Why Pets Shed and How to Keep Fur From Flying

More on PawNation: brush, cat fur, dog fur, dog hair, fur, groom, hair, hot spots, mats, matted fur, Red_Room, shedding

collie with brushBrief Grasp, Flickr

Amy D. Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including "Complete Care for Your Aging Dog" and "Complete Care for Your Aging Cat."



Shedding may be a big hairy deal, but it is normal. Floating fur increases the challenge of keeping just-washed apparel a Fido-free zone. Unless you're a passionate pet lover who considers pet hair to be a condiment, understanding how to tame the hairy mess will keep your pet's coat and skin healthy and simplify housecleaning.

Why Pets Shed
It's not the temperature that prompts shedding. Light exposure, either to sun or artificial light, determines the amount and timing. More hair is shed during the greatest exposure to light. Outdoor cats and dogs living in the northeastern United States shed with the seasons, with the most fur flying in late spring for the several weeks during which daylight increases. But house pets under constant exposure to artificial light shed all year long.

Hair grows in cycles beginning with a period of rapid growth in the spring, followed by slower growth, and then ending in a winter resting stage. Mature hairs loosen in the follicles over the winter. In the spring, another cycle of hair growth begins, and new hair pushes the old loose ones out, resulting in an all-over shed.

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