Animals can bring a great deal of joy to your household, and any pet parent will tell you that the training, accidents, and abundance of hair are worth it. However, it can benefit both you and your pet to stay on top of their shedding.
Here is a list of shedding solutions to prevent the hair clumps on your clothing, furniture, and floors before they happen.
The simplest and most obvious solution is to brush your animal. However, you might be using the wrong tools and techniques. Though your pet may resist the brushing process, they will be thankful to let go of the extra fur. It’s like a haircut—they’ll feel lighter and smoother!
Types of Brushes
Every breed of cat or dog has a unique coat. So it makes sense that a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t the best choice, and you might benefit from using multiple kinds of brushes. The right brush can massage and activate your pet’s natural oils to keep their shedding at a healthy rate. The type will depend on whether your animal has short, long, thick, or fine fur. Additionally, if possible, always brush your animal outside on your porch or deck to minimize fur clumps on furniture and floors.
Thick and Fluffy Hair: Undercoat Rake
A rake penetrates an animal’s thick coat to remove dead undercoat hair. It looks like a razor with one or two rows of thin pins. Just like with a razor, you only need to apply gentle pressure to get rid of unwanted fur.
Dogs: Husky, German Shepherd, and Chow Chow
Cats: Ragdoll, Birman, and Persian
Medium-to-Long Hair or Curly Hair: Slicker Brush
A slicker brush reaches mats and tangles on the topcoat of an animal, making it ideal for medium-tolong-
haired pets that have a prominent thin, straight, or curly topcoat. It’s important to grab sections of hair and gently release tangles because pulling too hard risks damaging healthy hair follicles and hurting your pet. You can also use a slicker brush on thick coats as a finishing touch after an undercoat rake.
Dogs: Golden Retriever, Yorkshire Terrier, and Cocker Spaniel
Cats: Maine Coon, Persian Long Hair, and Himalayan
Short, Wiry Hair: Bristle Brush
Bristle brushes with tightly packed, natural bristles are perfect for animals with short, straight hair that that shed finer hairs from their topcoat.
Dogs: Pug, Greyhound, and Jack Russell Terrier
Cats: American Shorthair, Manx, and Russian Blue
Proper Hydration and Nutrition
What your pet consumes affects the growth of their fur, but it can also stop fur from growing too quickly and shedding before it should. Just like humans, pets need to maintain a balanced diet.
First and foremost, keep your animal well hydrated. Hydration not only helps promote good health overall but also keeps hair follicles moisturized, so they don’t dry and
fall out too quickly.
Food can also play a vital role in the health of your pet’s fur. Avoid any foods that have ingredients listed as meat byproducts. The first ingredient should always be chicken, lamb, fish, or beef. Some vets also recommend a mix of wet and dry food for maximum nutritional benefit. If you notice a lot of shedding and unhealthy hair, talk to your vet about nutritional supplements. It’s important to recognize when shedding is either too frequent or infrequent for your animal’s breed.
With an OK from your vet, you might consider including a drop of olive oil or apple cider vinegar in your pet’s food to keep their coat soft and shiny. The vitamin E and antioxidants found in these two foods are great for most animals’ hair follicles and skin.
While pets don’t need to bathe quite as frequently as we do, and though some even bathe themselves, it’s important to give them a bath as needed. Bathing is particularly important for outdoor pets to remove dirt and harmful bugs from their coat. Baths can also help loosen hair that might otherwise end up in your home.
Under no circumstances should you ever use your human shampoo on your animal. The agents in regular shampoos are not safe for them. Plenty of shampoos that are gentle enough for your pet can be purchased online or from your local pet store. As a rule of thumb, avoid any fragrances or added colors, and look for natural, unscented shampoos. Just make sure you rinse your animal thoroughly.
As for the frequency of bathing, it will depend heavily on the breed of your pet and how often they exercise outside. Cats bathe themselves, so you will only need to wash them every four to six weeks to prevent matting. As for dogs, again, it depends on the type of coat they have, but they should get regular professional groomings every two to three months—especially larger dogs, who can be hard to handle.
There are a few tools you can use to make bath time at home a bit more comfortable for both you and your pet. Items like a shampoo brush help speed up the process and feel like a nice massage for them. Consider investing in a drain strainer that can catch the loosened hair so you can throw it away afterward.
At the end of the bath, try towel gloves, which can be less intimidating than wrapping your animal in a towel. You can also buy special dog or cat towels that are the right size and material to help dry your animal quickly. Put the towel into the wash immediately after use to avoid fur dropping onto the floor.
Fur shedding is a natural process that will never completely stop. However, it’s important to help your pet maintain a healthy coat and stay comfortable in their skin.