When our kids were very young, my wife and I had an Australian Shepherd with a beautiful coat of white and tan fur. We adored him. Problem was, the dog had chronic allergies and skin problems that contributed to a full-time shedding problem.
It seemed like no matter how often we swept, the loose hair would accumulate, gathering in drifts and piles on the hardwood floors of our tiny house. What was worse, our kids were toddlers, notorious for crawling the floors and picking up anything they could find to put their mouths. We were the only parents on the block whose kids coughed up hairballs.
Whether you have kids or not, if your dog or cat sheds it can be a major nuisance. Here are our 6 top tips for dealing with a pet that leaves hair everywhere:
- See your vet. While seasonal shedding is normal for many dogs and cats, excessive shedding may be a clue to a health problem. Your veterinarian may be able to find the root of the problem and may be able to prescribe medicine or suggest supplements (such as fatty acids) that will help control the problem.
- Brush your pet every day to reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture. Most pets enjoy the attention, and will look forward to their daily brushing session. Ask an expert at your local pet supply store or check with a groomer for tips on the right tools to use for de-shedding your pet’s specific type of fur.
- Shampoo, rinse, repeat. If your dog’s chronically dry, itchy skin is causing him to scratch himself constantly, you may want to bathe him regularly using an oatmeal shampoo to moisturize and soothe his skin.
- Train your pet. Make sure dogs and cats have their own beds, furniture, or comfortable areas to lounge. Teach them that these are acceptable places to hang out, and that human furniture is off-limits.
- Cover up. Get some stylish throws or use blankets to cover furniture. They’ll keep most of the fur off, and you can just remove them before company comes over. Make sure they’re machine-washable for easy cleaning.
- Clean up. Get pet hair off of upholstery and carpet as soon as possible, before it has a chance to work its way into upholstery fabric or carpet nap. Use a tape roller or other pet hair removal tool on furniture and vacuum carpets. For the best results, make a habit of doing this regularly.