Hair, hair everywhere- what to do about shedding pets

One of the joys of owning a pet is the hair or fur that we find clinging to our clothes, couches, cars and carpets. Nearly every dog or cat sheds, though some shed less than others. Their skin is less than one-half the thickness of our own, so they are more prone to dermatological issues and greater hair loss. Dogs and cats shed to get rid of old, damaged or extra hair. This occurs year round and occurs in cycles. These are affected by the amount of light the pet is exposed to as well as the change of seasons, stress, hormones, health issues and lifestyle. They typically grow new coats in early spring and late summer followed by shedding in late spring and early fall. During the middle of the summer and winter, shedding is minimal. House pets natural cycle is affected by artificial conditions of their indoor environment. Interior lighting, air conditioning, and heating disrupt their natural cycle and can lead to year round shedding.

What is a dog or cat lover to do? The first line of defense is to keep your pet well-groomed. Regular brushing removes dead hair and decreases mat formation. There are also commercially available pet grooming tools that attach to your vacuum and are great for very hairy pets. Bathing is also helpful using a mild pet shampoo. Be sure to rinse your pet thoroughly. Most experts do not recommend bathing too often as it may dry out the pet’s skin. Cats tend to groom themselves and should only be bathed when extra dirty. Many pets are sensitive to pollens and other irritants in the environment. This requires bathing every few weeks to curtail itching, shedding and dandruff.

Many dog and cat foods contain fillers that can cause allergic reactions, including excess shedding. Your pet needs a proper diet using food with high quality ingredients. Read those labels and be sure the first ingredient on the food label is meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb. Hypo-allergenic foods canĀ  often be purchased at your vet’s office.

Shedding is inevitable and pet owners can do their best to keep it under control..but a lint roller goes a long way for keeping our darker clothes hair-free!

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