A common problem with pet owners is the stray hairs their dogs and cats leave around the house on floors, furniture and clothes. As our pets have become important family members, they’ve moved out of the backyard and into the house. This means hair shedding and cleanliness have become more of a concern. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the impact, explains veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren.

Look at low-shedding breeds

All dogs and cats shed hair – some more than others. Choosing a low-shedding breed can make a huge difference. Remember that low-shedding dog breeds require regular clipping, an additional expense to consider. Choosing a smooth or short-coated breed may also reduce the overall volume of shedding.

Groom your pet regularly

It may sound obvious, but brushing pets regularly will remove loose fur that will otherwise be shed and dropped around the house. Long-haired pets especially should be groomed regularly to keep their coats trim. There are some great de-shedding tools and brushes available that make grooming more effective by reaching through the topcoat to remove loose undercoat hair.

Pay attention to couch fabrics

Pet hair attaches more to certain furniture fabrics such as wool, velvet and tweed than ones like Ultrasuede and microfibre. Coverings should be selected for their ease of cleaning. Owners of light-coloured pets often choose cream or white slipcovers because they don’t show the hair. Leather or faux leather can also be a good furniture option as it doesn’t hold hair and wipes clean.

What flooring is best?

Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting as it can quickly entrap pet hair. Tiles and floorboards are more manageable but choose the right colour flooring – dark floorboards will show up light pet hair more than light floorboards.

Remove the hair

Vacuum regularly to remove hair from your living space and use a sticky roller to remove fur from clothing. If you allow your pets on the furniture, washable slipcovers or throw-rugs can be used to protect furniture and keep it fresh.

Pet management

Keeping pets off your furniture is the best way to prevent you, your family and visitors being covered in hair. If you’ve got a new puppy or kitten, it’s a good idea to train them to stay off the furniture from the start. Also, consider restricting pets to areas with hard surface flooring.

Dr Katrina's tips for the best low-shedding pets

These are great choices if you’re looking for a new four-legged friend.

Low-shedding Dog Breeds: Bedlington terriers, bichon frise, Maltese dogs, poodles and schnauzers. These breeds all need regular clipping and grooming.

Minimal Grooming Dog Breeds: Chinese crested dogs, chihuahuas, whippets, greyhounds and Italian greyhounds. These breeds all shed hair but their fine coats mean less hair and little grooming.

Low-shedding Cat Breeds: Devon rex, Cornish rex, Bengal, Russian blue and Siamese.

Written by Dr Katrina Warren. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest