If you had to pick two words to describe a puppy, "fuzzy" and "fluffy" would both be accurate. However, that puppy fur is only temporary, and will be replaced by an adult coat as the puppy ages. This shedding may leave your furry friend a little scraggly, but it is a normal developmental process.
Puppy fur is very much like human baby hair; it is soft and fluffy. Most puppies are born with this thin covering of fur, and it thickens and becomes more pronounced in the first few weeks of life. This fur is the puppy’s only defense against the elements, and helps regulate her body temperature. Puppy fur may be long or short, although it is typically shorter than the dog’s adult coat.
Puppies do eventually shed their baby fur, although this happens at a different age for every dog. Some puppies may start shedding their baby coat as young as 12 weeks, while others may not fully shed the fuzz until they are almost a year old. While the puppy is in this transitional phase, she may look ragged and patchy, but this is normal. Puppy coat often falls out faster than the adult coat grows in, but she will even out once she has completely lost the fuzz.
Your fluffy white puppy may transform into a cream-colored adult when her adult coat grows in, but no need to be alarmed; color changes are common when puppies shed. Dalmatian puppies, for example, are born completely white and develop spots as they begin to lose their puppy coat. Some white-coated dogs grow into cream- or tan-colored adults, while some puppies born completely black may shed their puppy coats to reveal dark brown or sable adult fur.
Grooming Through the Shed
Regular grooming is important for puppies as well as adults, and a few extra minutes under the brush will keep your shedding puppy from looking like a ragged mess. Sit on the floor with the puppy, and brush her for at least 15 minutes a day. Use a slicker brush on long-coated puppies, and a rubber curry comb on short-haired pups to remove as much loose puppy fur as possible. Offer the pup a few treats to keep her calm and quiet, and clean your brush frequently. An occasional bath will help keep your pup clean and healthy, but avoid washing her more than once or twice a month to prevent itchy, dry skin.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.