How to Keep Pet Hair from Taking Over Your House
Do you almost always see a thin layer of pet hair on your carpeting, even if you've just cleaned? Is your vacuum choking on the large amounts of hair you're trying to suck up? Do you avoid wearing dark clothing so it doesn't show pet hair?
If so, you may be living with excessive pet hair–and struggling to keep it from taking over your house completely!
Why Do Pets Shed?
All dogs and cats lose damaged old hair and grow new, healthy hair–just like you and the other human members of your household (just look at your comb or in the shower drain to see how much human hair is there!). On a pet, hair helps protect the skin and regulate body temperature, and you may notice that your pets shed a bit more at the change of seasons. Some long-haired dogs and cats, for example, shed more than twice a year when the weather changes.
In other cases, excessive shedding indicates a health issue. Problems absorbing nutrition, diabetes, hormonal issues, and some thyroid issues can cause hair loss. If you observe patches of hair loss, itching and bleeding, it's a good idea to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian.
How Can You Minimize Pet Hair Around Your Home?
Pet hair is one of those things that pet owners put up with in order to have the companionship of their furry family members. But there are a few tricks for minimizing pet hair that might help you live more happily with your dog or cat. Here's what to try:
1. Love the brush.
You may have excuses for not brushing or grooming your pet more often. If you're really busy, try to schedule grooming sessions during TV time; you can watch and brush at the same time. What if your pet is the one who avoids the brush? You'll have to slowly acclimate your furry friend to the feeling of the brush.
First, choose a brush that is compatible with his or her coat. Don't try to use a pin brush on a short-haired breed or a bristle brush on a long-haired breed. If you're unsure, try a slicker brush, which typically works well on most breeds.
Then, use light pressure. You don't have to remove every mat in one session. Make it enjoyable for your pet by not pulling fur or digging at the skin.
2. Invest in a good vacuum and cleaning tools.
Not every vacuum is a good choice for a home with pets. Some brands offer specific, pet hair models that are designed to best pick up fur. A canister vacuum may be easier for you to move around and use on stairs and furniture, but an upright vacuum may have more power for sucking up hair. Check online reviews for some of the available brands and models, and read reviews so you know what has worked well for pet owners like you.
Another tip for removing pet hair from furniture: use a dry squeegee. This is the same type of tool used to remove water from windows and shower doors during cleaning, but its rubber edge can gather pet hair into more easily removable clumps when run along sofa cushions and upholstered chairs. Squeegees work well on carpet, too.
"Use a dry squeegee to help easily remove #pethair from furniture and carpets." TWEET THIS
Heavy yellow dishwashing gloves can be dampened and worn as you run your hands along the edges of furniture and corners of carpeted areas. The fur will accumulate in easy-to-pick-up piles. Lint rollers can get the last of the fur on your furniture, as well as remove pet hair from your clothes before you leave the house.
3. Consistently use good flea control.
Fleas can make your poor pet itch and scratch–but an infestation of fleas can also cause increased hair loss. To keep the fleas away, talk to your vet about an effective oral or topical flea medication that is given monthly. These medications, when administered regularly to all your pets, can help to minimize fleas in your household, as well as prevent excess hair loss.
4. Buy the best quality pet food you can.
A high-quality food can help your pet stay healthy and minimize hair loss due to poor nutrition. Some brands of pet food contain too many fillers (however, a moderate amount of fillers are necessary in some cases) and chemicals that don't give your pets enough nutrients. Poor nutrition can cause a rough, dull coat and hair loss.
Questions about the best wet and dry foods to try? Educate yourself more about reading pet food labels to uncover foods with the most nutritive value. Your vet can consult on recommendations for reputable brands to try for your pet's individual needs.
We also recommend high-quality omega fatty acid supplements for skin, coat, and joint support for excessive shedders and itchers.
Of course, if you have any concerns about your pet's hair loss or skin and coat, you can give us a call. We'll schedule an exam to check your pet's overall health and help you find solutions to improve excessive shedding.
About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.