Dog and cat hair is a nuisance. It clings to clothes, embeds itself into furniture and, in the worst case scenario, triggers severe allergic reactions. During high shedding season, it can make you too embarrassed to invite even non-allergic people to your home.
But now comes news there’s an upside. The American Society for Microbiology has released evidence stating that exposure to dust from homes with dogs may actually prevent some allergies.
Still, you can reap the doggie-dust health benefits without having clumps of pet hair drifting across the floor. Here are some clean-up tricks for pet owners.
Prevent pet hair from sticking to smooth surfaces in the first place. Run a dryer sheet across clean baseboards. It repels dust and dirt, giving you less mess to clean.
Use anti-static sprays on upholstery prior to cleaning to help hair slide out of fabrics when vacuuming.
Put on a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves and then run your gloved hands over furniture and clothing
Get embedded hair out of carpeting with pet grooming brushes. Slicker or card type brushes have rows of fine needle like teeth that grab and hold hair. For delicate fibres, use a curry comb. These rubber grooming brushes build up a static charge so hair clings to the brush instead of flying into the air.
Do not skimp when buying a vacuum cleaner. Many pet people are big fans of the Dyson brand despite its premium pricing. Dyson has a number of optional attachments including a pet brush that sucks hair straight into the canister. Just remember to get pets used to it slowly.
Regular grooming of pets is essential if you want minimal cleaning. Brush out the loose hairs before they become a problem in your home. Most dogs and cats do well with rubber curry combs.
Owners of dogs such as Poodles and Water Spaniels need to keep up on regular grooming too. Contrary to popular belief, these breeds do shed, leaving loose hairs to tangle with new growth. This means that if you notice fewer stray hairs around your home, it may be because they’re matting and clumping on an untended dog.
Eliminating pet hair can only be accomplished by getting a hairless dog or cat. Hairless dog breeds include the Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier and the Xolo, also known as the Mexican Hairless.
For hairless cats, look to Toronto, which developed the Sphynx breed when a bald kitten was born into a local litter a few decades back. European breeders further developed the Sphynx, striving to remove genetic disorders from its lines.
Both hairless dogs and cats require special care. Rather than brushing, they need regular baths to remove oils that build up on the skin. Without fur, they are vulnerable to the elements, including both sun and snow, and need sunscreen and special coats. Ensure your lifestyle fits with the special requirements of these animals before looking for a qualified breeder or rescue group.
If hair is of concern because of pet allergies, do not assume hypoallergenic or even hairless breeds will not trigger a reaction. Special allergy testing is recommended for families with allergies prior to purchase.