Don’t Let Shedding Make a Mess of Your House!

For many cat and dog owners, shedding is a major pet peeve. From Malamutes, who leave behind huge clouds of fur, to pits, whose short, wiry hair clings tenaciously to fabric, shedding can make you want to pull your own hair out! Not only does it make a mess, but fur and dander can impact your indoor air quality.

How can you clean up and breathe easier?

Why Do Pets Shed?

Shedding is completely natural, and dogs and cats aren’t the only ones who do it. Everything from rabbits and gerbils to snakes and fish shed. Guess what? So do you! You lose about 50-100 strands of hair each day. Your body sheds the “old” hair to allow new, healthy strands to grow. The same thing happens in your pets. Their hair shafts go through the stages of growth, resulting in continuous shedding—and continuous regrowth.

Then we have shedding season! Most pets shed more in the spring and the fall. When the weather warms up, your pet sheds his or her winter coat and grows a lighter summer coat. In the fall, he or she sheds the summer wear and gets dressed for winter.

A variety of other factors play into how much your animal sheds. Some species, like poodles, have hair shafts with longer lifespans, so they shed less. Others like Huskies, have shafts with shorter lifespans, so they shed more. Some, like British Shorthair cats do not need a thick undercoat, while others, like Newfoundlands, require that cold-weather protection.

All but hairless cats and dogs shed. It’s just a question of how much.

Here’s another question: how do you get it under control?

Blowing Coat without Wrecking the House

You can’t prevent shedding, and you can’t shave your pet (he needs that fur to protect him, even, or especially, in the summer). Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Groom your pet regularly. Yes, cats like to do this job themselves, but lending a hand with a brush can help reduce shedding. Dogs? Well, most of them love the hands-on attention. There are a variety of brushes, shedding blades, and undercoat rakes that help you detangle, clean, and remove hair. The more you take out, the less there is to fall on to your sofa!
  2. Remove pet hair as soon as possible. It’s easier to remove hair before it has a chance to work its way into surfaces. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a pet hair tape roller.
  3. Vacuum frequently. You don’t need a specially-designed “pet hair” vacuum. Regular models (especially high-quality brands) will do the job, but you have to make sure you do the job! Vacuum at least once a week, or more if you have allergies—or a big hairy dog.
  4. Consider a change in diet. Food can have an impact on fur loss. Consider giving your cat or dog foods with few, if any, preservatives and those that list “meat” as the primary ingredient. Some experts also recommend adding flaxseed oil to their food, but ask your vet before you do so.
  5. Use a dander removal product. Fur isn’t the only thing pets shed; dander (microscopic skin particles) can cause allergy symptoms to flare. Choose a nontoxic, biodegradable enzymatic dander remover with Ordenone. It’s a mouthful to say but you can use it on carpets, floors, furniture, upholstery, clothing, bedding, and even right on your pet! The enzymes will keep dander down and clean these surfaces, while the Ordenone traps odors.
  6. Cover your couches, car seats, and other surfaces. Shedding is inevitable. When your pet is blowing his coat, cover up to contain the mess and make it easier to clean.

Shedding is part of life with a pet. These steps can help you reduce the hassle and keep your home cleaner and fresher.