The Hair of the Dog….
Does your dog wear a woolly jumper a fleece jacket or a hair shirt?
Your dog’s coat may be curly, straight, wavy, wiry, smooth, course, long or short and it may have a combination of textures and lengths. You may have a single or a double coated breed or if you have a ‘doodle’ you may think it has all of the above!
Regardless of what type of coat your dog has, all dog hair goes through the same stages of growth and renewal. The renewal bit is what you see left all over your clothes and house at this time of year as some dogs become a moving cloud of loose hair.
All dogs with hair shed on a regular basis, dogs with continuously growing hair like Poodles have hair shafts with longer life spans and shed very little, unlike say, Labradors who have more undercoat and hair with a shorter life span and who shed a lot.
Canine hair follicles differ from ours. We have one hair per follicle, dogs have as many as 16. One primary hair could be surrounded by up to 15 secondary hairs, all issuing from one pore. This hair will be in one of four phases of growth.
Here comes the science bit!
Dog hair goes through four stages of growth and decay.
Anagen phase of active growth.
Catagen phase when new hairs reach their maximum length and stop growing.
Telogen phase when the hair is fully attached but not growing.
Exogen phase when the hair reaches the end of its natural life cycle and is shed from the follicle.
Dogs that shed seasonally have coats where all hairs tend to be in one growth phase at any one time. ‘Non-shedding’ dogs have a coat where across the whole coat different hairs are in any of the four phases at the same time leading to a staggered process of loss and renewal. All dogs shed.
Routine grooming is essential for all dogs. Grooming removes dead hair that will otherwise end up on your clothes and carpets or remain in the coat to cause matts and tangles.
Give yourself a break from the vacuum, lint roller or sticky tape, make an appointment and leave your dog’s coat at mine.