I love fluffies! With our two adorable fluffy dogs, Keiko a Japanese Spitz and Summer a Border Collie (plus some other fluffy feline siblings) I’m complete and in my happy place.
I’m also in a home that can be filled with pet hair. Especially during the spring months where the dog shedding is at an all-time high. If we do nothing, then we have white fluffy tumbleweeds gathering about the furniture legs, fur clumps littered about the carpets, couches and bedding, and fur-covered car seats. And, of course, we leave the house with the telltale signs of being a dog parent – dog hair stuck to whatever we’re wearing.
While I wouldn’t be without my fluffy furkids, I can certainly do without the fur that is not attached to them! Over the five years since we first welcomed Keiko (whose long and thick double coat makes him a super shedder), we’ve tried and learnt the essentials for keeping a tidy home and dog amidst the fluff.
Dog Bath Time
Dogs need to shed old, excess or damaged hair. A good wash helps to remove any hair that’s loose or just about to become loose, and keeps that hair where they are being bathed, not to be shed elsewhere in the house. Some bathing tips we’ve picked up over the years:
- We give our dogs a good brush out before their bath. This has made bath time more effective for reducing shedding and also makes it easier to bush out after they have dried.
- Use products that are best suited for your dog – Rosie (a frequent guest doggie of ours) has more sensitive skin so we use a gentle oatmeal shampoo with her. If we don’t then skin irritations can increase her shedding.
- Thoroughly rub in your shampoo/conditioner, rinse well and gently rub/massage your dog as you go – this maximises the removal of hair that would otherwise soon end up on your floors.
- With our dogs’ long coats, we use conditioner – not only does it leave our dogs coats feeling and smelling gorgeous, it works to protect their skin and coat, to seal the hair shaft and to moisturise (like in humans!) which helps reduce shedding through brittle coat and breakages. And it also makes the post-bath brush out easier as there are fewer tangles.
- In Spring, when he’s shedding excess hair from winter, we occasionally use a de-shedding shampoo with Keiko. These shampoos generally contain a fruit acid that will work on loose hair that is packed into the coat or hair that is ready to come out.
- Post bath, towel dry your dog. This will remove some extra hair and will reduce drying time.
- Sometimes there will be an increase in shedding post-bathtime – as hair loosened through bathing continues to drop afterwards. We’ve found this only lasts a day or two and can be dramatically reduced through post bathtime grooming (our next point!).
Regular combing and brushing are essential, especially when there is increased shedding through seasonal change and/or you have long-haired or double-coated dogs. There are a number of benefits to your dog and a tidy home through regular grooming:
- Dogs benefit from daily brushing as it makes their coat softer, cleaner and less prone to major shedding.
- Brushing removes any fur that is ready to come out and can remove a large amount of hair in quick time.
- Through brushing you control where this hair ends up! If your dogs shed anything like ours, at the end of brushing them, you will have a large fur ball which you can neatly deposit into the bin. This is preferable to letting fido naturally distribute it themselves all over the house.
- Brushing takes oils from your dog’s skin and coats their fur with it. This makes their coat more supply and less likely to break or fall out early.
There are more tools and products that you can shake a dog’s paw at. Each are designed with specific functions, purposes or a dog type in mind. We’ve tried a lot of brushes overtime to find those that work the best and you will most likely need to find the brush that is right for your dog and their coat.
Keiko and Summer have different brushes as we’ve found different ones work better for each of them. Keiko needs a rake style comb with longer pins that get all the way down into his thick coat. When he’s shedding he also benefits from brushes that are designed to specifically remove shedding hair – we mainly use an undercoat shedding comb and a rake. Summer’s coat, on the other hand, is better suited to a pin or slicker brush for her grooming. This may change as she gets older – we are expecting that her coat will continue to thicken as she leaves puppy-hood. We also finish the grooming for both Keiko and Summer with a bristle brush as this gives their coats a nice ‘polish’.
The Dyson Groom Tool
Another grooming accessory alternative is the Dyson Groom Tool. This attachment works with the Dyson Animal pro to remove and then ‘suck away’ dog hair directly from your dog. This vacuum-assisted grooming will help you to keep a clean and tidy home.
The Dyson Groom is not a grooming option for every dog – your dog needs to be comfortable being in close proximity to a vacuum cleaner and that noise. We tested it out recently with both Keiko and Summer – in minimal time they were comfortable with it. You can also read Lisa’s full review of the Dyson Groom tool here – including the suitability of your dog and safety.
Drying off a double-coated dog like Keiko post-bath, is a big job – often taking more than twice as long as the bath itself. Earlier this year, we decided on purchasing a dog grooming blower/dryer to speed this up. Dog Dryers do not actually “dry” the dog – they use forced air to remove the water from the fur quickly and safely. One of the unexpected benefits of this method for drying is that it also ‘blows out’ his coat to remove excess hair. And what’s more Keiko’s coat afterwards is beautifully soft – more so than any other drying method we used and this includes a human hairdryer, towel drying and drying naturally.
Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum
It certainly seems strange to me to talk excitedly about vacuum cleaners. I mean, I don’t at all love (or even vaguely like) vacuuming. But that makes finding products that simply work to remove dog hair, worth getting excited about. We have three vacuum cleaners that together make life with dog shedding far easier to deal with.
Barrel Vacuum Cleaner
Ten years ago we purchased our first Dyson to handle the fur mess we were expecting with our new kitten and it didn’t let us down. It was only when Dyson approached us to test out the new DC 54 Animal Pro that we upgraded from our first Dyson (which was still going strong!).
The Animal Pro had the same great suction and dog hair removal as the older model, but there were some new great features that we found. These included additional tools to better clean different aspects of the home and furnishings and to reach more difficult places (hello and welcome, tangle-free turbine tool!). There’s also no filters to clean, it’s more mobile to pull around the house as you go, the larger capacity bin means we can now vacuum the whole house without stopping and we don’t even have to adjust the main turbine head between hard and carpeted floors anymore.
Robot vacuum cleaner
Do you like the idea of your floors being cleaned so that you can get on with the tasks ahead of you for the day or while you’re enjoying snuggles with your dog on the couch? Enter the robot vacuum.
Set the robot vacuum to work and off it heads on a path around your rooms, picking up hair, dirt and anything else on the floors. I was surprised how well this vacuum handled pet hair in our carpets. We still do a full vacuum with the Dyson once a week to clean the places that the robot can’t reach (steps, corners and under some furniture in particular) but this is great for maintaining the appearance of our floors & carpets in between these main weekly vacuums. And of course that it does this while I concentrate on other things is fabulous. I use it daily without it taking any of my time or energy.
Summer supervising the robot vacuum!
(A little note: this is the second robot we have had – the first model (not a Samsung), didn’t last all that long. What we learnt, I think might be helpful for others with the requirement to clean up lots of hair. The fitting where the brush attaches to the unit is much better as a square like in the Samsung model. The earlier unit we tried had a triangle fitting – which over time and with hair getting clogged, rounded the three points such that the brush rotated freely and no longer collected hair).
In addition to our own fluffies, every week I welcome photography clients and their dogs into our home for their consultations and sessions. This means I need to keep both the house spotless, and clean the studio of any hair shedding that occurs when I’m photographing. The Stick vacuum cleaner is perfect for a quick clean up in between the weekly vacuum and nabbing the fur that the robot cleaner can’t reach.
It’s super powerful, so it can remove hair from carpet, hard floors and couches that may have been used during the session. It’s super portable which mean I can grab it and race around and pick up the visible hair clumps and tumbleweeds in minutes.
Do you need three different vacuum products like I do to have a tidy home with dogs? Nope, not at all. The barrel cleaner will do the work that the stick and the robot will do. These others though are fabulous for a busy person who would prefer to spend any extra time gained in the day taking a longer walk with their dog! They save time in between cleans and allow me to keep our home super tidy for welcoming clients, friends and family.
These essentials all serve to reduce the mess of dog hair that dog lovers will have in their homes. They work to both reduce the dog hair that is shed in your home in the first place and through most efficiently cleaning up the bulk of the pet hair that falls on your floors and carpets.
But wait there’s more!! We’ve shared some extra tips & hacks we have for keeping a tidy home amidst the dog shedding in another post – More Essentials for a Tidy Home.
Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.