With spring and summer comes pet shedding season and you may find yourself surrounded by loose, flying fur around your home and yard. Your dog or cat may seem uncomfortable during this time as well. Here are some things you can do to help your pet through the shedding process as well as signs of abnormal shedding that mean your pet should see a veterinarian.
When Do Pets Shed?
Dogs and cats who spend a lot of time outdoors will shed twice a year in the spring and fall. Spring shedding is when your pet sheds the winter coat to prepare for the summer temperatures. Fall shedding is when dead summer hairs are dropped in preparation for growing the winter coat. The problem is that, nowadays, many pets spend the majority of their time indoors, so they may shed constantly all year-round. Some breeds shed more than others.
Are There Any Health Problems With Shedding?
Shedding, by itself, rarely causes any health problems aside from skin irritation. However, cats may swallow an excessive amount of shed fur through grooming. This may result in hairball problems and intestinal impaction. If this is the case, then your cat may need a veterinarian's help and medication to pass those hairballs.
What Are Signs of Shedding Problems?
If your pet is scratching excessively and you see large bare patches or bleeding skin, then this may be a sign of a skin problem. Parasites and fungus can cause excessive hair loss and discomfort, and your pet needs immediate treatment as soon as you discover the problem. If your dog or cat is also licking his or her feet often, then that is also a sign of a health issue and not normal grooming or shedding.
How Can One Help With Shedding?
For most pets, daily brushing is sufficient enough to keep their shedding under control. Brush your pet in an area where you can easily collect the discarded fur for disposal. Some dog breeds may have a thick, double coat, so an undercoat comb is an excellent tool for getting that fur loose. One thing you never want to do is shave your pet as some double-coated breeds rely on their undercoat to regular their body temperature.
Generally, your pet should be fine during shedding season, though you may find your home filled with fur if it is not controlled. This problem can be easily remedied by having a grooming routine and a plan to tackle shed fur. However, if you find that your pet is showing signs of abnormal shedding or is having complications from swallowing fur, then see your veterinarian for pet care advice and treatment.