For a lot of people with pets, it’s shedding season.
When I realized my cat, Harrison, was starting to leave tumbleweeds of hair on the sofa equivalent to the size of a football, I knew I had to get something good. The FURminator fits the bill.
“No rake, brush or comb comes close,” says Dr. Scott Matheson, DVM, DABVP, of Pet Care Animal Hospital in South Jordan, Utah. The FURminator deShedding Tool is “by far the best brush we have ever seen for virtually every type of dog and cat.”
Let’s say you’ve already weighed the pros and cons of this amazing grooming tool. In this article, we’ll discuss what to do with it once you have it in hand.
- Make sure your pet’s coat is dry.
- Remove any mats or tangles. If you can’t get them out, don’t try to use the FURminator to do so. Remember when you were a kid and your mom yanked on your hair to get out knots? It hurts your pet just as much.
- Remove foreign objects such as burrs.
- Look for any injuries such as cuts or bruises (you don’t want to inadvertently cause pain by brushing over them).
Brushing Do’s and Don’ts
- Angle the teeth of the brush in the same direction as your pet’s coat. In other words, go from head to tail.
- Use gentle, long strokes, stopping to remove hair from the teeth as needed. Move the brush up and away from your dog or cat’s skin.
- Use the FURminator evenly, being especially gentle around sensitive areas such as the ears, stomach, legs and genital areas.
- Don’t pull the FURminator against your dog or cat’s coat. That is, don’t go from tail to head.
- Don’t apply a lot of pressure to the FURminator. It’s designed to reach your pet’s undercoat without causing pain.
- Don’t use the FURminator excessively in one area. You risk hitting the skin more often and causing irritation.
How Long to Brush?
Plan to spend a good amount of time brushing your dog or cat. Especially for the long-haired breeds, this takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.
If you have to get dinner on the table in half an hour, it’s not a good time to brush. By rushing it, you miss catching a lot of hair and may brush too hard.
- Set up in a place that will be easy for you to sweep or vacuum the floor.
- Remove hair from the brush frequently. Keeping the teeth clear is key to removing as much hair as possible.
- When you’re done, clean the brush with mild soap and warm water as needed.
- Each FURminator comes with a plastic cover for the teeth. Put it back on after use.
The makers of FURminator recommend using the tool once or twice a week. “You may need to use it more frequently during heavy shedding seasons,” according to the company.
Which FURminator to Use?
This handy grooming tool has grown up quite a bit from its early days. Now there are a lot of different types of FURminators on the market. Sizes for dogs, for example, range from “Toy” to “Giant.”
I have a large one designed especially for long-haired cats, because Harrison has a crazy amount of hair. If your cat has short hair, then obviously you would look for a short-haired version — the teeth are not as long because the FURminator doesn’t have to reach so deep to get the hair out.
The same principle applies to dogs. Keep in mind that for puppies, you won’t need a FURminator deShedding Tool because many puppies don’t shed until they grow into their adult coats.
Remember which direction to go with the FURminator? Here’s a reminder:
When Is the FURminator Not Right for Your Pet?
Simply put, it’s not designed for pets who don’t shed very much. The following dog breeds, among others, should not get the FURminator treatment because they lack an undercoat:
- American water spaniel
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon frise
- Chinese Crested
- Coton de Tulear
- Curly-coated retriever
- Dandie dinmont
- Glen of Imaal terrier
- Irish water spaniel
- Kerry blue terrier
- Portuguese water dog
- Soft-coated wheaten terrier
Similarly, if your cat’s breed is on the following list, the FURminator is not the right grooming tool for you:
- Cornish rex
- Devon rex
- European Burmese
- Havana Brown
- Turkish Angora
- Turkish Van
- York Chocolate
As for Harrison and me, we’ve come to an understanding about the FURminator. He will allow me to use it on him — when he feels like it.