Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Furminator Commandments

The Furminator is a de-shedding tool for grooming dogs, cats, and other furry animals.  It is among the most expensive grooming tools found in the average pet store, at around $60. There are numerous iterations of this tool, including five sizes each for long and short coated dogs, four different ones for cats, special tools for horses and small animals, and a vacuum cleaner attachment. The current Furminators have self-cleaning buttons that push collected fur off the brush. With 16 different options, you can find a Furminator for nearly anything with fur.
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Except that you shouldn't actually Furminate everything with fur. Nor should you Furminate every furry part of your pet. A Furminator is basically a blade from a set of electric clippers, plus a handle. It's a powerful grooming tool, and needs to be used with care. I've met a number of people who use them, even professionally, that have not idea what kind of harm can result from running a blade through an animal's coat all willy nilly. I've developed a basic set of slightly-scary guidelines for using one of these babies.

The Furminator Commandments

1. Thou Shalt Not Furminate a Non-Shedding Coat
Breeds like poodles have coats that grow continuously. They don't have any undercoat to brush out. A Furminator can pull those curly hairs out by the roots. Not that you should be using a super-ultra-mega-deshedding brush on your non-shedding breed. Your mileage may vary for poodle mixes, every doodle I've ever brushed has had plenty of shedding undercoat to brush out.

2. Thou Shalt Not Furminate Fluffy Bellies
Don't forget, that brush is actually a blade. It can rip off nipples. I'm not kidding. Don't do it.

3. Thou Shalt Not Burn Thy Pet
Part of the point of the Furminator is that it reaches all the way down through the coat to the skin. Over-enthusiastic Furminating can cause friction burns on the skin, so go slow and watch for irritation.

4. Thou Shalt Not Furminate Thy Pet Bald, No Matter How Much They Enjoy It
You can't keep Furminating the same spot over and over, because you will likely just keep getting hair off your pet until there's no hair left. The Furminator does not take only the detached hair. My cats really, really love being Furminated though, so it's tempting to brush all their hair off. 

5. Thou Shalt Know What Is Under the Fur
Not only can you rip of nipples with the Furminator, you can also rip off warts and scabs and pretty much anything. You can also knick the skin over bony areas. The Furminator works best on nice fleshy areas, and it's important to check for lumps and bumps before using it.

I've found that the Furminator is very effective on short coats, and a bit less on longer hair. It's amazing on my shorthair cats, it's amazing on all the Australian cattledogs I've brushed, it works wonders on labrador coats. For longer coats, I really prefer the Mars Coat King. It's basically a row of hooked blades you drag edge-first through the fur, and it grabs undercoat like no other tool. 

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