As Seen on TV: The Shed Pal Is More of a Frenemy of Pet Hair


Spring is here, bringing fresh flowers and sunny skies, warm days and sweet breezes. But if you're a pet owner, the warm weather also brings some less attractive arrivals -- namely, drifts of hair as your beloved animal sheds his or her winter coat. Traditionally, there have been just two solutions to the problem: You could either brush your pets regularly or you could invest heavily in scotch tape and lint brushes.

Recently, the As Seen on TV folks rode to the rescue with the Shed Pal, a handy-dandy gadget that -- they claim -- sucks up the excess hair while giving your pet a nice little massage. We decided to give the Shed Pal a shot; unfortunately, neither I nor any of my friends owns a dog.

The Shed PalLuckily, the Shed Pal commercial claims that it can also be used with cats, so I decided to give it a try with one of mine. In the instructions, it suggests getting your pet used to the machine slowly. The first step is to "Introduce with Shed Pal off. Use praise!" In my case, I plied my cat, Beezer, with treats and plenty of petting, while slowly combing him with the machine. He put up with the treatment -- largely, I assume, because of the steady stream of Whisker Lickin's that I was feeding him.

The next step is to "Acclimate with Shed Pal on. Use treats!" Although I'd already tried the treat trick, I figured that bribery was my best route, so I gave Beezer a few snacks, then switched on the machine. Beezer, his mouth full of cat munchies, gave the machine one frenzied glance before jumping up and running out of the room.

A few more treats and a bit of catnip later, Beezer and I gave it another shot. I managed to get a couple of passes in with the Shed Pal before he jumped out of my lap and again scurried off. Repeated attempts got us to the point where he would put up with the machine for about thirty seconds before the fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. Ultimately, I had to acknowledge that the Shed Pal was a pretty solid failure, at least as far as Beezer was concerned.

Not that it mattered all that much, as the Shed Pal's performance was not quite as good as advertised. On TV, it seems to suck up excess pet hair like a Dyson vacuum, but in reality, it picked up very little, either from my cat or from my upholstery. To make matters worse, even the small amount of hair that it managed to grab quickly shot back out through the holes that liberally perforated the Shed Pal's containment vessel. Reading through more of the instructions, I soon understood why: While its $16 price tag seems like a reasonably good deal, the Shed Pal pretty much comes half-assembled. If you don't want hair flying all over your home, you need to install a Shed Pal filter. The company charges $9.99 for five of them.

By comparison, a good pet comb costs under $10 and a pet hair lint roller runs just over $2. Together, they cost a lot less than the Shed Pal, and will do a much better job of getting hair off your pets and keeping it off your furniture. To sweeten the deal, they're also a lot less likely to lead to cat scratches and freaked-out dogs. In other words, when it comes to taking care of your pet hair problems, the classic methods still work best.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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My God! The photo associated with the video is horrifying!

April 23 2012 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The best grooming tool I ever purchased was a "shedding rake" for about $3.00 at Walmart. It gets to the undercoat and the hair doesn't fly all over the place. I can use it on the cats as well. It has 2 different lengths of teeth, one for short hair and one for long hair. My dogs love it and come running when they see it and the cats love their backs scratched with it.

April 22 2012 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In my experience very few cats or dogs (I have both) will tolerate being near what is basically a miniature vacuum cleaner. They also won't go near the Pedi-paws I bought, although regular hand operated toenail clippers don't bother them. Oddly, my dogs don't mind electric grooming clippers at all, in fact they enjoy it.

April 22 2012 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They should have called this product Cat-A-Combs at least it would be funny.

April 21 2012 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They should of called this produce cat-a-combs at least it would be funny.

April 21 2012 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy Stephenson

Wish I had had this article before I bought the Shed Pal! Watch their ad closely, never once do you hear a SOUND OR MOTOR!! My dogs run if I get the vacumn out or any other motorized thing!! Bought it @ Wally World for $19.95, + batteries to go in it, brought it home, husband put it together, called our Pom, yeah, like the one in ad, ran it over her, turned it on, I was in Bathroom, all of a sudden, she came flying into bathroom like she had been shot, needles to say, she will have nothing more to do with that thing!! So it's in my desk drawer along w/that Pedi-Paws thing that also has a motor!!

April 21 2012 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Judy Stephenson's comment

My dogs run if they even see the Pedi-paws, it doesn't even have to be on.

April 22 2012 at 6:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Schaaf

My cat would have no part of it. Off I could brush him with it. Turned on, forget it, it was head for the hills. I hope my nephew has better luck with his dog. For cats, a total waste of money.

April 21 2012 at 6:46 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

hi judith.......nice to meet u as a satisfied customer. im in south florida

April 21 2012 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i have no pets but i wouldnt use a machine. id just get a dog that doesnt shed lol problem solved

April 21 2012 at 2:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to marc's comment

All dogs shed.

April 22 2012 at 6:55 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to aspman07's comment

Poodles don't shed

April 22 2012 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Exactly my experience with Shed Pal - my cat ran away and hid under the bed the minute it was turned on. Most cats just don't like the sound of a vacuum cleaner no matter how small!

April 21 2012 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply