Although your household dog or cat may shed their hair throughout the year it is springtime when the frequency of lost hair increases as they start losing their winter coats. The amount of hair shed depends on a number of factors including health, age and breed type. As most of this shedding is going to occur in the home it is a good idea to tackle the problem early on by starting a grooming programme, which will minimise the amount that ends up knotted in the carpet and rolling like tumbleweed down the hall. Brushing also has the health benefits of distributing the natural oils produced in the hair follicles through the coat so that it looks glossy and well groomed. And of course it is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
Long haired breeds such as the Border Collie, German Shepherd and Spaniels will need more attention as they are naturally more prone to tangling. Groom through the hair close to the skin with a slicker brush and continue away down the length of the hair. Very carefully tease out any mats with a grooming comb. Bladed rakes are very efficient at removing undercoats and dead hair – these are available in a range of different sizes to suit the type and density of hair.
Shorter coated and wiry breeds such as Terriers, Dachshunds and Pointers would benefit from a thorough combing with a slicker brush followed by a combination metal comb to remove the loosened hair. A stripping knife can then be used to tidy up and remove any of the dead undercoat, remembering to carefully work out any mats first.
Useful information on which type of rake to use:
The softer (finer) the coat - the higher the number of blades
The denser (coarser) the coat - the less number of blades
The longer the coat - it is better to use more blades
Very short coats - use blades fitted with the smallest gaps between blades
Very long and or matted coats - start with low number of blades and finish with high blade numbers.
What is “blowing” a coat?
Those fortunate enough to have one of the very beautiful double coated breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Husky, Leonberger, Chow Chow and Akita will appreciate that their luxurious coat which is a joy to behold for most of the year will require a period of intense grooming when the times comes for them to “blow” their coat. The blowing of the coat will occur with the changing of the seasons and commonly creates fairly monstrous amounts of hair. So, how do you deal with the undercoat explosion? The only answer is to brush and don’t stop brushing until all the loose hair is removed! Brush as often as possible, ideally once a day at least until the shedding is complete. Rakes are very useful as they successfully remove the fluffy undercoat whilst leaving the outer, guard hairs intact and undamaged. Bathing also helps hasten the end of the shedding process, we recommend the delicious natural additive and paraben free shampoo’s from Wild Wash.
All dogs shed hair but this varies from breed to breed – there is no such thing as a non-shedding dog! The downside to a low shedding breed is that they are prone to matting unless the owner is very attentive and regularly grooms and clips the hair. Breeds such as Maltese, Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, Water Dogs and Poodles are easily maintained with a home grooming clipping set. But even these breeds need a certain amount of elbow grease to get the best results. Before clipping use a high quality shampoo, thoroughly rinse out and blow dry if possible. Make sure your clipping equipment is sharp, serviced and working effectively. A dulled blade will make the task a lot harder and will not give as good a finish. Between strokes with the clipper blade back comb and fluff the coat up with a slicker brush. Aim to take three strikes through the coat with the clippers – to remove bulk, achieve the desired length and gain a pleasing finish.
- Choose a de-shedding comb or rake suitable to the size of the animal.
- Start at the shoulders and work down the length of the body, always brushing in the direction of the hair growth.
- Slicker brushes with ball pins are ideal for soft coats, sensitive skin and puppies. The curved shape ensures the pins work deep into the coat.
- Pay particular attention to areas where the hair grows thickest over the hips and lower back.
- Whilst grooming keep an eye out for lumps and bumps, fleas and hair mats.
- Brush your pet outdoors if possible and leave hair for any nesting birds.