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    My Pet Sheds All Over  

Shedding of hair is a normal and ongoing process for most domestic dogs and cats. Excessive shedding generally occurs in the spring and fall, with the changing of major seasons. Old hair is released so that new hair of the right consistency and insulation may grow in.

In the winter, hair provides insulation from cold when fluffed up. For this reason, matted hair does not protect a dog or cat from cold. Some pets (especially the cold weather breeds such as Elkhounds, Huskies or Samoyeds) also have an undercoat of soft downy hair to protect them from extreme cold. This undercoat may come out by the handful in the spring and fall as the new undercoat grows in. In the summer, hair can also function to protect pets from overheating by insulating against the heat of the sun.

Since most pets spend at least part of their time indoors and are often exposed to both air-conditioning and heating systems, their bodies may shed hair year round.

Shedding is best controlled by regular grooming, either by brushing at home, with professional grooming services or a combination of both. Regardless of how much hair might be removed at a grooming shop, even with special products, nothing will remove all the loose hair and give you a non-shedding dog.

Hair is also shed whenever a pet is nervous or excited. You have probably noticed that your pet sheds more than normal during a visit to the vet. This is because the pet’s nervousness causes the skin to tighten, which forces out any loose hair. And when you pick him up from the groomer, the same thing occurs — his excitement loosens up hair that was not able to be removed (or ready to be shed) during the grooming process.

Some diseases can promote poor hair growth and shedding. If your pet experiences unexplained hair loss or you suspect there may be a medical condition causing the excessive shedding, it is always wise to consult a veterinarian.

Good diet, regular brushing and special attention during spring and fall shedding seasons will help keep the extra hair off your clothes and floors.

This article is provided as a general overview of the topic. Always consult your veterinarian for specific information related to diseases or medical care for pets.

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