These massive dogs, ranging in weight from roughly 70 to 130 pounds can be quite a handful, but worth every second. Grooming needs are a big concern to owners, as it should be. Keeping the coat healthy and keeping both the dog and the home clean is an important part of ownership.
Akitas are instinctively work to keep themselves clean, they self-groom, rather like felines do. With this said, an owner does need to have a routine grooming schedule, as the heavy coat presents some issues. It is a luxurious, thick double coat.
One element that is vital to good care is to understand about the Akita shedding cycle and to control the Akita shed as much as possible.
This breed is known to be a heavy shedder. The volume of hairs shed will vary somewhat depending on the location that you live in. While every dog will enter and exit the cycles, to what degree depends, in part, on whether you live in an area that has 4 distinct seasons….Or if you have relativity the same climate year round.
For most, there will be heavy Akita shedding on a continuous cycle of every 6 months. During this time, the entire undercoat of fur will come out. The Akita shed lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Depending on the size of the dog, this can be an enormous amount of hair within a short period of time.
The more extreme change in temperatures, the more of a change there will be in this process. For example, if you live in New England where summer heat quickly turns to much cooler temps, there will be a very heavy shed that prepares the dog for cold freezes in the coming months…
And this in turn leads to a relatively rapid change from frigid winter into warm spring, where changes will occur to rid the body of the extra fur that was needed and now will fall out to prepare the dog for hot summer months.
In places of relatively similar heat through the year, this will be less noticeable…There is a mixture of the body naturally shedding, but at the same time, not needing to prepare as much as others that will face cold weather.
The process, no matter what, takes place for another reason as well: It keeps the hair healthy. Without a cycle of renewal, growing new and replacing old, the coat would be terrible dry and unhealthy.
When those hairs shed, they are underneath the top layer. Problems can arise if they are not allowed to fall out. An owner may think that they are falling just fine…because they see a lot of them all over the house. However, there is usually more than most would expect….And it is vital to brush your Akita properly during this time.
If part of the shed is allowed to remain trapped near the skin, it will block air flow to the skin’s surface. This can cause issues with dryness and itchiness. Starting off small, hot spots can appear and become a concerning health issue…And without treatment, the dog can scratch to no end…And there can even be hair loss due to irritation.
What you will want to do, is to use a raking comb to go over the entire body. Do not forget about the legs, the front of the neck…no area should be left untouched.
As you brush, you will want to use a sweeping motion. The motion will be in, down and a curling as you exit and go up. This allows you to catch as many shedded hairs as possible. Those who are not used to this process should pause after just one sweep….Are there hairs in the brush? Good. If not, one must practice brushing in closer to the skin. Of course, the goal is to reach through both coats of fur without causing discomfort to the dog. With just a bit of practice, this will become routine.
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