As a professional groomer with 25+ years experience, I am familiar with the frustration of dealing with excessive shedding in pets. One commonly advertised grooming tool that aims to address this issue is the Furminator, along with other copy cats. While this tool can be effective when used correctly, it is important to point out its design flaws and the lack of proper instruction. Unfortunately, in the hands of average pet owners, the Furminator often does more harm than good. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind these pitfalls and why choosing poor grooming tools can have negative consequences.
The Importance of Proper Grooming Tools
Professional groomers use specialized tools like stripping/carding tools (for example, my preferred Mars Solingen #330) that are specifically designed to remove undercoat while preserving the protective guard hair. These tools feature quality stainless steel, thick blades with wide-spaced blunt teeth. They are used at a 30-45 degree angle to the skin to comb specifically the undercoat of double-coated pets. It is the soft undercoat that sheds out and needs to be removed as the seasons pass. Comparatively, keeping the guard hair is importance to retain the proper texture, colour, and weather proofing. Guard hair sheds far less frequently and not seasonally.
The Flaws of the Furminator
The Furminator, on the other hand, has a thinner blade with sharp edges and tiny teeth. Its rake-like “T” design encourages users to apply too much force. A user would also have no option but to drag it incorrectly at 90 degrees to the skin, leading to potential cutting and scraping. The T-shaped handle makes it difficult to maintain correct angle and contact with the hair. The tiny sharp teeth tend to catch and shred the hair instead of effectively combing it out.
Ineffective Hair Removal and Damage
The Furminator may give the impression of removing a significant amount of hair. However, it actually scrapes and shreds the outer coat and undercoat indiscriminately It does not differentiate between the two distinct layers of hair. This happens Especially along the back while neglecting other areas that have more undercoat, such as the hind end and mane. Additionally, the Furminator lacks selectivity in hair removal, making it challenging to determine when to stop before the damage is done. This can result in over-grooming, bald patches, and shredded hair cuticles.
Negative Effects on Coat Health
Pets groomed with the Furminator often exhibit shredded hair and damaged hair cuticles. Ragged hair cuticles absorb dirt and snag with one another causing mats. Furthermore, the scraping action of the Furminator can cause redness and irritation to the pet’s skin. In severe cases, the only solution is to trim off the damaged hair, and start afresh. There is no way to repair damaged shredded hair.
The Importance of Responsible Grooming
When using grooming tools, it is essential to prioritize the well-being of your pet. A fundamental rule is to test the tool on yourself first. You need to understand its functionality, sensation, appropriate pressure and finesse required. If a tool is not something you would use on yourself, it is likely unsuitable for your pet. Remember, your cat’s skin and hair is 1/8 the thickness of human skin and hair. Using improper tools can cause physical damage and make a bonding grooming experience less enjoyable.
While the Furminator may appear to be a convenient solution for excessive shedding, it falls short as a reliable grooming tool. The design flaws and lack of instruction result in the potential for misuse. As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to invest in proper grooming tools that are designed to protect and maintain the health of your pet’s coat. Prioritize the well-being of your furry friend and use tools wisely and correctly. This way you can ensure a positive grooming experience that contributes to their overall health and happiness.
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