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Puppy Uglies

Pomeranian Puppy Uglies

5 month old Pomeranian with Puppy Uglies
A 5 month old Pomeranian with a severe case of the Puppy Uglies
Photo courtesy of Keen Pomeranians

This is such odd terminology, isn't it? Does this mean that your puppy will actually be ugly? The answer is a huge NO! A bit scraggly looking in a cute way, during a temporary phase..but certainly not ugly.

The Pomeranian breed is one of the most beautiful dogs in the world and this what is known as a "necessary evil". It is a step that leads your wonderful dog into the ball of fluff that he or she was meant to be!

Some Pomeranian owners hope that they can escape the fate of the Puppy Uglies with a dose of good luck. Others have heard of this phrase and do not understand the sometimes shocking results of this Pomeranian term. Still other owners have puppies that are currently in this stage and mistake the symptoms for more serious medical issues.

Let's put to rest some of the myths regarding this issue and discuss all of the aspects of what exactly this term means and how it will and will not affect your Pom. What are the Puppy Uglies, can you avoid them, what happens during this time and how long does this last?

We will discuss all of these issues to help clarify the Puppy Uglies.
General Overview

Poms are born with wonderful soft fluffy coats of fur; this is one the features that makes this dog breed so amazingly special and unique. 

There is a brief interruption where the fur will fall out.
This is only temporary; once the adult coat comes in, you will have your ball of fluff back and he/she will look better than ever. 
The Puppy Uglies is simply a stage that most Pomeranian dogs go through as they are growing. For some it will not be that noticeable. For most Poms this stage will be moderate to severe, and can understandably worry owners who just don't know that a Pomeranian losing so much puppy fur is normal for the breed.

A Pom puppy is born with just one coat of fur. It is soft and so heavenly smooth. When this soft puppy fur falls out, it will be replaced by a much thicker and fuller adult coat. After the Puppy Ugly stage is done, the Pomeranian will have his adult 2 coats of fur: undercoat and overcoat. 
The undercoat will be short and thick, the overcoat will be longer, soft and gorgeous with guard hairs that stand out, giving the Pom his rounded appearance.
minor case of puppy uglies, Pomeranian
a minor case of the Puppy Uglies. Pom: Romeo, 4 months old. Photo courtesy of Kate Lépine
Can I Avoid This Stage?

You may, if your Pomeranian is in the 20th percentile of Poms that do not appear to go through this stage due to it being less severe over a longer period of time. Do take note that if your Pom does not appear to go through this, it will be a more gradual change-over. That baby fur still must come out somehow; so instead of it happening drastically over the course of several months, it will happen less noticeably over the course of 5 or even perhaps 7 months.

The other 80% of healthy Pomeranian dogs will go through this stage. We do mention 'healthy' since there are health issues that can affect coat growth. For Poms without health issues this process of shedding the puppy coat to have the adult coat grow in is an elemental part of a maturing Pom.

When & Where Does this Occur?

It happens during the puppy stage, hence the name. It will begin some time around 4 to 6 months. You will notice your Pom coming out of this around the 10 month mark. After that, the coat will continue to fill in up until 12 to 15 months old.

The fur loss may be only on the legs, causing the dog to look a bit like a Poodle shaving gone awry. The Pom may lose fur just around the eyes, causing the dog to look like it got a bit too close to a flame that sizzled off their "eyebrows". It may fall off in clumps or it may be a full body thinning.

It is suggested to take this phase for what it is and have a bit of humor. Your Pom is not really ugly, he or she is an adorable little creature that is going through a very large change. 

Caring for a Pom with the Puppy Uglies

Your Pom only needs your love and also a bit of care concerning grooming.

1) Since the coat will thinning so much, it will be more important now than ever to use quality products to keep both skin and coat moisturized and healthy.

2) Do not stop giving your dog baths during this time, thinking that this will help slow down the fur loss. It won't stop it and you want this phase to happen and then finish so that your Pom will have his luxurious new coat.

3) Brush more now than ever. Do not worry about pulling out too much dead hair, you want that fur to come out; and it will regardless but removing some yourself helps prevent it from getting matted and tangled. Use an appropriately sized and quality de-shedding tool. Carefully brush all areas of the body, reaching down into the coat. The goal is to pull out all shedded fur to make room for the nice, new coat. Brushing also helps to distribute body oils, remove debris and prevent tangles. You'll want to go gently, since the coat may be thin. 

4) If your Pom develops any bald spots (as opposed to just thinning) use a quality canine coat rescue lotion. This will help regrow the coat. Also, with any bald spots, use some sunscreen if you will be taking your Pomeranian outside it he the summer since bald spots can easily burn.

5) Don't allow a puppy with the 'uglies' to lie down on the bare floor or carpeting since this can be abrasive to the skin and fur. Encourage your Pom to lie on his doggie bed or place soft baby blankets on the floor in his favorite spots.

6) Poms with such thin coats will get chilled much more easily. Slip a warm shirt or a cozy sweater or hoodie on your puppy unless the temperature is very warm.

*** For recommended grooming products to use during this time, look to the Pomeranian Specialty Shoppe.
Pomeranian puppy uglies before pic
6 month old Pom with a minor/moderate case of the Puppy Uglies. Take note of this pup's coloring. He is black with a small hint of chocolate (seen on upper front leg)
Pomeranian after puppy uglies
The same Pom at 11 month old Pom after the Puppy Uglies. The coat is growing back in nicely; though it still has several months to finish filling in. Notice the color change; as with many Pomeranians, the coat color changed when the adult fur grew in. The chocolate brown that was barely noticeable on the puppy's leg is now his coat color! 
How Can I Be Sure My Pom is Having Puppy Uglies?

This is an important element because there are many medical issues, some serious, that cause a dog to lose fur. If your Pomeranian is losing its fur and he is not at the correct age of having Puppy Uglies, this would be a red flag to bring your dog to the vet ASAP.

The 80% of Poms that enter this stage will do so at the age of 4 to 6 months old. The phase will end when the Pom is 10 to 15 months old. If there is a substantial amount of coat loss, enough to show patches of skin and the dog is not between 8 and 14 months, you will want to bring him to the veterinarian as soon as possible as it may be a separate Pomeranian hair loss issue. Note: BSD (Black Skin Disease) is a completely different issue, as it lasts for life. The signs of BSD are a wooly texture, huge clumps falling out and discolored skin.

What Else Can Cause Fur Loss?

Beside the Puppy Uglies, fur loss can occur from food or environmental allergies, thyroid problems and a host of other medical issues. Most can be resolved with treatment; which is why it is so important to have your dog checked out. However, if your Pom is at the right age to lose its baby fur, there is no reason to rush to the vet. The veterinarian will not be able to stop this stage, nor should they even try! It is a necessary step to your dog becoming an adult and having that wonderful permanent fluffy fur. 
More Information

For information on the symptoms of fur health conditions...fur color changes...detailed grooming and so much more, learn about the PetPom Book. Now in both PRINT & eBook.
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