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Shedding Happens

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Dogs shed.

Some shed all the time, some shed seasonally, some shed so little it is hardly noticeable. But pet owners and groomers alike, know that shedding can be a major source of bother and discontent. Tumbleweeds of hair are not attractive on the carpet, and having to choose a wardrobe that matches a pet’s coat color to minimize embarrassment over being hair-frosted is severely limiting.

In recent years specialized tools and products have been developed to help reduce the impact of shedding.  The first really unique tool to arrive was the Furminator.

This innovative metal blade, anchored to a comfortable handle, was invented by groomer Angie Porter after she became frustrated trying to find a really effective tool to remove dead coat on heavy shedders.

Groomers, and pet owners alike, embraced the device and manufacturers took note.  Now many companies make a variety of tools, shampoos and conditioners designed specifically to pull dead coat out.

The Root of the Issue

Experienced stylists know that a thorough job of hair removal starts during the pet’s bath.

Individual hair shafts become heavier as they get wet, and this is the very first step in encouraging them to pull out of the follicle and away from the cling of surrounding hair. Specialized shampoos help this process along.

Natures Specialties recently introduced a new shampoo called EZ Shed.

“Using EZ Shed in combination with our standby product EZ Out makes dead hair come out like you are weeding a garden,” Ken Baker, a distributor of the product, said. “As an added bonus the combination is excellent for treating flaky, scaling skin.”

Hydrosurge markets a product called Shed Control that works well in combination with their bathing systems.

“It’s important for groomers to know that too much of a good thing can be too much,” Christine Pawlosky, national training manager for Jarden, said. “No single product is going to do all the work for you.  Groomers need to learn good technique to properly remove shedding coat while keeping the animal safe and comfortable.”

Personal Experience

Groomer Lisa Correia is not only a consultant for Show Season products, she breeds and shows German Shepherds.

Living with a breed well known for its ability to constantly drop hair, she says, “Chrome Coat is one of the products I cannot recommend highly enough.”

“It contains a new age silicone, and when used on dogs it acts like Teflon, making the hair slicker,” Correia said. “It is used as a rinse after the bath. Rinse it most of the way out, maybe leaving 10 percent in the coat. It doesn’t weigh the coat down, never causes the hair to become brittle or break, but when used with combs, Coat Kings and other favorite deshedding tools, it will make a huge difference in how much coat you can brush out.  It was designed to use on double coated dogs and wow, does it ever work.”

Using products such as these in combination with bathing systems such as  Save~Ur Fur can dramatically improve how much shedding coat is removed while saving the groomer and the pet from arduous sessions with a brush and comb.

The unique nozzle on this system was designed specifically to help lift dead coat up and off the pet.  The combination of water pressure properly directed to flow from the animals skin to the tips of the hair, and shampoos and conditioners that smooth the hair shafts, make it so that much of the deshedding process can be accomplished during the bath.

Once the pet is clean and the bulk of the old, dirty, dead coat is swirling around the drain, the use of a high velocity dryer will continue the process of lifting shedding coat out. Used properly, air flow alone will push dead hair away from live, healthy coat, reducing brushing time dramatically.

As the hair dries, it is possible to see clumps and webs of tangled, dead hair lift and slide along the growing hairs until they finally they break free from the pet and blow into the air.  Using the power of water in the bath and air in the drying process reduce brushing time dramatically.

When it is time to brush, tools such as the Les Pooches slicker brushes, Coat Kings, rakes such as the Aaronco V Rake and shedless tools can be put to work to remove any remaining shedding coat.  Good technique is key in order to avoid irritating the pets skin while eliminating as much of the loose coat as possible.

Experienced groomers remind pet owners that they may see a slight increase in shedding coat for a few days following a good deshedding treatment, but that after that they should enjoy a long period of reduced hair loss.

Pet owners can purchase tools designed for home use to keep up with shedding coats between visits with their professional stylist.

Conair  has a system designed for pet owners called Shed-it. It includes four attachments, including a grooming blade that removes undercoat in shedding dogs. They even have an instructional video for pet owners to learn from on their web site.

Shedding hair can be an annoying problem for pet owners, but modern tools and techniques are very successful in lessening problem of tumbleweeds on the carpet.

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