As a pet owner, we have all learned to deal with the daily shedding from our beloved dogs and cats. I think pet owners know that shedding comes with having a cat or dog in the house, but just because you have learned to live with it, doesn’t mean that you have to like it.
There is a vast array of products on the market today that claim to reduce and even stop shedding entirely. There are supplements, foods, shampoos, and topical sprays. Most of the products on the market tend to be driven by marketers and pet products manufacturers, and not so much by science driven evidence. There is nothing that will prevent a healthy dog or cat from shedding although there are ways to reduce the amount of hair that is being shed.
What is Shedding?
Shedding is the natural process of cats and dogs losing old or damaged hair. It is true that dogs and cats tend to shed more during the spring and summer, but it is not because of the heat. The longer hours of daylight just happen to coincide with the warmer temperatures, but it is the length of day that prompts your pets to start shedding their hair. Although shedding is a normal occurrence for all dogs and cats, the amount and frequency often depend on the health of the pet and the breed. For example, poodles are known as a “shed-free” breed but the reality is that their dead, shedding hair gets tangled up in their curly hair.
Why Grooming is Important
Proper grooming of your dog and cat is important because it will help maintain healthy skin and coat. The bottom line is the healthier your pet’s coat is, the easier it will be to brush them. The more natural the brushing is, the less hair breakage, and thus less overall shedding. Shedding varies greatly from breed to breed, but every dog and cat will benefit from a good brushing. Brushing will remove dirt, spread natural oils throughout their coat, prevent matting, and keep their skin clean and irritant-free.
Let’s face it, your dog or cat is going to lose their old and damaged hair. It is best to brush your pet to remove it yourself, and throw it in the trash rather than letting it fall out naturally all over your house, clothes, and furniture. The more hair that you remove through brushing, the less you will see lying around your house, so try to brush your pet daily (or as often as you can).
Proper Grooming Tools
There are many different types of pet hair ranging from soft and short to coarse and long. It is important to choose products made for your pet’s particular coat. If you add these grooming tools to your arsenal, you should have everything you need to groom your dog or cat properly.
A slicker brush has short, metal bristles that separate the hairs. If you brush along the direction of the grain or against it, your dog or cat will look fluffier. It removes any dust, grime and fleas attached to the upper layer of the skin. Four Paws makes a great slicker brush.
A shedding rake works best on dogs that have a double coat. A double coat means that the dog has a thicker coat in the winter and a thinner coat in the summer. The shedding rake can help reduce shedding as it can get rid of the winter coat faster. Two products to try are the ShedEnder and the Furminator.
A stripping knife is an excellent tool for removing matted hair from your dog or cat. Matting is formed when the loose or dead hairs get trapped instead of falling to the ground.
Diet and Bathing
Bathing your pet occasionally with an oatmeal shampoo or conditioning shampoo will keep their coat healthy and they will have less damaged hair. You may also add an omega 3 or 6 fatty acid supplement to promote a healthy skin and coat. However, if you feed your pet a proper and balanced diet, they will get all the nutrients they need.