Those of us with pets know that their coat is a never-ending tale of woe. When they aren’t shedding they are getting things stuck in it, and when they aren’t doing that they’re coughing up hairballs into your new, expensive shoes, and when they aren’t doing that… Well, suffice it to say their coats are always up to something you wish they weren’t! Good coat care can make this a lot less of an issue, but which products are the best?
A good brush is of course the start of good coat care. Short-haired pets can, depending on coat, sometimes get by with a weekly brushing, although more brushing means fewer hairballs and less shedding. But if their coat is bristly, or medium to long, you can expect the best results from a daily brushing with a good-quality brush.
The problem now becomes figuring out which brush is best. You’ll want a brush that gently moves through the outer coat whilst also cleaning up the undercoat where hairs can get stuck and cause matting, where the hairs clump together in an unsightly and uncomfortable manner. When mats become very bad they can also become a breeding ground for vermin, which will increase the discomfort and become a health risk.
Which brush is best is up for debate, but plain brushes that look like human hairbrushes are not really suited to animal hair. Neither are stiff-bristled brushes that look like they were originally invented to apply shoe polish. They can do a decent job on a close-coated, short-haired pet, but only really because they aren’t required to do a great deal in that situation.
A rake can do a great job of clearing undercoat, and can be purchased from a variety of brands. Alternatively, the Furminator, while simple-looking, is an amazing tool that really makes a big difference in a big hurry.
Another concern is washing. Pet-specific shampoos are available from many brands, but if you can’t find any you can wash your pet with baby shampoo. Make sure you rinse carefully and thoroughly to prevent them from eating the shampoo next time they lick themselves.
Be careful not to wash your pet too often; this can lead to dry skin and can strip too many oils from their coat. For this reason it is best to use a high-quality shampoo as it will be designed to care for an animal’s fur.
For pets who become distressed at being bathed, dry shampoos are also available. These are applied, rubbed in vigorously (which, for your pet, can take the form of an extravagant petting session) and then towelled off and can help remove dirt or gradually get a frightened pet used to the idea of being bathed.
Bathing cats is not usually necessary as they instinctively clean themselves. If your cat does become so dirty as to need a bath and you are unable to bathe them, you may consider taking them to a professional groomer who is qualified and experienced to deal with an unhappy feline customer.
Caring for your pet’s coat can seem like a time-consuming enterprise, but if you keep up with regular brushing and bathe them when necessary, you can expect excellent results!