PET TIPS: Stairs and Shed Fur

Shed fur. We learn to live with it. Well, most of us do. We either tolerate the fuzzy tumbleweeds piling into corners, and the occasional strand on a plate, or the layers left on couches - or we clean it weekly, if not more often.

The problem is keeping it under control. Groomers are in business for a reason. Or you can save money by grooming at home.

Know your breed before you acquire it; if you can't dedicate time for grooming, find a lower maintenance dog. Don't expect your husky or German shepherd to shed just a little. The undercoat comes out in clumps. But a short-haired chihuahua? Less fussing, easier brushing.

(Yep, huskies shed like mad. Check out Felisha's upbeat channel on YouTube if you'd like to learn more about the breed: lishieandfamily.)

Dust mopping and vacuuming are easy ways to remove hair from floors and furniture. But what about those stairs?

We removed the carpet at our last house. Our pommy and GSD were fur explosions twice a year. It made the fur so much easier to cope with. Our current house is shared with my mother, and she refuses to let me decorate or alter anything inside. As a result, I face the challenge of carpeted stairs.

It piles on quickly. Lugging a vacuum up and down as you work really isn't all that pleasant. It clogs the hose and canister. It's heavy as sin. Using a smaller, hand-held vac (i.e. dust-buster) might work for breeds that don't have undercoats or else shed only a little, or to clean up dust.

I skip the vacuum and use a dual shedding blade instead. This way, I only need the vacuum to lift the dust out of the carpet fiber.

This grooming tool ranges from $3-$15 in price. Most pet stores carry them.

Or, if you're a fan of online shopping, Chewy sells them for around $8.

The trick is to get a dual blade. This allows you two options when working on your carpets. You want enough tooth length to scrape the fur off the rug without tearing out the rug's fibers. Bear in mind that this will not work on berber carpets with looser loops! You might pull the loops out, or otherwise damage it.

For regular carpets:
Start at the top of the stairs and simply rake. Make sure to get both riser and tread. I carry a plastic shopping bad with me and add raked fur every couple of steps. The clump below is from just three steps...I wasn't able to do the stairs last week. It piled up.

It will kick up dust. Wear a mask if you have allergies to that. Of course, you'll need to vacuum that stuff, but the rake allows you to go longer between vacuuming.

It works for cat fur as well.

In the spring and summer, I put the shed hair outside for the birds. You can repurpose the fur in other ways but I'm not one for reusing it in pillows or knitting. The ACK website has some projects here: "7 Things You Can Do With Your Dog’s Fur".