Friction can cause your pet’s fur to build up a lovely electrical charge, perfect for discharging every time you pet him. This is especially likely if you have a fluffy animal and a very dry house. There might be little danger, but it is a nuisance.
Measure the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, which are cheap and widely available from household stores. If the relative humidity is much below 30 percent, it is too dry. Aside from turning your dog or cat into a battery, the dryness is doing neither you nor your pets any good at all.
Position a portable humidifier in your main living room to maintain a humidity of somewhere between 30 and 50 percent, if your home is too dry. Fill up the wells as per the instructions. Alternatively, place several shallow bowls of water in the room or introduce some large pet-safe houseplants.
Squirt a little pet conditioner into a (clean) plant mister, fill with water and shake thoroughly.
Spray some of the solution onto your hands, rub them together and stroke your pet. This usually is enough to remove the charge.
Mist your pet along his body, if his fur is still crackling. Using this mixture is a short term but highly effective solution to static-filled fur.
- An alternative to the conditioner mixture is nylon pantyhose. Make it into a bundle and wipe your cat or dog down with it.
- If a member of your family or a pet suffers from asthma or other lung condition, consult your doctor or vet before you raise the humidity of living areas, which in some cases can make symptoms worse.
- Although some pet owners recommend rubbing dryer sheets over your pet, it is not a good idea to use chemical products for other than their intended purpose without professional advice, especially when the end result will be ingestion by a person or animal – for example when your cat washes himself. Ask your vet if you are determined to try this, but a mixture of pet conditioner and water is less risky, just as effective and somewhat cheaper.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.