DEALING WITH SHEDDING JACK RUSSELL TERRIER
As any pet owner knows, whether they own a dog or a cat, pets will shed. But in the case of JRT's the shedding can occur in much greater quantities than most dogs, and most assuredly become a down right nuisance.
With most JRT's being 70% or more white in color, when they shed, it is very obvious. No matter what their owners do, the white shows on everything.
There is nothing that can be done about a JRT shedding, it is controlled by mother nature. But there are steps that the owners can take to reduce the amount of shedding that occurs, so as not to present an unsightly problem.
The first step to reducing your JRT's frequency of shedding is to visit your vet, and make sure that there is not an underlying medical condition for the shedding.
These may include allergies to food or medication; a newly introduced soap or shampoo; or even bites from pest, such as fleas. Also to be considered and checked for is the possibility of a hormonal imbalance.
Most dogs fall into two categories: seasonal shedding and year round shedding. JRT's fall into the year round shedding category. They have seven layers of fur, so at any given time one of the layers are actively shedding.
Groomers and those who show JRT's deal with this year round shedding by using a special comb that, when run through the dogs fur, will pull out every other layer. This helps to remove any loose hair, while at the same time thinning out the coat some. But, this grooming technique can be very uncomfortable for your JRT, to say the least. Lets look at a few alternative methods for dealing with the constant shedding.
First and foremost, brush your JRT daily. This is best started as a daily routine when they are young, so that they are well adjusted and do not fight or fidget. If you are starting with an older JRT, just keep in mind that anything new has to be introduced gradually. You may not be able to brush them every day from the beginning, maybe once every other day or so. And, make the procedure fun for your JRT. Praise them, give them lots of love, and even a nice nibble of treat after wards as a reward. Eventually, being brushed everyday will seem second nature.
When brushing your JRT, make sure you are using the correct type of brush for their fur type. For wire haired coats a bristle brush is better, as opposed to those JRT's with thicker coats, in which a "rake" brush would be more ideal. If in doubt what type of brush to use, your local pet store clerk should be more than happy to find the right type of brush to fit your needs.
The next step in helping to decrease your JRT's amount of shedding is to bathe your JRT regularly. Keep in mind that regularly does not mean every day. It does not even mean every week. Depending on your JRT's outside activities, once a month is the recommended bathing schedule. A JRT is prone to developing dry and flaky skin if bathed too often. If you feel you must bathe your JRT more than once a month, make them short and quick bathings, not long and luxurious. This way the essential oils their skin needs will not be stripped away leaving them all dry and itchy.
You should introduce bath time to your puppy as early as possible. If your JRT is older, it is of utmost importance to remember not to just plunk your JRT into the tub of water the first time. This is a totally new experience for them, and taking the time and patience to introduce them slowly, will more than pay off in the long run. Make bath time fun, by having toys and treats nearby. This will help to reduce stress, that the JRT can easily associate with the act of bathing.
Next, make sure that your JRT is getting enough moisture in their diet. Other than required water intake, your should be providing you JRT with other sources of moisture. When a JRT's diet is solely dry food, with is chuck full of filler, their fur coats will not get the moisture needed, thus making their hair brittle and break easily.
Introducing moisture producing food in moderate amounts such as cantaloupe, watermelon, apple (all de-seeded), green beans, carrots, and good lean meats can help to bolster your JRT's moisture quota. There are some who say you can use olive oil or flax oil added daily to their food, but I highly suggest checking with your JRT's vet first.
And finally, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. I have two senior JRT's and vacuum every 2-3 days. And make sure you get in behind couches, chair, tables, etc, because the fur will travel back behind these areas, accumulate, and look like you have another JRT living with you.
You will need to keep a lint brush handy at all times as well. The hair will undoubtedly get on your clothes, and you will come to think of the lint brush as your new BFF...next to your JRT that is.
So there you have, a few helpful hints at dealing with a shedding JRT. Although you will think the dealing with all the excess fur would be troublesome, it is more than outweighed by the love and companionship of your JRT. Believe me, they really are more than worth the little extra work.