5 ways to get control over that tornado of pet hair

August 22 | Guest post by Adrienne
That's The Spirit
By: carbonnycCC BY 2.0

I am no stranger to pet hair. I've had animals my whole life. Currently, I have two dogs — a small fawn pug named Doug, and a giant yellow lab named Luna. I also had a yellow lab when I was growing up. I seemed to have forgotten the unbelievable amount of hair that Lab coats can shed.

It can be really hard to keep on top of all the pet hair. For the most part, it's just part of life. If I don't clean daily there will suddenly be tumble weeds of hair floating around the house. Every spring Luna's big hairy winter coat decides it's time to shed and next thing you know I am coughing up dog hair.

But there are things you can do to help get control over that tornado of pet hair…

1. Grooming

Giving your dog regular baths is a good way to help loosen the pet hair that is about to fall. Technically, dogs groom themselves daily but I like to give them baths a couple of times per year to help keep them fresh. (But bathing them too much can cause skin irritation, and strip their coats of the natural protective oils. So when we go on walks and they get covered in mud, a good spray down with the garden hose, and towel drying is sufficient.) I find at the change of seasons is a good time to bathe them, especially in the spring when their winter coats start to shed. Doug, my pug, gets washed a lot more often that Luna, the lab. This is mostly because she can fit in the bathtub better. Luna gets washed outside with the hose only.

2. Brushing

Make sure you give your dog a thorough brush every day or, if you don't have much time, brush as often as you can. Brushing is the best way to make loosen hair and help keep your pets coat clean and dirt-free. Make sure you brush them outside otherwise you will just make your pet hair problem worse. I have several kinds of brushes and use them all but it's nice to try out a few different ones and see what works best for your pet.

My dogs loved to be brushed. They think it feels good. It must feel like a little dog massage to them. I find it a lot easier to brush them when they are leashed. It prevents them from running around too much and I can get it done faster.

3. Vacuum

Invest in the best vacuum you can afford. We received a Dyson as a wedding gift seven years ago and it works great for pet hair. Dog hair piles up quick so I have to vacuum almost every day or every other day to stay on top of it.

4. Lint rollers

These little tape rolls are awesome for when you are about to leave the house and you realize your pants are covered in dog hair. Quickly run the roller over your clothing to get rid of the hair. Keep one near your front door and one in your car.

5 Blankets

Keeping your pets off the furniture is an easy way to make sure it stays hair free, but I know it can be really difficult to keep them off. We are trying to keep our dogs off the new couch that we bought but it seems like whenever we go out, or at night, they sneak up and sleep on it. Making sure they have a comfy dog bed will help to keep them off the furniture. You can also designate special blankets or sheets to go on top of your couch or furniture that the dogs sleep on. When the blankets get nasty simply throw them in the wash.

This is how we try to get control over the dog hair. It seems like a never ending battle but I love my little fur babies so it's just part of the trade-off of having dogs.

How do you deal with pet hair?

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  1. If you have pet hair you just can't get off a fabric substance, put on a plastic glove and brush it away. It works really well!

    1 agrees
  2. Caveat: My privilege is showing.

    ROOMBA FTW.
    Seriously, we used our Best Buy credit card for a Roomba, and it runs twice a day. It's the best damned $700 I've ever spent.
    (You can get cheaper ones but my fiance chose the $700 one based on some obsessive criteria of his own and I didn't bother arguing with him about it because I got a fucking Roomba LOL)

    7 agree
    • The roomba will prob be my next vacuum purchase. My only concern is that you have to clear all the clutter off the floors before you can start it which is a lot of work in my home!

      1 agrees
    • Yeah!! My dog isn't too bad for shedding, but my sister's dog, who is often at my house, is. The roomba saves my sanity! Ours is a cheaper version and it doesn't do a perfect job, but it means I can put off real vacuuming to every two weeks rather than every other day, which is a win in my books. Also has forced us to have cord management everywhere in the house, which is really nice.

    • Yep, this is what I was going to say. I didn't end up buying a Roomba, but instead got a much cheaper ($158) iLife vacuum from Amazon. It doesn't "map" out our house, but instead bumbles around at random. Even so, by letting it run once a day our pet hair tumble weeds have been virtually eliminated. It really picks up a lot of stuff, and I'm amazed/disgusted with how much hair and dirt it picks up every day. It even fits underneath the bookshelves that our regular vacuum couldn't reach under.

      A chow-chow mix, two cats, and a grubby husband…..and vacuuming is my least favorite chore. This purchase was well worth it or me.

      2 agree
    • We got our first roomba off craigslist for $30, and after it broke (they don't like construction debris) we eventually found our current one for only $25! It took a bit of waiting, but setting up an alert with IFFT meant I didn't have to manually search all the time. With our two cats, wood floors, and hacked-together giant couch it really is my favorite thing!

  3. I have a black cat I adopted from a friend's brother. His name is Queztlcoatl. Don't ask. He's called Ketcho. I vacuum every day. Since he does not like to be brushed and I don't like to be scratched vacuuming is my only option. I keep him out of my bedroom now because I think I was coughing up more fur balls than he was. My problem with him is not so much the fur, but the litter he kicks everywhere despite a very deep litter pan, and the food he likes to remove from his bowl and splatter on the wall, floor and anything in his splatter path.

    Carole

    1 agrees
    • Regarding the litter, you can get boxes with high sides and a cut out for them to walk into that really help. You can also get rubber mats with divots that really help trap the litter they track out. We used to have to sweep litter every day and now we only have to sweep about every 10 days.
      You can get both these things cheap on Amazon.

      2 agree
      • Thanks, but I do already have the litter box you speak of and he is very adept at kicking litter out of the cut out. In fact he has perfect aim. I will look into the rubber mat because he tracks the litter in his paws onto my rugs.

        3 agree
        • My parents cats did that too. Plus the cats would pee over the side even with the high sides and cutout entries. So they got a cat box that is completely enclosed where the cat enters from the top. It's made a huge difference in the amount of litter that escapes.

          1 agrees
          • Tried those too. The first one came with him. It had a ramp and a huge dome. He would walk up the ramp and poop and pee at the top of the ramp so it slid down to the floor. The second one I got him had a swinging door. He was terrified of the door and would not use it unless I took the top off. The pan was low, so guess what, that is when I bought the deepest one they make. Like I said before, he can kick so hard he could be in the cat litter olympics. But thanks for thinking of me.

            Carole

            3 agree
        • We have 2 cats and several box-related issues (peeing outside, tracking litter, etc) and finally caved and bought a cat cabinet for the litter box on Amazon. It's a bench/cabinet with 2 double doors and the entire litterbox (which was already large and enclosed) fits inside. It looks like normal furniture, looking at it head-on you would never see the cat door opening in the side.

          1 agrees
  4. We recently added a second cat to our home and he is getting big and very furry like our older cat. Our house has all wood floors and cleaning them has become a near-daily necessity. Until we can spring for a Roomba we really love our new $15 microfiber dry mop (it's similar to a Swiffer, but with a washable cover). It's quicker and easier than dragging out the vacuum and it doesn't freak the pets out (our kitten actually loves riding on it). It pivots to get under furniture really well, too. The broom doesn't actually pick up all of the litter and other little debris on the floor, but we can push it all into a little pile and then use the Dustbuster to suck it up. It's really made it less of a hassle to do a quick daily cleaning in between more robust vacuuming.

    For the deeper cleaning, we love our Shark steam mop. It's chemical-free, it disinfects, and the floors dry within a couple of minutes–all nice features for a home with pets!

  5. And if you don't have carpeting, tumbleweeds hiding behind and under furniture will migrate to visible areas as soon as you put the vacuum away. Getting the hose out for those hard to reach spots is critical!

    And the Furminator brush! So critical! Overtime we brush our rotweiller/german shepherd mutt with it, I pull off enough hair to stuff a throw pillow. Its a pricey brush, but hot damn, it gets rid of hair before it can fall off.

    2 agree
  6. Does anyone know of a couch material that best stands up to both fur and claws? Our faux leather couch is peeling from all the claws and I hear microfiber or actual leather might be better…? There's no way my two pitbull lounge lizards will forgo the couch.

    • We went with an Ikea couch that has easily replaceable slip covers. They're easy enough to remove that we can throw them in the wash and air dry about every 8 weeks. And if the cat shreds one of them or the dog leaves an intractable "mystery puddle" the covers are pretty cheap to replace.

      2 agree
      • I have one of those! I would add the suggestion that if you like the orginal slip cover you get with your couch, buy an extra of it when you buy the couch. Ikea changes their slipcover designs often, and I have not been able to find one I like for years. Thus I am stuck with one with messed up edges from when my cats were kittens. They are 11 now. Yes it has been that long since Ikea had a slipcover design I liked. Yes, I may be a bit picky. 😉

        1 agrees

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