Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 31, 2014

Shedding season is upon us

Posted at 10:05AM - Comments: (18)

You know itís spring when you start looking for your tape rollers, or your face lights up when you see them at the pet supply store register. When you start coordinating your work wardrobe with your dogís coat. When it seems like you vacuum or sweep up enough hair to make at least a small dog every day.

I told a friend recently that we should switch cars: she has beige upholstery in her car, but two dark-colored dogs; I have buff-colored dogs and dark upholstery. I had my car before the dogs, but darn it, at some point in life Iím going to coordinate these things.

I have both types of shedding dogs in my family: the kind whose hair comes off every time you touch him, and the one who never seems to be shedding but whose hair is everywhere anyway.

Ottoís hair plugs up the Furminator with every pass, floats off of him as he walks around, and concentrates in your hand at the end of every stroke of petting. When he wakes up in the morning, walks into the kitchen and stretches and then shakes in that morning sunbeam, I just about have a nervous breakdown seeing the loose hair float and fly about. Why canít he wait until heís gone 10 more steps and shake outside? I am using the Furminator on him every day, but the job of getting rid of that layered winter coat just seems endless.

I canít use the Furminator or any other brush on Tito the Chihuahua. Because instant hysteria. He defends himself thoroughly against any potential harm or discomfort. Fortunately, he loves being massaged, so I can still use my fingers to scrub and loosen his hair, and then sort of wipe it off, but itís not nearly as effective as using a brush.

Dyson came out with a dog brush attachment for its terrific Animal line of vacuums, but even when paired with high-value treats, my dogs hated being brush/vacuumed. At least now they leave the room when I vacuum, instead of being underfoot. Did anyoneís dogs not mind that experience?

What are you doing to cope with the shedding?

Comments (18)

Just a few comments on the previous letters; the Springtime Bug-off Garlic didn't work for me either (South Florida) but their Fresh Factors product is wonderful for general wellness, allergy prone and arthritic dogs. I use Frontline Spray with fabulous results against ticks, not so much for fleas. An American Eskimo dog and an Eskie/terrier mix share my life so needless to say we have an abundance of hair. The groomer does a wonderful job blow drying out the normal shed, but the twice a year shed is beyond most human abilities. I'm also very happy with my Shark Lift-away for keeping the fur-rhinos at bay. I'm going to try the rubber tipped cat brush for the Eskie mix as his skin seems ultra sensitive to the dog brush. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: Jayne | April 7, 2014 11:29 AM    Report this comment

i have a malamute/shepard mix and fur is everywhere. He LOVES being vacuumed and will follow me around the house nudging my canister till I stop and vacuum him. He is soo funny...

Posted by: magerpeg | April 5, 2014 6:43 PM    Report this comment

Please do NOT use the Furminator on a Labrador!! It damages the outer "guard" hair and can do damage to their coat in general. Labs have a double coat for a reason and you are ruining their protection to cold water and hot and cold temperatures. Their double coat protects them from these things.

A ZoomGroom, rubber curry brush and regular wire brush will do the job. It also helps to wet them down outside prior to brushing to help loosen the fur. Grooming with these toils once or twice a week, during heaving shedding), is all that is needed to keep your Lab looking good and significantly reduce shedding indoors).

It is also not a good idea to bathe Labs. Rinsing well after swimming definitely and spot cleaning is usually all that is necessary. The only time a Lab might need a real bath is if they get in to or roll in something stinky!

Happy grooming!

Posted by: LabradorLover | April 3, 2014 7:07 AM    Report this comment

We have an assortment of grooming tools, including a ZoomGroom that has always been happily tolerated by all of our dogs, even on faces and legs (I am always amazed at how much fur can come off the legs of a dog with medium length fur). Similarly, I found that a silicone shedding glove with nubs on it (I think it was called the Love Glove) worked great, so much so that I wanted to have a second one for my other hand. I discovered that a similar glove sold for grooming horses, much less expensive, was just as good. Rubber horse curry brushes usually work fine on dogs, too, and seem to always cost less-good shopping strategy is to compare products and prices in a store that sells both kinds of equipment, if you have one in your area. I can highly recommend KV Supply (catalog or internet) for anything animal related-prices, service, supplements are excellent). My battle with "tumble-fur" bunnies goes on.

Posted by: Kai'sMom | April 2, 2014 8:47 AM    Report this comment

Yes I have tried the Bug Off Garlic and it did not work in NJ. I also belong to a rescue group and I bring home filthy flea infested dogs from the kill shelter and I use Frontline Plus and it works for me (I use Capstar immediately & give them a good bath and use Frontline 24 hours after the Capstar).

Posted by: Olivia | April 1, 2014 7:18 PM    Report this comment

Has anyone tried a product called Bug Off Garlic? It's made by a company called Springhill. I have 12 dogs at the moment, I do canine rescue, Flea and tick prevention is a major concern. We live in middle Tennessee and both are a huge problem. I bought enough to treat the dogs for about 2 maybe 3 months. You sprinkle it on their food, starting with a small amount and working up to full dosage. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It takes a few weeks to build up in their system. I'm willing to take the time to add it to their food daily if that's what it takes to keep them flea, tick and worm free.

Posted by: Babe Larson | April 1, 2014 6:52 PM    Report this comment

My Shark Liftaway and I are pretty happy with with coconut oil... for 35 lb very active dogs, 1/2 tsp once a day with food works... I also feed a kibble with coconut oil in it. We've gone from furelephants to furrmice. I can actually vacuum 3 rooms before emptying the container and the fur attachment actually leaves the couch hair clear... I don't even try to vacuum the dogs, but I do have a zoom groom... which my short and medium coats love, the dog with enough coat for 3 not so much...

Posted by: lisas | April 1, 2014 1:19 PM    Report this comment

In response to the person who adopted a lab and has never been through a shedding season, I highly recommend the Furminator for labs. The price is definitely worth it. We have two labs - one who needs it the most with his extra thick fur does not enjoy the attention of brushing but the blonde one loves it and it works quite well. Worth the purchase price!

Posted by: blacklab | April 1, 2014 10:48 AM    Report this comment

This sounds like my house - - so here it is, the Zoom Groom by Kong is absolutely the best and I will not be without it. Cats love it, dogs love it and most of all I love it because it works and it doesn't cause problems for hands and wrist in the process. I prefer it to the Furminator, hands down. They are not expensive and come in a wide array of shapes, colors and size.

Posted by: SallyS | April 1, 2014 9:56 AM    Report this comment

Try the shedding glove with "nubs" of different lengths (longer on one side, shorter on the other) to use with different coat types. I have a Papillon who was too wiggly to hold still for a brush, but loves the glove. After I got him used to it, I could change to a small rubber-tipped cat brush that was gentle enough for his sensitive skin and one-layer-but-sheds-like-a-Malemute coat! Anyway, the glove really did work to pull the lose hair out.

Posted by: Rebecca Forry | April 1, 2014 9:52 AM    Report this comment

I had rescued beagle who loved to be vacuumed. he would sit in front of the vacuumed until I vacuumed him..Never saw anything like it and would love to find out how to train my other dogs to do this !!! Ms. Miller ???

Posted by: rhonda | April 1, 2014 9:45 AM    Report this comment

I bought a Dyson vacuum (truly an awful vacuum, hard to use and parts fell off) and also their dog brush attachment. I tried to approach one of my dogs with it but he ran away. Same with my other dog. No number of tasty treats would entice either of them to stay near enough to let me have even one swipe with that vacuum brush. I suppose I could have tied them up but I felt that was too unfriendly. So I gave up and went back to manually brushing the dogs (which they don't mind), vacuuming off the pet hair from the upholstery, and lint-rolling the bedspread. Also, I take them to the groomer once a month & she does a great job of removing loose hair.

Posted by: margeam | April 1, 2014 9:28 AM    Report this comment

We rescued a three year old lab recently, so we haven't experienced a spring shedding yet. I've looked at the furminator, but the cost has me a little reticent to purchase it, especially if it won't work on his coat. Can anyone tell me if the furminator works on labrador retreivers?

Posted by: Gaye Lynn | April 1, 2014 9:27 AM    Report this comment

We have a lot of dogs in the house.....but our 3 Goldens produce the most furbunnies. There is a vortex of fur when I turn on the ceiling fans which extends to the window sills and lamp shades. I vacuum frequently and brush and bathe often but the fur wins every time. We have pared down our friends and visitors to the house to only people who are animal lovers.

Posted by: Olivia | April 1, 2014 9:27 AM    Report this comment

the coconut oil sounds interesting, however, how do you manage the "oil slick" brushing against furniture, rugs, etc.?

Posted by: jude44dj | April 1, 2014 8:50 AM    Report this comment

cococnut oil, coconut oil, & some more coconut oil. !! after furminating my akita, the loose dry hair is still on her but not as much,I slather her down in coconut oil & for days I will not have to pick up loose hair from the floor or from me !!

Posted by: chedede1@aol.com | March 31, 2014 1:47 PM    Report this comment

For Tito, try rubbing/massaging him while wearing rubber gloves. I've been told that the rubber "grips" the hair and removes it from the dog. I haven't personally tried this.

I'm sympathetic. One of my dogs is a black aussie, and I have a layer over black fur over the off-white carpet.

Posted by: Carolyn Turner | March 31, 2014 11:47 AM    Report this comment

I have heard this recommended, but haven't personally tried it. For Tito, wear a pair of rubber or latex gloves. They can be the medical variety or those used for cleaning--doesn't matter. Rub or massage him while wearing the gloves. I have been told that the rubber will "grip" the hair and remove it from the dog.

I'm sympathetic--one of my dogs is a black aussie and I have a layer of black over the off-white carpet.

Posted by: Carolyn Turner | March 31, 2014 11:45 AM    Report this comment

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