Dog hair is a valuable material that has many uses. Next time you brush your dog, consider saving and putting the hair to good use. The quality of hair depends on the breed. Some breeds have short coarse hair while others are soft and fluffy. Focus on capturing and bagging the hair while your dog is shedding.
Dog hair will spin into yarn and make an excellent resource for knitting clothing. Sweaters, hats, blankets and gloves are all possible through your pet hair. Spin the yarn yourself or send it to a professional spinner. Hair with lengths of several inches will spin nicely but shorter hair requires a blend of wool to stick and add elasticity to the yarn. Wash the hair before spinning to remove smell and dander. Place the hair on a mesh screen and soak with water and a mild soap. Rinse and dry before spinning. Add a vinegar bath if the hair has strong scents.
Tie a Fly
The soft underfur of dogs makes an excellent dubbing material for fishing flies. Collect the soft, fluffy sections of fur and process it through an electric coffee grinder. Consider a custom blend by combining the fur with a synthetic dubbing or something natural like fox, rabbit or squirrel. The dubbing works well for nymphs, streamers and traditional dry flies.
Clean the Environment
Donate your dog fur to clean environmental damage caused by chemical spills. Hair absorbs chemicals and is used as a natural cleanup process in environmental disasters. Donate the hair to Matter of Trust and they will make a boom of hair mats to contain and absorb oil from the environment.
Help a Bird
Birds use soft dog hair for nesting. Place some hair in your birdhouses or leave it on the ground for easy collecting. Put it in chicken nesting boxes to soften the ground and make it accessible for birds to gather and utilize around your property.
Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.