Each different material holds on to these surface electrons with its own different characteristic strength.
If two materials rub against each other, electrons can be ripped out of the “weaker” material and find themselves on the material with a stronger binding force.
We notice static electricity more in the dry months of winter when the air has very low humidity.
This is what happens:
In dry air, electrons get trapped on the surface with a stronger binding force.
Unlike when the air is moist, they can’t find their way to flow back to the surface where they came from, and they can’t make the distribution of charges uniform again.
A static electric spark occurs when an object with a surplus of negative electrons comes close to another object with a less negative charge – and the surplus of electrons is large enough to make the electrons “jump.”
The electrons flow from where they’ve built up – like on you after walking across a wool rug – or with the case of our Newfies, when they shuffle across a rug or carpet-to the next thing you contact that doesn’t have an excess of electrons – such as a doorknob’ or our face.
There’s nothing worse than giving your poor pup a nasty shock when you go in for a pet. Luckily, there are a few tricks to help reduce the static electricity in your pet’s coat.
Note: Do NOT use dryer sheets to remove static from your pet’s coat. While this can be a great fix for car seats and flyaways, the chemicals in dryer sheets can be seriously harmful to your pet.
Tip #1: Replace Fleece Beds and Blankets With Natural Alternatives
Fleece generates static like crazy, so replacing fleece pet bedding with natural alternatives (at least in winter) can really help reduce the static buildup on their coats.
Note: The same thing goes for sweaters; if your pet wears a sweater, make sure that it’s made of all-natural materials.
Tip #2: Bathe Your Pet With Moisturizing Conditioner
During the winter, moisturizing conditioner is just as important for pets as it is for humans! Aloe and oatmeal are two natural ingredients that are particularly good at moisturizing hair, so look for pet shampoos and conditioners with those ingredients.
Tip #3: Mist Your Pet’s Fur With Animal-Safe Conditioner
If using conditioner when bathing your pet isn’t enough, consider mixing a small amount of pet conditioner with water in a spray bottle (1 teaspoon conditioner to 2 cups water should do) and mist your pet’s fur with it prior to brushing.
Note: It’s essential that you only use a pet conditioner (animal-safe) for this mixture. Using a conditioner intended for human use could result in a sick pet if they lick it off.
Tip #4: Supplement Your Pet’s Diet With Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids promote coat health and can help reduce static, though seeing as these supplements can be pricey, you might want to try the other fixes on this list first and use this method as a last resort. (If you have the extra bucks, though, go for it! Your pet will thank you.)
BONUS Tip: Humidifier
You need to add the moisture back into the house and the most effective way to do this is with a whole-house humidifier such as something like Aprilaire.
We have Aprilaire and it does help a lot but it doesn’t seem to work effectively throughout the whole house so we still get some static electricity.
You can also get room humidifiers that will help add moisture back into a single room.
BONUS Tip: Metal or wood grooming tools
If you use a pin brush, use one that has metal or wood pins over plastic ones.
Plastic insulates electrical current whereas metal conducts it.
I have this wooden pin brush and it claims to be 100% static-free so while you might not use it all year round, it can help in the winter when the air gets dry! (it has an impressive 5-star rating too!)
Some people also choose ionic pet brushes to groom dogs and guard against static.
Ionic brushes emit positive ions to easily clean your pet and remove smells from its fur.
It works by releasing safe levels of ozone.