All dogs shed to some extent, but double-coated dog breeds like Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Akitas, and Malamutes put all the rest to shame! These pups “blow their coats” with the changing of the seasons.
Unlike dogs with single-layered coats, double-coated breeds have a soft undercoat to help provide warmth in cold climates, and a longer top layer consisting of coarse guard hairs.
Coat blow differs from everyday shedding in that it involves the hair coming out in large clumps rather than individual strands. The amount of hair can be alarming for unprepared owners and leave your pooch looking patchy and raggedy, like a bird molting its feathers.
Typically, coat blow occurs in the spring when double-coated breeds shed their heavy winter coat in preparation for summer. This transition helps ensure comfort throughout the changing seasons.
Depending on the climate, and the dog’s breed, gender, and lifestyle, there could be a second blow in the fall as summer fades to winter. Most pets live indoors in climate-controlled environments, but those who do not – like sled dogs – often experience dramatic coat blows twice a year.
While the dead hair lost during a coat blow will fall out naturally, double-coated dogs typically require a good deal of brushing to minimize the hair tumbleweeds in your home. An undercoat rake will help remove the dead hair, followed by a slicker brush to preserve the top coat’s softness and shine.
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A professional groomer can also help minimize the mess in your home – and make your dog look and smell great – by thoroughly bathing your pooch followed by a blowout with a high velocity dryer and brushing with a de-shedding tool.
Note: double-coated breeds should never be shaved. Their thick coats protect them from the cold as well as the rays of the sun.
If your dog is shedding abnormally, itching, or appears to have skin irritation along with hair loss, seek veterinary attention.