“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole,” American wildlife photographer Roger Caras famously said. Certainly, cat lovers undoubtedly feel the same about their feline friends. But as lovable as our pets are, the spring shedding season presents a challenge or two. Hair and fur continuously renew through an endless cycle of growth, rest, and loss. New hair pushes out the old.
The three cycles of hair growth and loss are anagen, catagen, and telogen. The first is a time of active growth. During the second phase, shrinkage causes the hair root to loosen. In the final phase, the hair is pushed out and replaced. Among outdoor pets, seasonal sheds are common in the spring and fall. Changing light exposure is the main culprit. Exposure to artificial light may mute the seasonal nature of shedding to a degree.
Of course, not all cats and dogs shed to the same degree. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, and Pekingese are near the top of the list. By contrast, Dachshunds, Poodles, and Border Terriers shed very little. Finally, some breeds don’t shed at all. Prominent examples include the Bichon Frise, Irish Water Spaniel, Maltese, and the Afghan Hound. The same is true of cats. Long-haired breeds like Persians or Maine Coons tend to shed more than others.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to deal with shedding more effectively. First, look for ways to reduce it. High-quality food and a low-stress environment may reduce the propensity for shedding. Second, find ways to localize hair accumulations. Third, find ways to clean it up in an effective way.
Grooming to Reduce Shedding
Consistent bathing and grooming are particularly helpful during the spring shedding season. Bathing loosens matted fur in the undercoat, and this makes brushing more effective. After bathing, dry your pet so the hair is not too damp. When the brush stops filling with hair, you’re done!
Be proactive with regular brushing, particularly during the peak of the spring shedding season. Of course, the common-sense solution is the best one of all: brush and repeat, again and again. Motivate yourself during an extended brushing session. Think of all the hair that will find its way into the carpet and onto the upholstered furniture if you don’t brush it first!
When it comes to brushes, the size, breed, and coat type of your dog are all considerations. The AKC also publishes a list of brushes it ranks among the best. Of course, match the size of the brush to the size of your pet. A brush with a well-designed, ergonomic grip will reduce hand fatigue. Here are some of the most common types of brushes, according to the AKC.
- Slicker brushes – Tightly packed wire pins cover the head of a slicker brush. These shorter pins are angled to glide through the coat and above the skin. Consider a self-cleaning slicker brush with pins that retract at the push of a button.
- Pinhead brushes – A pinhead brush bears a resemblance to a human hairbrush. The head is covered with wire pins with protective rubber tips. It is a good finishing brush for long-coated breeds. It’s also good for dealing with tangles on wire-coated breeds.
- Bristle brushes – Either natural or synthetic bristles cover the head of a bristle brush. It is ideal for dogs with short silky coats. A bristle brush is also a fine finishing brush on double-coated breeds. There are also double-sided brushes with bristles on one side and wire pins on the other.
- Undercoat rakes – Undercoat rakes feature one or two rows of metal pins capable of getting through to the undercoat. They excel at removing mats and loose fur in the undercoat. The key is selecting one with the right pin length for the breed of your dog.
- Rubber brushes – The flexible rubber bristles of rubber brushes won’t penetrate thick or long coats. However, they are effective with short-coated breeds. Rubber brushes are also useful for working the shampoo into the coat. They’re also great for brushing out tangles from wet, slippery hair.
Rubber brushes work well in tandem with bristle brushes. Use the rubber brush to massage the skin and to bring loose hair to the surface. Then, remove the hair with a bristle brush. Finally, some dog owners like a rubber grooming mitt. It removes hair and dirt while providing for some quality bonding time as well.
Cleaning Tools to Help with Shedding
Specially designed vacuums, handheld vacuums, and even lint rollers will help you keep your apartment home clean, even during shedding season.
If you don’t own one already, consider a vacuum designed with pet hair in mind. A vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter can further reduce pet dander. HGTV’s editors have tested vacuums for pet owners. Combine the vacuum with a rubber broom replete with squeegee-like bristles. The hair and fur stick to the rubber. The squeegee action clumps it together. Finally, machine-washable slipcovers and strategically placed blankets are good long-term solutions.
Lint rollers are effective at picking up pet hair and fur. Consider keeping them in different places around the house. Handheld vacuums are also very portable, and a step up from the humble roller.
On top of keeping your home clean, there’s a good health reason to stay on top of spring shedding. Stray hair ingested by dogs and cats may lead to digestive problems. Spring is also a good time to consult with your veterinarian about possible fish oil supplements for your cat. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may aid coat growth and joint health.
Luxury Apartments for Pet Owners
You’re in luck if your apartment complex offers a dog spa or grooming facilities — especially during shedding season!
Draper and Kramer is a full services real estate firm founded in Chicago in 1894 that offers pet-friendly luxury apartments in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and other states. In Chicago, the pet-friendly Wrigleyville Lofts feature a fully-equipped dog spa. In River North, Hubbard 221’s unparalleled amenities include a dog run and pet spa. In the Printer’s Row neighborhood, Burnham Pointe offers an indoor dog park replete with ramps and other elements.
Moda at the Hill is a brand-new pet-friendly development in a storied neighborhood in St. Louis. Pet care facilities are among the coveted amenities. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Crest at Las Colinas features a dog park.
Browse our full selection of luxury apartment properties today.