Whatever you want to call it, it’s where a creature routinely gets rid of fur, skin, feathers, wool, wings – or even body parts in the case of some insects, or the entire exoskeleton in arthropods (crabs and shrimps for example). Even snakes and lizards shed their skin when they grow out of it.
But the one most of us are familiar with is cats and dogs shedding their fur – usually all over your furniture, and it will lay in drifts like tumbleweed under chairs, tables and beds! It’s a natural thing for them – when the weather starts to get warm, they shed. Its like us taking off the coat in the spring as it’s too warm to wear it any longer.
With dogs, regular brushing with a quality brush suited to your dog’s coat will get rid of any loose hair, meaning you can clean it up before it spreads all over the house, but do the brushing outside, otherwise you will make cleaning up worse! Regular brushing can also stimulates your dog’s hair follicles and will keep their coat looking smooth, vibrant and shiny too.
The right brush is important as well, and there are plenty on the market to choose from. Slicker brushes have fine, short wires close together on a flat surface, for medium to long-haired dogs, good for removing matting. But be gentle, using these with too much pressure can hurt. Rakes are designed to penetrate a dog’s thick coat (ones like Malamutes and Chow Chows) and remove tangles and dead undercoat near the dog’s skin. Again, use with minimal pressure, and ensure the length of pin matches the length of the coat you are brushing, too short and it will miss the undercoat completely. Bristle brushes can be used on short-haired, smooth-coated dogs, and the clusters of tightly-packed natural bristles will remove loose hair and stimulate the skin.
Pin Brushes look similar to brushes commonly used by people. They are usually oval-shaped, with a loosely-arranged set of flexible wires with pins heads on top. Pin brushes are the most commonly used type of brush, but often the least useful. Yes, they will pick up loose hair before it is shed onto your furniture, or finish and fluff a well-brushed coat, but provide little benefit to your pet’s skin, and are best used to finish off the grooming process.
Good for cat grooming are those gloves with dimply palms - cats are independent little critters and wont put up with too much grooming, but these gloves make them think they are being stroked, and they will love that!
And for cleaning up? Vacuuming is recommended even if you have tiles or hardwood floors, as sweeping can cause the fur to rise into the air and settle into an area you’ve already cleaned. In this respect, I am always puzzled that hairs are in my bathroom - and my dogs don’t ever go in there! - so the hairs are drifting in from our clothes, or in the breeze. As for your clothes, an old-fashioned lint roller does the job.
Covering your furniture with washable throws or blankets can be a good investment for keeping your home smelling and looking fresh, and If you regularly transport your dog in the car, there are special pet covers available, which are great to keep your damp (or dirty) dog - and their hairs - off the car seats. You can also train your dog to sit on a designated pet blanket, and good luck with that one – in my experience, they would much rather stretch out on my sofa when I am not looking, rather than on their own blanket!