How to Tackle Shedding Season
June really ought to be designated National Pet Hair Month–our furry companions are shedding their winter coats like mad! Hair seems to explode off them, especially when you are dressed to go somewhere fancy (or even just tidy), and most particularly if you are wearing a color which contrasts starkly with your pet’s coat. You sit down for a minute with a quick phone call, and when you get up, your backside is covered in hair, as are trouser legs. So keep one of those handy rollers with sticky tape (kind of like masking tape) by your doors to outside, and give your self a quick going over.
Prevention is better than a cure, so start by brushing your pets at least every other day. Brushing can be relaxing and a great togetherness activity, but it is up to you to make it that. It is also extremely good for your pet’s skin and coat health, and for preventing the dreaded Hairball Hack, especially in cats. You know–the horrible hacking and the resulting hideous glob, which can leave a sinister stain, generally in a prominent place in your home.
Matted hair causes great discomfort to the animal and can drive it to frantic scratching and chewing to the point of raw patches of skin.
Check to see what sort of brush works well for each of your pets (what works just fine on a short-haired cat will not do for a long-hair; same for dogs) and get them used to being brushed for about 5 minutes a couple of times each day. Ten minutes is better, but the idea is to make this a pleasure for both of you, not a fight. Gentle strokes at first, with lots of ear scratches and praise and some treats, and just a minute at a time. Gradually increase the length of time and the thoroughness of brushing as your pal gets used to this idea and starts to like the stroking and scratching.
When you come across a matted spot in a long-haired pet, get some rounded scissors (so a sudden twitch doesn’t result in a stab wound and possible retaliation–certain retaliation if you’re working on a cat) and just cut the mat off as close to the skin as possible, and then work the rest out with very gentle brushing. (Note: many cats will inform you firmly at this point that Brushing Is Over. Do not force the issue, unless you are hoping for some interesting new scars.)