Walking Pip today I noticed a distinct tuft of fur escaping from her sleek, short-furred haunch signaling that her fall’s shedding cycle has begun in earnest. For the next couple of weeks I either deal with her shedding proactively or I will deal with fur throughout my house. This is about my 50th shed cycle as a dog pro and, over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks. Here are five ways I keep these events short, sweet and fairly neat.
- Furminate: Every once in a while someone invents a radically better tool for a common job and that is exactly what the folks at Fulminator did. This simple tool used properly gets more fur off a dog in less time than any other tool I’ve every used (and I’ve used them all.) FURminators comes in multiple sizes and for both short and long fur (also check out competitor: DakPets for a similar tool.) Use such tools on the rounded, well-muscled areas of your dog. Sides, rear, neck are good bets. Stay away from bony areas as hard metal on hard bone is a quick way to cause pain and therefore create dog resistance. I use short strokes and collect the fur as I go but, that said, do this outside. I don’t care how short your dog’s coat is, you’ll be astonished how much fur you get out with one of these tools. ASTONISHED.
- Slicker Brush: For inside brushing, a Soft Slicker Brush is my go-to tool. For short-coated dogs, use it on the body in smooth strokes. Don’t press down too hard. It isn’t necessary and that can make it painful. For longer-coated dogs, I give guidance in this video:
Many people like to use a comb. This is not my fav tool as it seems to pull on the coat more and annoy the dog but, if your dog tolerates it and if you are tactful, then I swear by teflon-coated combs like this one: Prolux Anti Static Dog Grooming Combo Comb. Once you use a teflon-coated comb you will never go back. They are so much easier for both you and for your dog.
- Coat Supplements: What goes into your dog impacts what falls off of your dog during shedding. Dogs who shed constantly or have copious amounts of dry coat may be improved by a good coat supplement or a grain-free food. I’d seen this many times. It will take months to have an impact but making changes now should mean your spring 2016 shed season easier.
- Hand-Held Pet Hair Vacuum: Hair happens and a good hand-held vacuum can make managing it easier. Consider either the Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum or the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum. Both are highly rated on Amazon. If you have one of the big-shedding breeds/mixes (any sled/nordic dog, German Shepherd Dogs, Pugs, or Dalmatians) do yourself a favor and pick up one of these, some sticky rollers and some easy-wash throws for your furniture if your dog is allowed up. ( Also, this items looks promising though I have not tried myself yet. If you have, please comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts: ShedTek(TM) Professional Pet Hair Remover.)
- Shampoo. Lastly, bathe your dog. This will speed up the shed out but, be warned, it also loosens up the fur. An enormous amount of fur. That’s the idea, I know, but don’t expect a shed-less dog afterward. Expect a shedding-a-lot dog afterward. Brace yourself and deal with it and a good bath should take a few days off this cycle. Use one of the Shed Control Shampoos (I don’t totally buy that there are such things but I am willing to use them on hope alone) and massage your dog with your finger tips or a soft-tipped brush like the KONG ZoomGroom to further free up loose fur.
Now, good luck and excuse me as Pip and I have an appointment with a Furminator on the back porch.