Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Double Duty Dryer sheets

Cold weather + heating our home + petting Honey = Major Static electricity shocks.
If you are curious, as was I, here is the answer...
“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.”
Well I am glad I got to the bottom of that one. To solve the problem of shocking Honey 1000+ times a day, Scotty thought it would be a great idea to rub Honey down with a dryer sheet. It really did lessen the amount of shocks and, as an added bonus, Honey’s fur smelled “April Fresh”.
Being obsessive, I started to worry about the potential harm to Honey if she licked herself while covered in (hazardous?) chemicals contained in the dryer sheets. Google research time (not that I put too much faith in what I find there, but it was late and our vet’s office was closed for the night). Of course, I found lots of conflicting answers from regular ‘helpful’ folks, experts, and even vets ranging from 10 reasons NOT to use dryer sheets on your dog to 10 reasons why dryer sheet rub downs for your dog is the only solution to static shocks while petting. No clear cut answers there although I did find many other useful tips – bathe Honey and then apply dog specific conditioner, buy a whole house humidifier , boil 5 gallons of water per 1000 square feet of living space per day, do not pet Honey while the house is being heated, apply generous amounts of lotion to my hands before petting Honey (although I would worry about those chemicals too!), mist Honey with water before petting… you see where this is going, don’t you?
Raising a future guide dog is much like raising children… ask the same question to 100 different people and you will get 100 different answers. My mom, the go to answer lady for child raising (she raised 8 of us – and yes I can name them all and I know their birthdays!) was useless to me, so I called the vet first thing this morning. He did not see a problem with the dryer sheet solution if used in moderation during those days when the outside air is particularly dry. He did feel a better solution would be to add humidity to the air via a humidifier or boiling water on the stove. I do not want to calculate the cost of the water (yes, we pay for water usage) and electricity to boil 25 gallons of water a day – if it is even possible to boil that much water per day. Needless to say, I am waiting for a visit from the HVAC company to see how much the whole home humidifier is going to set me back!
Any puppy raisers or dog lovers who have a tried and true, non-toxic, less costly method of lessing static shocks, please share your wisdom with me.


  1. FYI - If you want some entertaining reading Google search the story of a woman who lit her pet on fire by rubbing it with a dryer sheet. I was not kidding when I posted there are crazy stories out there!

  2. ummm why not just wait till spring? it won't hurt the dog at all or just touch something other then her before petting her...