PET FRIENDLY: How to Manage Pet Shedding

| November 27, 2013 | 0 Comments | Pet Friendly

Every weekend, particularly if we are expecting visitors, I wash the cover we bought to protect our family room sofa from our beloved Black Lab. The washer and drier filters tell the story. At least once per week we also vacuum the first floor of our home for one reason: to catch up with the visible accumulation of pet hair. And whenever we are motivated (varies a lot), we sit down on the floor with our Lab and use one of the most effective pet hair managers we’ve ever found: the FURminator® deshedding tool!

If this story sounds familiar, read on. We hope you’ll pick up a few helpful ideas on how to better control your pet’s shedding. We also invite you to share your own tips with other Bristow Beat readers about what works to control pet shedding (and its results) in your household.

Ask any veterinarian if there’s any way to stop or control shedding and you’ll get a variety of answers for one simple reason: shedding is an ongoing process and individual pets and breeds vary tremendously in the amount they shed. Your pet’s health and grooming also have a major impact on the extent of shedding.

Interestingly, shedding is heavily influenced by daylight, that is, the number of hours your dog is exposed to sunlight each day. Indoor pets – if they are healthy – tend to shed less. (This does not mean you should stop walking your dog)! In the winter, pets tend to grow heavier coats and also shed more during that time of year and at the end of that season. Most cats are active self-groomers and on average are smaller animals, so you can expect less visible shedding.

If your cat or dog experiences hair loss (different from normal shedding), it is likely a sign of stress or an underlying health problem which should be investigated promptly with your veterinarian.

Tips on Managing Shedding

Assuming your pet is healthy, you can take a number of steps to manage its shedding and the annoying byproducts of heavy shedding.

  • Feed your pet a high-quality pet food to promote a healthy coat of fur that is less prone to excessive shedding. Your veterinarian or a well-trained pet store employee can help you find the right nutritious food for your pet.  This really does make a difference.
  • Make sure your pet (and dogs in particular) gets plenty of exercise, since this too promotes overall better health and a coat that is less likely to shed excessively. Note that overweight dogs and cats have greater difficulty in self-grooming, which means more of the task is left to you!
  • Brush or comb your dog on a regular basis, ideally every day or at least several times per week. A few suggestions:
  • Invest in a good quality pet brush, comb and/or specialty grooming tool.  We like the FURminator®, but there are other similar grooming tools on the market that will help you remove more loose hair gently and efficiently, reaching into the undercoat.
  • Train your children to join you in this grooming ritual and note the stronger bond you create between your pet and family. Regular grooming by multiple family members also helps socialize your pet and makes it easier to care for by vets, professional groomers and pet sitters.

Assign every member of your family alternating responsibility for vacuuming those rooms in your home where your pet lives. Everyone in your household benefits from your pet’s love, so everyone can participate in caring for your pet and that includes helping remove the hair that the FURminator® misses

Chris Bates is the founder of Top Choice Pet Care LLC (, which provides affordable, loving and reliable dog walking, pet sitting and other pet services to the Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas and Nokesville communities.  A farmer’s son, life-long animal lover and pet owner, Chris is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) through Pet Sitters International and is PetSaver™ trained in pet first aid and CPR. 

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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