Fur Seasons: Understanding Your Dog's Shedding Cycles

As the seasons change, you may find increased amounts of your dog's fur clinging to clothes and furnishings. This shedding follows natural coat growth cycles relating to daylight, temperature, and breed characteristics. By understanding the science behind what triggers and controls shedding, you can better manage these seasonal shifts. This article explores the key drivers of spring and fall shedding periods, tips for grooming during heavy shed times, managing year-round fur with bathing and brushing basics, and ultimately accepting shedding as part of promoting your dog's health and comfort.

Warm and Comfortable Dog SweaterInstagram: momoskeedoo
Cute Dogs in Fleece Turtleneck Sweaters

The Science Behind Shedding

Dogs shed because their fur follows natural growth cycles connected to seasons, climate, and breed type. Learning what drives your dog's shedding helps you manage fur at home through proactive grooming.

What Triggers Shedding?

Your dog's coat transitions between two main cycles annually to sync with changing seasons. Shedding removes old growth to make way for new fur that better matches the climate. The key triggers behind this cyclical shedding relate to:

  • Daylight Hours:More sun in spring and summer versus less sun in fall and winter impacts hormone levels that control coat growth cycles.
  • Temperature:Warmer temperatures in spring and summer prompt the shedding of thicker winter fur. Colder temps in fall and winter cause dogs to shed their summer coats to grow thick protective fur.
  • Breed and Coat Type: Some dogs have hair that grows longer before shedding while others have fur built to shed more frequently. Dogs with double coats tend to blow their coats out twice yearly during seasonal changes.
Unclad dog among autumn leaves, perfect candidate for our cozy pet sweaters

Understanding Your Dog's Coat Types

Every dog's coat is unique, often reflecting their breed's history and the climate they were developed in. Typically, dog coats are categorized into two main types:

  • Single Coats:Dogs with single coats, such as Chihuahuas, have just one layer of hair. While some single-coated breeds like Poodles and Maltese are known for minimal shedding due to their hair-like coats that grow continuously and do not shed in the same way as fur, shedding rates can still vary among single-coated breeds. Despite the lower shedding, breeds with hair-like fur, such as Poodles and Maltese, require regular grooming beyond brushing to prevent mats and keep their coat in good condition.
Dog in a black sweater looking cozy

Instagram: its.a.mushu.world
Chihuahua in Thermal Dog Sweaters

  • Double Coats:On the other hand, breeds with double coats, like the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, have two layers: a topcoat that keeps water and dirt at bay, and a soft, insulating undercoat. When seasons change, these dogs might shed their undercoat abundantly, a process often referred to as 'blowing' their coat. During these times, more thorough grooming is necessary to manage shedding, which might mean daily brushing to remove loose fur and maintain the coat's health.
Bare dog awaiting a cozy sweater from our pet fashion line

Grooming is relatively easy for dogs with short, smooth coats like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. Their single coats shed a little, but regular brushing helps minimize loose hairs and keeps their coats looking shiny.

dog turtleneck sweaterInstagram: craig_zefrenchie
French Bulldog in Knitted Dog Sweater

Of course, every dog is unique, so grooming needs can differ - even among dogs of the same breed. It's always a good idea to seek advice from a professional groomer or your vet to tailor a grooming routine that suits your dog perfectly.

Spring Shedding Season

In spring, daylight and rising temperatures cause hormone shifts that prompt your dog to shed its thicker winter coat. Spring shedding season can last up to six weeks from when you first notice tufts of hair around your home.

dog turtleneck sweaterInstagram: chewie_the_popcornchicken
Cavapoo in Cozy Green Dog Sweaters

Signs Your Dog is Shedding

Look for the following indicators your dog's spring coat blow is beginning:

  • Loose fur tufts and tumbleweeds around your home
  • Noticeably thin patches of fur on your dog's body
  • Increased shedding during petting and brushing
  • More hair left behind after your dog lies down

How to Manage Your Dog's Spring Shedding

As your dog blows their winter coat, more intensive grooming keeps up with heavy shedding activity and protects their skin health:

  • Bathe your dog weekly or every two weeks when shedding peaks
  • Brush thoroughly before and after baths
  • Use de-shedding tools best suited to your dog's coat type
  • Supplement their diet with fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Vacuum frequently to control seasonal fur buildup
Well-groomed Chihuahua ready to be dressed in our stylish pet attire

Fall Shedding Season

As autumn approaches, cooling temperatures signal your dog to drop its lighter summer coat so a protective winter coat can begin growing in. Fall shedding lasts around a month from the first signs of increased shedding.

Why Fall Shedding Happens

As seasons change from summer to fall, your dog's hair follicles receive signals to transition between coat types:

  • Shorter days and dropping temperatures prompt follicles to produce a dense undercoat that insulates.
  • The summer coat sheds out since it lacks the thickness needed to properly conserve body heat.
  • Dogs then grow a longer, thicker topcoat to seal in warmth from the downy undercoat close to the skin.  

This allows dogs to stay comfortable in the frigid winter months ahead.

striped dog pajamasInstagram: iggychelseaandme
Italian Greyhound in Soft Dog Pajamas 

How to Manage Your Dog's Fall Shedding

Much like the spring shed, preparing for fall shedding means ramping up grooming efforts:

  • Brush frequently with the right de-shedding tools
  • Bathe your dog as soon as shedding becomes noticeable
  • Use heavy-duty rubber gloves to remove loose hairs easily
  • Continue fatty acid supplements to deter excessive shedding
  • Vacuum more often during this high-shedding period

Year-Round Grooming Basics

While shedding comes and goes with seasonal changes, you can take proactive daily, weekly, and monthly steps to manage fur in your home year-round:

Chihuahua post-bath, ready for our warm pet pajamas

Tools and Techniques

  • Rubber brushes gently remove loose hairs from short, silky coats on dogs like Boston Terriers
  • Pin brushes suit medium-length coats on Spaniels and Shih Tzus
  • Slicker brushes can penetrate thick double coats of Pomeranians and Corgis
  • Metal combs help detangle long fur on Yorkshire Terriers
  • Always brush in the direction of hair growth to avoid irritating skin

fuzzy hoodie dog dressInstagram: wakanda_shitzu
Shih Tzu in Cute Dog Hoodie Dresses

Bathing Best Practices

  • Bathe smooth, short-haired breeds like Dachshunds and Chihuahuas weekly
  • Limit baths to once every 4-6 weeks for longer-haired breeds like Shih Tzus and Maltese
  • Always brush thoroughly before baths to remove dead hairs beforehand
  • Use de-shedding shampoo to reduce friction and allow more hair release during the bath
  • Dry your dog thoroughly since dampness can promote skin issues


twist knit sweater pajamas
Instagram: reba.thedoxie
Dachshund in Thermal Dog Sweaters 

Handling Shedding Between Major Coat Blows

While surge shedding from seasonal coat transitions creates an obvious uptick in fur, staying on top grooming all year long makes a significant difference in managing dog hair in your living space:

  • Brush your dog's coat one to two times per week year-round
  • Bathe your dog monthly or as frequently as their coat type allows
  • Wipe your dog down between full baths to keep skin and coat fresh
  • Vacuum twice weekly to manage everyday shedding fur accumulation
  • Wash your dog's bedding frequently since this collects shed fur

The Takeaway

Keep in mind, that shedding serves an important purpose-removing old or damaged hair so new growth replaces it. While bothersome cleanup comes with dog ownership, properly accommodating this process keeps your pup comfortable in any weather.

Turtleneck sailor striped sweaterInstagram: dougiethedoxi
Dachshund in Knitted Dog Sweaters 

Stay tuned into seasonal changes prompting heavier sheds. Adjust grooming efforts accordingly to keep up with periods of excess fur release. Implementing good grooming and vacuuming habits year-round also makes seasonal shedding feel less burdensome.

Remember-a dog's ability to thermoregulate protects them from temperature extremes. So embrace the shedding as part of loving a loyal companion through every season of life together.

Read More