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Love your dog, hate the fur

Updated on May 2, 2011

Ahhh. Spring is in the air. Birds are in the air. Flowers are in the garden and there’s dog hair all over the furniture.

Spring is the time of year when most fur-bearing dogs shed out their heavy winter coats for lighter summer coats. It is also the time of year that most tries the patience of the most loving dog owner.

So how to address the issue of hair, hair, everywhere?

First let’s start with the basics. Some dogs have hair. Those dogs, poodles, terriers and portugese water dogs among others, have fur that needs cutting at least once every four to six weeks. Others, like collies, shepherds and rottweilers, among other, have fur that sheds of twice a year. A winter coat is thicker than a summer one, and creates more shedding each spring.

Additionally some dogs have a single coat, a thick heavy coat, while other dogs have a double coat including the heavy outer coat and a layer of thinner, finer fur underneath. Unless that coat is removed completely during shedding, it can matt, snarl and cause skin problems.

Some simple tips can keep the fur flying with a minimum of fuss and cost and without consuming your entire day. And a couple of them actually may encourage your bond with your animal.

Take a few minutes on a regular basis to comb out your dog. Find out what frequency experts recommend for your type of dog. A minimum of once weekly should remove lots of loose hair. Make things a little easier if your dog has fine hair. Spray a conditioning spray, or even plain water to keep fine hair from floating around and clinging to your clothing.

If weather permits, let the fur fly. Brush or comb your dog outside. A slight breeze and correct positioning will help out by blowing loose hair away. Birds in our neighborhood have some of the best insulated homes in the area.

Some handheld vacuums come with attachments that work as dog brushes. If started early some dogs can get used to the noise. If the sound is tolerated, this can be a great daily way to manage pet hair

A light cordless broom can be run around floors to do touch ups and catch hair hiding under furniture. During shedding season, this is a daily task in our house – some times twice depending on foot traffic.

If possible, replace carpet and heavy drapes with laminate or tile floors and blinds. Hair is a lot easier to remove from plastic and wood than once it is embedded in fabric. Continue this with leather or fake leather furniture. A damp cloth removes fur.

Since one grooming task tends to lead to another, keep a bucket or container handy with all your grooming supplies. A variety of brushes and combs can remove fine hair, heavy knots and a shedding rake. Baby wipes can clean ears, which, especially for drop-eared dogs, should be done weekly. Different skin conditioners and coat sprays can be assembled for various seasons and issues.. A dog toothbrush and canine toothpaste should also be used weekly. And lastly, shampoo specifically for dogs should be kept handy. After a thorough brushing and combing, with loose hair removed, shampoo and potentially conditioner should be used monthly. Once knots are removed, shampoo must be scrubbed in and rinsed out completely to keep skin healthy. If the prospect of wrangling a wet dog is too much to bear, a professional groomer can be hired to comb, wash and then blow dry your dog.

And if all else false, color coordinate your clothes and furniture and hope nobody will notice.


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