Falling Fur: How to Get Through Shedding Season

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By: Kim Campbell Thornton, Fear Free Pets Professional in partnership with BISSELL®.

Whether we’re talking furniture or clothing, dog hair is the new black, especially in fall, or as we like to call it, furricane season. But that doesn’t mean we want swirls of it following us around wherever we go.

Most pets shed a little bit year-round, but in fall they start to drop their summer coat and a new, heavier winter coat moves in. You know what that means: it’s shedding season. Seasonal shedding, sometimes referred to as “blowing coat,” leaves dustpuppies lurking in every corner and on every surface of your home. You find that your hand comes away covered in fur when you pet your pet.

When dogs and cats blow coat, the process can take as little as a couple of weeks or as much as a month or more. It all depends on your pet’s size and breed. Bigger dogs such as Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain Dogs have more fur to shed, and even some shorthaired breeds—think Beagles, Labradors, Pugs—can drop more coat than you ever imagined. German Shepherds are fondly nicknamed “German Shedders.”

If you’re faced with tufts of undercoat coming out all over the place, don’t despair. The following tips will help you get through shedding season with a minimum of fuss—or at least with a hold on your sanity.

Brush your dog daily or at least every other day. Just as your own shedding hairs come out when you brush your hair, so will your dog or cat’s. More hair in the brush means less hair on your clothing, furniture and floors.

Give your dog a warm bath or let a groomer do it for you. The warm water helps to loosen dead hair. While your dog is still in the tub or shower, brush him with a nubbly rubber brush—, such as the BISSELL® Pet Hair Eraser® Grooming Gloves to remove loosened hair. Condition the fur with a product made for dogs. Using a low or cool setting, blow dry him thoroughly. You won’t get as much hair out if you don’t get him completely dry. Repeat as needed.

Between baths and brushings, use a lint roller or pet hair lifter to remove excess hair from your dog or cat.

Fur-removal tools are your friends. They include wire slicker brushes, undercoat rakes, shedding blades, and rubber wet or dry brushes. Your dog’s breeder, a professional groomer, or your veterinarian can suggest the most appropriate tool for your pet’s coat. Use these tools with restraint. You don’t want your dog to be naked and bleeding.

If your dog isn’t fearful of the vacuum cleaner, you can accustom him to gentle fur removal by running an attachment slowly and gently over his body, such as the BISSELL® ShedAway® Pet Hair Grooming Attachment. Many dogs seem to enjoy the sensation. Always offer plenty of treats or a favorite toy during the process to help him learn to love it. Introduce the idea gradually so you don’t scare him.

If you keep up with vacuuming your floors and furniture once a week (give or take a few days depending on the amount of shedding your pet experiences), you should be able to avoid a couch covered in cat hair or a chair coated with dog hair. Invest in a vacuum engineered for pet hair, like any of the BISSELL® Pet Hair Eraser® Vacuums.. All of the vacuums in this line are designed by pet parents for pet parents, just like you! They’re designed with Tangle-Free Brush Rolls, so you don’t have to worry about tangles or clumps of pet hair getting wrapped around the brush while you vacuum.* They’re also equipped with a Smart Seal® Allergen System with Febreze. This system picks up small debris, like dog hair and cat hair, and eliminates odors while it goes to work, so you’re left with a fresh smelling home.

If you’re overcome by fur, take your dog to a professional groomer with the know-how, patience and equipment to make excess dog hair disappear. You’ll be grateful you did.

Last but not least, relax. Shedding is normal, and it won’t last forever.

About Kim: Kim Campbell Thornton is content manager for Fear Free Pets and is an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional. She has been writing about dogs, cats, wildlife, and marine life since 1985 and is a recipient of multiple awards from the Cat Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and American Society of Journalists and Authors. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s competing in nose work trials with Harper and Keeper, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.