May 11, 2021

Pets Shedding: The Problem of Cat and Dog
Shedding & Solutions

Being a pet parent means dealing with loose hairs – both airborne and in places where you would least expect them. Pet hair and pets are like a package deal; you cannot have one without the other unless you go for a hairless pet.

The good news is shedding is normal and should not be feared. There are ways to manage your pet's shedding successfully. Not eliminate, but reduce to a manageable level.

In this article, we will discuss why pets shed, which dogs and cats shed the most and which the least, and what can be done to manage the shedding. Plus, we will offer some helpful cleaning tips for hair-covered homes.

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    Pets Shedding Explained by Vet

    Pets shed to get rid of the dead and damaged hair and make room for new healthy hair. Different pets shed differently in terms of patterns, intensity, and periods. However, shedding in pets is normal – just like we shed hairs, so do our pets.

    stop dog shedding hair

    Dog shedding – Why do dogs shed?

    Dogs have three types of hair:

    • Primary hairs – long and coarse
    • Secondary hairs – short and fluffy
    • Tactile hairs – whiskers.

    Shedding is a natural process that occurs because hairs have specific growth cycles that include four phases:

    > Anagen: the first phase in which new hairs start growing
    > Catagen: the second phase in which the hair continues growing until reaching its predetermined length
    > Telogen: the third phase during which hairs rest (there is no growing and no falling)
    > Exogen: the fourth and final phase in which the hairs fall out.

    The shedding frequency and intensity depend on several factors:

    1. Breed – the dog's breed determines its hair type, and hair type is the most important factor affecting shedding.

    The general rule of thumb is that dogs with long and silky coats shed more than dogs with short and coarse coats. However, this is just a general and theoretical guideline. In practice, things can be much different.

    2. Season – sunlight and temperature affect the hair growth cycle.

    Therefore, outdoor dogs usually experience bi-yearly shedding (early spring and late autumn) when there are swift changes in the temperatures and day length.

    On the other hand, indoor dogs tend to shed equally all year round because they live in regulated conditions (artificial light and constant temperatures).

    3. Pregnancy and nursing – pregnant and lactating bitches deplete their calcium and other mineral storages for their babies' needs.

    Since most of these minerals are vital for maintaining healthy skin and fur, females tend to shed during pregnancy and while lactating regardless of the season.

    4. Illness – certain medical issues can trigger excessive or out of the season shedding.

    Common medical issues resulting in shedding include:

    • Poor nutrition
    • External parasites (mainly fleas and mange)
    • Allergies
    • Stress
    • Hormonal imbalances.

    Low-shedding dog breeds (+ 8 non-shedding breeds)

    The terms low-shedding and non-shedding are often used interchangeably. It should be well-noted that non-shedding dogs are a myth (unless hairless), while low-shedding dogs are real and shed so little hair it may look like they do not shed at all.

    Low-shedding does not mean low maintenance, high-shedding does not mean high maintenance.

    Before listing the most popular low-shedding dog breeds, we should mention that low-shedding is not the same as low maintenance. In fact, low-shedding dogs usually require frequent trips to the groomer's salon, which definitely makes them high maintenance.

    goldendoodle is low-shedding dog breed

    Here are some of the most popular low-shedding dog breeds:

    • Afghan Hound
    • Basenji
    • Bichon Frise
    • Havanese
    • Kerry Blue terrier
    • Labradoodle
    • Lhasa Apso
    • Maltese
    • Poodle (all sizes)
    • Schnauzer (all sizes)
    • Shih Tzu
    • Wire Fox terrier
    • Yorkshire terrier.

    While on the subject of naming low-shedding breeds, we must mention several breeds that do not shed simply because they have no hair for shedding:

    • Abyssinian Sand terrier
    • American Hairless terrier
    • Argentina Pila Dog
    • Chinese Crested
    • Hairless Khala
    • Jonangi Dog
    • Peruvian Inca Orchid
    • Xoloitzcuintli.

    High-shedding dog breeds 

    Just like low-shedding does not mean low maintenance, high-shedding does not mean high maintenance. When it comes to grooming and hairstyle needs, most high-shedding dogs are in fact, the "wash and wear" type.

    Here are some of the most popular high-shedding breeds:

    • Akita
    • Alaskan Husky
    • Alaskan Malamute
    • Chow Chow
    • Corgi
    • German Shepherd
    • Golden Retriever
    • Great Pyrenees
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Pomeranian
    • Pug
    • Saint Bernard
    • Siberian Husky.

    Cat Shedding – Do cats shed? And why?

    cat shedding hair

    Yes, just like dogs, cats have three types of hairs that follow specific life cycles – growth, pause, and falling. Cats shed for the same reasons dogs shed, but because of their neurotic self-grooming habits, the shedding can be a bit less obvious in cats than it is in dogs.

    Naturally, wild cats are supposed to shed twice a year:

    • In early spring, to get rid of the heavy winter undercoat
    • In late fall, to make room for the new undercoat.

    However, domesticated indoor cats (or better said, their hair growth cycles) are confused by the air-conditioned summers and artificially heated winters, leading to constant low-level shedding. Cats living outdoors may still be true to their ancestral bi-yearly shedding patterns.

    Do all cats shed?

    There is only one cat that does not shed – the Sphynx, whose body is covered with a fine down instead of actual hair. Other than the Sphynx, all cats shed, some more and some less.

    Cats that shed the least 

    These cat breeds are known for their low-shedding tendencies:

    • Bengal
    • Bombay
    • Burmese
    • Cornish Rex
    • Devon Rex
    • Ocicat
    • Siamese
    • Turkish Angora
    • Turkish Van

    Cats that shed the most

    These cat breeds are real hair factories and notorious high-shedders:

    • American Bobtail
    • American Curl
    • Chartreux
    • Cymric
    • Himalayan
    • Maine Coon
    • Nebelung
    • Persian
    • Ragamuffin
    • Ragdoll
    • Russian Blue
    • Selkirk Rex
    • Siberian

    Excessive shedding in cats – is your cat shedding too much?

    problem of pet hair

    If your dog is shedding excessively, you will know because the hair clumps around the house. However, when a cat sheds overly, the signs are more subtle, and you need to be extra observant.

    When parenting a cat, forget all about hair clumps, as most lose hairs will end up in your cat's tummy. To spot excessive shedding patterns in a cat, evaluate:

    • The skin – normally, the cat's skin should pale pink to white. If the skin is red, flaky, or bumpy, it means you need to make a trip to the vet's office.
    • The overall hair quality – a cat that is shedding at a normal rate, will be soft, clean, and uniform-looking. Cats who experience excessive shedding due to an underlying medical issue will have coarse-textured hair, usually with chewed-off ends.

    Can You Stop a Cat or Dog From Shedding?

    You cannot stop your pet, cat or dog, from shedding completely. Shedding is a normal and expected occurrence that you cannot prevent. It is like trying to stop your hair from falling and renewing.

    Instead, you can decrease your pet's shedding to a manageable level and practice specific cleaning techniques that will help keep the number of loose hairs around the house to a minimum.

    > How To Stop A Dog From Shedding?

    How to Reduce Cat and Dog Shedding?

    Although you may not be able to stop your pet from shedding, there are several methods for minimizing it, preventing excessive shedding, and speeding up the shedding season.

    1. Brushing is vital

    reduce cat shedding by brushing

    Regular brushing with an adequate brush type is the golden standard for managing loose hairs. Brushing removes the dead hairs, improves the blood flow, and distributes the skin oils evenly, which results in a shorter and less dramatic shedding season.

    By brushing your dog or cat regularly, you will be keeping their coat in top shape while also preventing loose hair from being wafted all over your home.

    Vet Tip:

    Start brushing your pet while a young kitten or puppy. The goal is to get your pet used to the idea of brushing. 

    2. Using a de-shedder

    De-shedding tools are very popular and quite efficient. However, before using a de-shedding tool, make sure it is compatible with your pet's fur type. Not all dogs and cats benefit from de-shedding tools.

    However, if you have a heavy-shedding pet with a double coat, using a de-shedding tool once a week will dramatically reduce shedding. Removing the loose undercoat with a de-shedding tool prevents the fur from matting and minimizes shedding.

    Vet Tip:

    Be gentle. This brush’s bristles are hard and can easily damage your pet’s sensitive skin.

    2. Feed your pet a high-quality diet

    balanced nutrition prevents excessive shedding

    Nutritionally rich and balanced diets ensure your pet is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs leading to a better quality of the coat and a positive effect on the shedding process.

    With all the essential dietary needs met, your pet will stay healthy – and have healthy fur.

    Vet Tip:

    Ideally, the food should be suited for the cat or dog breed specifically. This is the best way to ensure a balanced diet considering all the special requirements of each breed.

    4. Use hair health supplements

    Supplements containing vitamin A, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and shiny coats. Unfortunately, even many high-quality pet foods do not contain enough of these nutrients, and it is best to give them as supplements.

    If you think your dog or cat may be shedding excessively due to nutrients deficiencies, but you're already feeding a suitable and balanced diet, adding a few supplements may do the trick to keep that coat glossy and prevent unnecessary shedding.

    Vet Tip:

    Before buying a fatty acid supplement, ensure your pet is not already taking fatty acids through its food or other supplement products.

    5. Do not forget about bathing

    cat having a bath

    Bathing dogs is straightforward, but when it comes to cats, it is easier said than done. Bathing is good for maintaining high-quality coats and managing shedding issues.

    Bathing is good for maintaining high-quality coats and managing shedding issues.

    Lathering your pet thoroughly with pet shampoo and using a conditioner formulated for the specific coat type will help loose hair come off, make brushing easier, and prevent matting.

    Vet Tip:

    Always remember to use proper dog or cat shampoo, as it has the correct pH value for the skin. Using human shampoo may only make things worse and cause your furry friend to shed more.

    6. Make sure your pet stays healthy

    dog scratching skin and shedding

    Parasites and diseases may also contribute to excessive shedding. 

    Fleas are the most common external parasite in dogs and cats. They cause skin issues and contribute to the shedding problem. Plus, they transmit diseases and pose a danger for you just as they are dangerous for your pet.

    Tick and mange mites can also lead to itching, scratching, and skin infection. You need to consider parasite prevention for even strictly indoor cats and dogs, as parasites can find their way inside too.

    Hormonal imbalance, ringworm, fungal and bacterial infections, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and skin allergies can also be the reason behind abnormal shedding. Stress is another factor.

    Vet Tip:

    If you think your pet may be suffering from any health issue, contact your vet to ensure proper treatment. Excess shedding can be annoying, but many of these health problems have far more severe consequences.

    7. Ensure your pet's water bowl is always full

    reduce pet shedding with propwr hydration

    Proper hydration is vital for keeping the skin moist and healthy.

    A pet that does not drink enough water is more likely to develop dry and cracked skin. This skin issue is a risk factor for excessive shedding and low-quality coat.

    Vet Tip:

    Place bowls in several locations around the house to encourage your cat or dog to drink more water.

    Cat and Dog Hair Shedding Solutions

    removing pet hair from the carpet

    Because shedding is a normal way for animals to renew their coat, there is a limit to how much you can reduce shedding. Depending on your pet and its breed, you may be able to influence shedding significantly, but if you own a shedding pet, in the end, you have to accept loose hair.

    Cleaning is the best way of keeping all that pet hair under control.

    In addition to grooming and tips mentioned in the previous chapters, cleaning is definitely the most effective way of keeping all that pet hair under control. Luckily, there are many ways to help you remove all that hair and keep your home clean.

    These are the top tips when it comes to reducing pet hair in your home.

    Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

    Vacuuming is the most effective way of reducing pet hair. In addition to having a powerful vacuum that is up to the job and comes with all the necessary tools, you should also ensure you use it routinely to not let the pet hair build up.

    Lint rollers are a must-have

    Lint rollers are readily available and budget-friendly, especially if buying multiple pieces at once. They are suitable for quick cleaning and work perfectly on clothing and upholstery.

    Use couch covers and materials that are pet hair friendly

    If your pet is a heavy shedder, it is useful to cover the couches, at least during shedding season. Using couch covers will reduce the cleaning time greatly. You can use specially designed sofa covers, pet blankets, or throws. Also, if your pet sleeps next to you, picking bedding materials that repel pet hair helps a lot.

    Just make sure the covers are made of materials that are easy to clean and preferably machine washable.

    Stick to a cleaning routine

    Having the right cleaning gear to fight pet hair is not enough, you actually have to use them routinely.

    To start with, spend 5-10 minutes daily to vacuum high-traffic areas (or get a robot vacuum to do it for you!), wipe the surfaces, and mop the floors weekly. The mess doesn’t build up if you follow a good cleaning routine and do a bit of cleaning here and there.

    Pro Tip:

    You can also make it easier to keep that pet hair under control by training your pet.  Teach your them to lay on top of a pet blanket, which is easier to wash than the couch covers. Or get a pet bed and train your pup to sleep in it instead of your couch or bed.

    Bottom Line – Hairy Truth about Shedding Pets

    shedding pets cat and dog

    The next time you are nervous about the amount of hairs scattered around your house, remember shedding is considered a sign of health in pets. They are simply making room for new shinier and stronger fur.

    Some pets shed more than others, but all hairy pets still shed. And many of people's favorite cat and dog breeds are actually heavy shedders, so annoying as it is, it's just a part of being a pet parent.

    Luckily, you can do many things to control shedding, including brushing, de-shedding, and bathing your pet. A balanced diet and clean water are also key for preventing excessive shedding.

    However, having a shedding family member also means you will need to invest a few extra hours in keeping your house as hair-free as possible. However, with a few key tools and a cleaning routine, you'll keep your home clean and hygienic – even with pets that shed.

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    2. Total Veterinary Care, Hair of the Dog and Cat: What You Should Know About Pet Shedding, retrieved from

    3. Vet West,Shedding in Cats and Dogs, retrieved from

    4. RPCA Vet Insurance, Everything You Need to Know About Dog Shedding, retrieved from

    5. Pet Assure, Tips to Help with Shedding Cats, retrieved from

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