Shedding – It’s normal for your pet

My daughter sends me a nice email from Zambia today:

Blair's Wedding Zambia Trip 2015 041Is there anything we can do to control Spud's shedding. He seems to shed year round and an awful lot. My husband thinks it's more than any other dog he's ever known. I've asked him to describe it: "Extravagant quantities, insane quantities, how is he not bald by now? "
 
Any advice? 
 
I thought about saying, "Good luck with that", but that isn't too helpful.  Unfortunately, I'm not able to be too helpful even with a lengthy explanation (which I'm good at: ask me what time it is, and I'll tell you how to build a clock)
 
Slick-haired dogs shed more than longer-haired dogs.  If there are no bald spots, no sore places, and you cannot pull out clumps of hair, it is probably his natural shedding.
 
Hair follicles go through cycles of growth and rest.  The hair grows as long as it is going to get, then the cycle goes into a resting phase.  When it begins a new growth cycle, the newly growing hair pops out the old, dead one.  The longer the hair growth cycle, the less frequently you see shed hairs.
 
Gayle7.previewPeople shed in a similar manner.  This is why (though you are not balding, as I am), you find hair in your hair-brush, and hair on the drain when you wash your hair.  If you did not cut your hair, it would probably grow down nearly waist-length.  This is a long growth cycle (though not as long as singer Crystal Gayle, whose hair grows down to her knees, which most people cannot do).  This is why you don't shed hairs as often as Spud, whose hairs are about 1 centimeter long.  His growth cycle is quite short, re-starting frequently. Of course, he has a lot more hair follicles, so there is more frequent shedding from a lot more places.
 
It is, alas, normal.  I used to sell a product called "Lo-Shed".  You rubbed it into the dog's skin all over on a regular basis, and it slowed down the hair-follicle activity.  It did make a noticeable difference on some of the small, slick-haired dogs, but was a great bother, and not very practical.
 
There are patent medicine companies selling various nutritional supplements, but I do not know of any evidence that they are efficacious.
 
Unlike the shedding of the downy, winter undercoat (lanugo hair), which is seasonal, shedding of the normal guard hairs is generally a year-round affair. Doghair
 
Try to think of all the little white hairs as a type of organic, natural form of glitter.  Thus it becomes a fashion accessory, rather than an annoyance.

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