Densely furred cats and dogs have combination coats made up of longer, coarser top fur and softer, finer inner fur that creates a warm air-trapping blanket for the skin in cold weather. It is the pet’s undercoat that tends to tangle, mat and clump as it is shed if it is not groomed carefully. In extreme cases, the unfortunate result is a weakened and dulled coat, or a thick thatch that must be simply shaved.
A de-shedding tool for pet grooming reaches past the longer outside hairs and removes the inner coat hairs before they mat and thatch. It protects the coat for future growth and keeps the skin surface clean and properly aired and stimulated. The de-shedding tool does not cut hair, but it allows hair that has already detached from the hair follicle to be discarded. Most dogs and cats do not find the process uncomfortable and they enjoy the comfort of a coat not bound up with mats.
The de-shedding tool is not analogous to the thinning scissors that stylists use to reduce bulk in human hair. Thinning scissors cut; the de-shedder releases loose hair.
Similarly, long-haired cats benefit from the de-shedding tool. Because de-shedding helps prevent hairballs, de-shedding is a health enhancement for all cats, especially Himalayan and Persian types. (Rabbits, especially Angoras, also benefit from the de-shedding tool.)
While the de-shedding tool prevents mats and tangles, it does not easily or comfortably remove them, so it should be used regularly, about once a week, in order to maintain a well-groomed coat. Winter and summer, the tool can be used according to schedule, but users will notice that the bulk of fur removal happens in spring and summer when dogs and cats naturally shed. Therefore, users do not need to worry about the de-shedding tool thinning out a thick coat. It will not cut hair that is attached to the follicle.
Pet owners will see less build up of extra hair on furniture, clothing and under the couch if the de-shedding tool is used regularly.
Dog de-shedding tools and cat de-shedding tools are similar, although cat tools tend to be smaller. The “Furminator” is one of the highest-recommended and marketed de-shedding tools with models designed for cats and dogs of all sizes and hair types.
To use a de-shedding tool, separate the coat into layers as you would for a comb-out and run the tool over the layers like a comb. Remove the fur that adheres to the tines regularly to keep the tool easy-to-use and effective.
About the Author: Helen Fazio and her dog Raja blog on pet travel and related topics at www.traveldogbooks.com. In their first book, “The Journey of the Shih Tzu,” Raja tells the wolf to woof story of the development of this amazing breed. They are working on forthcoming titles.