Animal Care

Your Home and Your Pet - Cleaning Tips

wetdogAs much as we love our pets, they can create extra cleaning for us. Between muddy paws, fur on floors and furniture, odours and occasional accidents, we can spend quite a bit of time cleaning up after our furry friends. Since pets will never be able to clean up after themselves, here are some suggestions for undoing the most common pet messes.

Keeping your Pet Clean

Cleaner pets mean a cleaner house. ­ See our Grooming Tips for tips on how to keep your pet clean and brush your pet which will help to lessen the amount of hair and dirt around your house.

Minimize the Mess

Taking a bit of time to train your pet, some advanced planning and preventative measures will make keeping your house clean with pets much easier and less time consuming in the long run.

To prevent frequent accidents, try to set a scheduled time to take your dogs out to do their business.

If cats are your thing, help them learn to use their litter boxes. It’s much easier to clean a litter box than your floor.   To help prevent litter being brought onto your floor by your cat get a covered litter box and put a litter box mat in front of it to help catch the litter from your cat’s paws. A covered litter box with a filter can also help with odours. You need to clean your cat’s litter box contents out at least once a day and give the whole litter box once a week. Getting your cat neutered will also help to minimize spraying, male cats like to spray their scent around their homes but neutering will deal with this issue. The same applies for female cats that are looking for mates, neutering deals with this as well. Use nappy bags to scoop the litter box contents into, you can tie a knot in the bag and keep all the contents as well as the odour in.

Stop dirt at the door! Before your pet has a chance to run through the house leaving muddy tracks use an old towel to wipe muddy paws at the door. If paws are really muddy or have winter salt or grit on them rinse them in a small bucket of warm water and dry them with an old towel. Keep a towel at the door so you don’t have to try and find one while trying to keep your pet from trailing mud into the house.

Their bedding will need a quick shake outdoors regularly and washing every week or so. Cover their bedding and cushions with easy washable blankets or covers, this helps to minimize the amount of dirt and odour getting onto their main bedding cushions.

If your dog or cat prefers to sleep on your bed or upholstered furniture cover their favorite nap location with a towel or small blanket that can be easily washed. This works well for cats and small dogs that always have their favorite perches for keeping their eye on things and napping.

Training your pet to stay out of your bedroom or by just closing the bedroom doors will help to minimize the amount of dirt and hair getting onto your bed clothes. Dogs and cats love their comforts and your bed can also be a firm favorite with them.

Once a week or so, sprinkle a deodorizing powder on your carpet. This will help to keep your carpet smelling fresh. A more greener and cheaper option is to use baking soda. Baking soda doesn’t have an odor, so if scented deodorants aren’t for you, this is the alternative.   Leave it overnight if possible to let it soak into the carpet for best results.

An electric air purifier will remove pet odours still lingering in the air and keep your house smelling fresh.

Letting a pot of vinegar simmer on your stove will also keep your house smelling fresh. The vinegar neutralizes, deodorizes and removes impurities from the air. The smell isn’t pleasant but it’s better than the alternative.

Cleaning your Pets Beds, Litter Boxes, Cages, Tanks, etc

Never use bleach or other products containing ammonia for cleaning as ammonia is in urine and your pet will think it is urine they are smelling.

Your pet has a favorite pillow it snuggles up with. This is all well and good, but every now and then you might want to make it smell a little less petlike. You can do this by sprinkling the bedding with baking soda, letting it stand for at least 15 minutes, then vacuuming thoroughly.

Clean the cat litter pan by removing the soiled litter and pouring in 1/2 inch vinegar. Let it stand for ten minutes or so, then pour out and dry. To control odors before filling again, sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda over the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to clean the litter scoops as well.

Some people have environmental and health concerns about the type of cat litter available commercially. Pregnant women especially are at risk for a virus called toxoplasmosis, which can be contracted by handling cat litter, the litter box, or the box liner. Try to keep your cat's litter box area clean at all times to reduce the risk, but pregnant women should avoid handling anything to do with cat litter for the duration of their pregnancy.

Most bird and rabbit cages, ferret houses, hamster homes, and the like can be adequately cleaned by wiping them down with a sponge sprinkled with baking soda or dampened with vinegar. Both of these are especially good with urine smells and stains. You might also want to add a thin layer of baking soda on the floor of the cage after cleaning to help control odors.­

When it's time to clean out the fish tank, clean the inside of the glass with plain non-iodized salt by sprinkling it onto a damp sponge and scrubbing. This will remove hard water deposits or other buildup on the glass. Rinse everything well before returning the fish to the tank.

Vinegar and Baking Soda are only two types of cleaners available, there is a host of other cleaners available in shops.

Removing Pet Hair

Spring is the season of many things: while the flowers are blossoming and the grass is growing, your pet starts shedding.

Those clumps of hair that cover clothes, carpet and furniture at this time of year are part of the natural cycle of hair growth: as new hair grows in, old hair is shed out.  The process actually occurs all year long, but the heaviest shedding occurs in the spring as pets get rid of their "winter coat".

Even short-coated breeds seem to leave a trail of hair wherever they go!

There are different methods to wipe up pet hair, use light, even strokes to remove the hair.:

·         Use a lint brush – velour or tape will both work

·         Wrap tape around your hand will also work

·         Wipe with a damp sponge or cloth as long as the dampness won’t harm the area

·         Wipe with a wet rubber glove.

·         Use one of those special pet rake rubber brushes with nubs on it that is intended for grooming pets (available at pet stores).

·         On carpeting, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums don't generate sufficient lift to pick up all the pet hair from the floor.

Also, a quick vacuuming job, especially on sofas and bed everyday is a good idea, but once again a quick swipe with a lint brush or roller is good if you don’t have time for daily vacuuming.   Pick a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.Pick a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.Pick a vacuum with a Sealed or True HEPA filters if you have pets, these are best for vacuuming up pet dust and hair.

Lifting Stains

To remove a pet urine stain first off, damp some paper towels or rag with water and use it to wipe the urine up. You want to do this as soon as possible so that the urine does not penetrate the material. It’s best to use white paper towels and rags so as not to transfer dye to your carpet or upholstery. DO NOT RUB the carpet, blot the area, and dilute the spot using a cloth dampened with water. Then, clean the area with an acid solution consisting of one quart water mixed with one teaspoon white vinegar.

Another option is for you to apply a pet bacteria/enzyme digester like Urine Off according to the directions. You can find these products at any pet store; they effectively counter both the stain and the odor.

Even if the stain has disappeared or our human noses can no longer smell anything, a pet will repeatedly return to the same spot if they can still smell the odour.

Here are some other hints:

Be sure to use enough bacteria/enzyme digester to penetrate the carpet and pad.

Keep in mind that digesters work well but slowly. Leave the solution on as long as indicated.

After applying the solution, cover with plastic and step on the spot several times until the area is well saturated.

Keep the plastic on the entire time the digester is working to make sure the spot doesn't dry out.

Once you are satisfied that the stain and odor are gone, keep placing clean paper towels on the spot until it is dry. If the stain is on the carpet I find that standing on the paper towels gets the job done quicker. If time is a constraint, place a heavy object to weigh the papers down.

If after all this there is still an odor, sprinkle some baking soda on the spot and leave overnight, and then vacuum.

Avoid using a steamer to clean pet stains or a hairdryer to dry them. Heat causes stains and odors to set, making them virtually impossible to remove.

If you smell pet urine but can’t quite locate the stain, a black light may be in order. Be prepared for a rude awakening, however, as these lights will expose all your carpet’s impurities and may send you running for a professional.

Don’t use ammonia or acid-based product to clean your carpet, a pet may mistake this scent for the smell of its own urine and continue to use your carpet as their toilet.

If none o f the above methods work, contact a professional carpet cleaner. They’re experts and will have the stain removed and your carpet looking like new in no time.

Older Stains

If the stain is older, it may be nearly impossible to remove, but try the digester. If the site has seen multiple accidents, the bacteria breaking down the stain may actually create a superalkaline state that interferes with the digester's intended action.

In this case, follow these steps:

·         After the bacteria digester has been working for about four hours, neutralize the spot by mixing a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.

·         Rinse the area with the vinegar solution.

·         Apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme digester solution.

·         You might also try buying a hypodermic needle from your local pharmacy and filling it with your favourite perfume or potpourri. You'll need to inject both the carpet and the pad for it to work. If you still have a problem, have the carpet cleaned by extraction. It may even be necessary to replace the pad underneath.

Stomach Trouble

If your pet has an upset stomach on your carpet, cleanup may be trickier. The extremely acidic nature of vomit can cause the acid dyes in the carpet to move, permanently damaging the carpet. Dyes in your pet's food or medicine may also combine with the strong stomach acid to stain your flooring. That's why it's essential to neutralize or at least dilute the acid as quickly as possible to minimize damage.   Cats may also vomit to get rid of hair balls so regular grooming, kitty grass and malt treat, etc can help to minimize hair balls gathering in your pets stomach, although in the case of hair balls they are better out than in.

To bring the carpet back to a neutral pH:

·         Treat the affected area using a professional carpet detergent.

·         Rinse the area with clean hot water.

·         Extract the soiled solutions away from the carpet.

·         If the stains cannot be removed, carpet dyeing may be a good option. While not as permanent as factory dyeing, spot dyeing will solve the problem of bleached carpet.

Spring Clean Your Pets Toys, leads, etc

If you own a pet, you probably already know that with them comes lots of stuff. Regardless of the type of animal that you have, you are sure to have a cabinet full of items. Just about all animals have toys, and treats, and food bowls. The spring time is also the perfect time, to do some spring cleaning for your pet.

The first thing you will want to do is evaluate your current storage area for your pet supplies. If your pet area is a bit crowded you may want to lower the amount of items. Or if you prefer you can just find a better way to organize them. Go through each of the items, and see what you will want to keep, and what you don't need. You may find a lot of supplies that have been gathering dust. You may even be surprised to find some items that you forgot you had. Instead of just throwing the items out, why not check the DSPCA wish list to see can you donate these items if they are in good condition. Left over dog treats, and food that has been sitting for a while should be thrown out.

This is also a good time to take a look at your pet's sleeping items. For example if you have a dog, you will want to check their bed to see if it has any holes in it. Most dog beds get washed weekly and after a years time, they can easily wear out. If you see that it is a bit worn out, you can try to fix it yourself or you can purchase a new dog bed. If your animal is in a cage this is a great time to evaluate whether you need a new cage or if it needs to be fixed up a bit. The same can be done with the dog toys. Some dog toys easily get worn out through time. This is a good time to see what toys you can get rid of.

When it comes to storage many have found that small cabinets work best for most pets. If you have a dog or a cat, a regular plastic storage bin can work as well. If you already have a storage bin for your pet's items you will want to take the time to clean it out well. Taking the time to really clean out and freshen up your pets area is definitely worth the time.

Keeping the Outdoors Clean

To eliminate the bad odor and keep a cat from thinking of your garden as a litter box, hose down the area frequently. Put stones or pinecones in flower beds or other spots that the cat likes but where you don’t want them to dig up. Place motion-activated sprinklers, which set off a burst of water (cats hate this), in area you don’t want them in like your vegetable patch.

Clean up after your dog regularly, by law you have to clean up when outside your home so why not clean up in your own propery, don’t leave their poo on your grass, it is unhealthy for other humans. Scope it up in poo bags or nappy bags and dispose of carefully.



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