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One of the less-loved aspects of pet parenthood is having to deal with all that hair -which besides your dog’s brush, is usually all over your furniture, rugs, clothes… you name it. But wait! Before you toss all that spare hair into the trash, consider recycling it. That’s right — there are tons of uses for dog hair that you probably didn’t know!
- Collecting dog hair can be a valuable resource for many pursuits and hobbies.
- For one thing, dog hair can be spun into yarn and used for knitting cozy garments, providing a sustainable and unique alternative to traditional materials. It’s a creative way to repurpose dog fur while staying warm in style.
- It can also be invaluable for wildlife conservation. By placing dog fur in your garden or offering it to birds, you can help provide nesting materials and create habitats for feathered friends.
- Dog hair can be used to create oil spill mats and booms, effectively absorbing oil and helping to clean up environmental disasters, mainly oil spills.
Did you know that dog fur, despite being an annoyance for humans, can actually have some surprising and useful applications? Instead of letting it accumulate on clothes, furniture, or form dust bunnies, why not consider upcycling it? As a dog owner myself, I’ve discovered firsthand the value of repurposing my furry friend’s shedding. Let me share with you a few fascinating ways I’ve found to put that excess dog hair to good use.
Unique Uses For Dog Hair
1. Dog hair keeps unwanted critters away from your garden.
Put away those nasty pesticides (along with herbicides, which are known to cause bladder cancer in dogs). There’s a much safer way to protect your garden. All you have to do is collect dog hair!
Sprinkle generous helpings of your dog’s fur onto the soil to deter creepy-crawlies. Snails and slugs will become trapped in it before they can reach your plants, and its scent will deter critters like rabbits, squirrels and deer, who will be fooled into thinking a dog is nearby (a little bit of cat hair may be useful to fend off mice and other rodents too). Don’t forget that many of these critters are responsible for hard-to-treat dog ear infections. It’d be incredibly poetic for a dog’s fur to be the thing you use to get back at them!
Kathy Webber of Monona, Wisc., owns two businesses: The Clip Joint for dog grooming and Dogless Dog Hair, which she started two years ago in response to frequent requests for the clippings from people without pets.
“Through my grooming business, I’ve seen dogs that have gotten into the garden after their owners have applied toxic pesticides and herbicides,” Weber told the Wisconsin State Journal. “Often the dogs develop tummy problems, hot spots, and they won’t stop chewing their feet (these reviews will help you find the best dog nail grinder to groom your dog’s feet and keep them healthy). The dogs are miserable. Knowing that Dogless Dog Hair products, made from dog fur, will keep dogs and their owners safe puts my heart at ease.”
According to the Dogless Dog Hair website, you can place the dog fur around the perimeter of your garden in a border about 3 to 4 inches wide. Sprinkle more of the pet hair throughout the garden. Add more dog fur about every two to three weeks.
Another method is to mix the dog’s fur with the topsoil. The pet fur will then have the added benefit of helping to retain your garden’s moisture. And nitrogen gets released into the soil as the dog’s fur decays,” the website reports. “This is a win-win!”
2. Dog hair can be used to clean up oil spills.
Since both dog fur and human hair attract oil, Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, uses it to construct mats and “booms” (recycled nylons filled with hair) to soak up oil spills. The company takes donations from hair salons, pet groomers, and people who collect dog hair and send in bags filled with pet hair.
Here are a couple of scary facts: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 14,000 oil spills are reported every year . Moreover, the U.S. Department of Energy says that in a typical year, 1.3 million gallons of petroleum are spilled into U.S. waters from vessels and pipelines.
Although many spills are contained and cleaned up by the party responsible for the spill, some spills require assistance from local and state agencies, and occasionally, the federal government,” the EPA reports.
Donations to Matter of Trust can be made by signing up via Excess Access and selecting Yes for “Are you part of our hair program?” You will be contacted when a donation of your pet’s hair is needed.
3. Birds can line their nests with dog hair.
You may call this idea a little bird-brained at first, but it’s based on solid biological fact. Our feathered friends will happily use dog hair to build their nests.
“Birds generally line the inside of their nest with a soft lining of some sort. The best you can offer that will provide what they need is your pet’s fur,” reports Wild Bird Watching, a website “where bird watchers find answers.”
You should place the pet hair on top of shrubs so birds can easily pick it up.
Other nest construction materials you can supply are lawn clippings (but only if your grass hasn’t been treated with chemicals); strips of yarn and cloth that have been cut to about 6 inches long; and piles of small sticks. One item you shouldn’t offer birds is dryer lint because it gets hard when it gets wet.
“This spring, try offering things for the birds to build their homes with,” Wild Bird Watching suggests. “You might find more birds making their home in your yard.”
4. Dog hair can be used to tie fishing flies.
“One day, while my wife was brushing our dog, she showed me how the new ‘de-shedding‘ brush removed the dog’s underfur,” writes Steve Christopherson on his WaywardAngler Fly Fishing website.
He noticed that his dog’s fur was very similar in texture to the rabbit hair he uses to tie his fishing flies.
Using this new, and free, source of fur and hair to tie flies was an experiment, but when they caught fish, I set aside permanent parking in my fly box,” Christopherson reports.
He has used his dog’s hair to catch trout, bass, and panfish. He notes that the flies “aren’t pretty, but the rubber-legged wooly bugger-things produced fine results.”
5. You can knit with dog hair.
Dog hair can keep you warm in cold weather under certain circumstances. (Learn what you can do to keep dogs warm in winter.)
Just think, Cruella De Vil could have had herself a dog-fur coat without harming a single Dalmatian puppy! Dog hair can be cleaned, spun into yarn, and then used to knit fashionable garments — including coats.
In her book “Knitting With Dog Hair: Better A Sweater From A Dog You Know and Love Than From A Sheep You’ll Never Meet,” author Kendall Crolius provides instructions “for everything from ‘harvesting the fuzz’ to spinning it into yarn to patterns for knitting dog hair into sweaters, hats, and scarves,” according to Amazon.
“Now people don’t believe I’m wearing a hat made with Newfy hair, but I can tell you my head has never been warmer in the dead of winter,” wrote Larry Schneider in an Amazon review of the book.
Stay tuned for more hints and tips about your dog companions. Take note of these uses for dog hair — all that dog hair may be annoying, but it can come in handy too.