By Terry Jester
Ah, the feel of a good shag carpet on bare feet …. wait a minute, you have hard wood floors!
Those of us with multiple animals in the house know all too well – shedding season is here.For some of us it feels like it’s always here.
We’re picking hair off of the pot roast and out of the refrigerator. We’re stocking up on vacuum bags and sweeping steroid abusing dust bunnies out from under the couch. Days are spent vacuuming and evenings are spent picking white hairs off of dark evening dresses and saying things like, “Oh, yes, I do have pets, how did you know?”
Dogs and cats go through shedding cycles. As the days grow shorter, the summer coat is replaced with longer hair better suited to keep our animals warm in the winter. As the longer hairs come in, the shorter hair falls out.
The exception to the rule of twice a year heavy shedding are the non-shedding breeds such as poodles, Maltese, Tibetan Terrier, Portuguese Water Dog, and the other varieties of dogs whose coats just continue to grow.
These dogs need to be professionally groomed and their coats trimmed several times a year. It’s an expense that goes with the perk of not having hair everywhere.
One way to combat excess falling hair is to feed both a good quality pet food and to supplement your dog’s diet with Omega 3 fatty acids. These are the same fish oil capsules that you take for yourself.
I give my dogs 1000 mg (usually one capsule) once or twice a day per 50 pounds of body weight and it has made a tremendous difference in their coats and in the amount of hair and dander I see on the floor.
It takes about a month before you see a difference, but you will see a difference. Too much fish oil will upset their stomach, so go slowly, starting with one capsule and adding additional capsules after a month or two if needed.
Warm baths also help. It doesn’t decrease the amount of hair falling out, but it helps to get it all out in a shorter amount of time.
If you’re like me and find yourself having to periodically vacuum the dining room table you’ll want to do everything you can to reduce the shedding: warm baths, Omega 3 capsules and frequent brushing.
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being, “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners.” For more information, visit her website.