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What is a Shedding Blade?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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The shedding blade has come into popular use for dog, and sometimes even cat grooming. Initially, it was primarily used for horses, and occasionally sheep and goats, to reduce coat shed and help to minimize any tangles or the possibility of hair matting. Used regularly for pets or for horses, it can help catch any hairs on the verge of shedding, and keep the coat of an animal looking glossy.

The appearance of the shedding blade is quite simple. It is usually a bent metal piece, in an approximate U shape, which is held together by a handle. Normally this handle is made of leather, though a few plastic forms have emerged in recent years. One side of the shedding blade has small, dulled teeth that catch and remove excess hair from the coat. Many dog groomers recommend getting a shedding blade since it is especially good for keeping dogs with short coats from shedding all over your house.

You can use the shedding blade on longer coated dogs, but it tends to be less effective. Some people also swear by its use on cats, but for most cats, the blade may be a little large. Look for smaller sized versions in your local pet store.

There is some skill to using the blade properly on any animal. If you press too hard you risk irritating the skin or you can cause an animals skin to become dry and flaky. While horse groomers may press a little harder, since the blade can also help removed dried mud, you should keep a light touch on any dog or cat.

Since the shedding blade has been a fairly recent addition to grooming supplies for pets, you may find the price in pet stores a bit high, and you’ll usually find most pet supply stores carrying shedding blades with plastic rather than leather handles. While you should definitely choose smaller shedding blades for cats, and for small breed dogs, you may save money if you purchase regular horse shedding blades at a local farm supply center. These will work well on medium to large dogs and may save you a couple of dollars since they are less “glamorous” and less marketed than pet store types.

When you begin to use a shedding blade on an animal, do keep a good watch on the dog’s skin. If they seem to scratch more, or show signs of irritation, you may need a gentler brush or a gentler technique with the blade. On the other hand, when a dog or cat’s skin does not seem irritated by this grooming aid, you may find that it’s beneficial to reducing overall coat shed, and in helping to keep an animal’s coat clean. Lastly, consider using the shedding blade outdoors because it may remove many hairs at a time and send them flying in all directions, which you don’t necessarily want in your house. Alternately, be prepared to get out the vacuum after you’re done with each grooming session.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a shedding blade and how is it used?

A shedding blade is a grooming tool designed to remove loose fur from animals, particularly during their shedding season. It consists of a metal strip with serrated edges, often shaped in a loop, which is dragged across the animal's coat. The serrations catch and pull out the dead and loose hair, helping to keep the coat healthy and reduce the amount of hair shed around the home.

Is a shedding blade suitable for all types of pets?

Shedding blades are most effective on animals with medium to long coats and those that shed heavily, such as horses and certain dog breeds. However, they are not recommended for pets with very fine or short hair, as the tool can be irritating to their skin. Always use a shedding blade appropriate for your pet's coat type and sensitivity.

How often should I use a shedding blade on my pet?

The frequency of use depends on your pet's shedding cycle and breed. During peak shedding seasons, it may be necessary to use the shedding blade once or twice a week. For maintenance, using it every couple of weeks is sufficient. Always monitor your pet's skin for any signs of irritation and adjust the grooming routine accordingly.

Can using a shedding blade harm my pet's skin or coat?

If used correctly, a shedding blade should not harm your pet's skin or coat. It's important to use gentle pressure and to follow the direction of hair growth to avoid skin irritation. Be extra cautious around sensitive areas like the face and paws. If you notice any redness or discomfort, discontinue use and consult a veterinarian.

Are there any alternatives to shedding blades for pets who don't tolerate them well?

For pets that are sensitive to shedding blades, alternatives include grooming gloves, deshedding brushes, and rakes that are designed to be gentler on the skin. These tools can effectively remove loose fur without the harshness of a blade. Regular brushing with these tools can also help distribute natural oils throughout your pet's coat, promoting a healthy shine.

What are the benefits of using a shedding blade on my pet?

Regular use of a shedding blade can significantly reduce the amount of loose hair in your home, which is especially beneficial for allergy sufferers. It also helps prevent mats and tangles in your pet's coat, which can lead to skin irritation or infection. Additionally, the removal of dead hair allows for better air circulation to the skin, keeping your pet cooler and more comfortable.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a AllThingsNature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon225072 — On Oct 25, 2011

I use it on my retired Greyhound racer and it works beautifully. Squeeze the handles together to get it to work most effectively.

By anon175997 — On May 14, 2011

I have a short haired cat that sheds a vacuum cleaner full of hair every week. I got a shedding blade (looks like a metal loop comb with little teeth) without knowing anything about them. I've used it twice and my cat's coat looks terrific. She looks slimmer and seems to have more energy since I combed out all her winter coat. She was throwing up after almost every meal before I got the comb but hasn't thrown up since. I don't know if the shedding blade is actually cutting her hair or just getting out the downy undercoat, but I sure am pleased with it. It cost me $12.00 at the pet store.

By bigmetal — On Jan 30, 2008

i just recently purchased one of these shedding blades. i should use it more often because my dog sheds a lot!!! i have to vacuum at least once a day to keep my carpets clean. it seems to be working, but i could keep brushing forever and there would still be hair...do you think this is because i don't do it enough, or because my dog has excessive shedding? she is 11 1/2 years old and sees to shed more the older she gets.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a AllThingsNature contributor, Tricia...
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