Dogs Cats and Fur Battles – Pet Tip 251
Cats and dogs have plenty of fur and the battle of the fur and the household never seems to end. Cats and dogs don’t seem to care much about losing a bit of fur but it does bother many humans. Given that the fur problem for humans is not likely to end anytime soon is there anything we can do to reduce the amount of fur that cats and dogs shed?
The answer is ‘yes and no’ and has a lot to do with the personality of the human not the cat or dog. Dogs and cats shed and that is a fact of life. They can no more stop shedding than we humans can stop shedding. (Humans shed skin cells and lose body/head hair every single day). If you are going to get a cat or a dog but the fur is going to be an issue for you, maybe a cat or dog is simply not the pet for you. You want the years that you spend with your pet to be positive, and if seeing fur daily is going to put a damper on the bond between human and pet, then the match is wrong from the start. That said, there are hairless breeds of both cats and dogs and these may be appropriate for people with ‘fur anxiety’. In addition, there are obviously many breeds of cats and dogs with short coats. These coats tend to shed less and are easier to maintain than the coats of long haired cats and long haired dogs.
What is puzzling to many cat and dog owners is this phenomenon of shedding all year long. Most people were taught that dogs and cats only shed seasonally; normally in the spring and the fall, and yet many homes have the flying fur phenomenon all year long. The answer is fairly simple; it has to do with heating, air conditioning and the sun. In the winter when the dog needs a longer coat, we humans heat our houses so that we stay warm. On the opposite end, in the summer, our pets lose fur when they go outdoors because it’s hot. Then when they come inside and we have air conditioning they need some of that fur to keep warm. In order to compensate for the changing indoor and outdoor climates cats and dogs are constantly losing fur.
When it comes to the sun a similar phenomenon is at play. Most cats and many dogs love to bask in the sun. Even when they are indoors a ray of direct sunlight can heat up a cat’s or dog’s body quite a bit; enough to ‘trick’ the animal’s system into thinking summer is approaching even though it may be the dead of winter. It is for this reason that apartments or houses that receive lots of sunlight in the winter will usually have pets that shed more than pets that live in places that receive less direct sunlight.
In terms of getting rid of all the stray hair, a good air filtration system makes a lot of sense. Daily brushing is a great solution as are monthly baths for those pets that shed excessively. (Ask your vet for a bathing schedule appropriate to your cat or dog breed). Most pets love to be brushed and the activity serves the additional bonus of bonding with your pet. Although we can’t get rid of household fur altogether, by understanding how to reduce it we can live more comfortably with our pets.