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.