As spring arrives, pets will begin to shed their winter coats. Dog and cats alike naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding.
The frequency and amount of shedding that occurs often depends on the overall health and breed of the pet, as well as the time of the year. While most dogs and cats have a thicker coat during the winter and shed it as spring arrives, pets that are primarily kept indoors will experience smaller changes in coat thickness and tend to shed evenly throughout the year.
Shedding is a natural, normal process. Although normal amounts of healthy shedding cannot be stopped, the amount of hair accumulating on the floor and furniture can be reduced by regular brushing, grooming and proper nutrition.
BREED MATTERS: Some breeds just shed more than others. For example, a German shepherd will shed much more — and more often — than a shih tzu or poodle.
Those prone to allergies should research what breeds are considered hypoallergenic, as they will have little to non-shedding coats and produce less dander than the heavier-shedding breeds.
Cats shed, too. They spend 10 percent of every day grooming, but that isn’t enough. They must be fed a healthy diet, be brushed daily and have a bath at least once a month to minimize shedding.
For both dogs and cats, it is important to talk to a vet if a pet is experiencing excessive hair loss or bald patches. Large amounts of hair loss can signal that an animal may be experiencing stress, poor diet or a medical issue. A trip to the vet is the best way to tell if shedding is of the normal variety or if it is a symptom of an underlying problem such as:
Parasites (fleas, lice or mites)
Fungal or bacterial infections
Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease
Reaction to medications
Trauma due to excessive licking
If open sores, redness or bumps are present, make a vet appointment immediately.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans will be at the Home and Garden Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with adoptable dogs and puppies, as well as the always popular puppy kissing booth. There will be ART for Animals, Barkus posters and dog costumes. Information on fostering, adopting and volunteering also will be available. Donations are accepted. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jefferson SPCA also will be there with adoptable dogs, free engraved pet ID tags with any donation and a raffle for a New Orleans Stay-Cation. For information, email email@example.com.
SATURDAY: Critter Cinema will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids. What better way to end the week than getting cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoying G-rated critter movies, making friends with other young animal lovers and snacking on pizza and popcorn at the Louisiana SPCA. For ages 5-10; feel free to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and PJs. $35 per child. Pre-registration is required; call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/crittercinema.
SATURDAY: Off-site Pet Adoption, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, will be held at Jefferson Feed Neighborhood Pet Market, 309 N. Carrollton Ave., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends eager to find a new home will be available for adoption. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org/offsite for information.
SUNDAY: A Dogs & Babies Workshop will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. This humans-only workshop will give you the tools to help ensure a smooth transition when you’re expecting for your entire family. Some topics covered include crate training, teaching your dog to settle, helping your dog disengage from the baby, getting your dog used to the new routine, acclimating your dog to all the new sights, sounds, smells and props that come along with the baby, expectations for dog-baby interactions and much more. The Dogs and Babies workshop includes resources, training plans, video tutorials and live demos. The cost for the 2-hour workshop is $25 per person or $40 per couple. Registration is required. Visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops for information and to register.
SUNDAY: Free Intro to Dog Training workshop will be held at 3 p.m. at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. The workshop is open to new adopters, seasoned pet owners and anyone looking to learn a little more about how to effectively communicate with their dog. This workshop covers the basics of how dogs learn and how you can make the most of their training. As an added benefit, anyone who attends this free workshop will receive a discount code for 10 percent off a manners training class. Note that this is a humans-only workshop. Registration is not required, walk-ins welcome. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, email a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to email@example.com. In Jefferson Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and in St. Bernard Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at email@example.com