At our Almost Heaven Ranch, we have floors that are all wood (walnut) or tile, with a few area rugs for comfort and contrast. While we deep clean the house top to bottom once a week, about every other day we use a Swiffer. Every time I slap one of those electrostatically-charged pads onto the extended handle and start cruising around the floors, I'm amazed at how it attracts the dog hair (I call our dogs "hairy hand grenades that explode in furry shrapnel"), picks up dust and dander, even the grass they track in.

What I can't see is the pollen and spores that are on the pad too. We have a large house and when I switch pads, I'm grossed out by the composition and quantity of yucky gunk that's trapped on the pad, and almost feel like I want to wear gloves to take it off and toss it into the trash.

Dogs are basically Swiffers with four legs. Everything that's on the floor is also on them, and the more you use a Swiffer, the less dirt, dander, pollen and spores get on them. The less that gets on their skin and coat, the fewer skin problems they'll have with atopy or environmental allergies.

Environmental allergies manifest themselves by dogs face-rubbing, licking or chewing their feet or paws, or licking, chewing and scratching other parts of the body, plus chronic ear or anal gland problems. Skin problems are the no. 1 reason people take their pets to the veterinarian, and environmental allergies are one of the most common causes of skin problems.

By using Swiffer products routinely, cleaning with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and bathing dogs weekly, you'll keep your pet healthy and comfortable with a shiny, huggable coat, and save trips to the veterinarian.