Yes, it’s that time of year. But cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore if you follow our quick and easy tips. You and your pup will both be happier and healthier if you do!
Trap airborne dust and dander with a filter to reduce lingering pet odors in your home. Look for filters made especially for pet owners; they come with built-in ionizers that minimize allergens and help deliver a boost of air freshening.
Beds and Bedding
Your dog’s bedding tends to attract a buildup of dirt and grime. Follow these four steps to ensure a clean, comfortable sleep for Fido.
- Choose a bed with a removable fabric cover.
- Vacuum the bed regularly to remove hair, dirt, and other debris. Follow up with a lint roller to pull away any hair the vacuum may have left behind.
- Wash the cover and the bed base (if it’s machine washable) in cold water. Use a mild laundry detergent—no dyes or fragrance. Add a cup of baking soda to help neutralize odor.
- Dry (in the clothes dryer) for about 20 minutes. Use at least one pet-safe dryer sheet (teddyneedsabath.com); this will reduce static electricity and remove more pet hair. To avoid shrinkage, finish by line drying.
A stinky collar can ruin the pleasures of a freshly groomed dog. But how do you clean a dog collar without damaging the webbing material or hardware? Put a couple of squirts of dog shampoo (which will help prevent skin irritation) in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot water. Let your dog’s collar soak for about 15 minutes. Rub the collar against itself to extract any ground-in dirt. If necessary, apply extra shampoo directly to the collar. Avoid using a brush, which could damage the material. Rinse the collar under running water and hang to dry. If you need to speed up the drying, use a towel to remove excess water before hanging.
To remove pet hair from furniture, drapes, or other fabric-covered items, use rubber gloves. Slightly dampen a glove on your hand and sweep the fabric with it. Hair will ball up and be easy to pick up. Wash and dry gloves between uses.
Not only is lavender essential oil soothing to the central nervous system, but when applied regularly between your dog’s shoulder blades, it can keep fleas and ticks at bay. Try a lavender room mist in your car to keep your dog calm and your automobile smelling fresh after a day at the beach or park with your pooch.
The rain in spring means muddy paws, but a little prevention can keep your dog from tracking dirt inside the house. First, trim the hair around your pup’s paws regularly — mud won’t clump to his feet when the hair is kept short. On days that you can’t avoid a little mud, keep a bucket of warm water and a towel near the door. Before you come inside, remove dirt by dipping each paw in the water and gently wiping it with the towel.
Over-bathing your dog can cause dry skin, which results in itching and flaking. Avoid these issues—but keep your pup smelling fresh—by giving him a quick dry bath. Brush out his coat first to loosen dead hair, dirt, and debris. Wipe him down with a towel spritzed with a solution of half apple cider vinegar and half water. Follow up by sprinkling baking soda on him and rubbing it in, which will neutralize the smell of the vinegar. Let it sit for a minute or two, then brush it off. Tip: Give your dog his dry bath outdoors, or another place where a little mess won’t matter!
Wash dog toys to keep them germ-free and in good shape for years of enjoyment. For soft toys, pop them in the washing machine, ideally in a garment bag. (Be sure to use dog-safe detergent.) Line dry or put them in the dryer inside a pillowcase. Hard toys can be cleaned in the sink with a solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar and a brush or sponge. An easy alternative: Put your pal’s toys in the dishwasher with her bowls.
Even if you can’t smell traces of urine, your dog can. It’s important to clean and neutralize these odors, because as long as he can smell it, he’ll continue to use that area as his personal potty. For new stains, soak up as much as you can by layering newspaper on top of paper towels and standing on the padding. Repeat this step until the area is no longer damp. The Humane Society suggests taking urine-soaked paper towels outside in order to positively reinforce to your dog where it is suitable for him to do his business. Follow up by rinsing the soiled area with water. Once the area is clean, use an enzyme-based pet odor neutralizer like Dog Whisperer Natural Stain and Odor Remover
When choosing a vacuum, focus on suction—disregard horsepower, watts, or amps which are measure of electrical current, not pickup. Vacuums with upright canisters are best for carpets.
Maintaining your yard can help cut down on messes inside the home.
- If your yard is mostly dirt, consider putting sod down in one area. By providing a grassy area for your dog to play, you can minimize the amount of dirt and mud she’ll track indoors.
- Keep your dog’s boredom at bay by providing toys exclusively for outdoor play. If she has something to play with, she will be less likely to paw at dirt, so her paws will stay cleaner. And keep her outdoor toys outside.
- Some dogs are sensitive to citrus smells. Scatter the peels of a few oranges in places where you don’t want your dog to dig—like flower beds or vegetable gardens.
It’s important to keep certain garden items cleaned up and away from your pets:
- Bait traps for rodents, snails, and slugs
- Blood meal
Some common plants that are toxic for dogs (you can find a complete list at the ASPCA website):
- sago palm