When John Van Zante saw the small, gray-haired woman being pulled along the sidewalk by her powerful bulldog puppy, he ran from his office to help.
"I can still picture this poor woman as she was literally dragged up the sidewalk by the bulldog. Tears in her eyes. Stumbling," says Van Zante, spokesman for the Helen Woodward Animal Center, a nonprofit pet adoption organization in San Diego. "When I took the leash, she just stood there to catch her breath."
Finally, Van Zante says, the woman told...
It's normal for cats and dogs to shed. Joe Bartges, professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, says, "Shedding is a natural process that allows for loss of older and often dead hair so that new hair can grow in."
Bartges says some pets shed seasonally, "blowing" their winter coats when spring comes. Others, like indoor pets and short-haired pets, may shed all year. Making time to brush your pet can help you determine where the bulk of that hair ends up -- in the trash or on you.
Even if you don't mind finding a little fur on your favorite pants, grooming your cat or dog can offer both of you real benefits, including preventing painful knots and tangles, minimizing pet dander in the home, helping you catch signs of pet illness or parasites, and boosting the pet-person bond. All you need is a bit of time and the right tools.
You don't need a suite of complicated brushes and combs to get a handle on pet shedding. As a matter of fact, "Professional groomers are using the same grooming tools as owners," says Barbara Bird, a certified master groomer practicing in Arizona. A few of those deshedding tools include:
Wide-toothed combs: Usually plastic or metal, with widely separated teeth.
Slicker brushes: Often rectangular-headed, these brushes have fine metal tines.
Blade-on-a-handle metal combs: Newer pet deshedding tools, such as the FurBuster or Furminator.
Bristle brushes: The bristles of these familiar-looking brushes may be made of synthetic or natural bristles.
Pin brushes: Often shaped like a bristle brush, but with metal (or sometimes wood) pins instead of bristles.
Rubber brushes: These come in various shapes; each has rubber tines.