Product Review of the FURminator
FURminator Medium Professional DeShedding Tool
The deShedding™ tool made by FURminator Inc is guaranteed to reduce shedding better than any brush, comb or rake on the pet market today. It's a pricey item at $49.99 retail (you can find many places that discount it) for the medium tool, but I decided to try the deShedding™ tool and see for myself if it is worth the investment.
I purchased my medium sized deShedding™ tool, on impulse, at PetSmart for $49.95. That's right, no discount. I have a pet rabbit going through a terrible molt, and I was desperate. I've previously used a comb, but the rabbit kicks when I use it. The comb is my "gold standard" for loose fur removal on rabbits, but I've been trying to find a less traumatic tool, one that is successful at removing loose fur without causing the rabbit great distress.
The FURminator is a hefty product. It feels good in the hand, like a quality instrument. The medium-sized deShedding edge is 2.65 inches across, just right for a large cat or mid-sized, six pound rabbit with medium length fur. The FURminator also makes a small and a large sized deShedding tool. The small tool costs $34.95 with a 1.7 inch blade, and the large costs $59.95 with a 4 inch blade. All FURminator sizes are available discounted online and in discount pet stores.
The FURminator and a Bunny
Using the FURminator
The deShedding tool is designed to be used directionally - you comb the pet from head to tail. According to the directions, you use the tool on a completely dry coat. The manufacturer recommends that you use the tool immediately after washing and completely drying the pet. Since rabbits can't be washed, I went with the assumption that my rabbit was already clean and completely dry.
The instructions also recommend combing the pet in an area that can be easily vacuumed (or swept,) due to the "abundance of hair" that the tool will extract. I combed the rabbit in the kitchen, which has laminate flooring.
The FURminator has stainless steel teeth that are angled, so to use it properly, the instructions say to comb gently in the direction of the hair growth, stroking "across, up and away from your pet's skin." It is very important to not apply too much pressure, which the directions say can cause irritation to the pet's skin.
Since rabbits have very sensitive skin, I approached combing with the FURminator with great caution. I also only combed the top of his body, not the underside, head or legs.
When a rabbit molts, you can usually see the molt-line. Great tufts of loose fur stick out at odd angles. The rabbit's bottom is usually the worst looking, but rabbits are fussy about getting their backsides combed or brushed.
To my surprise, my rabbit tolerated the FURminator much better than any comb or brush I've ever used. Because I could take longer strokes with the FURminator, I spent less time combing. The FURminator did not seem to pull on the rabbit's skin as much as his comb usually does.
The first time I used the FURminator, I only managed to extract a small amount of loose fur, probably because I was extra gentle and cautious, and did not go over any one spot multiple times.
The next day, I tried combing the rabbit a little bit longer, going over his hindquarters a little more thoroughly. The FURminator extracted the visible tufts of fur that were sticking out. The rabbit didn't even acknowledge it, as if he couldn't tell that I was combing.
A few days later, I combed the rabbit longer, and a little bit more deeply, still taking care not to apply too much weight on the tool. More loose fur came out, and the rabbit seemed more annoyed with the combing process, but he didn't kick or run away.
As an experiment, I used the rabbit's old comb, to see if any loose hair came out after combing with the FURminator. The old comb pulled out a rather huge hunk of loose fur. The rabbit immediately leaped up and ran, flicking his heels at me.
See the FURminator In Action
The Dog Test
While I purchased the FURminator specifically for my rabbit, I thought it only fair to see if the claims made by the manufacturer held up when used on the animals it was likely intended for. I don't have access to a cat, but I tried it on my friend's dog.
The dog sat patiently while I combed him. He actually seemed to enjoy the attention. Although the dog is fairly short-haired, he sheds about as much as any other dog. The FURminator removed large swaths of loose fur from his coat. It was almost shocking to see the hair fall onto the floor. I did not see this kind of result on my rabbit, but I could immediately see why dog owners might love the FURminator.
The FURminator deShedding tool is a reasonable option for rabbit owners seeking a less traumatic combing solution. In my experience, it did not seem to remove as much loose fur as a comb does on a single pass-through. For me, this isn't such a bad thing, because I'd rather comb more frequently with less trauma to my pet than to comb less often. I do still have to run a regular pet comb through the rabbit's fur every now and then to get the big clumps. He doesn't much like it.
If I had a dog, I would definitely add a FURminator to my de-shedding arsonal. It works as advertised on dogs and my test dog seemed to like it quite a bit. While there are similar products on the market to the FURminator, the larger size of the FURminator makes it a better option, both for the pet and the operator.