Living Space: How to control pet hair

08/07/2014 4:54 PM

08/07/2014 4:56 PM

Pets are often regarded as members of the family. They may be allowed to lounge on beds, sofas, easy chairs and just about any surface in the house. Because of this, many homes are awash in pet hair.

Having dogs and cats indoors year-round means that in addition to dust, pet dander and hair can create an almost-constant cleaning challenge. Some pets shed more than others, but all shed to different degrees.

Winning the pet-hair battle means making changes in both pet and home management.

Pet care

Part of managing pet hair is to determine whether your pet’s hair loss is normal. Some pets shed profusely all year, while others shed more in spring or summer.

If it seems like your pet is shedding an abnormal amount, check with your veterinarian to be sure the animal doesn’t have a health problem. Of course, some breeds have double coats. With both a top and bottom coat, that can mean double the fur loss.

A healthy coat begins with good nutrition. Pets with allergies to their food – particularly grain-based brands – can shed excessively. Sometimes changing to a higher quality food will reduce hair loss.

Without question, one of the best ways to manage hair loss is to brush your pet daily. This simple act helps keep a pet’s coat in good condition and minimizes the amount of hair flying through the air.

Any standard brush will usually work well, but if your pet has a very thick coat or sheds profusely, you may need a Furminator.

The Furminator is a grooming tool designed to help remove the loose undercoat and make shedding less problematic. Furminators are available for both cats and dogs ( furminator.com).

Home care

As with brushing, consistency is key. Daily cleaning is essential and you’ll need a variety of tools to get the best results. Keep lint rollers available in rooms where your pet spends the most time. This enables you to quickly and efficiently pick up hair daily, or do fast spot-cleaning for unexpected guests.

Add a pet-hair attachment to your vacuum. These small rotary heads, attached to the vacuum’s hose, help pull loose pet hairs off upholstery and suck up dust bunnies of fur that loom in corners like tumbleweeds.

Running a microfiber mop or Swiffer dry mop ( Swiffer.com) around floors also does a great job of grabbing loose hairs.

You can also shrink the cloud of pet hair in your house by training your animals to snooze and sit in only select places, such as a pet bed or cushion.

One final option: Put removable covers on beds and other furniture that you can toss in the washer to remove hair. Washable furniture covers like the Surefit Pet Sofa Cover can help save your furniture ($89, Walmart.com).

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