When I discuss water care with veterinary clients, the first thing I say is “one dog equals 20 people bathing in the hot water.” It puts perspective into reality. The benefits of aquatic therapy and conditioning far outweigh dealing with the dog hair but it equates to a lot of continuous hair in the chamber of your AquaPaws underwater treadmill and contributes to the amount of hair that drains back into your water storage tank. While excessive hair in your unit can cause issues and delays, and be unsightly, it does not impair the water quality. With proper water balancing and sanitizer levels, along with regular cleaning techniques, dealing with animal hair can be easily manageable.
Hair will always be a problem for some clients and us, period. We bath dogs and dogs can be dirty. Although it may seem impossible to remove the hair as it accumulates, we have some helpful tips and ways to save time.
With a 2” waste drain straight off the water tank it is reasonably easy to flush the hair at the bottom of the water tank out of the drain during a drain and refill procedure. Our tank stand applications are most effective with the elevation of the tank.
Some clients can’t stand dog hair in the water storage tank. I have them net the floating hair in the tank and advise before draining/refilling to transfer all the water to the exercise chamber to net out any hair. This gets a majority of hair out of the bottom of the tank. Then, transfer water back to the water tank, shut down the system and open the waste drain valve on the water storage tank. When the water is finished gravity draining (a large amount of hair goes out the drain), I suggest they rinse the inside of the water tank and flush hair out of the drain. This removes most of it. Once they refill the water storage tank completely, they can net the water surface again if any stray hair remains. It is a lot of work and once they do the extra work the hair becomes less important.
I had one client do this after a large dog hair buildup over time. Her waste drain clogged and stopped draining. I had her fill the water tank halfway full with the waste drain shut and then open it again. The extra water weight in the tank pushed the hair clog through and she shut the valve and finished filling the water tank – no reason to get rid of a half fresh fill.
This is why the water storage tank is initially shocked after a fresh fill. Any dirt, hair or debris is sanitized. Hair is not a contaminate, just particulate or matter like the tank walls. We bath dogs. If every hair is removed, there will be more after the very next dog. Perspective is important along with time and efficiency in your maintenance.
Once the hair has been chlorinated it’s actually beneficial like a filter cartridge. Hair that gets to the filter creates more filtration by catching smaller micron and collecting smaller particles for better water clarity. It can be an issue if you are over cleaning the filter too often. A somewhat dirty filter is more effective than a clean one for better water quality.
Of course, this is all true as long as you are balancing PH, and alkalinity and chlorine levels are being maintained. Be sure to read Part 2 for more Dealing with Pet Hair management to save you time.