Love your Great Dane but aren’t so fond of all of the fur that he leaves behind him when leaving a room or having a play session? It’s a common complaint with Great Dane parents. Get on top of it by learning what you need to know about a Great Dane’s shedding season and how to deal with it.
Do Great Danes Shed? Yes, Great Danes do shed, but they are considered to be moderate shedders when compared to other breeds. This is often a surprise to Great Dane parent, as they have such short and stiff fur of a Rottweiler, for instance, rather than the long lengthy fur of, say, a Golden Retriever. However, Great Danes are frequent shedders, and learning how to predict it, recognize healthy from unhealthy shedding, and how to deal with seasonal shedding will help you keep your pooch and home clean and clear!
How much do Great Danes shed?
As mentioned Great Danes are considered to be moderate shedders and this would be year-round. Like all dogs who are blowing their coat (shedding their winter/summer coat), their shedding will get worse in the springtime as the temperatures warm up, and then heavy again in the fall as the temperatures plummet.
You’ll find of the biggest shocks is the sheer amount of fur that Great Danes shed in the run of a day. Since it’s so short and wiry, why does it shed so much? You’re right, Great Danes are one of the single-coat dog breeds, so they don’t have the two extra-thick coats that require excessive shedding.
Like anything Great Dane related, however, the reason for so much fur loss is — you guessed it — their size! Since they are so massive and they have fur all over their bodies, it simply seems like they are shedding a lot of fur. Can you imagine if they were long-haired doggos? Yikes!
Why do Great Danes shed?
The whole idea behind shedding is actually pretty fascinating if you’re interested in dog biology. A dog has fur on its body as a layer (or two) or protection. Their fur is their defence against environmental issues such as sun, wind, rain, snow and other debris. As the hair gets damaged and weakened throughout seasons, it falls out and new hair grows in its place. It’s so sophisticated it has its own process of fur growth and shedding (more on that in a moment).
In the winter or summer, your dog’s biological part — aka his lizard brain — feels the temperature changing and his fur starts to shed to accommodate it. It does this to help regulate his temperature and still protect his skin. It’s pure biology and it’s not something that can be stopped with pills or so-called supplements. On that note, never give your dog anything that will supposedly help your dog stop shedding. Not only is it a waste of money, but it can also be very dangerous for your doggo!
Understanding the shedding phases
There are four stages of fur growth in your doggo. This is the same from breed to breed.
Considered the first stage of growth in a cycle, new hair is starting to grow. It’s an active stage where it will push up through the skin.
This stage is for the fur growing to its required length and then it simply stops growing when it knows that it has reached the length needed.
This is a passive stage in the life cycle of hair/fur. It is where the fur is neither growing or shedding. At this point, the fur would be damage-free and focused on protecting.
This is the shedding stage, as the body determines that it has been weakened and damaged and it will allow the fur to fall out. At this point, it cycles back to the Anagen phase. Quite often these two will overlap.
How to deal with shedding on Great Danes
That’s all well and good, maybe, but what about the problem of fur swirling around your house every time you get up to go to the kitchen? Dealing with shedding in your Great Dane is as simple as giving him some spa time (no, really).
While they have short and easy to maintain fur, you should groom your Great Dane regularly. Throughout most seasons, you should be okay with once a week. During the shedding seasons, however, you may want to go as often as once a day.
This isn’t all bad, remember! Grooming gives you the perfect occasion to check his skin and fur out for any abnormalities and it’s also a great way to bond with him, too.
Bathe him regularly
While you don’t need to bathe him weekly, you’ll want to do what you can to give him some sort of bath schedule. Not only will he keep him fresh and clean as far as minimizing that “dog” smell, but it’s also great for removing loose fur without it flying around the house. Also, since Great Danes are prone to dry skin, bathing them regularly will help keep their skin strong and moisturized.
From their bedding to the couch to those little corners that always seem to get missed, try to step up the vacuuming if you can, especially around shedding season. We mean vacuuming your house, by the way, not your dog…unless he likes it!
My Great Dane is shedding too much. What should I do?
If you’re still struggling with the sheer amount of fur and looking for some support and help on dealing with it, here are some pointers to get you through.
Is it really “too much”?
We’ve already mentioned that sometimes pet parents can be surprised by the sheer amount of fur loss that a Great Dane has. Make sure that it really is too much before you start thinking that there’s a problem. This is especially if he otherwise seems healthy and happy.
Shedding vs fur loss
Another thing is determining whether your pooch is suffering from excessive shedding or whether it’s actually fur loss itself. Shedding is just loose strands or occasionally tufts of fur. Fur loss is when it is excessive in certain areas and it even creates thin or bare spots where the skin becomes exposed to the eye. If you aren’t sure, your vet can help you figure out which it is.
Check for underlying conditions
Excessive fur loss can be a sign of underlying health conditions. For example, your pooch could be on a diet that doesn’t agree with him as far as nutrient and mineral balancing. He could be dealing with an allergic reaction to either food, shampoos used during bath time or other environmental triggers. He could also be dealing with hormone fluctuations or stress level variations that are also known for causing some shedding issues.
If you suspect that something is going on beyond the normal shedding, you’ll want to consider taking him to the vet so that they can help you find your way forward.
Switch up his diet with a vet’s support
Since hair loss and diet can often be connected, you and your vet should work together to find out what the deficiency is and what kind of food is going to help address it. Your vet will be your best friend with helping find food that is designed for his nutritional needs after all.
How to minimize shedding in Great Danes
We’ve talked about dealing with shedding and also about the potential causes for excessive shedding, but what about how to help your Great Dane himself minimize his natural shedding process? The tips below can help keep him happy and healthy as well as minimal in fur shedding, too.
All things considered, eating a proper diet is the most important thing to focus on when it comes to minimizing shedding in your pooch. This includes the quality of food as well as the quantity and, of course, making sure that he isn’t allergic to the food itself. While it may cost more for “good” food for your Great Dane, the money is well worth it.
Regular brushing and bathing
We’ve also already talked about the idea of regular brushing and bathing You’ll want to do it on a regular schedule and also make sure that you are using the right brushes (more on that later) as well as the right shampoos and conditioners. Since Great Danes have sensitive skin, try to focus on those sensitive skin products specifically for doggos and always test it on a small area to see how they react. When in doubt, check with your vet!
Regular vet appointments
Your dog’s vet is your best friend in ensuring that your doggo has a healthy and happy life. From immunizations to spaying or neutering to annual check-ups, it’s all important and will play a role in his health. Since shedding is directly related to his health, it’s a connection to prioritize! Also, your vet will be able to notice unusual shedding and check quickly for any possible underlying issues, too.
Low to moderate stress
Pooches can often get stressed out. In fact, it’s easier than a lot of pet parents may want to consider. If he is dealing with low or moderate stress, this is going to make him shed more than he should. Do what you can to keep him in a calm environment and be his stress buddy — ie: give him lots of love — when changes come and go so that he knows he can count on you.
How to properly groom a Great Dane
Since we’ve talked quite a bit about proper and regular grooming, it only makes sense that we now focus on the actual grooming itself, right? Here are some tips to keep it as mess-free as possible.
Do it outside as much as possible
To help keep the mess outside of your home (and your air filters) you should try to groom him outside as much as you can. This will give the fur other places to go and can also help make the entire experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, too (especially if your doggo doesn’t like his grooming sessions).
Get the right shedding brush
There’s no shortage of options out there for brushes. The two best options are going to be a shedding glove (those silicone ones that slide on over your hand), or the Furminator brush. The silicone glove is especially soft and gentle and it will help tease the loose hair from your pooch without irritating his sensitive skin. The Furminator brush is great for those days where the fur is just practically falling off and you need to empty the bush ever 5 minutes. Featuring a fur eject button to make it as effortless as possible, it can be a huge help. Can’t choose which one you want? Get both!
Also, make sure that you are cautious to make sure your pooch is enjoying himself. Since they have sensitive skin, you’ll want to be gentle and careful in grooming to make sure you don’t irritate his skin or make it painful.
Take him to a groomer
If you find that you don’t have the proper time or patience to groom your doggo — or he has especially sensitive skin that makes it challenging for you to do safely, consider the idea of taking him to an experienced and professional dog groomer who has experience with Great Danes. While it won’t be the bonding experience you’re looking for, it certainly can help you to know that he is getting the attention he needs.
Whether you knew about a Great Dane’s tendency to shed or not, understanding where it comes from, when you can expect it, and how to deal with it will help you to keep your house in good order and your dog happy and healthy for a long time to come!