It seems like a problem ripped from the comic books, but for some pet owners, it’s a fact of life. If your dogs’ coat is full of static, there are ways to reduce and prevent you and your dog from having an excessively shocking relationship.
Simply put, static electricity is caused by the buildup of electrons on an object. When an object comes into contact with another object of a different charge, electrons are transferred from one material and relocated to the other. The moving of the electron causes the static shock you experience.
On your pet, the hair follicles repel each other when positive charges build up on the coat. Low humidity environments (such as a home heated in the winter) can create an optimum environment for static electricity in your pets’ coat, leading to tangles and unintentional shocks when you touch your pet.
Get the Dry Out!
A dry, low humidity environment is the most favorable condition for static electricity. If you live in an area with cold winters, forced air heaters may be part of your life for a good part of every year. While these heaters do a good job of keeping you warm, they are extremely drying, and strip the air of the moisture needed to prevent excessive static electricity.
You can increase the humidity in your home while still keeping warm by running a humidifier throughout the winter months. The humidifier will increase the moisture level in your home, helping to combat dry skin, scratchy throats, and cut down on static electricity.
When you brush your dog, use a coat conditioner, detangler, or even a small mist of water to slightly wet down the coat first, before beginning to brush. Adding moisture to the coat before brushing will reduce friction and help to reduce static shocks during the grooming process.
After bathing your pet, use a dog-specific conditioner. The conditioner will help the hair to retain moisture, making it more difficult for a static electricity charge to accumulate.
If your pet wears a sweater or jacket, ensure that whatever is keeping your pet warm and toasty is made of natural fibers. Synthetic fibers pick up more of a static charge than natural materials such as cotton.
Remove Your Static
If you find that you are frequently shocked while petting your dog, changing the material of your own clothes may help reduce the shocks as well. Because friction causes the buildup of static energy, walking on carpeted floors with socks and some shoes can cause you to build up a large amount of static energy that is discharged when you touch your pet. In cases where static electricity is a large concern, there are shoes available which prevent the buildup of static electricity.
In addition to keeping your dogs’ coat moisturized, keeping your hands well moisturized can reduce static shocks. Regular moisturizer lotion can work well, as well as specific static-reducing crèmes that can help cut down on shocks.
Many people have had to get a little creative when it comes to reducing the static in their pets’ coat. The use of anti-static dryer sheets is a common method of reducing static. Rubbing one of the sheets throughout the dogs’ coat will often reduce the static, but it is only a temporary solution, and may be required several times in a day.
Some people have even gone so far as to use the clothing anti-static spray on their pets. This is not recommended, as these products are often made of ingredients that can be harmful or toxic to pets if ingested. As well as having the potential to make your dog sick, the aerosol nature of these sprays can cause allergies and other related problems.
Dealing with static and pets can be a difficult dilemma. The use of a humidifier, as well as adding moisture to your pets coat can be your best defense against static, helping to ensure you and your pet enjoy a less shocking relationship.