One of the most frequent questions groomers are asked by pet owners at this time of year is how to “prevent” their pet from shedding.
Unfortunately, shedding is a part of the natural cycle of hair growth: after each growing stage, there is a resting period when the old hair falls out. Hair is lost all year round, but the heaviest shedding is in the spring when double-coated breeds lose their dense undercoats. Depending on the type of fur, weekly, even daily, brushing is needed, to remove the hair as it sheds.
Shedding is inevitable, but lots of hair around the house doesn’t have to be. Although nothing can totally eliminate natural shedding, it can be kept under control… but it takes time and dedication. Here are the steps to a comprehensive shedding management routine:
- First give your pet a thorough brushing to remove tangles and as much loose hair as possible -- perhaps outdoors on a deck or porch so you don’t end up all that hair in the house.
- Next, shampoo your pet, using a product formulated specifically for pets. Massage the lather well to loosen the undercoat. Follow the shampoo with a conditioner, again, massaging well. Rinse thoroughly, to remove as much loose hair as possible. (Put something in the drain to catch all that hair!)
- Have towels ready; he will shake! Remove as much excess water as possible, then thoroughly brush your pet’s coat until dry. It takes time to remove all the dead hair that has been loosened. If you use a home hair dryer, put it on the coolest setting and hold it well away from your pet’s skin so it doesn’t burn.
- Finish by combing through your pet’s coat with a steel-pinned grooming comb to make sure that all the knots and shedding hair have been removed.
- Clean up! At least the shed hair is all in one area, rather than all over the home!
Immediately after a shampoo, it may appear that shedding has accelerated, but once the coat settles, the reduction in loose hair is obvious.
This process needs to be repeated every three to four weeks during the shedding cycle – usually the spring and summer months -- to keep your pet’s shedding to a minimum.
If the prospect of all that effort seems daunting, you may want to turn to a professional for help. At the salon, your groomer will use a warm massaging shampoo to relax the follicles and conditioners to lubricate the hair shaft, so shedding hair slides out more easily. Hand - drying with professional high-volume dryers, coupled with further brushing and combing release even more of the shedding hair.
At Best Friends, we also offer a procedure called Shedicure, a “carding” technique done with a special tool to remove even more undercoat. Ask your groomer if your pet has the type of coat that can benefit from this technique.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a trip to the groomer is that all that shedding hair is left behind on the salon floor … rather than on your carpets and furniture at home!