(KCBS) – Now that it’s getting warmer, there are a lot of complaints about how much fur cats and dogs shed. Shedding is a fact of animal life as KCBS’ Jeff Bell discusses with Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at The San Francisco SPCA.

Many animals in the wild shed twice a year, in the spring and fall. But domesticated animals, especially those kept indoors, can shed all year round. This is because their bodies lose track of seasonal changes.

During the growing cycle, hair will continue to grow until it reaches its genetically programmed length. Then it enters a resting stage that can last for days to months. Eventually the old hair is pushed out of the hair follicle by a newly growing hair. Some smooth, shorthaired dogs seem to shed a lot. While others, such as poodles, have a longer growing cycle and a higher percentage of coarse “guard” hairs. These dogs shed less but need clipping more often.

How can you tell if the quantity of hair that’s shed is a normal amount? Basically, if bald or thin patches begin to show through your pet’s fur, or there is rash or redness of the skin, you should consult a veterinarian to define the problem. But if the coat is full, no matter how much hair gets on your clothes or furniture, it’s probably normal.

It’s not really possible to stop shedding completely, but there are ways to control it. Daily brushing and combing helps remove dead hair. And for dogs, regular bathing may help. And, in spring, for dogs with long coats, a nice haircut can make you and your dog happier.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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