Shedding: A Season of Dread
As I walk the dimly lit hallway, I can just make out tiny black clouds swirling around my bare ankles. I open the door and several small dervishes advance from a darkened corner. I hear the light “tink-tink” of metal colliding like spare change and a slow ripple of air ascends, carrying on its current a dense mist of finely-barbed flotsam. Through the dispersing miasma, a large black figure looms, slowly transforming from the horrific to the domestic. It’s only Rex, my loyal Rottweiler/Shepherd mix. He has just emerged from a long nap and refreshed himself by shaking every inch of his ninety pound body, sending hundreds of hair particles dancing towards communion with their fallen comrades.
It is the nightmare that recurs every year. That seemingly interminable interlude that sees a spike in vacuum sales and strikes terror into the hearts of the boldest pet owners -SHEDDING SEASON.
In much of the world, “Shedding Season” occurs in the spring, when temperatures warm for the first time after a long winter. If you live in a warm climate, “Shedding Season” is a cruel misnomer, as pets’ coats never really seasonally adjust due to the lack of – well – seasons. Pets here can shed year round.
1. Brushing. While it is always important to keep your pet well-groomed for the health and happiness of both you and your pet, during the higher volume shedding months it becomes absolutely essential. Daily brushing of your dog or cat not only reduces the amount of hair left on your furniture, clothes and floors, it also protects against matting (which can be painful to your pet) and helps to keep your pet’s coat healthy by eradicating dirt and redistributing natural oils. Plus, pets usually enjoy being brushed (gently) so why not take this opportunity to turn the ritual into a daily bonding experience with your pet?
2. Bathing. Bathe your pet at least once a week with a shampoo formulated for your pet (don’t use people shampoo – animals have different skin pH than humans).
Make sure to rinse your pet thoroughly and towel them dry. (Rex’s preference for drying off is a brisk game of chase followed by a faux “bullfight” wherein I hold a giant bath sheet and exclaim, “Ole’, Rex!” as he ploughs through.) You can then brush your pet as his coat dries in order to remove the hair that was loosened by shampooing.
3. Grooming. Most professional groomers have anti-shedding treatments for dogs and cats that include special shampoos and tools that get to the stubborn undercoat without causing discomfort to your pet. Many well-known pet supply chains have grooming services that provide these special treatments at surprisingly affordable prices. Consider getting your pet professionally groomed towards the beginning of Shedding Season so that you can more easily maintain your pet’s coat at home. Rex’s recipe for success: A trip to the groomer for a bath, an anti-shedding treatment with the FURminator and an overall trim.
With just these few investments and a little maintenance on your part, you and your pet will escape the nightmarish landscape of the Season of Dread.