I don’t know about you, but in our house, most of the spring cleaning involves cleaning up after our dog, Kai. To say that he sheds a lot would be an understatement. Since I am a dog trainer by trade, over the years I’ve come up with a routine when it comes to this big job. My goal is to have guests in our home not immediately know that we share our house with a 95 lb bear-dog. I hope you all benefit from these ideas so that you may bask in the glory that is a fur-free sofa! (Click each tip to expand.)
- Bones can be washed in the sink with a gentle soap and warm water. Allow to air dry.
- Bedding, soft toys, collars and leashes can be machine washed on gentle cycle with a gentle soap. Allow to air dry in the sun to kill any odor causing bacteria.
- When I ask my clients to show me their dog’s toys, usually I am pointed to a giant basket of dirty, chewed up reminders of what used to be recognizable belongings. It’s time to throw those away! Go into the yard, scour the house, gather up every toy your pet has, and start sorting.
- If you don’t know what the toy is supposed to look like—toss it. If it’s small enough to be swallowed—toss it. If it has parts of it chewed off—toss it. Not only are these things cluttering up your home, you don’t want your dog or cat ingesting non-food items. If you see evidence that this is happening, either toss the toy or set it aside and use it only as a supervised toy.
- Your pet needs three to five toys total, with one or two out at any given time. If you buy a new toy, it should be to replace an old one that you threw away. This is important because if a toy is part of your pet’s everyday environment, it’s not enrichment. Enrichment is something novel that they don’t have access to all the time. So the best way to get the most out of your pet’s toys is to rotate them. Have different balls, bones, ropes, soft toys, toys on a string, etc and every few days bring out one or two from your stash.
- If your dog (or cat) is the type to shred toys/beds/harnesses etc, only give them access to those things when you can supervise. This especially applies to puppies. If you leave a plush bed and plush toys in a crate with your unattended puppy, chances are shredding everything in the crate is the most fun activity he can think of until you come back home. Filling a Kong toy with food and then freezing it is a much better toy to leave behind for the chewers and shredders. This takes that impulse to chew and makes into a constructive, time consuming, mentally and physically demanding activity.
- If you search “pet station” on Pinterest, prepare to be amazed. The idea is to create a small, organized space, for all of your pet’s things. A “pet station” includes a spot for food and water dishes, a place to hang up leashes, and a small cabinet to house everything from flea treatments to food to toys and grooming supplies.
- A rubber broom will save your life. Use a broom with rubber bristles to remove pet hair from your furniture, floor, and car. They cost about $12 and you can find them in most places that sell cleaning supplies.
- Brushing and washing your dog or cat on a regular basis is a great way to keep the inside of your house clean. Use treats to make this a fun experience for your pet. Don’t wash your cat or dog more than once a month as it may dry out their skin. If you have an extra dirty fur-baby, use a dry shampoo or damp cloth to clean between baths.