If you have a furry friend like a dog or a cat at home, you must be aware of seasonal shedding. Your canine or feline baby usually grows an extra fur coat as the winter approaches, by replacing their lighter summer coat. As the winter ends, they go through spring shedding, which means they get rid of the thick coat and grow a lighter coat. But what if you see your pet losing its coat excessively during winter? It’s time to take note then.
What can cause excessive shedding?
In winter, if your pet sheds more than necessary, it can be due to health-related reasons which you may be unaware of. Sunburns, kidney or immune system diseases, liver problems, thyroid diseases, bacterial infections, parasites and even influenza are few on the list to look out for. Female dogs might shed more if they are pregnant.
It can not only indicate serious health problems but can also make it very difficult to keep your home clean. Clumps of fur on the bed, sofa, clothes, carpet or floor can mean more housework for you, especially if you have a long-haired breed. So, finding a solution is essential.
Here a few tips you can try:
Focus on nutrition
A healthy diet can prevent excessive hair fall in pets during the cold season. For example, if you are choosing a non-vegetarian dog food, make sure it has meat as its primary ingredient. It can be digested easily and will prevent the skin from getting dry and in turn, reduce shedding.
For dogs: You can choose foods which are mainly based on chicken, turkey, lamb or mutton. While picking food, do keep in mind what your pets are allergic to, so you can avoid risking their health. Vegetarian dog foods are also available which are based on brown rice, quinoa, spinach, lentils, sweet potatoes, raw veggies that are finely chopped, squash and so on.
For cats: Cooked foods based on chicken, turkey, and fishes which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids like, tuna and salmon are the best choices. You can buy vegan cat kibble for your feline companion, but note that they can face many health issues without meat and fish in their diet.
Regular brushing is a must
When you brush your pet’s coat every day, it helps remove excess fur and distributes skin oil evenly. Make sure you use the right kind of brush. For instance, bristle brushes are best for breeds with short and smooth coats. If your dog has medium or curly hair, use a stickler brush. Rakes are perfect for breeds with long or thick coats. You can also consult a groomer or vet if you are not sure about which brush to use.
Baths can help
It is a good idea to give your dog a regular bath, as it will allow loose fur to collect in the tub, rather than within the house. However, avoid bathing your canine every day, as it will make his or her skin dry and lead to more hair fall. A weekly, bi-weekly or monthly bath is usually enough, or you can consult your vet for better suggestions. After cleansing your pet, always towel dry them carefully and then use a blow dryer at the minimum heat setting.
Provide clean drinking water
To avoid dry skin and more shedding, give your pet clean and fresh water to drink. The quantity of water they consume might differ according to the seasons. While in summer, they get extremely thirsty, but during winter, they might not drink much water unless you keep refilling their bowl. Wet dog or cat foods are also a great way to keep them hydrated during the cold months. You can also try a homemade fresh veggie or fruit juice which they like to get them to intake more liquid.
Be wary of fleas
Yes, fleas can bother dogs or cats in winter too. It can lead to scratching, skin irritations, dandruff, dryness and excess shedding. So, follow preventive measures and treat them at the earliest. Over the counter medicines and flea shampoos are helpful to get rid of them. For felines, use a fine-toothed comb to brush them from head to tail, and remove adult ticks as well as eggs. Flea collars might help too.
Take them to the vet regularly, as it helps keep your pet’s health in check. Deworming and vaccinating them timely can help avoid a lot of problems. Keep a calendar to track that it is done right and you can also use it to keep a reminder of their medication if they have any. The doctor might also be able to identify any issues, diagnose and suggest medications or diet.
Get a hair vacuum to keep your interiors as clean as possible. Use lint rollers to remove hair from drapes, sofas, bed sheets and even clothes. You can also use covers for your furniture so that you can wash them easily.
Keep the above tips in mind to help you manage your pet’s hair fall, as it is something that you must cope with if you have a canine or feline companion.