Dr. Al Townshend
As the days become longer, there is a rebirth in nature. The birds begin to chirp, plants are popping out of the ground, and trees begin their annual rejuvenation. It is a time of renewal for all of nature.
The colder winter weather has extended our time inside and kept the home sealed up tight to savor the warmth. As warmer weather approaches, it’s a time to let the fresh air in and spend more time outside. It also seems to spark the long-held spring-cleaning tradition, which is our way of rejuvenating ourselves and our space.
Spring is also a time to refresh and rejuvenate our pet’s and their space.
There are many pet considerations to include in spring cleaning efforts in the home and outside. Below is a list of some of the areas to focus on during spring cleaning for our beloved pets.
Indoor Spring Cleaning
Pet-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
- Not all soaps and disinfectants are pet friendly. Making sure their ingredients are safe for pets is critical. There are many recipes for homemade pet-friendly cleaning supplies that include ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
- Be sure to check out your Pet Planet store for safe and effective commercial cleaners and disinfectants. You can rest assured that we have done the homework and that all the products on our shelves are appropriate for pets.
Check Those Food Bowls and Water Bowls
- Food and water bowls and the mat they lay on should be clean and free of caked-on food, algae, mold, and debris. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are best. If there are cracks in ceramics or damage to stainless steel containers, they should be replaced.
Blankets, Bedding, Toys, and Pet Clothes Must be Cleaned or Replaced
- Most can be tossed in the washer and dryer. Any damaged or worn-out items need to be thrown away and replaced. Replacing toys and bedding can be a treat for the pet.
- Hard toys must be examined for damage, hand-washed, and disinfected.
- Toy boxes also need cleaning and disinfecting.
Carpet and Floor Stains Need Attention
- Vomit, food, urine, and feces stains need to be eliminated to prevent them from accumulating and creating odor issues.
- Damaged rugs may need professional cleaning, so be sure the commercial detergents are pet-safe.
- If stains and odors cannot be removed, it may be time to replace the item.
Cat Litter Boxes
- The litter box is where stains and odors can be the strongest. Spring is a great time to thoroughly clean and disinfect the litter box.
- If you’re seeing a significant amount of scratch marks on the inside of the litter box, it may be time to get a replacement. These small grooves can be the perfect place for bacteria to thrive.
- Air filters on heating and air-conditioning units need regular replacement. Spring is an excellent time to put that on the calendar.
Hair and Dust
- Hair and dust accumulate much more frequently in a home that has been locked up tight for the winter; they can easily go unnoticed and build up in the corners and under furniture.
Pet Hygiene and Supplies
- Nail trimming often needs to be done more frequently in the winter. Going outside more often should begin with well-trimmed nails to avoid discomfort from increased exercise on nails that are too long.
- Grooming with brushes and combs to remove any loose hair and mats that have accumulated is important to avoid injury to the skin.
- A nice bath in a clean and mild pet shampoo is a refreshing way for a pet to move into a new season. Bathing shampoos may need to be replaced.
- Check out the self-washing and grooming services in many Pet Planet stores.
- Both indoor and outdoor kennels need regular cleaning and inspection to ensure there is no chewing damage or broken parts that may increase the risk of the pet escaping the Guardians control.
Outdoor Spring Cleaning
Leashes, Harnesses, and Collars
- It is not unusual for leashes, harnesses, and collars to become very dirty and worn.
- A regular examination may detect wear significant enough to risk an escape. These items have a shelf life, so it is essential to check them regularly.
- Pets outside for any length of time run the risk of getting away from their Guardians. Chipping the pet is a simple and relatively painless guard against losing all hope of recovering a lost pet. Talk to your vet about microchipping.
Cleaning the pets outside area
- Having the proper tools to quickly remove any accumulation of pet poop from the yard before the grass begins to grow can avoid damage to the grass and provide a cleaner area for the pet.
- Avoiding potentially toxic substances like herbicides and toxic chemical insecticides in the pet’s area is essential for their long-term health. Natural soaps and oil-based insecticides are as effective and safe for pets.
- A good visual inspection of the yard to catch unwanted things the wind blew into the yard or animals left under bushes. Winter can be a cruel time for wild birds and small animals, and not all survive the winter and may die in the yard creating a potential digestive disaster if not picked up before the pet goes out.
- Electric fences need to be checked to be sure they are still functioning correctly.
- Potentially poisonous plants should be avoided in the pet’s area of the yard. The Castor Bean plant, English Ivy, Oleander, Jimson Weed (Thorn Apple), and many wild mushrooms all have the potential to cause serious problems for the pet.
Flea and Tick
- Fleas and ticks are becoming active outdoors now that warmer weather is approaching. They both carry diseases and can harm the pet by irritating the skin. Fleas and ticks can also attach to the pet and then drop off in the home, lay their eggs, and begin a problem for the entire family.
- Environmental allergy pets, sensitive to seasonal outdoor allergens like grass molds and tree pollens, must be ready for the spring. Be sure all medications and preventative measures are in place.
Spring is a great time for everyone. There are longer days and a resurgence of life and activity. The annual spring cleaning is an important time to prepare so that the new season will be a joy for all, including our beloved pets.