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Spring Is Among Us… Time to Clean!

21 Mar

The days are getting longer … this means spring is just around the corner!  Along with cleaning the house, do not forget to de-scruff that furry friend.  Get out those mops and put on your rubber gloves because spring is here and it’s time to clean house! Many pet owners are getting ready to tackle their to-do lists and spruce up their home. As you make plans to sweep and dust, consider including a few activities to make the next few weeks easier on you and your dog.

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There are several things to consider when you have pets and it’s time to do a routine spring cleaning. To begin with, pet grooming isn’t just about your dog or cat. Think of everything related to your furry friend’s lifestyle as something that needs a “grooming” of its own.  In addition to a bath, every pet can benefit from a thorough spring cleaning once a year. Consider asking for a conditioning treatment to moisturize the coat. Get those ears well cleaned. Have nails filed down. Brush, or have the pet brushed, until all the winter undercoat is gone. Sometimes a bath will release the undercoat, then you do a second serious brushing, and the next bath leaves the pet’s coat new penny clean. Get your pet’s teeth cleaned, and remember that a non-anesthetic tooth cleaning is the gold standard for healthy pet care.

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Let’s start out with the house… that carpet needs to be cleaned from the winter’s build-up of mud and dirt.  Cleaning the carpet and upholstery is as simple as purchasing a cleaner like Bissell Upholstery Shampoo and renting out a carpet shampooer from your grocery store. When everything has been shampooed, take your pooch out for a day of fun so that everything can dry out.  Spring is synonymous with “mud season” and it only takes one good romp through the puddles to undo hours of cleaning. Until the front yard looks less like a scene from Woodstock, you can focus your efforts on making sure mud doesn’t get tracked inside. An old towel kept near the front door is handy for wiping down muddy paws and fur. Some dog owners find it helpful to outfit their pups in rubber booties or rain slickers for easy cleanup.

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Next, be sure to wash your pets bedding.  Your dog probably spent most of the winter bundled up in their blankets and pillows which have just been gathering dirt, hair, and bacteria. If the pillows have removable covers, take them off and throw them in the washer with any blankets the pet uses to get a fresh start this spring. Skip the dryer sheets and scented detergents, though—they could irritate your pet and deter them from snuggling up in their trusty blanket again.

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Don’t forget the dishes!  When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your dog’s water and food bowl? Many people simply overlook cleaning the bowls because they figure dogs can handle it. In reality, dog bowls gather tons of bacteria and dirt that you wouldn’t want your dog ingesting. Throw both bowls in the dishwasher to ensure a deep cleaning and give your dog a fresh bowl to eat from.

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Hair everywhere you say?  This spring cleaning tip takes place right on your pet. When a dog begins to shed their winter coat, homeowners will find little dust bunnies and hair in every nook and cranny. Months later, you’re still finding hair in random places, not to mention the hair that always seems to find its way to your clothes. Take the time to brush your dog more often and on a regular basis outside where you can safely collect the mounds of hair before they are spread all over the house. Regular brushing helps to decrease your pooch’s tendency toward shedding, and it’s up to you to help. After all, Fido can’t help it!  Some grooming tools remove loose fur and dander in the undercoat, further reducing the amount of stray fur to clean up. Breeds with long coats sometimes require the use of a de-matting tool. The FURminator de-Shedding Tool is the best grooming tool we’ve ever found.  I use it on my Lab and the amount of hair it removes is astonishing! Most veterinarians and professional groomers swear by it. It can reduce shedding by as much as 90 percent!

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When cleaning and scrubbing your house, be cautious and read labels of your cleaners.  A lot of people forget that pets can be sensitive to toxic cleaning agents, just like humans. Pets don’t have the rationality to not lick surfaces that have been coated with chemicals, however. If you have a puppy running around the house, make sure all of your cleaning supplies are non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is always better to be safe than sorry in this situation. Even the safe cleaners should still be kept out of reach from your dog; anything but healthy dog food will likely cause vomiting and diarrhea.

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Without a doubt, spring is a great time to spruce up your house or start that home improvement project you’ve been putting off. Just a few extra minutes of preparation can also help reduce shedding and make your home smell fresh and clean. Keep your pet’s safety in mind while cleaning, and it won’t be long until you’re basking in the glow of a clean home and pet.

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