Ah, spring: the time of year when warmer temps, extra daylight, and more sunshine inspire you to deep clean your home. As you tidy up after your favorite humans, don’t forget about your pup! Spring is the perfect time to refresh everything from their bed and doggie bowl to their collar and leash. Use these tips to tackle your dog’s toughest messes and make spring cleaning a breeze.
Go through the toy box
Tripping over your pup’s toys? It’s time to sort through them and toss the ones that are damaged. Get rid of any with ripped seams, exposed squeakers, or jagged rubber edges, which could cause serious injuries. If a toy is still in good shape but rarely gets used, consider dropping it off at a local shelter. Otherwise, give it a good washing. Hard or rubber toys can be cleaned with hot water and mild dish soap or placed in the top rack of the dishwasher (in a separate cycle, not with dishes). Soft, stuffed toys can be run through the washing machine on the delicate cycle.
Clean your dog’s food bowl
PSA: Your dog’s bowl (and mat, if you use one) should be washed every day with hot water and mild dish soap (you wouldn’t eat a salad out of the same dirty bowl every day, would you?). It’s also a good idea to run them through the dishwasher (on the top rack, in a separate cycle) once a week. If your pup’s bowl has developed cracks or grooves, it might be time to invest in a new one. Go for one that’s stainless steel or ceramic; avoid plastic, which over time, can accumulate grooves that are breeding grounds for germs like E.coli, staph, and even parasites.
Refresh your pup’s bed
We know, we know: your pup loves the comforting smell of his own bed but if it hasn’t been washed all winter, now is the time. Start by vacuuming or shaking the hair off outdoors. If the cover comes off, launder it with detergent and the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric. Then, put it in the dryer for 15 minutes to help remove more of the hair and hang it outside to dry. Do not put the foam insert into the washing machine, as it may disintegrate. Instead, wash it by hand in the bathtub using a small amount of laundry detergent; then, let it dry outside in the sun (if possible).
If the bed is one piece and small enough, wash it in your washing machine on the delicate cycle. If the bed is too big, take it to a dry cleaner to see if they can wash it in an industrial washer. Some beds may be stinky enough that they warrant tossing it out and buying a new one. If that’s the case, look for one with a removable cover, which will be much easier to keep clean.
Check your pup’s collar and leash
If either one looks frayed or like it might break, definitely invest in some new gear. Otherwise, give your dog’s collar and leash a quick cleaning: soak them in separate bowls of hot water and three to five squirts of dog shampoo. Let sit for about a half hour. Squeeze gently or rub the collar against itself to remove any ground-in dirt. Rinse, squeeze out the excess water, and then hang to dry.
Clear the air
Sometimes, even the deepest cleaning (including opening all the windows!) can’t get rid of lingering pet odors. If that’s the case, consider investing in an air purifier that is specifically designed to remove pet hair and dander from the air. In general, it’s a good idea to vacuum and dust regularly to reduce the amount of pet hair and dander in the air. Bathing and brushing your pet regularly also helps.
Get rid of stubborn pet hair
Got a pup who sheds? To get rid of stubborn pet hair, wet a pair of rubber gloves so they’re damp but not soaked. Run your hands over the area, and the hair will stick to the gloves. Rinse and repeat until the fur is gone. For carpets, vacuuming is the quickest and easiest way to pick up hair. Go over areas twice if you need to, and vacuum in alternate directions. If you have hardwood floors, skip the vacuum (all it does it blow dog hair everywhere) and use a dry microfiber mop instead.
Clean up the yard
Now that the snow has melted, you might be in for a not-so-pleasant surprise. You guessed it—dog poop. There’s really no way around picking it up and disposing of it (and it’s definitely something you’ll want to do before your first barbecue!). To prevent labor-intensive poop-pickup jobs in the future, train your dog to go to the bathroom in a small, designated area of the yard and then regularly pick up after them. It’s also important to clear your yard of certain garden items like fertilizers and insecticides, which can be toxic for dogs. Certain plants, like azaleas and ferns, can also be toxic to dogs. For a full list of plants to avoid, check out the ASPCA’s full list.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.