairs, are the long and stiff hairs that are part of the pup’s outer coat. It is meant to protect a dog’s skin.
The primary hair is the topmost and outermost layer that shields the skin’s surface. It is arranged regularly in broad tracts that follow the dog’s contour and gives its coat a smooth appearance.
Secondary hairs, or undercoat hairs, are soft or fleecy hairs that keep them fluffy and warm during the cold winter days. Breeds with double coats have an outer coat and undercoat, while single-coated dogs only have a top coat, lacking the undercoat.
Shedding is just one of the things you need to deal with once you become a fur parent. It can be a frustrating time for most and can even drive you nuts and up the wall the first couple of times. If you’re a new or experienced pet owner, you must know when dogs shed to better prepare for it.