It’s time to shed: Pets can use your help ridding hair

If your house is anything like mine recently, little tufts of pet hair seem to be accumulating all over rugs and favorite sleeping spots.

With outdoor temperatures fluctuating between warm spring days in the 50s to chilly nights hovering in the teens, nature is initiating her call to the animal world to begin preparation for warmer weather. It’s shedding season.

The thick winter coat that helps keep our pets warm during cold temperatures is instinctively sloughing off.

While it may be noticeably visible depending on the animal’s coat, such as large clumps near the neck and hind leg areas, even shorthaired animals will shed.

I have noticed my feline companions seem to be depositing unpleasant regurgitated “hairballs” all over the house. It’s always nice when they can at least hit the tile floor instead of my favorite chair.

The best recourse to combat the influx of hair deposits is to get into a routine of daily pet brushing.

Brushing out the defunct winter coat will stimulate new hair growth while enabling the skin to breath. The dead hair, especially in heavy, long coats, can trap dirt and small particles near the skin.

You may notice small dandruff flakes trapped in large clumps of thick hair. This is indicative of dry skin that needs to be eliminated allowing for beneficial air flow to the body.

Trying to determine the right brush for your pet’s coat can be slightly overwhelming given the vast array of products to choose from. There are many different types of brushes that have unique benefits depending on your pet’s hair type.

A Slicker Brush is a rectangular shaped device with sharp metal pins. This type of brush works well on long, thicker coats, wirehaired, curly coated breeds and even longhaired cats. The little pins can be quite sharp however so this brush might not be suitable for pets with sensitive skin or thin coats.

A Pin Brush is similar to a human hairbrush and can be particularly useful for long, fine hair types. They come in various sizes and pin strength. Some of these brushes are constructed with a rubber pad that holds the pins offering more flexibility. There are also hard natural bristle brushes that work well on short, sleek coats.

A Rake is a device that has broad metal protrusions that actually pull out large clumps of unwanted hair and enable you to get down into the heavy undercoat. These are available in different sizes and lengths so you can pick the right one depending on the breed.

There is a product called a Furminator that works well on thick coats. It resembles a rake but has tiny blades on the teeth that actually cut through a dense coat. Be careful of the blades, however, a new one is quite sharp.

A Zoom Groom is a unique brush made of rubber that is useful on shorthaired animals and those with sensitive skin. This flexible brush acts like a magnet as the hairs accumulate in the soft rubber prongs. It delivers a gentle massage sensation that can be utilized during a bath to eliminate unwanted hair. 

One of the best universal tools I have discovered for any type of coat is a metal flea comb. They are sometimes difficult to find, however, since fleas normally do not survive in our arid climate.

Typically, you can get them with fine, medium or course teeth. The metal comb is quite sturdy allowing for easy removal of matts, snarls and large clumps.

If you are unsure what type of brush is best for your pet’s coat type, consult with your veterinarian or groomer.

Spending just a few minutes each day brushing your pet will benefit the overall health of your animal’s skin and coat. It is also a great opportunity to just sit down and enjoy some quality time with your four-legged friend.

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I received an e-mail from a local groomer informing me that Grand Junction does in fact have a grooming school.

Paws Grooming Academy is at 2703 U.S. Highway 50 on Orchard Mesa.

The school is licensed and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education — Division of Private Occupational Schools and the Department of Agriculture.

For information, the phone number is 245-5983.

Charlé Thibodeau is a veterinary technician for Aspentree Veterinary Care. If you have a pets question you would like Thibodeau to answer in her column, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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