My Normand Basset, Luke, is the king of shedders. Bassets are one of the many breeds of dogs with a double coat; the thicker, bristlier topcoat, and the softer, more commonly shedding undercoat. It’s that undercoat that, at certain times of the year and in certain temperatures, seems to come off of him like the dirt off of Pig Pen in a Peanuts cartoon. Because he’s a double coat breed, it’s not just enough to brush Luke with a regular brush; all that does is flatten the topcoat down on top of the undercoat. What is needed is a special brush meant to weed through the topcoat and get that softer undercoat hair out before it ends up behind the couch.

The best way to deal with shedding is to use a DeShedding Tool like the FURminator, that can get out undercoat without damaging the topcoat. These special brushes work by combing through the topcoat without pulling while the looser undercoat gets raked out. Combined with regular bathing, a DeShedding Tool will keep shed hair around the house to a minimum. I put off buying one for a while because they are more costly then regular brushes, but the time saved sweeping up massive doggy hairballs from under the bed has made it worthwhile.

Like all Bassets, from time to time Luke loves to do the shimmy, shaking his loose skin back and forth like he’s trying to get it to fit better. This used to cause a cloud of loose hair that floated around him like a dust storm. Since using a DeShedding Tool, all it causes is a smile at the sheer hilariousness of it all. Luke smells better, his fur is softer and cleaner, and I even let him hang out on the bed, now that it no longer feels like I’m sleeping in a barn.

Jack