Shedding is really the one big negative to Collies at least in my opinion. The hair can be a real nuisance at times, it ends up everywhere on everything, in everything if it is not managed properly. I used to take a pretty lackadaisical attitude to my Collie’s shedding and it got real bad, Collie hair on every surface in my house. Then I learned that if I didn’t want Collie hair in my food and all over my clothes I needed to take command of the shedding. So here it is, after all my research along with a good deal of trial and error, my top tips for managing Collie shedding like a pro.
What Causes Collies to Shed?
While humans grow one hair from each hair follicle, dogs can grown several hairs from the same follicle. When one of the hairs stops growing it comes loose but may be stuck in place either in the crowded follicle or tangled in other hairs of the coat.
First it is important to determine why your Collie is shedding. Only then can you properly deal with the problem. Some shedding occurs naturally with the seasons but other times it can be a sign of health problems.
Most Collies will naturally shed twice a year, in the spring and fall, as they are changing coats to acclimate to changes in weather, to the winter coat in fall and to the summer coat in spring. A Collie’s coat is two layer, made up of a soft, downy under-coat and a longer, courser outer-coat. It is this under-coat that is main culprit in seasonal shedding. One particular Collie of mine will often lose so much under-coat that she seems almost hairless with just her guard hairs left and very little of her under-coat, no longer soft to the touch.
A female Collie has even more reasons to shed, some will shed before they come into heat, providing a clue of things to come. Others will shed after heat and many others will shed after having a litter of puppies. One story often told is that the reason Lassie was played by a male Collie was because females Collies will blow their coat twice a year and change in appearance while a male Collie can avoid some shedding problems.
Health Related Shedding
There are a whole lot of potential health related causes for hair loss. Generally you should not worry unless your Collie’s shedding lasts for an extended period or seems excessive. Some health issues that can cause shedding are:
- Poor diet – do you feed your dog cheap dog food?
- Stress – has your dog had a drastic change in environment recently?
- Parasites – look for fleas and ticks, is the dog scratching excessively?
Tips to Minimize Collie Shedding
If you have determined that diet could be an issue with your dog’s shedding, try improving the quality of your dog food and see if it makes a noticeable difference for your Collie. If it does not make a noticeable difference you can always switch back. Follow this link to check prices on dog food to promote coat health on Amazon.
The supplement Lipiderm which contains Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids may also help to improve your dog’s skin and hair health. Check Lipiderm prices on Amazon here.
Collies in particular are very sensitive, to human emotions, to changes in environment and to missing people they love. Think back and try to determine if the shedding happened after some sort of stress inducing event for your dog. If so then you can try to minimize the stress and/or wait for the dog to adjust to the new situation and see if the shedding improves. Keeping your dog happy and relaxed is always a good idea anyway.
Shedding is usually accompanied by some scratching but keep your eye out for excessive scratching which could indicate parasites.
You should always strive to keep your Collie free of parasites but sometimes they can get infested before you realize it. Fleas and other parasites can cause excessive scratching and hair loss. Try treating with over the counter treatments but if that does not work do not hesitate to see your vet about this before it gets out of hand. You can follow this link to find flea and tick control products on Amazon.
Brushing your dog is actually the best and first thing you should do to manage shedding. If you brush your Collie every day you will find the hair in your house much reduced. Regular brushing will remove loose hairs from the coat and stimulate the skin to increase circulation and improve overall coat health.
A slicker brush is an excellent tool for pulling those dead hairs out of the undercoat. Brush in both directions several times until the amount if hair removed with each brushing becomes less. This is best done daily during heavy shedding times. Check out the selection of slicker brushes found here.
An undercoat rake is another excellent tool for removing those stubborn dead hairs in the undercoat. Use this in the direction of coat growth being careful not to pull on tangles. You can shop for undercoat rakes on Amazon by following this link.
Frequent baths can also reduce shedding problems in Collies. Bathing will help to loosen and remove dead hairs and keep the skin clean and healthy. Make sure to select a good shampoo that promotes coat health of which there are many on the market to choose from. Here is the link to shop for dog shampoos for shedding control.
You can even vacuum your Collie! There are special attachments available to vacuum your dog’s coat and collect shedding hair, fleas, ticks and other debris that can be caught in the coat. A great way to make short work of collecting that shed hair before it gets loose in your house. Check out the selection of dog vacuuming equipment on Amazon at this link.
It’s a Collie Thing
To some degree shedding is just a part of owning a Collie. The tips listed above can help reduce shedding or collect shed hairs before they become a nuisance but nothing will completely eliminate shedding. If you hope to live with a Collie you need to come to grips with what I consider the only negative side of Collie ownership which is periodic shedding.
You can minimize shedding by keeping your Collie’s coat healthy with diet, shampoo, supplements and no stress or parasites. And you can eliminate unwanted hair before it gets into the environment of your house with brushing or vacuuming. But you will still have some hair to deal with, embrace it and wear your Collie hair with pride. Speaking of wearing Collie hair, I have known people who collected sacks of Collie hair, spun it into yarn and knitted sweaters from it.