Fur, fur and more fur
There are two things in my household that multiply so quick it almost defies science: laundry and pet hair. I am baffled on a daily basis how much of each can accumulate in places where neither man nor beast can go, such as my stepson’s little sock once found under the fridge, or small chunks of Jersey’s hair on top of the television.
Nevertheless, spring is coming and with it comes the annual shedding of fur, which is a truly momentous time of year in my household. As Jersey is a husky-type, she has a second layer of fur, which is grey-ish in colour and feels like soft, downy fluff. That fluff, which keeps her blissfully warm in the winter, sheds out in large tufts and sticks to everything. The rate at which she sheds is unbelievable, creating dust bunnies so large you could probably collect them and turn them into a pillow (or two).
This winter I decided to upgrade my grooming toolbox, upon the advice from people at my barn. They raved about a grooming tool that could be used for cats, dogs and horses and was ideal for pets like Jersey who had copious amounts of hair. This sounded like a fairly big upgrade from her current brush, which (although effective) looks like it was created about 100 years ago, when everyone’s dogs were large, hairy beasts and not quite suited to the pampered, particular pets of today.
So I went to my local pet store to find one of these devices. There are two brands names which are very similar in design, the FURminator and the FurBuster. The FurBuster was significantly closer to my price range, so I picked up the medium-size and brought it home to try. When I took it out of the packaging, it looked a little more abrasive than I was thinking, as it is styled like a shedding blade with little teeth. Jersey is not a huge fan of being brushed (she will tolerate it for a small period of time, as she knows she will be getting a treat afterwards) so I was not about to use something on her that would make her even more uncomfortable. I tried the FurBuster on my own arm, and truthfully it didn’t feel unpleasant at all. The little teeth are very dull, so I was satisfied that it wouldn’t do her any harm.
Not wanting to make a huge deal out of it, I called her over and let her sniff the tool first, and then she seemed to be okay with it I went to work. As per any grooming tool, I was careful in bony areas such as her spine, hips and shoulder blade. I used it in the direction of the hair, and avoided using it on her head or anywhere sensitive. I brushed her for about 10 minutes before she started getting fidgety, which means she is on her way to “Thanks, but I’m done”.
When I looked around, there was a carpet of hair that had somehow accumulated during the brushing process. It was unbelievable! I could not believe that Jersey could still have any hair left on her body, compared to the piles of hair that was now sitting on the kitchen floor. I gave her the treat and sent her on her way, and went about vacuuming the hair off the floor. I was thrilled with how much hair came off her.
Naturally, my victory was short lived, as the next day produced a comparable pile of hair as well. And yes, the mysterious multiplying hair had nevertheless made its way back onto the floors, carpets and anywhere dust-bunnies could roll.
I found the best strategy to keep her clean is to limit brushing to every few days (every day can irritate their skin if you brush too aggressively) but be consistent, brushing once or twice and then forgetting about it for a month will not do you or your pet any favors.
All animals have their own natural system of grooming themselves and others within their species. Be sure to pay attention to your pet’s grooming needs, to keep them happy and comfortable.
Now if only I could find that other little sock!
Hats off to you
To all kind-hearted and hard-working people at SPCA: hats off to you. I love animals and admire the work you do.