A big Husky dog sitting

Dog Winter Coats Vs. Summer Coats

One of the most frustrating parts about owning a dog is the amount they shed. Some dogs hardly shed at all, so home maintenance is very manageable. Other dogs, however, shed trash bags full of hair. This hair must go somewhere, so we often find it on our couches and clothes.

Dog winter coats versus summer coats are two very different things. Read below as we look at how these coats differ and how to manage to keep a clean house at the same time.

Dog’s Shedding Cycle

There are some dogs that shed more and some who shed less. Actually, every haired mammal sheds at least a little bit. Thus, you find your own hair in a comb or brush after grooming yourself. Sometimes hair becomes damaged or weak and simply falls out.

Your dog will shed continually. Some breeds like the Poodle or the Yorkshire Terrier shed very little, but they do still shed a bit.

Other breeds like the Husky or the Alaskan Malamute are known for their almost impossibly large tufts of fur during their shedding period. This is due in part to these breeds having a very robust double coat. Their fur has a coarse outer layer that protects the much softer under-layer of fur. The softer layer is also what allows these breeds to live in the harsh, cold environments from where they hail.

These dogs will also shed their soft undercoat with the seasons.

Dog Winter Coats VS Summer Coats

For dogs who shed, they normally do so in a cycle. Most dogs shed more during the spring and fall. The reason this happens is because of the temperature changes.

In the spring, your dog is getting ready for summer. If they didn’t shed their thick winter layer, they would most likely overheat during the summer. During the fall, your dog is getting ready for winter. This means that they will shed their thin summer coat and regrow a rich, thick undercoat to shield them from the cold temperatures.

So, the difference dog’s winter coats versus summer coats is that winter coats are thick while summer coats are thin. What is very interesting is that dogs who come from farther north seem to have bigger differences in their seasonal coats. Like we mentioned above, the Alaskan Malamute is known for shedding. There are rather large differences between an Alaskan summer and winter, so the dogs had to respond accordingly.

Dogs from more temperate climates do not see as dramatic a change in their seasonal coats.

How to Keep Clean

Shedding is just a fact of life when you own a pet. While it might be a hassle to hunt down and clean up all the tumbleweeds your dog might be leaving around the house, the good news is that you can be proactive.

The best way to make sure your home stays clean during your dog’s shedding cycle is not to wait for them to drop their hair. Basic grooming can save you a huge hassle. Below you’ll find several brushes that can help tease out your dog’s “blowing coat.” That is, the coat that your dog will shed.

Basic Tools to Tackle Shedding

Dog Rake

A dog rake is what is sounds like. It’s a brush that has metal rakes that help loosen up your dog’s dead undercoat. These have wide teeth, so it won’t actually pull your dog’s outercoat while letting the undercoat rise to the top.

Slicker Brush

The slicker is made of very thin, almost needle-like prongs. These are more compact and act almost like Velcro as it grabs on to tufts of your dog’s hair. The plus side is that the prongs are very gentle and do a fairly good job at massaging your dog’s coat clean.

Dog Comb

Dog combs are just like a regular person’s comb. They are usually made of metal with rounded teeth. These are gentle on your dog’s skin but work really well for removing dead undercoat as well.

Grooming Gloves

Another tool that has gotten popular for grooming are specially made gloves. You put these gloves on and simply pet your dog. The soft, rubberized fingers and palm help to loosen dead fur and when you’re done you simply take the ball of fur you’ve collected to the trash.

The transition between your dog’s summer coat and winter coat can be easy to deal with. All it takes is a little bit of extra planning. Grooming is also a great bonding experience for you and your dog.

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