“I didn’t mean to do it, Ma! He just followed me home. What else could I do?” 

 

Sorry excuses were on my lips one afternoon late last week as I attempted to hide the furball on my car’s floorboard when I stopped off at my parents’ house to pick up my male Frenchie from “day care.”

 

But she’d already seen him. It was too late to avoid the icy stare and maternal recriminations. 

 

Leave it to my mother to sniff out a new foster dog faster than I can locate a turd on the tile in my living room. So it is with most gatekeepers, naysayers, and Cassandras in our lives, right? 

 

But this time she had a point. (OK, when does she not?) The creature was spewing fur, smelly, mangy (literally), and orthopedically challenged in the extreme. Indeed, that’s probably what drew me to him in the first place. 

 

“Slumdog,” I’d named him. He just had that look of an unfairly indicted, muttly scoundrel, you know? 

 

He’s a badly bred Puggle (I assume) with a devastating angular limb deformity in both forelimbs, an advanced case of demodectic mange, a ventrolateral strabismus that likely indicates some degree of hydrocephalus, and an aroma fit for a festering trash heap. Just my kind of dog. 

 

I’d never had a furry shedder before, though. Not that my Frenchies don’t shed. They get Furminated and bathed once a week — at least. My allergy-prone dogs aren’t always the picture of olfactory perfection, either. But this fur-flying, dungheap of a dog was a new adventure, to say the least.

 

A Furmination and a bath with Ketochlor — my go-to shampoo for almost everything fungal and bacterial that ails the allergic/pyodermic dog — aided my senses tremendously, as did the oral ketoconazole, Simplicef, and Interceptor. But it wasn’t about to tame the smells and fur-flying tumbleweeds emitted by the canine I’d now acquired.

 

That’s why Gina Spadafori’s post on PetConnection announcing Dr. Marty Becker’s Good Morning America segment on fur control caught my eye. OK, so how’s fur-control done?

 

Unfortunately, I missed Dr. Becker's segment. But at least Gina’s teaser gave me a place to start. Here’s the scoop (or sweep, in this case).

 

It’s all about the three Cs: Cut, Collect, and Contain. Here’s my version of what these entail (and I’ll get back to you on Dr. Becker’s take later):

 

Cut: Many pet owners select (or adopt) pets with shed-prone fur and then realize their households are not ideally suited to dustbunnies aplenty. (Allergies, aesthetics, hygiene, whatever.) That’s when they take out the Flowbie or the #10 clipper blade and go to work. The lion cut is most attractive, IMO. This is especially helpful for long-haired cats with heavy hairball issues

 

Collect: Brushing is the mainstay of fur collection. Doing it outside is best, IMO. And the Furminator is by far the most effective tool I’ve ever found for this. Dogs who don’t shed much? You won’t get the most out of a Furminator. But it’s magic for some (including Slumdog). Keep a garbage bag handy if you’ve got an arctic-breed dog or Persian cat.

 

If you’ve got micro-shedding happening everywhere, you might want to buy a bunch of 3M tape rollers for your furniture and clothing, and a Roomba for the floor (warning: a Roomba is a bad idea for huge balls of arctic dog fur or for any household where pets occasionally leave “presents” on the floor — yuck!)

 

Contain: I’m not quite sure what he means by this, but I assume it’s all about keeping the hair from hitting your floor in the first place — in which case you can refer to “collection.” I guess it also refers to the myriad pet products offering “miracle cures” for shedding — none of which I’ve ever found to be very effective.

 

Yet, it’s true that controlling diseases (like allergies) and preventing other sources of skin infections can make a big difference for some. The long-term use of fatty acids is essential (in my opinion) for these pets.

 

Bathing often will also help tremendously. Though it may mean you need one of those plastic hair-catchers to keep your pipes clear of hairy debris, I promise this approach will help get loose hairs off your dog's coat.

 

Already, Slumdog is shedding much less now that his skin infection is more under control, the Furminator is on overdrive, and the baths are coming fast and furious. Sure, it means extra work, but just look at him: Isn’t he worth it?