With the daffodils poking up and warmer weather on the horizon, we have spring on the brain.
Looking around our house with all the tumbleweeds of fur and floors dotted with muddy pawprints, we’re thinking it’s time to do some deep cleaning.
As you make your spring cleaning to-do list, don’t forget your pets. We’ve rounded up some tips for tidying up after your fur babies so you can start the season as fresh as a daisy.
Animal Ortho Care/Caerus Corp. Braces: Good news for our clients whose pets use our products: They’re waterproof and washable. So if you’ve noticed your pet’s device is smelling a little ripe, it might be time to give it a good wipedown. To clean one of our braces, wipe down the surfaces using isopropyl alcohol. Pads and straps can be hand washed using a mild soap and air dried. While you’re cleaning your brace, it’s a good idea to give it a once over to ensure there are no broken or missing parts. Check for loose screws and worn straps. Animal Ortho Care offers replacement straps for $5 and replacement pads for $2. Our team will be happy to refurbish and/or upgrade your brace, which we’d especially recommend if you’re noticing the tread on a device is worn down. Contact us for details. It is also a good idea to regularly scan your pet for any signs of hot spots or irritation around their brace, which could be a sign that it isn’t fitting properly or is breaking down. When your pet first starts wearing the brace, check them daily, after the brace is broken in, check weekly.
Dog Beds: According to PetMD, it’s smart to wash all dog beds and blankets weekly or at least every two weeks. Start by vacuuming the bed thoroughly making sure not to forget any cracks or crevices. Follow up with a lint roller if needed. If the bed has a removable cover, wash it per the instructions on the label. Use a mild, fragrance-free detergent (in case your pup has sensitive skin) and wash and tumble dry at the highest allowable temperature according the the label. For beds without removable covers, look for the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. If there are none, or the directions are unclear, start by spot removing loose dirt and fur with a vacuum, then spot clean for mud, feces or urine using a pet-friendly non-bleach cleanser (you can generally find these at your local pet store). Beds can be hand washed using hot water, mild detergent and a ¼ cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (which are great natural deodorizers). Make sure to rinse the bed thoroughly either tumble dry or air dry.
Dog Collars and Leashes: When tidying up around your pet, don’t leave out his go-to accessories: his collar and leash. Not only can collars get a bit grimy from your dog’s day-to-day life, they can also get a bit stinky. And let’s face it, Rover might not always have them most careful aim when it comes to potty breaks- so it’s not a bad idea to wash his leash, too. According to CesarsWay.com, for nylon collars and leashes, hand wash by filling a bowl with warm water mixed with a little dog shampoo (to prevent skin irritation). Soak them for up to 15 minutes then scrub the collar or leash against itself to remove any dirt. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and hang to dry.
Food Bowls: Your pets food and water bowls are wonderful breeding grounds for all sorts of bacteria. To keep the germ populations down, experts recommend washing food bowls with hot, soapy water after every meal and washing water bowls every couple days. For dishwasher-safe bowls, make sure to scrape off any residual food before putting bowls in the dishwasher; put plastic bowls on top rack.
Your pet: Finally, don’t forget your pet! The warmer months put your pet at an increased risk for flea and ticks. Fleas are not only annoying, but an infestation that leaves your pet chronically itching her skin increases the likelihood of skin infections and scabs. If your pet ingests any fleas, she could end up with tapeworms. Tick bites are no picnic either. They can cause blood loss, anemia, tick paralysis, skin irritation and infections. Ticks are also carriers of Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There’s a variety of flea and tick preventatives available over the counter- from collars to oral medication to spot-on treatment to shampoos. Make sure to check in with your vet about the best method for protecting your pet as flea and tick remedies are not one size fits all. Read instructions carefully when applying any medication and monitor your pet for signs of an allergic reaction.
Photo courtesy of Kelsey/Flickr