Finding dog hair everywhere? Feel like you’re constantly getting out the vacuum? Tis the season for dog shedding! A dog’s hair cycle timing is directly influenced by the amount of daylight hours which is why many dogs go through a shed as the seasons change. Now that it’s autumn in Minnesota, our dogs are shedding to prepare for the long, cold winter!
When dogs shed, the hair follicle cycle goes through three phases:
1. Telogen Phase
The Telogen Phase is also the resting stage. This is when the hair is not actively growing but persists in the hair shaft. These hairs are not as firmly anchored and can be easily lost.
2. Catagen Phase
This short, transitional phase occurs between the telogen and anagen phases.
3. Anagen Phase
Anagen is the growing stage of the hair cycle in which the new hairs grow. At the start of anagen, the new hair will push out the old hair and then continue to grow until telogen restarts.
As dogs get ready for winter, they grow a new coat. As the anagen hairs replace the telogen hairs, shedding occurs. The shedding is only expected to last for a few months but different types of dogs go through the process at different rates. Dogs such as Labrador Retrievers that continuously shed have a longer telogen phase in their normal hair cycle. Other dogs such as Poodles that rarely shed have a longer anagen phase which is why they require regular grooming.
If your pet is experiencing sections of thin hair, red skin, rashes, scaling, or itching, there may be more causing the hair loss than a seasonal shed. If you have any concerns, contact your family veterinarian. Your veterinarian may choose to refer you to Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s board-certified veterinary dermatologist, Dr. Andrea Meyer.