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When a new pet steals your heart, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is the endless volume of pet hair that’s about to become a major part of your life.
Many pet owners have encountered similar frustrations with shedding and loose pet hair throughout the home:
• Dressed for work and a pet brushes against you, covering you in hair
• Sit on the couch and come away coated in pet hair
• Pet hair “tumbleweeds” rolling across hardwood floors
• Finding it in food
• Folding freshly cleaned laundry, bedding, and towels to find it still covered in dog hair
And it’s even more frustrating when you spend the time relentlessly dusting and cleaning only to discover loose pet hair floating around and settling almost immediately after the task is done.
No one would hold it against you for throwing your hands in the air and giving up, especially if your animal generates enough loose hair to make a new pet.
What makes animals shed anyway?
That fixed-length hair is constantly being shed and replaced, though many breeds will shed in seasonal cycles where a heavier winter coat is shed as the warm season arrives – even if the animal is primarily indoors.
There are several factors which contribute to shedding frequency and the volume of pet hair left behind:
• Temperature (seasonal variations)
• Lifestyle (indoor vs. outdoor animals)
• Nutrition (especially poor nutrition)
• Breed (like the explosive undercoat of Husky breeds after winter)
• Gender (spayed/neutered dogs can have more pronounced undercoats, so shedding can be more noticeable)
• Hormonal status (especially animals who are pregnant or in heat)
• Overall physical and mental health
Here are some ways to control shedding before pet hair becomes a problem, or to get intense shedding under control.
Control excessive shedding with diet
Pets who get enough water and who consume a healthy, balanced diet typically have a coat that is visibly healthy (often shiny). When nutrition becomes a problem, dogs and cats are likely to present with a dull coat, excessive oil, matted fur, and a dramatic increase in shedding and hair loss.
Pets can also develop food allergies that create skin problems which may lead to shedding and isolated hair loss.
“A mediocre diet will not supply all the nutrients a pet needs to grow and maintain a healthy coat,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates in an interview with PetMD. “Adequate amounts of
Since domesticated cats and dogs have very different diets, further differentiated by age and breed, it’s best to talk with your veterinarian about the right diet to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.
Get a handle on pet hair with grooming
Grooming isn’t just a way to reduce pet hair. It’s a great bonding activity for owners and their pets. While most pets (especially cats) will self-groom, it’s usually a means to
A special brush designed for removing loose pet hair is the ideal choice. A long-tooth stainless-steel comb can get deep to the skin in animals with long hair, and a slicker brush works exceptionally well for short-hair animals or when brushing the softer belly hairs of cats and dogs.
How often you brush your pets is up to you but, as a rule of thumb, brushing is recommended at least once or twice a week for
Brushing and proper grooming habits won’t eliminate shedding completely, but you’ll notice a lasting decline in the amount of hair they shed if you maintain a consistent grooming schedule.
A tip to keep in mind for grooming: If your pet doesn’t tolerate brushes try using a grooming mitt or just give your pet plenty of attention with firm petting. Regular petting can do its part to remove loose pet hair before it finds its way to your clothes and furniture.
Regardless of the brush or method you use, have a good handheld vacuum at the ready for quick
Minimize pet hair on furniture with training
Another option for controlling pet hair on your furniture is to work on training with your pet. Some owners choose to designate some areas as off-limits to pets, like the bed, couches, etc. The best approach here is to provide your pet with multiple comfortable places designated as their spot – beds, pillows, cat trees and perches can all serve as alternatives to your pet sitting on your furniture.
Check for and treat medical issues to control shedding
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause your pets to shed more frequently ranging from anxiety to hormone imbalances. A certain amount of shedding is expected in animals, but if you suspect a medical condition due to signs like a sudden increase in the volume of hair being shed then consult with your veterinarian.
Use slip covers to protect furniture from pet hair
You can go the extra mile to (almost) eliminate pet hair on your furniture by guarding it with a temporary or permanent cover. Specialized covers can be purchased that keep fabric and upholstery clean and are meant to be left on the furniture for a long period.
Which might be a good idea if you have a pet that won’t budge or you enjoy having their company on the couch.
If you want something with the convenience of a throw blanket, but a bit more durable you can also purchase waterproof, pet-friendly
Turn on the humidifier
There are two benefits to using a humidifier when it comes to your pets:
First, a good humidifier comes with some filtration as it draws air in from the home. This can trap pet dander and improve air quality in your home, giving your allergies a break.
Second, a dry environment allows static to build up on surfaces which attracts dust and pet hair. A humidifier increases moisture in the air, making it more conductive so static is more evenly discharged instead of building
Keeping pet hair out of the laundry
Using closed baskets and mesh bags for laundry helps keep a barrier between pet hair and your laundry – especially your clean laundry. If it’s a regular ordeal to have to sticky-roller freshly-cleaned laundry like crazy, then eliminate opportunities for your pets to get cozy with your clean laundry.
You know as well as any other pet owner that an unattended pile of warm clothes from the dryer is an open invitation to pets looking for a comfy place to chill. We may loathe the process sometimes, but your best bet is folding and putting away laundry as soon as it’s finished.
Easy ways to remove persistent pet hair around the house
No matter what you do to minimize pet hair you’ll still find it clinging to clothes, furniture, bedding, your body, and… well, pretty much everything. Here are some tips to make short work of persistent pet hair that can’t be tamed.
Removing dog and cat hair from couches, chairs, and upholstery
When pet hair finds its way to your furniture there are a number of quick, simple remedies you can try using typical household items.
• Run a damp rubber glove over the fabric to attract loose hairs. Rinse the rubber glove and repeat until you’re satisfied. If you don’t have a rubber glove a damp (not wet) sponge will do the trick
• Mix water and fabric softener together into a spray bottle and spray a light mist over the upholstery, then wipe away while it’s still damp. The pet hair come away with a few swipes of a towel or
• Use an anti-static dusting spray to remove pet hair from wooden furniture
Get pet hair out of bedding
It’s not easy to resist the temptation of cuddling with your favorite pet(s) in bed. If you can’t stand the thought of banishing them to the floor, you can put down an extra blanket or towel in the area where they typically sleep to minimize hair on your bedding.
If your pet tosses and turns more than a toddler, you can use a dryer sheet to remove all that extra pet hair. Rub it back and forth over the bedding and after several
Dryer sheets can also be used to draw loose pet hair away from furniture upholstery.
Removing pet hair from carpeting
Carpet is designed to reduce ambient noise, insulate floors, add visual appeal to a home, and trap dirt, dust, and allergens. It does that last part exceptionally well. A purpose-designed upright or handheld vacuum for pet hair can make short work of pet hair in the carpet.
For stubborn pet hair that resists the vacuum, try (very) lightly misting the carpet with water then sweep across it with a rubber broom. The last of the stubborn hair should collect nicely. Don’t soak the carpet, a light mist is enough. Too much water can encourage mold and mildew growth.
For corners, baseboards, and carpeted steps switch up to a handheld vacuum. The Black+Decker Dustbuster and the Welikera Handheld Vacuum both feature attachments for getting into tight spaces where pet hair tends to collect.
Easily clean pet hair on
hardwood and vinyl floors
A dry broom on a wood floor will just stir up pet hair and you’ll waste time chasing ‘tumblefurs’ around your house. A vacuum might be tempting but the exhaust of a vacuum is more likely to send pet hair soaring. Instead, use a microfiber or electrostatic dust mop to attract and capture those stray hairs.
For tile and even vinyl
Need a good, reliable vacuum to help tame the excess pet hair in your home? Be sure to check our reviews of the best handheld vacuums from top brands.