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Humane Society of
Wayne County, New York

1475 County House Road, Lyons, NY 14489

315.946.3389

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More than 25 years of shelter operations

This page was last modified on Sunday November 18, 2012

It is That Time of Year: Pet Hair is Everywhere!

As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, our pets shed their winter coats for a cooler summer version. Unfortunately, your furniture and clothing seem to pick up every hair that is shed. Recently, a friend and I went to lunch and I drove my car. This friend does not have pets, and she happened to wear black slacks on our outing. When she got out of the car she was walking ahead of me, and I noticed that the back of her slacks were just covered with dog hair. I was faced with a dilemma should I say something to her and try to help brush her off, or should I not say anything at all.

Obviously, shedding must be viewed as a problem by pet owners because as I went about trying to research the topic of shedding I found many pet products advertised claiming to reduce or eliminating shedding. There is everything from pills and food to shampoos. Although I find shedding to be somewhat of a nuisance, I am not inclined to purchase a product that would stop what is a normal and natural process. I have found other ways to deal with shedding. For instance, I have a light colored very blonde dog therefore I would never purchase a black or a solid color coat. Instead I wear a black and white hound's tooth tweed coat.

I vacuum my rugs and furniture at least three times a week and keep the furniture most used by my dogs covered with a sheet or comforter. It is much easier to take the sheet or comforter off the couch and shake it out the door than it is to break out the vacuum cleaner.

Frequent bathes and daily brushing seems to help keep the hair follicle count down. Although when I brush the dogs it seems that I loosen up more hair than I capture. However, when I look at the brush I think to myself that at least this hair will not show up in the vacuum cleaner bag. Bathing also seems to help loosen and get rid of unwanted hair, but dogs should not be bathed anymore than every 6 weeks.

Cats of course do not like baths and personally I would not attempt to bathe a cat. I did try to bathe a cat once and have the scars to prove it. Moreover, most cats do enjoy being brushed. This is the time of year that cat owners need to keep a supply of hairball medicine on hand. Cats groom themselves and have little bristles on their tongues. These little bristles capture the loose hair and this hair ends up in the cat's stomach and intestinal tract. A cat with a hairball will gag, cough, and vomit undigested food sometimes with a big wad of hair mixed in. Hairballs are not a serious medical condition if treated early, and there are relatively inexpensive commercial hairball medications available for use over the counter.

Putting up with shedding is a big part of pet ownership, and it not as horrible as some of these makers of these shedding products would have you believe. Putting up with hair flying around your house and clinging to your clothing and furniture is well worth it when you think of the pleasure you derive from having your pet(s).