Pet Talk
Columns, Pet Talk

Pet Talk

July 24, 2019

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka speaks about the spider-ant relation and explains how a species can be one’s predator and other’s prey

By Maneka Gandhi

Why does my dog shed hair?

Shedding a small amount is normal for every mammal including you. But any more means that the dog is not well and you need to have a blood and urine test. Dogs with untreated allergies often leave more hair and dander on furniture. Daily brushing and a good diet and proper grooming will significantly reduce your pet’s shedding and help prevent flaking skin and hair loss related to improper nutrition. Never bathe a dog more than once a month (less often for some breeds) or it will become dry and shed/dander more.

My dog rubs herself against my clothes every day. Is there any way to get dog hair off my clothes? I don’t want to wash them every day.

Here are some suggestions for your clothes, carpets, sofas, bed linen:

1. Soak the palm of your hand. Wipe the pet hair off in a downward motion. The hair will ball up and stick to your damp hand. This works because the hair becomes wet, therefore heavier. This results in it being unable to stick to your pants (or whatever surface you’re dealing with) in response to static electricity.

2. Slightly dampen a clean, regular kitchen sponge. Use a sponge mop if you’re removing pet hair from a low-pile carpet, in which case the floor should be thoroughly vacuumed first. Rub the fabric, upholstery, or carpet, with the sponge. The fur should roll up into clumps that you can pick off by hand.

3.  Rub Velcro curlers on the surface to catch the hair. If the curler has a metal inner form, it can be bent to reach corners.

4. Use sellotape to peel off some fur. Just wrap some around your hand with the sticky, adhesive part sticking out, and tap it on the fur-covered areas. Use masking tape. It’s relatively cheap and you can tear off a piece, tape the ends together, and then rotate the tape while removing pet hair from clothing or other surfaces.

5. Put on a latex glove. Rub the surface with it on. The pet hair should stick to your glove. This also works with rubber gloves, or cloth gardening gloves with a rubber coating on the palm. A rubber bristle push broom can work in the same way on floors. Dampen the glove, or rubber section of the glove, for increased effectiveness. You can use dish-washing gloves. If you lightly dampen them and rub them over your clothes, the static they create and the texture of the palms will cause the stray hairs to cling to the gloves. Once they become covered with hair, give them a rinse and start again. Using the gloves for hair collection also works great on upholstered furniture.

Inflate a balloon. Rub it across the surface that has pet hair on it. The static on the balloon’s surface will attract the hair, which you can collect and then re-use the balloon to get more hair.

6. Use a rubber broom. This is effective for especially stubborn pet hair that sticks to a surface. The bristles work with static electricity and the hair jumps onto the brush.

7. Use rubber soles. Use a pair of shoes with a rubber sole, like a trainer for example. Wearing the shoe(s) (the easiest option), drag your foot along the rug or carpet and watch all the hair bunch up! Simply lift up the hair.

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8. Buy a lint brush. This works on most types of dog and cat hair. Keep it by the door for quick touch-ups before going out. To clean quickly, rub the lint brush in the “wrong” direction with a damp wash-cloth.

9. Keep several clothes brushes handy for a quick clean up before leaving home.

If you have woollen clothes that are covered with hair, use a clothes steamer, or even hang them in a steamy bathroom, before using the clothes brush. The dampness will help the fibres release the pet hair, making it easier to brush away.

10. A sticky clothes roller is often best for removing pet hair. If you don’t have one (or can’t find it), use some sturdy packing tape wrapped around your hand with the sticky side out.

11. Vacuum your home and furniture often. Much of the pet hair on your clothes comes from the furniture.

Will a washing machine help remove dog hair off clothes?

Wash pet bedding often. After laundering, run an extra rinse cycle to be sure that your washer is free from pet hair. If you dry the pet bedding in a dryer, clean the lint filter in mid-cycle so that it can collect additional hair as the bedding finishes drying. If you don’t clean a clogged filter, pet hair can redeposit on clothes.

For washable clothes, or bedding that is covered with pet hair, run the items through the dryer on air /no heat first before washing them. The tumbling action of the dryer will loosen much of the hair and it will be sucked into the dryer lint trap. Be sure to clean out the lint trap immediately after taking this step, to prevent odours and increase air flow.

Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle when washing loads with lots of lint or hair. The vinegar will help the fabric fibres relax and “release” the hair.

When washing clothes do not overcrowd the washer. The clothes need room to move freely in the water, so that the hair can be loosened and flushed away down the drain. Tossing the clothes in the dryer — even for a short time — will help remove hair more than air drying clothes. Keep all dryer vents clean and clear of lint so that there is enough strong air flow to pull the hair away from the fabrics.

Do cows cry or grieve?

Cows do grieve for loved ones, and mother cows cry for days after being separated from their babies.

Does milking a cow hurt the cow?

Most cow owners do not wash their hands, do not have soft hands, or do not milk gently. Nor do they put any cream or lotion on the udders afterwards. More than 50% of cows’ udders become sore. They  suffer from mastitis, an infection of the udders that causes swelling and makes milking very painful.

Are spiders and ants friends or enemies?

There are no friends and enemies in nature. There is predator and prey. Ants are sometimes predators of spiders and sometimes prey of other spider species. In a strange case, jumping spiders are eaten by the large aggressive spitting spiders. The spitting spider can immobilise its prey by spitting on it from a distance. In the Philippines, it lives on the same large waxy leaves as the jumping spider. It normally spins its web right over the nest of the jumping spider, to make hunting just a little bit easier. However, the spitting spider does not come near a jumping spider when the latter positions its own nest near that of weaver ants. This is because the spitting spider is repelled by the airborne smell that these ants release. However, it’s not yet plain sailing for the jumping spider, as it is also a favourite snack of its saviour, the weaver ant. Therefore, jumping spiders build dense,                                                                                               ant-proof nests of an unusually tough and dense weave that are difficult for the ants to tear open. The nest’s hinged flaps of silk at each end function as swinging doors. The spider quickly raises these when it enters or leaves the nest, before any ants can follow. See how clever each species is!

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Are shrimps safe to eat?

Many people think that an animal is safe to consume because it doesn’t kill them immediately, or gives them an infection in their stomach that lasts for a few days. For instance, eating the meat of a cow/buffalo, that has foot in mouth disease, does give some humans an acne/chickenpox type condition and fever, but it is so mild that no one relates the two. Likewise, shrimp carry massive amounts of antibiotics (because that is what they have been bred with), heavy metals and PCBs, which are the worst cancer giving chemicals that I can think of. These have long-term effects — meaning your body can react even a year later. Now, scientists have found that freshwater shrimps are sometimes affected by a parasite, Pleistophoramulleri, which makes the shrimp cannibalistic and far more voraciously hungry. Do you want that kind of parasite in you? There is evidence that parasites can affect human behaviour. A study, led by Dr. Glenn McConkey, of the University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences, has shown that the parasite Toxoplasma gondii directly affects the chemistry of the human brain. I always say — first you eat meat, then it eats you.

What can I do to save a species like the tiger?

Collect as much money as you can and give it to genuine groups, who don’t waste it on advertising and giving T-shirts with slogans, but, who buy jeeps and guns for forest rangers, and pay for Lawyers and work with Police in and around reserves, to save not just tigers but their prey, deer, monkeys etc. Plant as many trees as you can. One tree, that saves a species locally, goes a long way towards saving key species elsewhere on the planet.

Don’t eat meat. Most tigers are killed by goatherds and buffalo owners who want the forest for their animal grazing. Less cattle and goats feeding in the forests, so that their owners can sell them for your meat, means more tigers immediately. Fight, with your e-mail, voice and whatever you have, against any attempt by the Government to divert forests for any reason. Do not go to resorts that are anywhere near tiger territory. These are usually illegal, and many of them take tourists into the forests illegally.

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