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Interesting Uses for Dog Hair

Updated on February 18, 2012
An Old English Sheepdog
An Old English Sheepdog | Source

You don't need to have owned a dog to know that some breeds shed like crazy. As soon as you walk into a house where a dog lives indoors, you'll spot the hairs trapped in the carpet knap, on clothes and other fabrics, and you might even end up with a few strands in your mouth!

When I brushed my dogs a few days ago, I was about to toss the huge clumps of hair that seem to flow off them in streams into the bin, but when I pressed down on the foot pedal, the lid raised to reveal a literal mound of golden hair. I figured that there must be a better way to get rid of it - maybe I could use it for something.

Turns out it can be used for plenty.

A Newfoundland Dog
A Newfoundland Dog | Source

Using Dog Hair to Spin Yarn

Long haired dogs leave a dusting of fluff balls after them wherever they go. Their soft undercoat strands can be used to create yarn if it is at least two inches in length. This is referred to as "cheingora" - a luxuriously fine fabric that can be used in knitting, crocheting, or weaving.

It is an excellent option for individuals who admire fur garments, but are firmly opposed to harming animals to obtain them, as the dog's hair can be easily gathered without subjecting the animal to pain, at little or no cost.

People use cheingora yarn to create beautiful hats, mittens, socks, jumpers, and even dog collars. You can send away your dog's hair to be spun, but you can also do it at home. The directions you'll need are displayed below:

Equipment:

Dog hair

Cotton carders

2 slicker brushes

Yarnblocker

White vinegar

Detergent

Drop spindle

Steps

1. Gather up some chemical-free, clean hair from a suitable breed of dog (one that sheds hair that is at least two inches long) such as a husky, a Newfoundland, or a German shepherd. Separate the scratchy outer coat hairs from the soft and fluffy undercoat ones, and discard the former.

2. This step is called "carding." Using two slicker brushes or cotton carders, swipe one brush through the other, disentangling the strands of hair from one another.

3. In one hand, take a small pile of carded hair and use your other hand to extract some strands, and proceed to twist them together to form yarn. Your movements must be gentle and delicate, otherwise the hairs will separate.

4. We're going to use a drop spindle to help us to create the yarn more quickly. Tie the section of yarn you've already spun to the shaft, above the weight, then twist it around the shaft a number of times until a length of six inches is left dangling from the groove at the top of the shaft.

5. Fetch some more carded hair and attach it to the end of the yarn hanging from the spindle by rotating the drop spindle in a clockwise fashion. The small clump of dog hair should join up with the cheingora yarn.

6. Once you've finished, gently wash the yarn in warm water using mild detergent. To deodorize it, fill your sink or a large basin with warm water and half a cup of white vinegar. Finally, let the cheingora yarn air-dry by winding it on a yarn-blocker or on the back of a ladder-backed chair and leaving it to set for three days.

Notes & Tips

-When rotating the drop spindle in step 5, it's important that you spin it in a clockwise direction. If you change directions, it will unravel.

-If you are a newcomer to spinning, it is advisable to first practice with prepared wool. It is an easier yarn to spin, and you won't needlessly use up your supply of cheingora. When you are confident and more assured in your movements, move onto spinning cheingora.

-You can use your new cheingora yarn to knit sweaters, mittens, scarves, hats, socks, pouches, gift bags, cushion covers, rugs, throws, stuffed animals, and even dog collars.

-Making a piece of clothing from pet hair can be a beautiful way to commemorate a dog, cat, horse or rabbit who has recently passed away. You will always have an elegant, hand-crafted item to remind you of your old friend. The fact that you created it yourself will make it all the more meaningful.

Spinning Dog Hair (Austrailian Sheperd)

Dog Watches Birds
Dog Watches Birds | Source

Outdoor Uses for Dog Hair

Birds Nests

In the Springtime, it's a good idea to leave some of your dog's shed hair in an area of your garden that is easily accessible to birds. Place it on a bird table, a garden wall, a bench, or on a windowsill.

If there is a wind blowing, you may want to keep the hair from scattering everywhere. You can accomplish this by stuffing a net bag (the kind oranges or onions sometimes come in with your dog's sheddings, and hanging it from the branch of a tree. They'll carry it off and use it to make their nests.

Compost

Did you know you can add both human and animal hair clippings to the compost pile? Well, you do now. You just need to keep in mind that while it will break down, it does so at a slow rate, so only small amounts should be added at any one time.

Warding off Pests

You can use dog hair to frighten off a number of unwanted garden visitors. Simply sprinkle a light dusting of dog hair clippings around your flowers, trees, shrubs, or vegetables in your yard and the smell will act as a natural deterrent to wild rabbits, deer, and other creatures.

It will trick them into thinking that there is a canine hiding nearby, and more often than not, the animal will not want to risk being attacked.

Using Dog Hair as a Stuffing or Filling

With the economy in its current sorry state, many people are beginning to make their own household accessories - cushions, pillows, and the like. Instead of buying gifts, they're making special soft toys and dolls for kids in the family. If the individual who will be handling the object is not allergic to dog hair, it will make an excellent stuffing.

Alternatively, you could use it to make scented pouches to place in the back of cabinets and drawers. Simply find a small draw-string purse (either a store-bought one, or one you made yourself with cheingora yarn), fill it with your dogs old hair, and add a few drops of essential oil. The scent used is entirely up to you.

If you are using your pet's hair for any of the above, just be sure to deodorize the hair first (refer to step 6 of the "Using Dog Hair to Spin Yarn" section) otherwise it will start to smell. You know that unpleasant dog odour? It actually comes from shed hair, rather than the pooch itself.

St. Bernard Puppy
St. Bernard Puppy | Source

Will you Use your Dog's Hair for Any of the Above After Reading this Hub?

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Comments

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    • profile image

      Kerry43 4 years ago

      Hi there! I have been a hubber for over 5 years now and what did I do when I became frustrated with the excess dog hair in my home? I went to Google - silly me lol. I will use some of my pets hair in the garden - I don't know why this didn't cross my mind. My dog is a shep, so I don't think it'd be useful for spinning, but I appreciate the other suggestions you made, like using the hair for stuffing. I also had no idea that the doggy smell came from the shed hair, and not the pooch! I enjoyed this article, voted up and useful. Thanks so much.

      Kerry ^_^

    • Frangipanni profile image

      Frangipanni 5 years ago

      Interesting hub, I've never thought of recycling my dogs hair. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      I've tried a few of these ideas in the past. The hair does seem to keep deer out of our yard, but it didn't scare the darn rabbit that ate all my green beans in the garden. The rabbit seems to like to stand in front of our bay window to make the dogs bark, so we must be dealing with a really gutsy one.

      I put ours on the compost pile most of the time. I agree that it takes a long while to break down though.

      This is a great hub with a lot of good ideas.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I have used our Australian Shepherd's fur in the garden to ward off pests and for bird's nests. My mom, an avid knitter, talks often of using the fur to spin, although she has yet to do it.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Who would have thought there are so many uses for dog hair? Lots of practical and useful suggestions here...I'm linking this article to my recent hub on weird Amazon products which includes a section on the book, Knitting with Dog Hair. Vote up and shared!

    • profile image

      martellawintek 5 years ago

      hello there macaulay i shouldn't give it out but here is the site

      and some info ,check out there great prices,tell them myself-martella give you there number

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 6 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Beautiful, useful and very interesting hub. Lovely presentation my dear Friend. Thanks for sharing.

      Take care. God Bless, Kamalesh

      P.S. My earlier comment had an error which I forgot to rectify. Hence this one.

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 6 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Beautiful, useful and very interesting hub. Lovely presentation my dear Friend and you have presented it so nicely. Thanks for sharing.

      Take care. God Bless, Kamalesh

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Interesting! I knew about the composting....never heard of the others!

    • VendettaVixen profile image
      Author

      VendettaVixen 6 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for your comment Mary. I appreciate you stopping by. :3

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Good ideas on dog hair. I have heard of using it on plants.

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