If you’ve decided there aren’t enough brooms and vacuum cleaners in the world to handle all the dog or cat hair under your furniture, on your furniture (that why they call it furniture in the first place, right?), and probably in your soup, take heart. There are things you can do to make shedding season a little easier on everyone.
Fur vs. Brrrrrrr
While all mammals constantly shed old hairs and replace them with new ones, many mammals also experience heightened seasonal shedding. Before heated houses – and free food all winter – animals that didn’t hibernate had to hunt, or starve.
To avoid freezing their sweet patooties off, these animals needed extra insulation. A fine, fluffy undercoat beneath their normal coat trapped their body heat, much as a down vest does for humans. In the Spring all that hair was a liability, hair follicles went dormant, the hair loosened, and gravity and scratching did the rest.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn’t caught up with plug-in pet beds and central heating, so seasonal shedding is alive and well, even if the need for it has become somewhat obsolete.
De-Shedding Your Fur-Baby
Dog, cat, and human hair will fall out. And, the more you remove on purpose, the less you’ll find in places where it doesn’t belong. Luckily, routine washing and brushing with an ordinary pet brush will help eliminate a lot of hair. There are also several deshedding tools on the market that promise to reduce shedding by up to 90%.
The popular FURminator® line lets you choose from short hair, long hair, dog, cat, rabbit, as well as small animal, large animal, and combinations thereof. These tools feature a serrated comb combined with a stainless steel blade that reaches under the topcoat to remove the fine undercoat.
But, be prepared for a lot of combed-out hair – brush pets on tile floors or outside where you can sweep or vacuum. Keeping the vacuum cleaner turned on nearby to grab stray puffs of fluff is a good idea.
To use the tools, especially the first time, we recommend washing andcompletely drying your pet. Remove tangles and mats, and check for cuts or bruises, small cysts and skin tags. (If you notice anything amiss, consult your veterinarian before using the tool.) Hold the tool like a brush, stroking with hair growth, using long, gentle strokes. Start at the head and work back, being extra careful around your pet’s face, stomach, genitals, feet, anus and anywhere you know a problem exists.
If your pet seems unduly distressed by the process, or if his or her skin becomes red or irritated, stop using the tool and give us a call. (If you become distressed, red, or irritated; we’re sympathetic, but you’re on your own…)
Besides a cleaner home, regular pet de-shedding, especially during the annual Spring fur-shedding festivities, will make your pet look and feel better. De-shedding can improve circulation, discourage skin diseases and parasites, brighten his or her coat, and lighten your pet’s weight load.
Humans in the vicinity will appreciate reducing their own weight load by not carrying pounds of pet hair on their own coats. And skirts. And pants. (While people have been known to spin their pet’s fur into yarn and knit scarves with it, we assume you’ve already been wearing all the pet hair you care to, so throw the combings into the bin.)
Less hair under the furniture means fewer dust mites, too, so allergy sufferers get a break, as do home air conditioning and heating system filters.
Watch “Fur” Problems
If your pet seems to be losing too much hair, scratching excessively, has dry or brittle fur, or if open sores or bald patches show up, he or she needs to see a veterinarian. Many skin and coat problems, including excess or unusual shedding, can be solved by changing food or supplements. Regardless, of the cause, we are here to help, so if you have questions or need to make an appointment, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
If you need help in keeping your pet’s coat under control, our Grooming experts can bathe and trim your pet’s fur for a cooler summer look.