Shed Happens – Getting into the Groooooom!
on April 12, 2011
Posted in Cats
During shedding season, an effective way to get rid of a large volume of hair at once is to give a really good bath with a gentle shampoo that will not strip the valuable oils from your pets’ fur and skin. We recommend all natural Aloe and Oatmeal based shampoos. While bathing, use a rubber brush like Zoom Groom or something similar. Keep rubbing your pets’ body while wet and sudsy until the hair is minimal. It’s like a massage for them, making bath time so much more enjoyable. It is very important to make sure that your pet is rinsed really well, not to leave soap residue on the skin or coat. Also towel dry the undercoat thoroughly to ensure it does not remain wet while the top coat is dry. This can lead to a “heating up” of the thick coat next to the skin and could cause hotspots and skin irritation. Afterwards you can brush the hair out while damp, or blow dry (if they will tolerate a blow dryer) at a low temperature setting and brush or use your hands to massage the hair away at the same time. It is a very good idea to do this in a non-carpeted room! Zoom Groom also works very well on a dry coat. For dogs with thick undercoats, a rake is very effective, in short, firm strokes, gradually working your way down the body from head to tail. You can also work against the grain of the hair. A dematting rake can be used to cut through areas where the fur is matted. There are also products like the Furminator but be sure to use it correctly so you don’t damage the skin or coat. Brush your dog daily until the hair is gone, or down to more manageable levels.
Most cats are not huge fans of water or baths, so brushing is the best bet. Use long fluid motions along the cats’ entire body. Rakes are not advisable, nor do they work well on cats, who have finer hair and thinner, more delicate skin. Combs are indicated for a cats’ undercoat and slicker brushes for general use. Grooming gloves are a great alternative to brushes as the cat thinks you are petting instead of brushing.
Not all animals like to be groomed so if you find it too difficult or too much work, a groomer can do the job for you. If your animal has severe mats, this would be advisable as a groomer will know how to remove them safely. Lion cuts are very popular with long haired cats. Make sure you find someone reputable or ask your vet who they would recommend. Please keep in mind that we do not recommend plucking ear hairs, or dryer kennels or cages.
Regular brushing goes a long way to keeping excess hair and shedding to a minimum and it’s a wonderful interaction between you and your animal. If done weekly, it only takes a few minutes to keep the coat looking great and keeping you from getting buried under a mountain of fur!
Our final article in the “Shed Happens” series will look at diet and nutrition to reduce shedding…and we’ll discuss other reasons why your pet might be suffering from excess hair loss.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan