Health

Shedding

Pet Fur Loss is Manageable with the Right Tools

Susan is shopping for summer clothes. She informs all the sales people: “Nothing in black please!” Understand that Susan lives with an all white cat who sheds without permission.

The Jacobs have a Black Labrador. Last spring they selected their new living room sofa with the kids and dog in mind. Perhaps you know Mr. Jacobs. He brags about the sofa, a chocolate-blend weave that doesn’t show fudge bar drippings or fur.

There’s no need for you to dread the summer shed. With a bit of grooming the loss of pet fur this time of year is quite manageable.

Let There Be Light?

The biggest misconception may be that cats and dogs shed because of a seasonal change in temperature. Petland knows that shedding is caused more by changes in light. The longer exposure to light, the more the pet will shed.

Shedding may be year-round for indoor cats and dogs exposed to constant artificial light. Outdoor pets naturally will shed more in early spring when daylight hours grow longer.

Taking off a Coat

Most cats and dogs have a double coat. This includes a long, coarse outer coat of fur covering a softer, woollier coat. The undercoat generally sheds first.

A pet’s coat does not shed evenly, and pets who shed heavily may look somewhat unhealthy. A “patchy” or “moth-eaten” look, often accompanying more serious skin diseases, appears in some cases.

Helping a pet through periods of fur loss requires only a bit of attention. The best treatment is an occasional bath and a daily brushing or combing.

Pet owners can prevent skin irritation by removing as much of the dead fur as possible. Bathing loosens dead fur while brushing and combing removes it. If a pet owner fails to remove the dead fur, then more serious skin problems may crop up.

Cats and dogs with long fur need more attention than short-haired breeds. They require different grooming tools, too. For instance, a brush made for a long-haired breed may be too stiff and wiry for a short-haired one.

Using the wrong tools can make grooming uncomfortable and unenjoyable for a pet. Pet owners should discuss their pet and its grooming needs with a pet counselor before investing in any grooming equipment.

Controlling Shedding

Petland offers the following tips for pet owners who want to help their pets and themselves through periods of shedding:

  • Bathe occasionally: Giving your pet too many baths can remove natural oils from its skin. These oils are essential to your pet’s healthy coat. Pet-safe shampoos are a must as soaps made for human use can be harmful to pets. Your Petland pet counselor can advise you on how to bathe a cat or dog as well as offer guidelines on how often a particular breed should be bathed.
  • Brush daily: A daily brushing is good no matter what the breed or fur type. Starting a grooming routine when your pet is a puppy or kitten is best. If you start grooming when your pet is mature, then start with short sessions. Allow your pet to sniff and become associated with all grooming tools. This new activity may frighten or stress your pet at first. Fortunately, pets quickly learn that grooming feels good. Many pets beg to be brushed.
  • Monitor behavior: You should take note of your pet’s behavior. Excessive scratching, licking, biting or rubbing of a bodily area is usually a good first clue to a skin problem, flea infestation, or allergy. Excessive fur loss (clumps) is another. Other problems — rashes, lumps, bumps – may be detected while grooming. These, too, should be reported to your veterinarian.
  • Visit a vet: If unattended, skin irritations can lead to serious, even life threatening health problems for pets. At the first sign of any skin irritation, a veterinarian should examine your pet.