It’s the lesser-known shedding season—but yes, dogs can shed in the fall, too! Did you know some dogs have what’s called a double-coat—a combination of a dense undercoat of stiff hair with longer guard hair on top? The difference between this and a single coat is simple—single coats are even-looking, with no soft undercoat. Single coats can be straight, curly, silky, or wiry.
Dogs will so-called double coats will shed their shorter, lighter summer coat around this time of year.
Not all dogs experience fall shedding, but it’s common among dogs with double coats, or dogs that shed year round. Double-coat breeds include:
Dogs that can shed year-round include:
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
Heavy seasonal shedding is common for these breeds, but if you suspect there’s an underlying health issue, it’s best to ask your veterinarian. Skin allergies and parasites may trigger shedding, as will a poor diet.
It matters if your dog is an indoor or outdoor dog, too. Indoor dogs don’t experience big temperature swings since the temperature in the house is likely to be regulated, which can lead to more frequent shedding that doesn’t follow a seasonal pattern. If your dog is an outdoor dog, his coat is likely to follow the seasons to keep him insulated from the winter cold or cooler in the summer heat.
Why Dogs Shed
Dogs have several hairs growing from each follicle, and the fur serves to protect their skin and regulate body temperature. Dogs lose old or damaged hair by shedding, usually as seasons change, to allow new hair growth to come in. The amount of shedding in each dog is determined by:
- Overall health
Other factors can influence shedding to a lesser extent, including allergies and nutrition.
Groom Baby, Groom!
Of course, another shedding season means more grooming and vacuuming, but all shedding can be managed with proper and regular grooming. Brushing your dog several times a week—you might want to take it outside!—can manage the shedding and keep your dog’s fur from getting matted.
Keep in mind, indoor dogs tend to shed more frequently than outdoor dogs because the temperature of their environment is regulated, but you may still notice an increase in shedding for your double-coat dog in the fall.
You may want to throw in the towel and shave your dog, but it’s not recommended. Shaving a dog with a double coat can lead to hair loss—or bald spots known as alopecia—and can make your dog lose his ability regulate body temperature. Shaved dogs are also more susceptible to insect bites and sunburn, and are a great risk for heat stroke.
Regular baths will also help with shedding, especially with some of the specialized shampoos now available. You can also try fur-control cloths to collect the shedding hair.
They can be your best friend—grooming tools! The FURminator de-shedding tools are popular with pet parents to reduce the amount of loose hair during shedding. They range from $38 to $73, depending on the size of your dog, but are much more effective at pulling away dead hairs. Rover also compiled a list of ten of the coolest hair removal tools around!
Your dog may be telling you when he needs some brushing—dogs tend to scratch to loosen dead hairs.
The Bottom Line
It’s not just spring—some dogs also shed in the fall. Of course, dogs like golden retrievers and German shepherds seem to do it year-round! Make sure you’re prepared to handle all the fur this fall with proper grooming using the best tools on the market.