Shedding Controls

The Basics The Controls
The following article is for general information only and not intended to serve as professional training nor replace professional training. We strongly advise professional training for every new groomer before they offer grooming services to pet owners. Based on our experience your charging fees for grooming services is legally interpreted that you are the expert in grooming, and not the pet owners you serve. Thereby you accept the risk of being responsible for the services you provide. You are responsible to interview every pet owner you serve to ensure that your services are not only aesthetic, but safe and appropriate for their pet. You are also responsible to disclose to each pet owner any and all risks your procedures may involve to their pet. Professional grooming requires professional training. Click for training opportunities. We wrote the Pet Care Services Brochure and Pet Groomer's Report & Health Alert in the book From Problems to Profits to exemplify one example of  the disclosure process for a professional groomer. Remember, every pet owner you serve is putting their faith and trust in you. Get the professional training required of a professional groomer.

The Basics

Shedding is normal for all dogs, but the extent and characteristics of shedding varies by breed and mixed breed attributes. Just like human hair, dog hair grows and dies. Depending upon the breed, or breed mix, hair shed will easily fall of the dog or for the most part be trapped in the pet's living coat.

Some new dog owners don't understand that shorthaired dogs shed, even a great deal. For example, Labradors shed year round. Shedding controls explained here can help. Outdoor dogs usually grow a heavier winter coat that will shed in the spring. Indoor dogs show noticeably less tendency to grow a winter coat.

Poodle hair shed all over the house? Nope. Most of their hair shed remains in their coat, and while that may be great for the appearance of your living space, regular grooming is required to remove hair shed before it becomes tangled and matted. Many Terriers and other breeds share similar hair shed traits with Poodles. You can check breed information pages shown in the left column of this page for more information on hair shedding on all AKC recognized breeds.

Double-coated dogs generally shed undercoats twice a year while their guard coat sheds once a year. As you might expect, there are exceptions often attributed to climate and genetic traits. This might explain the why some dogs seem to shed all year long and others just a couple months of the same year.

Hormones trigger shedding. These hormones in turn are triggered by changes in the amount and length of sunlight and climatic temperatures. Undue shedding may have its origin in health and diet, and excessive shedding should be discussed with a veterinarian.

It's too bad that more pet owners don't learn about shedding characteristics of dogs they are considering to adopt. We've known too many dogs that were shifted from an owner to another when their normal but voluminous hair shed was not acceptable to their original owners. Then again, too many pet owners don't learn about their undeniable responsibilities for having dogs groomed regularly and brushed at home between grooming appointments when their hair shed remains in their living haircoat. The result is often matted and uncomfortable dogs, and owners faced a lesson in grooming responsibilities from their professional groomer.

The Controls

Normal shedding cannot be stopped but it can be controlled. Regular bathing, combing and brushing appropriate for the breed and mixed breed is the answer. By brushing and combing the coat dead hair is removed before it becomes shed on clothing, furniture and other household surfaces where it can be a bother. Regular brushing and combing also prevents matted coats for those breeds that shed into their existing coat.

Not only does regular brushing and combing control shedding, but it also promotes healthier skin and coat when done right. On the main page of this Breed Grooming Web Reference Guide are links to all AKC breeds. On each breed's page there are suggestions for intervals between professional grooming appointments, and suggested home maintenance grooming intervals for pet owners. If the pet is a mixed breed, determine the dominant breed based on coat characteristics and look up that breed for coat care suggestions. Frequent grooming within the recommended interval will reduce shed problems.

Coat reduction. If the pet is not a show dog and the owner doesn't desire a show coat, reducing the long coat of some breeds or mixes can reduce shed. For example, on the Labrador Retriever page in this section, a groomer describes how she developed a coat reduction trim for Labrador Retrievers, a pet rarely trimmed by groomers.

Since 2000 de-shedding treatments using "carding" techniques and newly improvised carding tools such as the "Furminator" have grown in popularity. Carding uses a 40 blade handheld which is raked lightly or moderately through the haircoat usually on double-coated breeds.

Brushing and combing tools and techniques for the various coat types is provided here.