It’s that time of year again. The time when days are getting shorter, the air crisper and the leaves start to change color. Pumpkin spice products throw themselves at the shelves, and the kids head back to school.
Which means it’s also time for many pets to take one look at everything going on around them and decide it’s time to shed. We’re not talking a tuft of hair or two drifting lightly across the freshly washed kitchen floor. No, for the next month we will be living among the Great Autumn Shed, where dogs come in from outside and shake out a fog of fur, or the cat scratches an itch and leaves a cat-shaped hair pattern on her favorite chair.
After you’ve run the vacuum so much it tells you it’s packing up and heading out, it’s time to give it a break and reach for the brushes and combs to try to drive back the invasion of fluff. Rummaging through the drawer, you’re met with an array of tools you’ve purchased over the years.
So many options are sold for the sole purpose of getting shedding hair off your pets, but there’s some tried and true ones in my personal go-to kit.
What are the best tools for shedding?
First in my arsenal to tackle the shedding beasts is the rubber curry comb. This is one of my absolute favorite grooming items. It can be used on almost anything with fur, but works best on short- and medium-coated animals. It can even be used to work shampoo and conditioner into the pet’s coat during a bath.
Because they’re gentle, soft and often well-tolerated by the pet, I recommend these all the time to customers with sensitive animals who dislike being brushed. This includes those cats that take one look at you and dare you to brush them. I have one of those felines and she’s fine with a quick pass over her lovely calico coat with the rubber curry.
If I was to try to brush this particular cat with anything else, my next trip would be to the first aid kit and then to the drug store to buy stock in bandages.
Second of the fur removers is what’s referred to as a slicker brush. When folks come into the store and ask me for a dog brush, this is usually the one they’re thinking about. These brushes are often rectangular shaped with tiny wire bristles on a soft backing.
They work well for most cats and double-coated dogs, as well as dogs with curly, wiry or long coats. They’re fantastic at removing tons of shedding fur and for general detangling. I call this brush a porch brush, which means I take my crew outside and brush them out on the back porch.
If you use it in the house, I also would recommend a good shop-vac as well because you’ll end up with a second pet made completely out of fur. Or you can take up knitting with dog hair, but that’s a column for another day.
Last but never least is the stainless steel comb. There are several styles of combs out there, but I personally tend to use the ones with the two-in-one design, where one side of the comb is spaced widely between the teeth, and the other side is narrow. Combs are a fantastic detangling tool when it comes to long and curly coats because these can get down to the skin and carefully work away knots. Combs can sometimes be hard on your hands simply because of how they’re made and designed, so if you have arthritis it’s best to use one with a handle.
These three basic brushes make up my must-haves to tackle the fur fall fling! Best of luck out there and I hope that all the vacuums are soon able to take a well-deserved vacation.
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