Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Your Hair is Everywhere

by User Not Found | Sep 22, 2013

I love my golden retrievers but man do they shed.  We’ve tried every kind of floor covering trying to figure out the best one to keep the hair invasion to a dull roar.  Carpet, first you have to find the right color, not to match your décor, but that will not “show” the hair.  Regardless, you still have to vacuum it as often as possible because it ends up looking like a furry sea.  When you take your socks off at night, they look like small golden vermin.  So you move on to hardwood floors.  In theory it’s a great, easy way to clean up hair quickly, but after a few months you realize this just gives the little tumbleweeds of hair an opportunity to blow around the house.  Most of them ball up in the corners and take on a life of their own but some of them find their way under appliances or rolling across your vents.  Once they are blown up in to the air, they have the freedom to land on your countertops, and subsequently in whatever you are cooking, and stuck to your chap stick.  So you concede to the hair and Swiffer or grab those tumbleweeds on your way to answer the door or vacuum EVERY. SINGLE. DAY., sometimes vacuuming the dog directly.  Even your dog is so sick of seeing the vacuum that she chews the plug right off (true story).  Golden Retriever’s have glorious, beautiful coats, but they shed so endlessly, you would swear you owned an entire pack of them and they should all be bald.  The truth is, all dogs shed, just some more than others.  Non-shedding breeds don’t exist, unless of course you actually have a hair-less dog, also known as the American Hairless Terrier…..I digress.

Shedding is the natural process where old hair falls out and new hair grows in, however the new hair doesn’t just “push out” the old hair.  This is where you come in.  Frequent brushing removes the old hair more efficiently and stimulates their blood supply to help with good, new hair growth.  By brushing your dog often, you keep mats from forming, which can cause health problems like hot spots, and keep fleas and other bugs at bay.  Hair grows in three stages, this is actually kinda cool.  The first is Anagen where the hair is actually growing from the hair follicle.  The second is Catagen.  In this stage the hair actually grows to a specific length based on your dog’s genetics!  Neat huh?  When it reaches that length, it enters this transitional state.  Finally we have Telogen which is the final resting phase or non-growing state. 

So what about those shampoos and treatments at the groomers that are supposed to make your dog shed less?  How do they work?  Those treatments won’t keep your dog from shedding (natural process that can’t/shouldn’t be altered), but they may make it seem like they are shedding less for longer.  Groomers have great tools for removing dead hair and some of the shampoos/conditioners they use also aid them in this task.  Groomers are removing more of the dead hair than when you brush….it literally does feel like they are shedding less for a much longer period of time than in between your brushings.

“Non-shedding” dogs actually still shed.  The difference is that they have slower hair growth and fewer hairs shed at a time giving the false impression that they don’t shed.  In our Goldens, and other “shedding” dogs, these phases occur in patterns and are not synchronized all over your dog’s body.  A cool fun fact is that at any one point 90% of your dog’s hair is in the growth stage.  When this hair will fall out is determined by environment, nutrition and heredity (genetics), so good food, a clean environment and proper hygiene are more than half the battle to a great head, er um, body of hair!  Other factors that influence shedding are amount of time spent in the sunlight and body temperature fluctuations.  Since our dogs spend time indoors, they tend to shed all year round because they are exposed to less fluctuation in light and a more constant temperature.  This can change with age or with illness so keep an eye out for bald patches or thinning of their hair.  Certain fungal or bacterial infections can cause large areas to fall out at once and things like stress can also contribute to abnormal shedding.

Brush your dogs!  I know, it’s one more thing you don’t have time for, but think of it this way, the more dead hair you brush out, the less you’ll find in your house.  For Golden Retrievers, a firmer bristle brush is good to use and always brush with the grain of the hair.  Different furry coats have different needs so ask your groomer or vet for help on the best brush to use.  Feed them a good quality food and supplement with Fish Oils.  And as if you haven’t heard it enough, exercise your dog.  At the very least, if you take them for a walk on a couple windy days, you could blow out some of the hair and skip the brushing that day.  

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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