Cat and Dog Shedding
Spring is a wonderful time of year, but if you are a cat or dog owner, this time is often associated with ever-increasing tufts of fur and fur-balls rolling through the house like spinifex in an old western movie! This fur loss can seem overwhelming; therefore, it is helpful to know what you can do as a pet owner during this period.
WHY DO THEY SHED?
An animals coat regulates your pet’s body temperature and keeps their skin dry, clean and healthy. Unfortunately, twice a year, when it gets warmer or colder, most dogs and cats suddenly shed a lot of fur. This moulting period can take up to 3 or 4 weeks and can cause a lot of irritation to both pets and their owners.
CONTROLLING PET SHEDDING
Often, the first instinct when the waves of fur begin to flow is to shorten the hair or shave it all off. While this is one of the approaches you can take, it may not be the best approach. So here are some tips for keeping your cat or dog happy and healthy, and maintain your sanity, this shedding period.
- Groom often – regular brushing removes excess fur and allows you to capture loose fur before it spreads all over the house. Brushing also gives long-haired pets some relief from itchiness and discomfort.
- Use the correct tools – always choose a quality brush suited to your animals coat. Use a soft brush such as a rubber brush or a bristle brush for dogs with a shorter coat. For dogs with a longer coat, use a comb or slicker brush. For cats, a comb to detangle might be necessary for long-haired cats, and a de-shedding brush or glove for short-haired cats (this can help reduce fur-balls). Do not press too hard in the fur, so you don’t irritate the skin.
- Target problem areas – pay particular attention to the mat-prone areas behind the pet’s ears, beneath the tail, and in the armpits and groin regions, at the nose and mouth, and around the soles of the feet and between the toes. Longhair cats also develop tummy mats.
- Bathing – bath your pet with an appropriate pet shampoo once a week (or once a fortnight, depending on the breed). Doing so will help keep your pet’s coat healthy, strong and shiny, and can contribute to reducing the amount they shed. Afterwards, blow-dry to prevent the fur from tangling. Dogs and cats with a short or silky coat don’t need to be shampooed as often unless they are filthy after rolling in smelly stuff or have a medical condition. But remember, too much washing can disturb the natural balance of the skin and coat
- Have a routine – the best way to keep your home pet hair-free is to have a regular cleaning routine. For example, daily vacuuming of flooring and furniture will gather up any hair trapped in fabrics. Vacuuming is also recommended over sweeping, as sweeping can cause the hair to rise into the air and settle into an area you have already cleaned.
- Control allergies and fleas – this will stop your pet from scratching, reducing the amount of hair they shed. Ensure they are being treated regularly with a quality tick and flea treatment. If you notice your pet’s skin looks irritated or they’re scratching at it a lot, take them to your vet for a checkup.
DON’T FORGET TRIMMING
Dogs with a curly coat do not moult a lot, so their coat needs grooming. Some long-haired cats can also benefit from a good trim, thus reducing the amount of loose hair. If you are not confident undertaking this task yourself, Vetmed can help you meet your pet grooming needs.
Keeping on top of your pets needs during moulting will help you look after your pet’s coat and leave your home looking and smelling fresh. For further information, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Vetmed.