How to Make a Dog Lose Its Winter Coat

by Judith Willson
The Lab's double coat is helpful in the winter.

The Lab's double coat is helpful in the winter.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The response of many animals to bitterly cold winters is to grow a thicker coat, which they moult when the weather starts to warm. Wolves do this, and so do many but not all dog breeds. The result is that, unless you change the grooming routine, every spring you’ll have a home covered in dog hair and a scraggly-looking and possibly matted dog. Give him a hand changing his coat and you’ll both be more comfortable.

Step 1

Spread an old sheet over the grooming spot to catch loose hair.

Step 2

Take up daily brushing and combing as soon as your dog begins to moult. The signs are more loose hair than normal and his coat looking lumpy or rather moth-eaten.

Step 3

Pull out loose hair with your fingers. This won’t hurt him, as it is coming out anyway. To make certain you don’t pull too hard, try pulling at sections of his coat between your index and third finger, rather than finger and thumb. The loose hair will come away easily, the rest won’t.

Step 4

Use a shedding rake to remove loose undercoat, if your dog has one. Depending on the breed and how fast he is shedding, you may need to do this every day along with normal brushing and combing or every two or three days. Keep going until you have removed all the dead hair.

Step 5

Shake the sheet outside or into a trash bag.

Step 6

Vacuum or sweep up loose hair where you were grooming. You might as well vacuum everywhere else there is dog hair afterward to save time later.

Items You Will Need

  • Old sheet
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Shedding rake
  • Vacuum cleaner or brush and shovel

Tip

  • Different breeds, or mixtures of breeds, have different coats and require different grooming tools. If you are not sure which ones will be best for your dog, ask your vet or a professional dog groomer.

Warnings

  • Dogs develop and then shed winter coats in respond to changes in the weather. Indoor dogs, even of breeds that normally shed twice a year, may not shed all that much in the spring. Instead, they shed more or less continuously throughout the year. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but you may need to brush more often than is normally recommended for the breed. If in doubt about this or any other aspect of dog grooming, consult your vet or a professional dog groomer.
  • Because seasonal shedding is a response to environmental conditions, an unusually long and cold winter might lead to your dog retaining his coat for longer than normal, especially if he spends a lot of time outside. This isn't really anything to worry about; he'll start moulting when the weather begins to warm.
  • Sudden abnormal shedding could be the sign of a serious medical problem. If your dog starts shedding more hair than normal, at a different time of year or shows bald spots, arrange an appointment with your vet immediately. Dogs do not suffer from male pattern baldness as part of the normal aging process.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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