Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

The Great Shed

by Katie McKay | Jan 05, 2021

Winter is well underway. I’m drinking coffee non-stop and am in my pajamas by 6pm. The good news about cold weather is that those who suffer from allergies, including our dogs, find some reprieve… don’t they? Is it me or have my dogs completely misunderstood the point of their thick winter coats? I mean, when its 98 degrees outside, I can totally understand blowing piles of hair daily, but in the winter? If you have 35 pound tumbleweeds from daily brushing and yet still find yourself wondering where all the hair keeps coming from, you’ll love this month’s blog. Help is on the way!

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mindy, a professional groomer, over the last 6 months. She attended grooming school and has been working in the industry for the last 12 years. She truly has a magic touch and I am fascinated learning about how much grooming can play a role in our pet’s health. Mindy is a strong proponent of stress free experiences for her dogs, and she has some amazing tricks up her sleeve.  Today I had a great chat with her about allergies, skin issues and the dreaded winter itch! Fun Fact: Mindy used to groom a pair of dogs that belonged to a veterinary dermatologist!

Let’s start with Shampoo! For much of my dog-owning years, I was under the impression that oatmeal shampoo was the way to go for itchy, sensitive or allergy-related issues. This is apparently an urban legend! For dogs who really need something hypoallergenic, Mindy recommends a fragrance-free shampoo. As it turns out, there is a big component of fragrances that contributes to the skin sensitivities and can cause problems for your already miserable pup. From a medical perspective, the oatmeal can actually be like pouring gasoline on the fire if you have a dog prone to yeast infections on their skin. Yup, guess what those little yeasty beasties like to eat… CARBS!  Earth Bath makes a really nice fragrance free hypoallergenic shampoo.

Ok, next stop is how to stop the endless cycle of brushing and feeling like you are getting nowhere. Know why you feel like that? Because its true! Brushing your dog is great, but it can only do so much. The key here to stop the shed is to blow dry your dog! A great option for this is the do it yourself dog bath places where they provide that high powered dog hair blaster for your use, but if you are a huge nerd like me, you own one yourself. Use the small cone to go over the entire dog after their bath and blast off most of the water, then remove the cone and hold it close to the skin to get it completely dry. Not only does this easily remove excess hair, it keeps your dog from providing you with that constant dropping of magical fibers of joy. This process also removes trapped hair and dirt and prevents drying out of skin and creation of warm wet spots that turn into hot spots! Mindy recommends doing this about every 6 weeks.
Blow Dryer
I wasn't able to post the video here of this bad boy in use, but here's a link if you want to check it out. I was working on Ripley today and literally chunks of hair were being removed.

The Great Shed, the power of the blow dryer

De-shed treatments really do work and although Mindy isn’t a fan of the Furminator, she says the Furminator Deshedding Shampoo and Conditioner is a great choice to help with all that hair!

Rest asheared, we have reached the final stop on this hair finding mission. Brushes, combs and rakes oh my! Although brushing alone can not stop the epic shed, using specific types of combs and brushes appropriate for your dog’s coat can help to reduce the amount of hair in your house. For double coated dogs like Golden Retrievers, Mindy recommends a soft wire brush, a long tooth undercoat rake with round needles (these are gentler on the skin) and a coarse comb. Here are some examples I found when I raided Mindy’s stash.
Soft wire brush
fine wire soft brush
Long tooth undercoat rake
coarse undercoat rake
Coarse Comb
coarse comb

If you love to get down and dirty, I’ve shared a few tips here to start your new hobby of deshedding your dog and your home! Spending a few bucks on good combs, using a do-it-yourself dog wash with a blow dryer is a great option.  A good groomer can save you time and although you may be spending a bit more than the do-it-yourself method, in the long run you won’t be paying for those repeat visits to the vet for hot spots, allergy treatments and maybe even prescription dog food.

Good luck, have fun and here’s hoping I was able to shed some light on this problem! Thank you Mindy!


Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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