How to Groom a Seasonal Shedding Dog

10 - 20 Minutes
1 Day


It's spring and Susan's black lab is shedding all over her house. No white outfits for Susan, until her black beauty loses her winter coat!  

Because Susan's dog likes to spend time outside, and their climate in the northeast US can be quite chilly in the winter, her dog has developed a thick winter coat, and now it all has to come out in preparation for the long, hot humid summer!  More bad news, this will happen again in the fall, when her dog will “blow” her summer hair coat, to make way for her thick winter coat to come in. 

Shedding occurs as new hair pushes the older dead hair out. Joy: something to look forward to twice a year! If you have a shedding dog and live in a climate where seasonal changes cause your dog to develop different hair coats at different times of the year to keep him warm or cool, your dog will shed out his coat as his new coat comes in. This will mean more hair than usual, all over your house-- and you! Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the pain of finding black Labrador hair all over your white linen suit!

Dog's Perspective

Your dog can be itchy when he loses his hair, so helping him remove that hair with brushing and clipping may feel quite good. Many long haired or double coated dogs need to have packed undercoats combed through and dead shedding hair removed, so that shedding hair does not become caught and matted in the rest of his coat, causing knots, mats, and itchy skin, where moisture can be trapped and sometimes result in hot spots. A good brushing to remove dead hair will usually make your dog feel better, and now his new coat will do a better job of temperature control, which is what it’s for after all.

Caution & Considerations

  • Make sure mats don't form or are left unattended on your dog during shedding season, which can trap moisture and result in skin conditions and sores.
  • Feed your dog a well balanced, high protein diet, to prevent excess shedding or dead, unnourished hair coat.
  • Be careful working with special fur removal tools, so that you don’t overstrip hair, as these tools can be aggressive.
  • Have a way to catch hair in the tub without washing it down the drain, or you may end up with a clogged tub drain!
  • Work in sections down to the skin, but be careful not to pull hair or scratch skin, especially on short haired dogs if using hard-bristled tools or combs.
  • Keep an eye out for parasites and skin infections when grooming during season changes.


Remember, this too shall pass!  Shedding season does not go on forever. Daily brushing will keep shedding under control, and prevent tangles and mats from forming as dead hair is released. Bathing to stimulate hair follicles and release seasonal hair helps the process along. Blow drying hair and vacuuming uses air to help blow or suck hair away, but there is no substitute for good old-fashioned elbow grease. Work in sections with slicker brushes and shedding tools, to really pull loose hair up from undercoats, and clean your tools regularly while working to keep them clean and make room for more hair, you're going to need it!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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Sketch of smiling australian shepherd