You went to relax on the sofa only to find that Rex left his coat behind. Your fluffy pal has covered the couch in a layer of dog fur. It may be frustrating, but all dogs shed. During certain times of year, Rex will shed more than others. If you know when it's coming, you can be prepared with the dog brush and vacuum to combat the hairy mess.
Growth and Shedding Cycles
Rex's fur goes through four stages of growth and shedding. During the anagen phase, his new fur is growing. The next phase is the catagen phase, whereby the outer root shaft attaches to the hair. The resting period, whereby the hair doesn't grow or shed, is called the telogen phase. Shedding is called the exogen phase. When he's shedding hair, follicles are moving back into the anagen phase and new hair is growing to replace it.
If Rex spends most of his time outdoors, the period during which he sheds his fur will be affected by the changing light of the seasons. The amount of light he's exposed to is the biggest factor affecting when he'll be shedding. Shorter days indicate to Rex that winter is coming. He'll begin bulking up in the late summer, around late August or September. During the cold months of December through February, he'll likely experience a resting period whereby his coat is full and warm. During April or May at the end of spring, he'll shed that thick winter coat to prepare for the muggy summer months.
If Rex enjoys the luxury of spending most of his days indoors, bothering with the great outdoors only when nature calls, he'll adjust. Since he won't experience the shorter daylight hours of winter or long summer days, they won't serve as a trigger for shedding or growth. He'll likely shed the same amount year-round and won't experience periods of not shedding. It's a good idea to brush your pal weekly if he stays indoors to help keep loose fur from blanketing your home.
Double or Single Coat
A dog will shed more if he has a double coat -- a downy, insulating undercoat of fur with a coarse, weatherproof top coat -- than if he has only a single coat. If he has a single coat, he'll have only the outer coat without the insulating undercoat. Double-coat breeds have two heavy shedding cycles, in late spring and late fall, while single-coated breeds tend to shed only a little hair all year long.
Some breeds shed more than others. Great Pyrenees, golden retrievers and Labradors have double coats and are known to be heavy shedders. The poodle and the Maltese are breeds that have single coats that don't shed much. These low-shed breeds may sound like a blessing, but they comes at a price. Breeds that don't shed as often need to have their coats groomed and trimmed much more frequently that other breeds. Since their fur replaces itself more slowly, their fur is prone to matting and tangling. The best way to keep ahead of shedding is to groom your buddy frequently and equip yourself with a vacuum that can handle the duty of sucking up copious amounts of pet hair.