Twice a year, your pooch sheds almost constantly and leaves fur all over your carpet and furniture. It's a headache, but there's nothing she can do about it. The undercoat isn't always easy to get rid of when your pooch is going through one of her two yearly shedding sessions, but a few tools will help you deal with the excess fur.
What's an Undercoat?
Many breeds have a double coat: one layer of fine, softer fur underneath a layer of course guard hairs. Undercoats help protect the dog by insulating her against both heat and cold. They also protect against other elements, such as water. The thick undercoat is released twice a year in a flurry of fluffy fur.
Undercoat rakes are ideal tools for home grooming that will remove the ready-to-be-shed undercoat hairs. As the name implies, this grooming tool looks like a small rake with metal teeth that often are angled and set fairly wide apart. The rake glides through the upper coat and rakes out the loose undercoat hairs. Undercoat rakes typically are inexpensive and you can find them at pet stores, big-box stores, hardware stores and online retailers.
If you are lucky enough to have a pooch who isn't scared of or threatened in any way by the vacuum, you can try any number of vacuum attachments made for dog grooming. These brush attachments work wonders on an undercoat because the combined power of the suction and brush work to remove more hair quicker than using a rake or brush alone. Some attach directly to your vacuum while others are stand-alone devices specifically designed for dog grooming.
A common misconception is that the undercoat makes the dog hot in summer and should be removed during periods of hot weather. Not only is this false, it can backfire. Some dogs develop alopecia after having their undercoats removed. Sometimes the undercoat and topcoat refuse to grow back the way they were, resulting in patches of finer or thicker fur, bald spots and discoloration. Your pooch may have a hard time adjusting to the loss of her coat and start scratching constantly. Grooming away the dead hairs using the proper tools can help relieve your pup and get rid of the excess fur.