Shed Happens: Tips for Controlling Pet Hair in Your Home

For anyone with a pet, hair accumulating on your clothes, furniture and corners of every room in your house is a reality of life. Ok, maybe not quite everyone. According to the American Kennel Club, there are 13 breeds of non-shedding dogs, and there is also a hairless cat breed, the Sphynx. This unusual cat has very little to no hair and would not be guilty of contributing to the hairballs in your corners. So if you own one of the non-shedding breeds, you don’t need to continue reading. For everyone else, here are some tips on managing pet hair.

Causes of Excess Shedding
Pets with hair shed, but if you notice your pet is shedding excessively, it may be an indicator of a medical problem. Possibly the most common cause of increased hair loss is fleas. Dogs allergic to the bites of fleas scratch and lose hair at an alarming rate. Fortunately, plenty of safe and effective flea preventatives exist. When pets with allergies to fleas or other environmental allergens scratch, they commonly develop skin infections which cause hair loss.

Thyroid disorders are another common cause of hair loss. In cats with overactive thyroid glands, excessive grooming results in hair loss. In dogs with underactive thyroid glands, metabolism slows as does hair growth. Hypothyroid dogs often have a ”rat tail” and a thin haircoat. Your pet’s veterinarian will be able to perform testing to identify the cause of excessive shedding. If no cause is identified, be prepared to brush and bathe.

Getting Shedding Under Control
One of the most important methods of controlling pet hair is brushing and bathing. Daily brushing loosens and removes most of the dead hair and bathing helps to remove the rest. Bathing, without brushing is a bad idea, likely to result in wet, smelly hair mats leading to skin infection. For those not interested in brushing and bathing, a short haircut may be in order.

Getting the right brush and comb are critical to successfully controlling pet hair. Choose a brush that has stiff enough bristles to get down into the undercoat and untangle snarls. Purchase a soft bristled brush and all you can do is smooth out the top hairs, leaving the undercoat a snarled mess. Many thick-coated dog owners swear by deshedding tools. These stainless steel combs remove hair by the bucket, but if you use too much pressure when combing, you can injury your pet’s skin. Some pets will tolerate this intense form of brushing for only a few minutes each day, so if you are using a deshedding tool, start easy and work up to more grooming each day.

Cleaning Up Pet Hair in the Home
A variety of traditional and nontraditional cleaning products are useful in corralling pet hair in your home. For removal of hair from fabric, consider using a lint roller, but if you have a hairy cat and a large sofa, this method maybe slow.  Others recommend using a rubber squeegee to scrape the hair off furniture and carpets. A spritz or two of antistatic spray may facilitate this method of removal. Damp rubber gloves or specially manufactured sticky gloves both attract pet hair and can be used in corners or furniture crevasses to remove pet hair. For wood, tile and concrete floors, an electrostatic mop and a vacuum cleaner rated for animal hair are must have tools.

Hair balls are another annoying pet hair issue. Read a previous blog for tips on managing hairballs in cats.

Yes, shed does happen, but armed with this information, less pet hair will accumulate in your home.

2 thoughts on “Shed Happens: Tips for Controlling Pet Hair in Your Home”

  1. I like that you said that dogs that are allergic to fleas scratch and lose hair very quickly. It might be a good idea to take your dog to the vet when you are worried about them. A professional might be able to help you learn about shedding problems that your animal has.

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