Dog and cat hanging out

One of our favorite things about pets is their distinctive, strokable fur. The downside of this fabulous feature? Shedding. The mess created by seemingly endless shedding can elevate household stress and pose a real problem for carpets, furniture, cars and clothes. It can be an even greater nuisance for pet parents who struggle with allergies.


Is there a solution to this hairy situation? For many pets and their parents, it’s a deshedding bath. This type of bath can be performed at home or at the grooming salon. The stylists at Petco have the tools, skills and experience to give your cat or dog a grooming session with benefits that can last long after they’ve left. They can evencreate a customized dog grooming package that suits your pup’s individual needs.


Why do dogs shed?

Shedding is a normal part of skin and fur health for dogs. Shedding discards old or damaged hair, making way for new growth. It also releases old fur that may be full of dirt, pollens, bugs, debris and other irritants that can be brushed out or washed out in a deshedding treatment.

While most dogs shed, the amount varies greatly from one dog to another and can be influenced by a few things.


Breed

Some dogs shed so little that they’re commonly referred to as non-shedding, while others can’t seem to even walk past a couch without leaving hairs behind. If you’re the pet parent to a Poodle, you may never need to seek out a deshedding treatment, but Golden Retrievers and Alaskan Malamutes are a different story.


Seasonal changes

Dogs typically shed some hair year-round. However, many dogs go through two seasonal periods of intense shedding—usually in the spring and fall—to prepare for either a lighter summer coat or a thicker winter one. This is known as the time your dog is “blowing their coat.”


Coat type

Most dogs are either double- or single-coated. Dogs with a double coat have a short, thick, fluffy layer of insulating fur close to their skin and a longer, glossier topcoat. Dogs of this type include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Chihuahuas—among many others. Single-coated pups have only one layer of hair and lack an undercoat. This category contains Greyhounds, Dachshunds and Malteses. And, of course, mixed breed dogs can have either of these coat types. Dogs with double coats are more likely to benefit from dog deshedding treatments since their undercoats typically produce a lot of fur.


What is a deshedding bath?

A deshedding bath involves using a specially formulated shampoo to help loosen and remove dead hair from your pet’s coat. Some popular shampoo brands include FURminator and TropiClean. A deshedding bath is used to help pet parents remove dead hair all at once that would normally be shed over time.


Is deshedding good for cats?

Like their canine counterparts, cats can leave their mark on pet parents’ hearts—and their fur on pet parents’ couches. Cats may not seem to shed as much as dogs, but this is often because many cats are smaller and shed less fur. In fact, cats can be single- or double-coated and can go through either significant or minimal seasonal shedding, just like dogs. Also just like dogs, cats can cause havoc for houseguests with allergies. For all these reasons, pet parents find many benefits in deshedding for cats—whether through certified grooming services or cat grooming and bathing at home. A cat deshedding treatment can even help with cat hairball control since they’re formed when felines lick excess fur from their bodies.

A Vet checking out a happy dog.

How does a deshedding bath work?

While cats can benefit from deshedding baths, this service is usually more frequently performed for dogs. Dogs tend to be bigger and more full of hair than cats and typically tolerate bathing a little better. During a dog deshedding bath, your dog’s fur is wet completely and deshedding shampoo is then applied and massaged into their fur. The shampoo is left on for 5 to 10 minutes so that its conditioning ingredients have time to penetrate your dog’s fur. Afterward, your dog is rinsed thoroughly. Careful drying can help loosen even more hair after the bath, and a deshedding tool can be used to give a final pass over your pup’s newly treated fur. The steps used in a deshedding bath are similar whether you’re bathing your pet at home or utilizing a Petco stylist, but visiting Petco for grooming services can help keep your home a little tidier and reduce the time you spend on cleanup.


Benefits of deshedding baths

Some of the benefits of a deshedding treatment are obvious, but others might be surprising.


  • Reduced shedding This is the most likely reason you’d choose a deshedding bath for your pet.
  • Enhanced effectiveness of deshedding tools Many deshedding tools work better if they’re used after a deshedding bath has loosened or removed excess hair.
  • Promote healthy skin The tools and solutions used during deshedding grooming sessions can be very good for your pet’s skin and fur. Many deshedding shampoos contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—which help support skin & coat health—as well as other skin-supporting ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E. Most of these solutions are also free of parabens and chemical dyes that could dry out or irritate your pet’s skin & coat. Deshedding brushes and tools can also help condition your pet’s fur by spreading natural oils throughout their coat.

Limitations of deshedding baths

While many dog and cat deshedding treatments are invaluable services with positive physical and emotional benefits for both pets and their parents, these baths can have some potential disadvantages.


  • Added scents in deshedding shampoos may sometimes be too strong for pets and their parents
  • Many deshedding shampoos must sit for 5 to 10 minutes to work, which might be too long for some fidgety dogs and even more difficult for cats
  • You might have to bring out the vacuum afterwards, as much of your pet’s hair that would have shed over time is removed all at once

When considering whether a deshedding bath is right for your pet, it’s important to remember that no solution will stop your pet from shedding altogether. Shampoos, tools and treatments can help reduce excessive fur from accumulating in your house, but your pet will continue to shed regardless of what you do to stay on top of the mess. Managing your expectations when deciding whether to incorporate deshedding solutions into your pet’s grooming services is crucial.


Precautions

If you’ve decided to make a deshedding bath part of your pet’s routine, you can look forward to less mess around the house—and less stress. However, there are a few precautions you should keep in mind before heading to the pet salon.


  • Most deshedding solutions are only intended for use in dogs and cats over six weeks old
  • Consult your veterinarian before using a deshedding shampoo on your pet
  • Consult your vet before combining a deshedding treatment with other topical treatments
  • Do not use deshedding solutions more often than recommended
  • If you feel overwhelmed about giving your pet an at-home deshedding bath, visit your neighborhood Petco Pet Care Center or go online to schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable stylists