Springtime is in the air! Flowers are in bloom, warmer weather and longer days filled with beautiful sunshine are among us, the sun is high in the sky, and the time has come for spring cleaning! This is the time many of us open windows, breathe in new beginnings, and catch up on some serious housecleaning. But what about our pets? In this article, we are going to discuss the different ways to prepare our furry friend(s) for springtime.
Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, and the perfect time for shedding, so why not take your pet to get pampered at the groomers? During the winter months, pets may have gone without baths or hair cuts as protection against the wintry weather. Just like us, our pet feels better when they’ve had loose hair removed and cleaned. Groomers offer a variety of services including (but not limited to) a shave or trim, bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning, making this process less of a hassle for owners. Just drop off your pooch and pick up a newly pampered pup! If you would like to go more on the hands-on route, you can do all this grooming at home and get some good bonding time in with your pet. Our feline friends are not excluded from grooming, they need a good cleaning occasionally, too. Just ensure that you do your research beforehand and find a place that will groom cats and best fit your pet’s needs.
Your pet may get bathed on a regular basis, but how about their accessories? Leashes, collars, harnesses, and clothing easily go without washing. The next time your pet is due for a bath, go ahead and clean these garments by placing them in a garment bag and running them through the washing machine on a gentle cycle with hot water and a mild detergent. Be sure to keep your pet indoors until these are done washing or keep a back-up leash/collar/harness handy for any traveling.
It’s ideal to clean both the water and food bowls daily to prevent bacteria and germs from accumulating on them. Using a mild soap and hot water is okay when hand washing pet bowls, but this method does not guarantee proper sanitization. It is recommended to run your pet’s bowls through the dishwasher weekly, as the high heat produced allows them to be properly sanitized. Unfortunately, there is no way to entirely get rid of bacteria on your pet’s bowls.
Think about it this way, your dog goes out and rolls around in the grass or maybe your cat goes and sits in the litter box and then continues to lick and groom themselves. All of that bacteria is lingering in their mouth, and then they decide to go eat or get a drink of water; now the bowls have been re-contaminated. This process obviously happens multiple times a day, and because of the number of germs constantly being spread to your pet’s bowls, it is important to maintain proper cleanliness!
All bedding and linens are subject to collecting allergens, dirt, hair, and bacteria daily from your furry friend when they lounge and sleep. These items should be washed weekly; begin by vacuuming or shaking them out well before placing in the washer and dryer and remember to use a mild and pet-friendly detergent.
Let’s talk about toys: how dirty are they really? Almost all toys become covered in saliva at one point or another which later creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and in extreme cases, mold. If the toy is in bad shape, then it may be time to toss it and get a new toy for your furry friend; but if all it needs is a good clean then that is totally doable. Our doctors recommend three ways to clean toys: washing machine, dish washer, or soaking. Toys capable of going in to the washing machine (i.e. fabric and plush toys) and the dish washer (i.e. durable chews, rubber bones, and Kong) should be done on the hottest heat setting for the machine and without detergent. Soaking toys can be done in a bucket with hot water and should be allowed to sit for 20-30 minutes for sterilization. All three methods allow the toys to become sanitized using hot temperatures, and the absence of detergents and soaps aid in avoiding residue buildup that could harm your pet, especially for toys with tears in them.
Cleaning litter boxes is a chore that can’t be neglected due to the smell that will start to linger in the home. Scooping the litter box daily or even every other day can help control the foul odor that comes with the territory, but how often should you clean the box itself? This answer can vary due to the number cats in a home, but ideal at least once to twice a week, maybe even more. The absolute first step you should do when thoroughly cleaning litter boxes is putting on some rubber gloves for protection. Once done you can begin with disposing anything inside the litter box and proceed to washing it with warm water and a mild soap. Be sure to denote the instrument you will be cleaning with to prevent any cross-contamination. Once scrubbed clean, you can leave the litter box out in the sun to dry thus allowing any further bacteria to die off.
Crates and Carriers
Many pets have adapted to their crates and carriers as a safe space for them to recede in. If that is the case, or you are having to use a carrier to transport a pet anywhere, then make sure that these items are being cleaned properly as well. Start with removing any linens or debris that may be present and break down the crate or carrier if needed to be sure you are getting every spot clean. Proceed with using a mixture of warm water and mild soap to scrub clean. Once done, just like the litter box, the item is can be placed outside to dry in the sun, killing any further bacteria.
It’s always good to keep all perinate records of your pet(s) together for easy access. This can include vaccine history, rabies certificates, microchip information, and medical records for your pet. Also consider checking that all your pets have some form of identification: this could include a tag that has the pets name, owner’s name and number, microchip number, or any type of perinate medical information. Microchipping your pet is a wonderful way to ensure your pet finds its way home if lost. Make sure the microchip company has the most current contact information on file, including your pets’ animal hospital. Lastly, be sure to properly store all cleaning supplies and other chemicals out of harm’s way from pets.
Information in this article has been provided by our Veterinarians at Seminole Trail Animal Hospital