If you’ve got a four-legged family member, then you know they have a way of filling lives with unconditional love. You probably also know they tend to fill our lives with fur, as well. Unless you have a hairless or non-shedding breed of cat or dog, shedding is something we pet parents have all struggled to manage, especially in the warmer months when pets say goodbye to their winter coats. While a little shedding is unavoidable, with the right information and tools, shedding doesn’t have to be an overwhelming part of caring for your fur children.
Nearly all dog and cat breeds shed as part of a healthy cycle of hair growth, but the amount that they shed can vary quite a bit based on how their skin is cared for. The issue of excessive shedding (like most health issues) is one that should be approached from both the inside and outside for best results. While bathing and brushing are what most of us turn to for shed control, what we feed our pets can have just as big of an impact.
Caring for your furry friend’s coat from the inside starts with good nutrition and plenty of healthy fats. For cats and dogs, the health of their digestive tract becomes visible in the health of their skin and coat. While they might seem unrelated, an upset stomach usually results in inflammation of the skin and excessive shedding. Choosing a dog or cat food that includes plenty of healthy meat protein and avoiding foods that include fillers like corn, wheat or by-products can go a long ways towards skin health and reducing shedding. In addition, healthy omega-3 fatty acid supplements like Kahoots Salmon Oil or The Missing Link Sensitive Skin Supplement are great ways to support a healthy skin and coat while reducing inflammation.
One of the easiest ways to reduce shedding is choosing the right brush for your dog or cat’s coat type and making sure you use it regularly. A long hair coat will require a slicker or rake brush with long teeth to reach the undercoat, while a short hair coat does better with a rubber curry comb or short bristle brush that picks up the small loose hairs and massages the skin. The gold standard for reducing shedding is the patented Furminator tool that is specially designed to reduce shedding by up to 90%. The initial price for a Furminator may be higher than a typical brush, but so is its de-shedding performance. Bathing your dog or cat with a gentle shed-helper shampoo and conditioner can also help them ditch that loose coat, especially if you brush them before and after the bath. However, if you bathe them more than once every four to six weeks, you can actually dry out your pet’s skin and cause further shedding.
Cats rarely need to be bathed as they do such a good job of cleaning themselves. The flip side of that, of course, is that they are prone to hairballs if they shed excessively. Regularly brushing your cat is essential to their health and should be done daily with an appropriate brush and once a week with a Furminator. If you have a cat that hates to be brushed there are an array of play stations, wall attachments, and play tunnels with brush attachments designed to pick up the loose hair from your cat as they play. Many cats who won’t tolerate having their human brush them will happily groom themselves on these stationary brushes in their own time.
By tackling the issue of shedding from the inside-out, you can significantly reduce the hair your pet leaves behind. While some shedding is necessary, pets and their parents can universally agree, the less fur the better. For more pet care tips and the highest quality grooming products, visit your neighborhood Kahoots.
By Julia Tunnell, Kahooligan at Kahoots East Escondido