If you have a dog with a single-layer coat, you have never experienced the horror of a coat blow.
Typical dog owners can never understand what double-coated dog owners go through.
All dogs shed a bit year-round, but for double-coated breeds, particularly northern breeds bred to be sled dogs, the coat blow is an entirely different issue (Husky owners, you know all too well what we mean!).
What is 'Blowing Coat'?
If your husky's coat is shedding massively and you're seeing this hair loss for the first time, we can tell you right now that you don't need to worry! It is completely natural for double-coated dog breeds to be "blowing the coat", a process where the dog's coat switch from their winter coat to their summer coat. Shedding the old hair is essential for new hair growth.
Double-coated dog breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Akitas, Malamutes, and even German Shepherds have a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a topcoat with long, coarse guard hairs. The undercoat is essential for these breeds to stay warm in harsh winter conditions or just brutally cold weather.
In general, the highest shedding season will occur during the Spring and Fall seasons -- i.e. when the temperature changes and the doggy wants to shed their thick coat to make way for the summer coat, and vice versa. When the seasons change, the coats switch so they can adapt to the new conditions. The transition allows them to be comfortable all year long.
Instead of shedding, where only a few hairs come out, double-coated breeds blow their coat and the undercoat comes out in large clumps. You may think that enough hair is coming out to leave the dog bald, but there is always more fur loosening up. You can end up with trash bags full of loose hair during a coat blow -- just don't be scared off by the ungodly amount of hair coming from your dog's undercoat!
For dogs who blow their coat, going to the groomer for a good dog grooming session is unnecessary. The fur and dead hair fall out naturally and, in fact, double-coated breeds should never be shaved. The hair is a necessary protection against the cold, but also against the heat and sun rays.
What Does a Coat Blow Look Like?
Dogs going through a coat blow can often look very raggedy. The hair can clump up to the point where it looks like sheep wool.
The coat can blow very unevenly, with some areas making the new coat transition faster than others, giving the pup a very patchy appearance.
How Often Do Dogs Blow Their Coats?
Because most dogs are kept inside as pets in climate-controlled homes, the coat blow process can change.
The frequency and severity of a coat blow depend on the breed and gender of the animal, the change in the seasons, and whether or not the dog is spayed or neutered. Dogs can have thicker and denser coats after being "fixed."
Managing a Coat Blow
You can help your dog through a coat blow and keep the hair tumbleweeds to a minimum by having regular grooming sessions every day for at least fifteen minutes. Using grooming tools like an undercoat rake, a slicker brush, a Furminator, and/or a Greyhound comb will help remove the loose undercoat and will speed the process along, helping your dog feel more comfortable.
As frustrating as a coat blow can be for a double-coated dog owner, it doesn't make them any less loved! It just means there's a little extra dog hair around the house...
1. Dog Rake
The Dog Rake by Oster removes dead undercoat fur and is easy to clean!
You wont find yourself cringing as you brush your dog with the Slicker Brush. It's gentle on your fur baby and won't scratch their skin.
3. Dog Comb
I love that this comb has round teeth ends. Your dog will feel like he's at a spa with this one.
The Furryfirst Undercoat Dematting Brush is designed for both cats and dogs. Our cats can get extra furry too!
These are a fun one! Of course, your fur baby will probably think "Wow my parent's hands feel a bit more rough than usual," but it's a win-win. You get to pet your dog while you groom him.
I like the typical bristle brush design on this one. The non-slip handle looks comfortable and there are rounded pins so it doesn't hurt your dog. You might even mistake this one for your own brush at a quick glance!
Do you have a double-coated dog? How do you manage coat blow? Share your experiences with us on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!
This post was originally published October 6, 2017.