My first thought was: What took them so long?

Maytag said Friday it’s introducing the first-ever washer and dryer designed to rid clothes, blankets and other laundry of pet hair.

“We recognize the majority of pet owners struggle with pet hair,” Lauren Bigger, Maytag’s senior brand manager, said in a statement.

“As a pet parent, I’m personally thrilled to see a laundry solution to help manage the daily challenge of pet hair. And professionally, we’re incredibly excited to deliver the first laundry pair that is engineered for homes with pets so consumers can conquer pet hair like a pro.”

Conquering pet hair may be a bit of hyperbole, but as a pet parent myself, I can attest to the daily reality of dogs and cats shedding, and the extra work this can make for appliances.

Maytag says nearly half of pet owners are so flummoxed by pet hair, they take their laundry to a laundromat to avoid potentially clogging up their machines at home.

The company’s Pet Pro system “unleashes additional water and a deep rinse to activate the Pet Pro filter,” Maytag says.

This, it says, will remove five times as much pet hair as a conventional wash.

Then, once the laundry is transferred to the dryer, “the Pet Pro option lifts and traps loads of pet hair with an XL lint trap.”

Does all that really work? I couldn’t say. But it seems like a smart marketing move to address a nuisance for millions of pet owners.

Be warned, though: The Pet Pro system isn’t for the economically challenged.

The washer and dryer will cost about $1,200, in either black or white finishes.

Pre-orders for the machines are being accepted now on Maytag.com. They’ll also be available via the Lowe’s website beginning Sept. 27, and at Lowe’s stores in October.

Now if only Roomba could come up with a robot vacuum cleaner that can really handle dog hair …