Sunday, March 27, 2011

Staying Ahead Of Dog Hair. Hah!

21 degrees and sunny.  It's going to be a gorgeous day!  A long list of household chores need my attention, but I'll find time to walk the dogs this afternoon and to take my mother out for lunch or perhaps pie & coffee.  Because I have a new John Sandford mystery CD to listen to, the trip out & back should be enjoyable.  I'd like to stop at the Como Conservatory to see the new spring flower display but parking will be impossible.  I'm SO ready for spring.

A variety of brushes!

A sure sign of spring is an increase in loose dog hair - on the floor, on the furniture, in my car, on our clothes.  How does one stay ahead of it?  Not possible, it's a fact of life.  Dogs grow hair and then they shed it (except for the breeds where it continues to grow, but those dogs require serious grooming).  Growing new coat and shedding old coat just happens.  My dogs shed some hair year around, but it is somewhat worse in the fall, and MUCH worse in the spring.  In a way, it would be easier if they all shed at the same time, but that's never the way it happens.  Watson is almost done now.  Josie & Mariah haven't started.  Coral and Argus are shedding like crazy.  Because Josie and Coral don't have such thick coats, their shedding is more manageable.  Watson and Argus have extra thick soft coats and shed lots more, but Watson sheds everything quickly, while Argus drags it out.  Many variations in Dal coats and shedding patterns. 

When Watson started shedding, I gave him a warm bath and some serious brushing to speed up the process. The faster they shed, the sooner they are done.  Coral gets a warm bath and serious brushing today.  Because I don't want Argus to lose too much coat at one time and because he is bathed more often (if the coat is thinner the spots may temporarily look less distinct) he gets bathed for shows in cool water, something he does not appreciate!

Everyone will get brushed today, outside on the deck, where the wind can whisk the hair away.  I've been brushing Argus in the basement before he is bathed, but normally I brush them outdoors.  I HATE being covered with dog hair, so that works better for me.  I've tried every kind of brush on the market, including the ones that attach to a vacuum cleaner hose.  My favorites are the brushes on the left side of the picture above.  The ones that fit over my hand and can be used either right or left handed (because my arm gets tired!).  I usually dampen the coat slightly - but probably not today as it is too chilly - brush against the lay of the hair and then with it.  It's important to brush the shoulders & legs as well as the back.  There's a lot of coat to be shed on the upper & lower thighs.

One thing I have found over the years though, is that if the dog has any kind of skin issues, such as seasonal allergies, they should NOT be brushed then as it will only make things worse.  A rubdown with damp hands, following the lay of the coat works well.  Actually, a rubdown with damp hands works anytime.

Like many Dal owners we wear a lot of denim because it does not show the hair.  Unlike many of them I keep my dogs out of the bedrooms & living room so the hair & noseprints tend to stay in the family room & kitchen.  At least that's the idea, but a lot of hair still finds it's way through out the house.  That's the price we pay for owning Dals.

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