You aspire to have your cake and eat it.
You want to have both a dog and a hair-free house
Believe it or not, soft furnishings felted with shed hair can be a thing of the past and there is a solution other than getting rid of the dog.
The secret is….regular use of a deshedding tool.
The first kid on the block in the war against shed hair was the FURminator, which took the dog grooming world by storm around ten years ago.
But copies of the original product came thick and fast.
The latest in a longline of wannabe products is the SleekEZ.
At around half the price and with impressive claims by the manufacturer, are you buying into a bargain or is there a catch?
To find out we undertook a deep analysis so that you don’t have to of the SleekEZ vs FURminator.
Quick look: SleekEZ vs Furminator
We studied the theory behind the products, compared the actual products, and weighed up the opinions of pet parents who have used the FURminator and SleekEZ to see which comes out on top.
Want to know the answer?
If you can’t take the fluff, don’t get a dog (or at least get a Mexican hairless.)
However, many people value the companionship and loyalty of a dog, and yet are house-proud.
The result is that they spend large amounts of time vacuuming and using sticky rollers to keep the house hair-free or at least limit the depth of the fluff balls.
Diligent pet parents groom their pet.
Indeed, this goes a long way to controlling the shed since the majority ends up on the brush rather than the soft furnishings.
However, way back when, the makers of FURminator decided there had to be a better way of dislodging the shed.
They came up with a bespoke grooming tool that has a blade which rakes through undercoat, rather than top coat, taking loose hair with it.
Indeed, the results are impressive.
A great demonstration of the effectiveness of a deshedding tool is to take a dog that has just been fully groomed.
You think the dog is done and then run a FURminator over their coat.
The result is a staggering amount of shed hair harvested on the teeth, which conventional grooming tools hadn’t touched.
And so the FURminator came into being.
When it was launched it caused a sensation and was adopted by many professional dog groomers.
Although the unique FURminator blades are patented, the idea on which it works is not.
So many lookalike products flooded the market.
Many of these are great tools, whilst for some they are cheap imitations and the quality is poor.
These deshedding tools often look pretty similar to a FURminator with a blade mounted on an angled handle with an ergonomic design.
This is where the SleekEZ is different.
The SleekEZ has a different design of blade again, and instead of a modern looking plastic handle it has a much earthier wooden handle.
Some people swear by it, others are not so keen for a variety of reasons.
Both products have their merits and drawbacks, which is why we decided to look into the differences between the FURminator vs SleekEZ and see which one we prefer or if the differences were a matter of splitting hairs.
As FURminator marketing proclaims, the FURminator is for people who love their pets but don’t love the shedding.
Their tool has been around for about ten years now and has a legion of devoted users, which number professional dog groomers amongst them.
The idea is to brush the pet regularly either a FURminator and eliminate the need to roller the cushions.
FURminator recommend a minimum of a weekly groom for short coated breeds, and more frequently for longer coats or those prone to shedding.
The FURminator consists of special teeth that project a short distance form a cutting blade.
Simply draw the head over the dog’s coat, but without applying pressure.
This rakes through the undercoat but without damaging the top coat or cutting the skin.
Then when you’re done brushing, the brush has a button to press which retracts the head and makes for easy removal of the shed hair from the tool.
FURminator comes in a variety of designs to suite different types, species, coat types, and size.
For example there are ten dog FURminators, which splits into five different sizes (from toy dog to giant) duplicated for short coat and longs coat.
Then there are FURminators for cats, small pets, and horses.
All in all on first inspection the choice is bewildering.
This is a premium quality product and this is reflected in the price.
Whilst not the cheapest deshedder on the market, it does come with a guarantee of quality and excellent customer service to support you should there be problems.
The SleekEZ was developed by a horse dentist!
Yes, that’s right.
Apparently the inventor disliked breathing in horse hair whilst she rasped their teeth and so invented a tool to solve the problem.
She gave prototypes to her equine clients to use to brush the horse during its dental procedure.
As well as getting rid of the dirt, dander, and hair, the horses enjoyed the experience and generally relaxed and were calm whilst being brushed.
The SleekEZ consists of a wooden handle with a long blade embedded in it.
To use, simply draw the blade over the horse to remove the shed hair.
It worked so well on horses that it was a natural step to develop a dog and cat version.
SleekEZ is available in just three sizes: for horses, dogs, and cats.
However, the smaller cat deshedder is also useful for working smaller areas of a horse or dog, such as the legs.
The SleekEZ is a no-fuss tool.
You don’t need a different model for long vs short hair, or toy vs giant dogs.
If you have a dog chose the dog SleekEZ – simple as that.
First we put our money where our mouth is and look at cost.
Way back when FURminators were new on the market they were expensive, indeed too expensive for most pet parents.
However, times change and the price has dropped – drastically.
According to SleekEZ own website their deshedder is “Better than the FURminator but for half the cost.”
However, the price of the FURminator has come down so this is no longer the case.
Indeed, the price differential between an average sized FURminator and the dog SleekEZ is minimal – a few dollars no more.
Thus, if your sole reason for choosing a SleekEZ is to save money, then you risk feel cheated if you had your heart set on a FURminator.
Sizing the Deshedder
One of the selling points of the SleekEZ is that it’s cheaper than a FURminator but does the same job.
Well hold on a doggone minute.
Yes, SleekEZ is cheaper, but only by a few dollars.
Indeed, a small dog FURminator can come in at less than the one-size fits all SleekEZ.
Which raises a good point.
If your pet household is the equivalent of a zoo with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and coat types, then a single SleekEZ enables you to deshed all of them.
One tool per pack of dogs can’t be bad.
On the other paw, with FURminator you may need one for the toy Chihuahua, the next size up for your Border collie, and another size again for your St Bernard.
Now imagine you have short-coated and long-coated breeds and you begin to see the scope for spending out big just to get the right tools for the job with FURminator.
In short, if you have one dog, great you need one tool and for an extra couple of dollars then a FURminator is a furbulous choice.
However, if you have a proper pack of animals of differing sizes and coat lengths, then the SleekEZ is your one shop answer.
The FURminator is made from modern materials including durable plastic and stainless steel.
It also has a quick-release button to make it easier to release the trapped shed hair from the teeth of the tool.
The SleekEZ is made from unvarnished wood with a metal blade (which looks a lot like a hacksaw blade) glued into the handle.
Whilst users find this is a comfortable to hold in the hand, they also found it marked easily and were concerned about what would happen if the handle got wet.
Also when the blade becomes dull, it’s a matter of ditching the whole tool and buying a new one.
In the battle of the deshedders let’s take a look at what pet parents say.
But first, let’s be clear, both these tools are for deshedding.
This is the process whereby shed hair is dragged out of the coat and harvested onto the tool, rather than shed to blow around the house and stick to furniture.
Neither the SleekEZ nor the FURminator are detangling tools, nor are they suitable for silky haired, low shedding breeds such as the Yorkshire terrier or Shih Tzu.
For these coat types you need a comb and traditional brush in order to keep their coats in good order.
The Grooming Experience
Both deshedders seem to be pleasant for the dog when used correctly.
Since both tools have metal teeth, it’s crucial to gently draw them over the surface of the dog’s coat, rather than to apply pressure.
Being heavy handed could cause the teeth to dig into the skin which is obviously uncomfortable.
Indeed, SleekEZ fans include rabbit owners, whose pets are arguably the most sensitive skinned of all.
One user describes the amount of hair she got out of her rabbit’s coat as “Insane”, which nicely sums up the positive experiences of many people.
Likewise, for the FURminator there are dog owners who pets hated being groomed, but the discovery of the FURminator has turned this around.
Many now look forward to be being ‘brushed’ and go into a state of ecstasy during grooming.
But as is the nature of things, reviews are mixed.
Whilst the majority loves both tools, there are those who hated them.
It seems brushing technique is an important part of how well or poorly you get on with either of these deshedders.
Both products do a similar job and reduce shedding when used regularly.
Both products must be used in the proper way or you risk scratching the dog and making their skin sore.
Both products have epic reviews and in contrast, reviews from pet parents who were underwhelmed.
How to choose?
The biggest difference we can see is that SleekEZ is one-size-fits-all, whereas FURminator have a different size brush for different breeds and short vs long coats.
Thus, a pet parent with a large pack of dogs can make a saving by purchasing the SleekEZ and knowing it will do the job.
However, the pet parent with several dogs of the same size or coat type, for a few dollars more may prefer to invest in the original product that started all the buzz in the first place.
After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but if you can own an original then what’s not to like!
Dr Sarah Robinson attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University receiving a D.V.M. in 2008. Sarah’s longtime interest is to help people to better communicate with their pet companions, and in doing so, to help them to strengthen their relationships with their dogs and cats. Sarah has published numerous articles on canine feeding in pet related magazines, veterinary journals and leading natural health web sites.