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As anyone who has ever had a pet knows, our furry friends can create an awful lot of mess, just with their hair. When it comes to the time for a cat, dog, rabbit, or other pet to shed its hair, the whole house can magically fill up with hair… and in the strangest places, too.
It’s important for the health of those in the house that you are diligent in cleaning up that hair. It’s not just the potential allergic reaction that some might have with pet hair – there are other potential issues as well.
For example: does your pet spend time outdoors? If so, all kinds of parasites can be brought back into the home via its pelt, including hookworms, tapeworms, scabies, and fleas. If the pet is shedding, these parasites can turn up anywhere in the house and can become a real source of discomfort to the family, as they can be passed on.
Taking your pet to the vet regularly to protect them from parasites is important, as is washing the pet and keeping them clean with medicated shampoos. Making sure that you’re diligent with cleaning up their hair is every bit as important, however, for both the sake of yourself and your pet.
Another health risk with pet hair beyond allergy is asthma. Anyone in the household that suffers from asthma can have that asthma is triggered by the tiny flakes of skin or pet dander that are found in hair, which then become airborne as dust.
Dust is one of the biggest triggers for asthma, and while dust will occur in completely pet-free environments too, and needs to be cleaned up, pets add more dust into the environment in this way, and an important way of combating dust is to tackle it at the source – cleaning pet hair.
What causes animals to shed fur?
One way to address the issue of animal hair in the household is to minimize the amount of fur that the pet sheds. Yes, environmental factors play a role in this! Plenty of shedding is natural – as the season changes, so too do the hormones of the pet, which cause it to add fur (for the winter), and then shed it (to help stay cool in summer). That you can’t do much about, but did you know that pets can shed excessive hair for other reasons?
One cause of shedding that you do have some control over is stress. If the pet is stressed (for example, through uncomfortable or excessive travel, or tense and stressful conditions at home), then excess shedding can be the result. Another potential cause is a poor diet – if your pet isn’t getting the right nutrients or is being fed poor quality pet food, they can also lose more fur than they would otherwise. Harsh or low-quality shampoo can cause irritants in the skin, and additionally result in excess hair loss.
Finally, excess hair loss might mean that your pet has an underlying health condition that a vet needs to see. Take care to observe how much hair loss is normal for your pet through a given season. If they’re losing more than normal, and don’t have any other underlying reasons for it, then any number of serious issues could be the cause – fungal infections, thyroid disease, bacterial infections, Cushing’s disease, and even tumours might be causing the problem.
What can I do about the fur?
- Cleaning up pet fur and keeping the household free of it is not a difficult task. It just requires ongoing diligence. The first thing you should do is to purchase an air purifier that has been designed with pets in mind. This is particularly useful for whatever rooms the pet spends the most time, and will automatically vacuum up a lot of the shed hair.
- For the more pesky bits of hair, one trick that works well is tape, such as a lint tape roller. This is particularly useful for when you’ve got carpet, and hair fibers can get stuck and ingrained within the carpet to such an extent that a vacuum cleaner can’t pull them out.
- Rolling the tape over the area will help to pull out excessive hair. If that isn’t sufficient in itself, another trick is to rub the area with a damp cloth – the water will draw the hair up and cause it to get stuck to the cloth.
- Finally, you can get ahead of the shedding. Using a pet brush to maintain your pet’s coat will also collect a lot of old hair directly onto the brush, which you can dispose of before it has the chance to enter the household environment. Grooming your pet properly will see an immediate and substantial reduction in the number of hair deposits they leave around the home.