Coat change in dogs and cats

PETA expert gives tips for supportive, animal-friendly personal care

Stuttgart. Hairy early spring for four-legged friends: Who doesn't know that? As soon as the temperatures get milder and the days get longer again, dogs and cats lose their thick winter fur. For humans, shedding means an increased amount of animal hair, which can easily be vacuumed away. However, this phase of the year can be quite tedious for animal companions and long-haired animals in particular now require extra care. Jana Hoger, specialist for animal companions at PETA, has put together tips to help dogs and cats with their personal hygiene.

“Due to the comparatively warm winter, many dogs and cats have already shed more hair in the last few weeks or have lost a lot of fur in warm phases. Now the remaining hair is coming off, so careful, regular grooming is very important,” says Jana Hoger. “Four-legged friends generally enjoy the extra portion of affection, the human-animal relationship is strengthened and, as a positive side effect, the apartment remains free of animal hair.”

Brush dogs and cats carefully every day when they are changing fur: Special combs and brushes primarily remove dead hair and at the same time promote blood circulation in the skin – this speeds up the change. In addition, the combed out fur can then be removed directly from the combing tool and disposed of “free from flying”. There is the right brush for every coat; it is best for people with animals to get advice from a specialist store. Important: Animals must be slowly accustomed to grooming and the ritual should always be pleasant for them. Not only in older animals, for example, too much pressure can lead to avoidable dandruff, skin irritation and, in the worst case, pain. What cannot be removed with a brush today can often be easily brushed out in the following days. A short break often doesn't hurt, because brushing shouldn't be a negative experience for dogs and cats.

Many dogs and cats find grooming with grooming gloves beneficial: gloves with plastic nubs protect sensitive animal skin and loosen loose hair. This type of care is very close to a massage or petting and is usually very enjoyed by animal companions. The glove is particularly useful for short-haired animals. The following applies to all long-haired four-legged friends: combs and curry combs should not be too sharp, otherwise there is a risk of injury.

Brushing is always carried out in the direction of hair growth from the head downwards towards the body and legs: For animals with thick fur, it is advisable to work your way forward through new partings. Then gradually pull this down from the neck in order to work the fur neatly through to the right and left of the drawn comb line. This means the warming undercoat can be gently combed out. This type of grooming for long-haired animals is called “line brushing.”

Adding unsaturated fatty acids to pet food can promote skin and hair metabolism: small amounts of oil stimulate hair growth and can help with flaky skin or dry, shaggy fur. Dogs and cats primarily need omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement, so it is recommended to add linseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil and hemp oil to the food on a regular basis. But be careful: too much oil can cause digestive problems.

Attention: If animals suddenly lose a large amount of hair and suffer from itching in the form of circular, hairless, reddened areas, people should take their pets to a veterinary practice. Triggers can be fungal diseases as well as immunological or hormonal diseases, which must be treated.