Fur Free: 5 Ways to Keep Pet Hair Under Control
I don’t know about you, but keeping the fur off of clothing, furniture and the floor is a never-ending battle at our house. I’m guessing it’s the same way at yours. Over the years, though, I’ve picked up a few fur-busting tips that will help you out if you live with a Fur-rench Bulldog or other hairy housemate.
Brush and Cover
1. Don’t duck your grooming responsibilities; embrace them. Giving your dog or cat a quick one-minute brushing outdoors or in the garage every day will save time and effort spent dusting, sweeping and vacuuming every week. With a little hair off the dog (or cat) at a time and place of your choosing, you’ll soon see a reduction in the number of fur bombs you find around the house.
Bonus: Your cat won’t hack up as many hairballs for you to step on before you’re fully awake in the morning.
2. Use washable slipcovers to protect your furniture. Nobody wants to sit on a sofa covered in pet hair — not you, not me, not your guests. Invest in a few furniture covers specifically made for the purpose — I’ve seen great ones at Costco — or even use some old sheets. As needed, toss ’em in the laundry and replace with a clean one. Remove them when your mother-in-law visits and voila! Clean furniture.
3. Use throw rugs to protect floors and carpets. Place rugs strategically so they gather the lion’s share of pet fur and help prevent it from spreading throughout the house. You should also have one at each doorway to the outdoors to catch the dust, dirt and debris your pet brings in on his feet and fur. Choose machine-washable rugs with nonskid backing; they’re easy and inexpensive to replace when they become stained or worn out.
4. Keep paws clean. After my dogs have been outdoors, I wipe their feet with a microfiber hand mitt before I let them into the rest of the house. I’m always amazed at how quickly the mitts get dirty, but that just means the rest of the house is staying clean.
5. Call me crazy, but covering up your pet helps, too. After a bath or brushing, dress him in that cute T-shirt you got for him in Vegas — the one that says “Rub my belly for good luck.” If he wears it between grooming sessions, it will help keep the fur on him and off your belongings.
There are more tools for lifting fur than you can shake a stick at. Think electrostatic cloths such as Swiffers that pick up hair from hardwood or tile floors, the classic lint roller for removing hair from clothes, and the many vacuum cleaners by Bissell, Dirt Devil and Dyson designed specifically for pet-owning households.
Some vacuum cleaners even have special attachments that you can use on your pets. Some pets really like being vacuumed, but introduce them to the concept slowly and carefully, or you may end up with unexpected injuries.
Grooming tools such as shedding rakes get excess fur off pets like you wouldn’t believe. One that I really like is the FURminator. Just be careful not to remove so much hair that your pet is bald.
There’s no magic bullet yet for keeping pet fur under control, but regular grooming and housekeeping will help you fight fur flurries and keep the fuzz to a minimum.
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