by Helen Bowers
The change in seasons is a great time to take stock of your dog's stuff. Are her Christmas toys chewed beyond recognition? Is there a gooey residue coating her water bowl? These are unsightly and might also pose a health risk.
Spring is a time of rebirth, and the season stirs our desire to make everything neat, clean and sanitary. So take stock of your pet's belongings and your pet-safe cleaning supplies, roll up your sleeves, and perk up your dog's world.
Swish, Swish: Spring-clean Your Dog's Stuff
Look throughout your home and you'll find plenty of doggie items that need cleaning:
Many dog toys are dishwasher-safe, especially on the no- or low-heat dry setting.
Dishwashers can also remove dog slobber and food particles that build up over time on feed bowls. Hand-scrub really gummy, cruddy bowls with an abrasive pad.
Dog Bed Covers
Toss removable dog bed covers into the washing machine to remove hair, saliva and other bodily secretions.
Crates and Favorite Spots
Deep-clean the nooks and crannies in crates, favorite napping spots and play areas.
Safety First as You Clean for Your Dog
That's what you should do. How you should do it is equally important:
Use safe cleaning products.
We use and recommend environmentally safe cleaning products, like Earth Friendly Products: They have a full line of kitchen, bath, laundry and pet bathing products available through their website as well as many retail outlets. Earthbath is another company that specializes in safe pet shampoos, wipes and spritzes. You can find their products online at Amazon.com.
Try a homemade solution.
Common household staples also effectively clean pet items that aren't made of fabric. The natural acids in both lemon juice and vinegar help dissolve grime and prevent streaks on glass and plastic. Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar per gallon of water and increase the amount for the tough jobs.
Move your dog.
Dogs that have respiratory issues or are super-sensitive to dust and airborne allergens -- especially short-nosed breeds like bulldogs and pugs -- should visit with a pup friend until the dust settles (literally).
Watch while vacuuming.
Some dogs can't resist the urge to help you do your chores -- especially when you're scrubbing their precious treasures. For safety, make sure your pet is not nearby while you're cleaning, particularly when you're working with heavy vacuum cleaners.
Keep your dog calm.
If your pet equates any disruption in the house with his world coming to an end, it's best to send him to a puppy friend's place until you're finished with your spring-cleaning.
In With the New Dog Toy or Collar
Even a good spring-cleaning can't save a frayed collar or renew interest in a boring toy. Reward yourself for creating an immaculate space by treating your pet to a new fashion collar or toy you can play with together.
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Pets | Dogs: Dog-friendly Spring-cleaning: A How-to Guide