Dog hair got you down? As a former groomer, that was one the the most frustrating problems about life with dogs and it nearly drove our poor clients up the wall. How to deal with dog hair and excess shedding?
From Cavaliers to Corgis, breeds that are not hypoallergenic have their poor owners working overtime with the Oreck, trying to prevent those clumps of dog hair from colonizing under the couch. Is there any hope for living with a shedding dog short of having him shaved and looking like a plucked chicken you ask?
Simple ways to reduce shedding in your dog
There are many reasons dogs shed excessively. The wrong dog food, food allergies, a lowered immune system, even stress can cause your dog to shed. Summer arrives and as the temperatures rise, heavy coated breeds like Malamutes and Shetland Sheepdogs will undergo their annual spring "molt" an event that can drive pet owners distracted trying to cope with an avalanche of fur.
Nevertheless, there are steps you can take that over time could greatly reduce your dog's shedding and coat loss. Here's a short list of the basics:
Feeding dry kibble??? Increase the Omega 3's with coconut oil!
Many dogs have dry skin and coat (it's no wonder, many of them exist on just dry kibble which can be very dehydrating and not just hard on coat but kidneys too! Adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to that kibble can over time make a huge difference in your dog's coat. It's also reported to help with dental health and even reduce plaque, another good reason to use this tasty oil dogs relish.
Agatha loves the one by CoCo Therapy but you can use your own favorite brand if you have one on hand (good for people & pets!).
If you have a brush like this one, unless you own a Beagle please toss it out and get a proper slicker.
Brushes that lack closely spaced pins won't help you remove that undercoat that's just waiting to waft off onto the carpet. This might be OK for dogs that don't have a problem shedding, but are of little use for a truly effective grooming session.
Brush your dog thoroughly at least once a week.
- There's no way around it, you’ve got to commit to brushing your dog regularly, and by that, I mean all the way to the skin, at least once a week. This is where most dog owners meet shipwreck so let’s discuss the problems with brushing your dog and how to overcome them.
Using the wrong brush
The right brush will make grooming your pet so much easier. Trust a professional on this, if you use the wrong brush, your grooming efforts are doomed to failure and you might as well go ahead and call and make that appointment to have your dog shaved.
- A slicker brush used properly (try it on your forearm to acquaint yourself with the proper pressure and angle to use) is the groomers go to tool for removing loose hair.
- Practice on yourself FIRST, it will help you be sensitive and gentle, but still firm when working through the coat.
- A slicker has short pins that will go through each layer of coat slowly, removing tangles and the close teeth will grab loose fur and help you remove it before it drifts off your dog and onto your hardwood floors.
- Keep the brush free of hair, you'll need the full length of those little pins to work down through the fur.
- Go easy on tender skin. Around the face, the tummy, under the tail, go easy to keep your dog cooperative. Don't try to brush too much at one time. If you find a mat, start at the edges and gently tease the coat free a 1/4" at a time.
- The size of your brush is important, for small breeds use a small or extra small brush. Large breeds with lots of coat will need larger size grooming tools. I use the Miracle Coat Small for Agatha and it's perfect for her. Toy breeds would do better with the Lil Pals Extra Small, if you've got a St Bernard, get the Miracle Coat Large.
For breeds with serious undercoat like Huskies or Golden Retrievers, try a rake or a deshedding "tool"
These will require a bit more caution but many people absolutely love these deshedding rakes and tools.
I say tread carefully, these can damage coat and the FURminator, while wildly popular, uses blades to cut through excess coat like a hot knife through butter. Purists like myself prefer not to be this heavy handed in removing coat, but for desperate owners of Aussies or other shedding machines, sometime you have to get out the big tools to maintain any semblance of victory over the huge coats these dogs carry.
There are online videos and tutorials on how to use these products effectively, spend the time educating yourself before you dive into your big coated dog with these. They'll remove loads of coat so wear something you don't mind getting fur covered and by all means take this project outside if weather permits! Find a nice shady spot and prepare to be amazed at the amount of coat you get off that shaggy dog!
Remember to keep grooming time fun for both you and your dog.
- Lots of treats and plenty of firmness will help the process along.
- Go slowly, take your time and break grooming time into short sessions.
- Get a helper if you're a novice.
- If your dog is already matted, it’s time to take him to the grooming shop where he’ll probably come home looking like a plucked chicken, remember Mrs Maybanks story, don’t worry, her hair WILL grow back, eventually...
Use the right grooming products and ALWAYS use coat conditioner
I'm totally in love with our grooming products of course, but if I could convince owners of shedding dogs to do just one thing to improve their plight?
The best grooming advice you'll ever receive?
Use coat conditioner every time you bathe your dog. I promise it will help moisturize, reduce static and brushing your dog will be soooo much easier you just won't believe it.
PLEASE don't use dish detergent, on bended knee I beg you not to do that to your dog. Pinterest DIY's aside, dish detergent is the quickest way to ruin your good dog's coat, make it mat, make it hard to brush, dry out her skin and coat, the list is long. Luxury Lather & Healthy Coat were years in the making and this groomer knows her stuff, give them a try, your dog will thank you!