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The Only Fur Brush That Makes Me Sneeze Less Around Dogs

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

My parents love dogs — so much so that they recently opened a dog care and grooming franchise called Scenthound in Denville, New Jersey. The only problem is that two of their three children (including me) are allergic to dogs. We’ve always had one in the house (currently, a young golden mix named Shea and a grumpy nine-year-old mutt named Melo), so my brother and I have lived our whole lives rotating between Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra to soothe our constantly runny noses. Although I no longer live at home, I visit often, which has historically resulted in fits of sneezing.

To keep the house free of dog hair, my mom has invested in high-powered vacuums, specially formulated pet shampoos, and a $33 dog brush called “the FURminator,” a deshedding tool that combs through your pet’s topcoat to remove loose hairs. But none of these products vanquishes pet hair like the $12 tool they discovered at the grooming center: the KONG ZoomGroom Dog Brush.

My mom first came across this brush while manning the tubs at the Florida Scenthound location, where she spent an afternoon learning about proper pet-grooming techniques. In the tub, she found a small pink palm-size brush — a much lighter, less terrifying-looking tool than the bladed brushes, like the FURminator, she had used in the past. To make the bathing process smooth and seamless, you want to have control and maximum range of motion; this rubber brush fit comfortably in the palm of her hand with exterior grooves where her fingers naturally fall. Most important, the dogs loved it. Instead of squirming away in the tub, they lolled out their tongues while she brushed their coats.

The ZoomGroom massages shampoo into a dog’s fur while removing loose hairs from the undercoat. While it’s commonly believed that dog hair is the top instigator of allergies, the hidden culprit is actually dander, the dead skin cells trapped beneath the coat. Brushing with the ZoomGroom stimulates the hair follicles, strips away dander, and removes any knots or mats hidden beneath the fur.

Turns out the ZoomGroom is a top choice at grooming centers. “Everywhere I’ve worked, they have that brush,” says master pro pet hairstylist Tamika Quick, who has been grooming dogs for 26 years. In addition to being affordable, effective, and easy to use, the ZoomGroom is Quick’s choice for bathing medium- to short-haired dogs at home for one main reason: It’s safe. “It has rubber spikes, but it’s not rough or sharp to where you can hurt the dog,” she says. Since this brush has bristles instead of blades, pet parents and beginner groomers run little risk of cutting, scraping, or irritating the dog’s skin. In fact, with its bendable rubber bristles, “it’s like giving them a massage,” Quick says.

Since my family’s dogs have started a regular grooming and deshedding routine, I’ve tracked a noticeable improvement in my allergies. I recently made it through an entire weekend trip home without once popping a Claritin. Fewer allergy symptoms for me and a massage for my childhood dogs? Sounds like a win-win.

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The Only Fur Brush That Makes Me Sneeze Less Around Dogs