Battling Pet Hair This Season
Is autumn showing your pets how beautiful it is to let things go? I.e., their fur?
With shorter days ahead, our fuzzy creatures are starting to shed old summer fur to make room for thicker winter coats. This is especially true for cats and dogs that spend most of their time outside because day length influences shedding. For indoor pets you may notice more steady shedding throughout the year because they are used to controlled temperatures and artificial lighting, making it more difficult for them to detect seasonal changes.
Regardless, there’s usually pet hair and dander everywhere in the house – at all times. For people with dog allergies, this is especially disconcerting. According to Healthline, almost a third of people with allergies are allergic to dogs and cats, with twice as many allergic to cat than dogs.
While we can’t stop the shedding season, we can keep it at bay. Here are some tips to reduce the amount of pet hair in the home so it doesn’t create problems:
Regular brushing goes a long way in removing dead hair and preventing it from clinging to every surface in the house. It also stimulates natural oil production which is good for the skin. One survey found that 72 percent of pet owners said fur was a problem in their homes, and 71 percent regularly brush or groom their pets. About half of the respondents do their own grooming, and the other half take their pet to a groomer.
The Animal Humane Society says you should be brushing your dog every few days regardless of coat length. You’ll be brushing your dog’s hair for general coat maintenance, but sometimes you’ll have to pay special attention to removing mats or helping them shed their seasonal coat.
All dog brushes are not created equal. Ask a groomer or vet to recommend a specific comb or brush that’s best suited for your dog’s hair type. General purpose brushing may include a pin-head brush, a Kong Zoom Groom, or a comb. In other instances, you may need to use a universal slicker brush or shedding blade to tackle undercoats and hair mats.
If your dog rolls in something dead or especially smelly, you definitely want to give him a bath. Otherwise, opinions vary as to how often you should bathe your dog. If you bathe him too frequently, you run the risk of drying out his skin and stripping natural oils from the coat.
A dog’s breed, length of coat and lifestyle are big factors in determining how often they need to be bathed. The Animal Humane Society says that every two to four months is sufficient. The American Kennel Club says dogs with medium to thick coats need a bath every four to six weeks with regular brushing in between. And just because a dog has short hair doesn’t necessarily mean they need less bathing. Again, it depends on breed, type of fur they have, and whether you can stand their smell.
“Just like people, some dogs get stinky faster than others. I have known dogs that have never had a bath in their life and do not have an unpleasant smell, but my own dogs get bathed monthly,” says Dr. Sherry Weaver on Caesar’s Way blog.
Be sure to buy good pet shampoo and don’t use human shampoo on your pup. Ask your vet for a recommendation. Some shampoos for cats and dogs are “allergen neutralizing,” which cleanse dander from the hair, a major cause of allergies.
Keeping Your Home Clean
If you have a dog or cat, a vacuum is probably your best friend. The survey cited above also revealed that approximately 93 percent of pet owners vacuum or sweep regularly to deal with hair. You’d think it would be 100 percent!
You’ll want to do your research, but a vacuum specifically made to remove pet hair could be a great investment. There are a variety of models on the market today, including heavy-duty uprights, handhelds and high-powered central systems. Make sure the model is designed to handle large amounts of pet hair with the appropriate tools, filters and suctions.
Some vacuums are even designed to get hair off your furniture. But one easy way to remove fur from fabric sofas and chairs is with a damp rubber glove or sponge. Pet stores carry hair removal tools as well.
You may also find that lint brushes are effective not only for your clothes but on your furniture. Washing their bedding weekly, getting an air filter, and keeping up with dusting are other control methods.
Our pets sure know how to leave their mark on our homes, but more importantly, our hearts. Even though the battle of pet hair rages on, you can get it under control with grooming, bathing and keeping the home clean. For other helpful cleaning tips, check out our PGAA blog post.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.