While many pets get an occasional spa day at the local groomer, most cats and dogs get a regular scrub in the family bathtub. Long-haired breeds are an obvious source of pet hair in drains, but short-haired canines and felines can also cause plumbing problems. Whether it’s your pet’s regular soak or an emergency wash, here are a few dog bath hacks to keep your drains clear.

We focus primarily on dog hair in this article, but these tips apply to any of your furry friends!

Two Easy Ways to Prevent Dog Hair Clogging Your Drain

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin’s saying applies to a lot of things, including plumbing issues.

1. Brush Your Pet Before the Bath

All pets shed. Even non-shedding dog and cat breeds lose hair over time, and much of that hair stays stuck in the undercoat until something dislodges it – like soapy water and scrubbing at bathtime.

Depending on the breed, most veterinarians recommend brushing your pet as often as once daily to maintain a healthy coat and reduce the risk of skin irritation and infection. Even non-shedding pets with short hair need a weekly brush session. Keeping up your regular grooming routine will make a pre-bath brush much easier!

2. Use a Bathtub Plug

Even a makeshift bathtub plug will keep most of your pet’s hair out of the drain. If you don’t have a traditional tub stopper, try using a washcloth or rag. You can also fill a sandwich bag halfway with water, seal it, and stuff it down the drain to achieve a nice, thorough seal.

Applying both of these methods will deliver the best results, but be sure to actively scoop hair during the bath, too. 

If you plan on making at-home pet baths a regular thing, investing in a dedicated pet hair drain catcher will allow water to pass through while keeping hair out of your pipes. Consider investing in a dedicated plastic dog bath for long-hair pets with a penchant to shed year-round.

How to Clean Pet Hair from the Tub Drain

Even careful pet owners will still face the occasional clogged drain after a pet bath. Like any clog, removing pet hair requires a little troubleshooting.

  1. Use a plunger. Mild pet hair clogs can usually be cleared with a little elbow grease. Use a plunger to loosen clogs, and try to run a small amount of water to make the suction force more effective. This is usually the best option for slow drains or partial clogs.
  2. Use baking soda and vinegar. If a plunger doesn’t work, add some chemistry to your muscle. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and top it off with enough vinegar to see the bubbles rise from the clog in the drain. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then try the plunger again.
  3. Use a snake. Drain snakes are the scalpel to the plunger’s hammer. Drain snakes are thin, flexible rods with a series of hooks and snares to catch and hold stubborn pet hair and other debris in drains. You’ll likely pull up plenty of hair on the snake itself, but the tool also helps loosen debris to make the plunger, baking soda and vinegar, and other methods more effective.

Why Not Dissolve Pet Hair in Drain Systems?

Commercial drain cleaners are chemical experiments conducted in your bathtub. Even non-toxic options are still incredibly corrosive and may damage pipes over time. Liquid drain cleaning products aren’t nearly as effective as they claim. In most cases, commercial drain cleaners only work on minor clogs. If you’re struggling with a clogged drain, it’s best to contact your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing technician for expert help.

Make Pet Spa Day More Relaxing for Everyone

Taking great care of your pets doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With an ounce (or two) of prevention, washing your pet at home is a convenient, inexpensive way to save time and money. The same is true for working with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. We offer punctual, affordable drain cleaning services and preventative maintenance you can count on. Find a location near you or call (866) 318-9397 today!