At Home: How to Deal with Pet Fur-stration and Other Pet-Living Tips
Would you mind if you stopped shedding? Luke, our 55-pound hound mix, begs me. Kindly keep your gigantic fur to yourself.
As I deal with the puffy apricot fur balls that billow throughout the home, gathering beneath chairs and in corners, Luke and I have this conversation frequently. He looks at me soulfully with his Bassett-bedroom eyes as I plead. "I understand you can't help yourself, I say, but geez!
I've been fur-strated.
Fur patrol is a second occupation for anyone with shedding pets.
My husband, DC, tries to put a positive perspective on the issue by saying, He only blows his coat twice a year.
Yeah, I say, Once from January to June, and again from July to December.
I asked my friend Paula how she handles it on a recent visit to her house. Paula has two shedding dogs and manages to keep her house spotless and fur-free.
She says, "With Marvin the Martian," alluding to her robotic Roomba vacuum. He cleans just when I tell him to. My phone is used to program his active times. He zooms back to his little dock, dumps his dirt bin, and recharges when he's done or needs a rest.
I tell DC about Marvin when I get home. DC, an intelligent man, phones me the next day at Costco, where he is staring at a display of Roombas. He inquires, Which model do you want?
Our new Roomba, dubbed Rosie after the maid from "The Jetsons," was connected to the house Wi-Fi and ready for service by that afternoon. "Execute," I say, excitedly pressing the Vacuum everywhere" button on my phone's touch pad.
Rosie emits a joyful wake-up sound, disconnects from her dock, and scoots across the floor, under chairs, beds, and sofas where no vacuum has gone before. I feel like I've finally made it into the twenty-first century.
Fur management is just one of many domestic issues that pet owners confront when they welcome furry friends into their homes — and surveys show that the number of people doing so is on the rise. During the pandemic, one in every five American homes got a pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to a research issued last month by Spots.com, 53 percent of American households now have a dog, and 36 percent have a cat.
Apart from avoiding fur, here are some other things pet owners should think about:
Choose pet-friendly flooring. Hard floors, such as tile, stone, vinyl, or wood (as long as spills are mopped up quickly), are preferable for pets since they are easy to clean. Carpet, while warm and inviting, can trap pet odors, fur, fleas, and dander, and is more vulnerable to chewing, clawing, and stains.
Include a means of escape. Pet doors allow those who aren't at home all day to have pets. Standard or electronic (activated by the pet's collar) doors are available in a variety of sizes and can be installed in any wall or door going outside. Even though pet doors may be purchased for as low as $50, think twice before cutting a hole in your wall. The flaps on inexpensive pet doors frequently need to be replaced, and they can provide poor temperature control. According to Maria Lewis, a spokeswoman for PlexiDor, which has been making high-end dog doors since 1985 and sells them for $298 to $1,985 plus installation, higher-end dog doors have better insulation, stronger seals to control extreme temperatures, better security features, and flaps that will likely outlast the house.
Set up a secure fence. If your house has a yard, make it a safe place for your dog to play. Install a sturdy fence that your dog won't be able to jump over or dig beneath. Electric fences are effective at keeping pets contained in the yard, but they are ineffective at keeping other animals out.
Take a look around the area. For both dogs and their owners, a home or apartment with convenient access to walking trails or a dog park is a huge benefit.
Look for a doggy sitter. If you work outside the home or travel, find a friend or business that can look after your pet and give visits, walks, or boarding while you're gone. Online services like Wag! and Rover can help you find pre-screened dog walkers and sitters in your region. Play care programs can also help younger and more athletic dogs by providing socialization and exercise.
Include pet care in your budget. Pets may freely provide love, but they are not free. Food, snacks, toys, vet care, grooming, and dog sitting all add up, and that's before the robot vacuum is factored in.