When I was looking to bring a dog into my life 11 years ago, I had very few requirements. One was that he not shed a lot. I’m writing this ankle-deep in black dog hair, so it’s fair to say I didn’t take that one too seriously.
Just kidding. It’s only ankle-deep in the corners of my apartment, where I need the special vacuum attachment to get to it. I rarely get that attachment out. Also kidding. I have no idea where it is.
Also, the lint trap after I wash my sheets produces a warm comfy blanket perfect for any 18-inch doll. One of my good friends brings a towel when she has to sit in my car, simply because she knows her backside will be covered in dog hair if she doesn’t.
There is a little collection of discarded black fur in my shoes, as well. How does it get in there? I have no idea, but it does. And I can start eating dinner off a clean plate, yet still have to eat around a dog hair or two at some point during the meal. I’d tell you what it looks like under my sofa, but I’m too afraid to look. There is a vacuum attachment for that, too. No idea where it is.
Long story short, my dog sheds.
I don’t really know exactly what causes my baby boy, an 11-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer and Samoyed mix, to shed so often and so much. It’s mostly warm where we live in Los Angeles, and although he has heavy shedding seasons twice a year, it really doesn’t ever stop. Along with his Sammy mommy’s loving personality, he also inherited her thick undercoat which, at times, comes out in fistfuls by just dragging my hand down his back.
At times, I can tell when the hair on his rump is ready to go — it picks up the light differently. It’s fun to pull it out in large tuffs. It’s the same satisfaction you get from peeling a large chunk of skin off after a sunburn. I like to collect it in a pile on the sofa while we watch TV to see just how big of a hairball I can make.
I really need to get a handle on this whole shedding thing. It’s been 11 years. You’d think I would have figured it out by now, but alas I have not. Here are a few things I’ve tried and what I’ve thought of them. Maybe you have some input that can help me out?
1. Daily brushing
Let’s face it: Daily brushing is probably the answer. I’ve never been good at doing it. It seems like such an ordeal. You have to do it outside right? Otherwise, what do you do with all of the discarded fur flying around all over the place?
How do you manage it and make it part of your routine? Do you do it right when you wake up? Or before you go to bed? Do you keep the brush by your pup’s food so it’s handy and ready to go? I need your secrets!
2. Weekly bathing
By far, the most effective I was at keeping his shedding at bay was when I was bathing Riggins weekly. Before I was a dog sitter and it was just him and me, I would toss him into the shower after our Sunday hike. Once we started watching dogs, we were hiking every day, and the weekly schedule went out the window. I’d like to get back to that since it really did help.
The problem with bathing is that, for me, it has to be easy. I have a tip for you! The folks at Aquapaw sent over a prototype for their Kickstarter-funded dog bathing product. Riggins and I have tried a number of dog washing systems during our 11 years together, and the Aquapaw has quickly become my favorite. I can’t say enough good things about it.
It easily attaches to your shower head or hose bib, and then the scrubber, on the other end of the hose, hooks around your hand. After turning it on with a quick squeeze, the water flows through the scrubber. You have total control of where the water goes, making it easy to get to places like under the belly and through those top layers of fur!
Riggins is not a fan of baths, but even he is calmer with the water coming from the scrubber held up against him instead of pouring down or out at him. Since Aquapaw is newly funded, they won’t be shipping until the summer, but don’t wait; seriously go pre-order right now. Absolutely worth the $30.
Do these work for anyone? Seriously? Do they? Please share what you take and why they work.
4. Give up
THIS is where I really shine! As a full-fledged dog mom, I’ve learned to be at one with the dog hair in my life. “Living With Dog Hair and Wine.” That is my personal mantra and the title of my autobiography, should I ever become important enough to write one.
Help you guys. I need it. How do you handle all that dog hair?