Look around the office or the dog park and you’ll see we’re wearing the tell-tale signs of something quite remarkable right now. It’s the great fur-fall out for both dogs and cats!
But just why it’s occurring in March might surprise you. Here’s how to manage it…
Remarkably, their body has actually picked the fact the days have been getting shorter and the nights longer. Crazy huh. This change in hormones (like melatonin) then sends a message to those hair follicles to ‘do the drop’.
But with winter only a few months away, it seems a little counterproductive to be turfing all that fur that could have helped keep them warm. But oh no. The autumn shed is almost as significant as the better known spring hair cyclone and actually allows the hair follicles (which carry more than one hair) to turf the lighter hair fibres and prioritise the more dense undercoat.
What about non-shedders? Just don’t think that because your dog doesn’t shed hair (like Poodles and ‘Oodles) that they’re not affected by the decreasing sunlight. In fact, the change actually causes their hair growth to slow down to just 1 - 1.5cm a month from the peak of 2cm a month in Spring and Summer.
So what can you do?
This is a situation where a combination of diet...and a LOT of brushing can and should make a big difference.
For starters, remember that shedding and replenishing a coat is incredibly demanding on the body. They essentially become hair factories and the output is obviously quite extraordinary. So make sure their food and treats actually have the quality proteins, vitamins, zinc, collagen and omega 3 rich oils in proper amounts. They’re all the essential nutrients for hormone production and that new, warming winter coat that’s just forming right now. A quality diet can also help them retain and protect the fur they have and don’t need to shed.
Brushing, raking and mit rubbing each morning are all incredibly useful at helping to collect the hair that would ordinarily be shed during the day. You’ll notice that most of the hair they’re losing is that longer outer coat; rather than the fluffy undercoat seen in double coated breeds. So brushes, rakes and mits that target that will often be most effective in Autumn.
And importantly, you can save yourself with plenty of lint rolling and vacuuming. Running a loop of tape around your hand (sticky side out) and brushing your hand across couches and doonas can also be surprisingly effective!
Sure the Great Autumn Fur Fall is a major event but they will get through it. If only the same could be said for those black work pants or the white doona cover!!