Talk about animal hair and all pet owners will roll their eyes – it’s an eternal problem and one that is particularly annoying to cat and dog owners, especially if they own a long-haired breed. However, even some short-haired breeds – such as Dalmatians – can be notorious shedders, leaving short, bristly hairs that embed themselves into the fine weave of your clothes and are almost impossible to remove.
But with a little planning and prevention, you can control your pet hair problem. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you on your way:
- Do groom and brush your dog or cat daily, particularly if they are a long-haired breed or one of the “problem” short-haired breeds. Not only does this remove dead hair and reduce shedding, it also stimulates blood circulation, leading to a glossy coat – and is a great bonding time for you and your pet.
- Do choose a suitable spot to groom your pet, perhaps outside in the garden or somewhere with a hard floor where you can easily vacuum or brush up the loose hairs. Some people even brush their pets in the sink, although be careful of clogging the drain with hairs.
- Do bathe your pets occasionally – this will also cut down on the amount of hair shed.
- Do vacuum regularly – this is essential in keeping the hair problem under control and prevents a huge amount of hair clogging the vacuum cleaner at one time
- Do check the filters and bags on your vacuum regularly and make sure they are clean and unobstructed.
- Do make sure you vacuum the furniture as well – not only will this help remove hair but also lessen the number of dust mites which cause allergies. Remember to vacuum between and underneath the cushions. If hair is clinging to the upholstery due to static electricity, you can try lightly misting the area with water mixed with a bit of fabric softener – this should break the static bond and allow you to vacuum the hairs up easily.
- Do make sure you empty vacuum bags or dust collectors outside.
- Do clean hard floors regularly as well – dust mops and similar can be very effective at capturing hair and lint.
- Do use a pet hair remover. This does not need to be an expensive commercial product – a roll of wide masking tape, wound around your hands sticky side up, will be just as effective. However, there is now a large choice of products on the market that help deal with pet hair removal.
- Do consider your pet’s diet if he is shedding excessively. A low quality food may result in poor coat condition which causes more hair shedding. There are supplements you can give your pet for a healthier coat and often, just changing to a higher quality diet will show a marked improvement in the coat. However, make sure you discuss things with a vet before embarking on any changes or additions to your dog’s diet.
- Don’t choose a long-haired breed or one which is known to shed a lot – if you are really bothered about pet hair. No matter what you do, you will never really keep on top of the problem and it is something you will just have to live with. Similarly, unless you are willing to devote time daily to grooming, do not choose a breed with a high maintenance coat.
- Don’t allow your animals on the furniture – If you must have Fido or Fluffy cuddle with you, then try to restrict him to certain pieces of furniture or a particular place, which can then be cleaned more frequently. Encourage this with treats, comfort (eg, cosy blanket) and lots of praise. Alternatively, cover the areas where animals are allowed with a washable blanket or old sheet.
- Don’t forget to empty the lint traps on your washer and dryer after every load – this will ensure that more animal hairs are captured.
- Don’t buy a dog bed in a fabric that requires special cleaning – this is something which you should wash regularly and should be easy and convenient for you to do.
- Don’t skimp when buying the vacuum cleaner – it is worth investing more in a good quality model, specifically designed to deal with pet hairs. A good vacuum can also remove hair and dust from hard floors. Ideally, “bagless” models are better as they do not suffer loss of suction as they fill up. Make sure also that the model includes Hepa filters and charcoal filters on the vacuum prevent dust from escaping back into the air, as well as providing some anti-bacterial protection.
- Don’t panic if your clothes are covered in pet hair: a quick solution – if the fabric can withstand this – is to run it through the ‘fluff cycle’ in the dryer for 20 mins.
Ultimately, having a pet means that your home will never be as clean and neat as one without animals living in it, no matter how diligent your efforts. Therefore, at the end of the day, it is really a matter of personal choice and if you are really disturbed by pet hair around the house, then perhaps a furry pet might not be the best choice – a tank of fish might be a better option.