By Langley Cornwell
There was a time, a long time ago, when I naïvely thought that pet shedding was seasonal. I used to think there was a magical time in the not-so-distant future when I wouldn’t have to dust, sweep or vacuum every day. I used to hope that a furtive glance at the corners of our home wouldn’t reveal dust bunnies big enough to scare the dogs.
I’ve come to accept that pet hair all over the house, our furniture and my clothing is a fact of life. As I commiserate with family and friends, it’s apparent that while some dog and cat breeds have longer hair or thicker coats or heavier undercoats, they all still shed. Sure, some shed more than others… but they all shed hair, and it’s a nuisance.
Since we can’t stop our pets from shedding, it’s good to learn ways to reduce loose dog and cat hair from swirling around our homes.
Dogs and cats shed for the same reason that humans do: to get rid of damaged, old or excess hair. My fantasies of seasonal shedding were not totally pipe dreams; it’s true that animals grow a thicker coat in the winter months to help insulate them from the cold. Then when summertime comes, they shed the extra hair to stay cooler. But that’s not the whole story. Pets also shed damaged hair throughout their lifetime. And if your pet happens to have any type of skin conditions, allergies or irritations, they may shed excessively.
There are steps you can take to keep your cat or dog’s skin and hair healthy and reduce the quantity of excess pet hair in your home.
Groom your pet often. My brother’s dog actually lets him use the vacuum on him, but that has to be the exception. As a rule, brushing your pet’s coat frequently removes the dead hair, which is the best thing you can do to keep shedding to a minimum. It’s also important to bathe your dog often during the summer. Regular bathing and brushing will keep your pet’s coat healthier, and a healthier coat is less likely to shed.
Cover your furniture and car seats. Pet hair seems to be magically attracted to upholstery, and the hair finds a way to attach itself so it’s nearly impossible to remove. I’ve tried vacuum cleaners with special attachments, adhesive lint rollers and a myriad of products specifically designed for the task of removing dog or cat hair from upholstery—all without success.
If you’re like me and allow your pets onto your furniture and bed, you may want to consider furniture throws and car seat covers. It’s the easiest way to keep hair off of your furniture with the added bonus of being able to remove and wash them any time you feel the need.
Vacuum regularly. Even though your furniture and car seats are protected, you still need to find a way to (humanely) control the dust bunnies. Be disciplined with your vacuuming efforts. Regular vacuuming is the easiest way to keep the corners of your home free of excess pet hair.
Feed your pets a nutritious food. A dog and cat’s coat is often a reflection of what they are fed. If your pets eat a high quality pet food, like one of CANIDAE’s new Grain Free Pure formulas, their coat will be shinier and healthier. And a healthier coat sheds less.
Maintain regular veterinarian checkups. Different diseases can affect your dog or cat’s skin and coat. As a responsible pet owner, it’s good to maintain regular visits to your veterinarian. This practice will help identify problems early, which will provide more effective treatment.
Controlling your pet’s shedding involves routine brushing and grooming as well as paying attention to your animal's diet. By following these simple tips, you can significantly reduce the amount of dog and cat hair in your home, on your furniture and in your car.
Does your pet shed a lot? If so, can you share any secrets for keeping pet shedding to a minimum?
Top photo by Caroline
Bottom photo by Monkey Mash Button
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell