Spring is a great time to tackle some of the bigger cleaning jobs around the house and garden, including getting your pets, their bedding, and various accessories ready for the onset of summer. Here are our top 8 spring cleaning tips for those of you who live with a four-legged friend or two, or three … or perhaps even more!
1. Clean up the garden
One of the best ways to ensure your pets aren’t bringing a whole lot of dirt, leaves and other bits of the garden into the house (assuming you have inside/outside pets), is to tidy up your outdoor area. Mow your lawn for starters, to avoid grass seeds attaching to fur and to reduce the chance of ticks and fleas. Clear any piles of debris (another place ticks and fleas can breed), rake up leaves and prune back any overgrown trees and shrubs. If you have dirt patches (almost inevitable with dogs), we’d recommend that you sow some Pooch Couch, as it’s been specially bred to resist the wear and tear of rough & tumble dogs.
2. Bathe your pets
Bath time is easier said than done for many dogs, so you might want to use a professional dog groomer, particularly if your dog is long-haired and needs a pre-summer trim. Regardless how you do it, choose a warm spring day to bathe your dogs and, if possible, keep them contained until they dry. We all know that a dog’s first instinct is to rub off all the ‘nice’ smells and replace them with their natural dogginess. Use a non-chemical shampoo – lavender, hemp or ti-tree based – as these not only protect against fleas but your dog is less likely to suffer skin irritation or itchiness. It’s always wise to do a skin patch test before using any new product on your dog, or cat for that matter (if you happen to have one of those rare cats who doesn’t mind a bath every now and then). Keep up a regular bathing routine throughout the warmer months and give your dog’s and/or cat’s coat a brush every week, at least.
3. Wash beds & bedding
The warm days and gentle breezes of spring are the perfect time to launder your pets’ bedding, including airing or washing their beds. As above, use a natural washing powder or liquid – wool wash is a good option – that will assist in deterring fleas. If your pet’s bed is not washable, take it outside and give it a good shake, then hang it on the line to air for as long as possible. If you have outside dogs who sleep in a kennel or crate, empty them out, wash any bedding, and give them a hose down, ensuring that they are completely dry before replacing any bedding or much-loved toys. You might even want to spray the inside of the kennel or crate with lavender or ti-tree oil, again reducing the likelihood of fleas.
4. Dust, vacuum & mop
For those with inside pets, now’s the time to de-fur the house from top to toe, focusing on all those hard to see places where balls of fur and dust gather – under wardrobes, behind shelves, under beds and under the couch. Give your whole house a thorough dust, vacuum and mop, opening your windows to allow the fresh air to blow away those pet smells that have built up over winter. You might even want to have your upholstery professionally cleaned, to start the warmer months with a fur-less and freshly scented home.
5. Clean collars & leads
This is something a lot of people forget about, until they realise they’ve got a crusty, stinky collar and lead on their hands, and there’s nothing to do but replace them. To avoid this, whether the collar and lead is leather or synthetic, give them a regular wash. Treat leather with a natural polish or cream, or even with saddle soap, and you’ll probably find it will last for years. For synthetic collars and leads, soak them in water with a gentle soap or washing powder for a while, then rinse thoroughly and hang out to dry naturally. Not only will your collars and leads last longer, they’ll smell better too!
6. Dust & sweep the garage
Very possibly your pets – both cats and dogs – spend time in your garage when you’re not home, particularly if you have a locked open window for your cat or a side entrance into the yard for your dog/s. Perhaps your pets have day beds in the garage, or maybe it’s where they get fed. Whatever the case, use your pet spring clean as an opportunity to give your garage a dust and sweep, removing spider webs from the ceiling and around the window frames, and piles of fur from corners and under storage spaces. You might even want to give it a hose down, which is also a good opportunity to tidy up your stored items, workbench and garden equipment. For some helpful tips on tidying up your garage, see our post on ideas for storing awkward items.
7. Wash food and water bowls, & toys
Whether plastic or aluminum, giving your pets’ food and water bowls a clean on a regular basis has lots of benefits. Firstly, it reduces the chance of bad bacteria building up on the inside of the bowls; secondly, it prevents the onslaught of flies and ants; and finally, it means the bowls won’t smell, which is a plus for all concerned. As for your pets’ toys, gather them all together and throw out any that have been reduced to a scrap of fabric or a slither of plastic. For those toys that are still mainly in one piece, give them a wash and let them dry in the air, taking off that coating of saliva and grime that inevitably builds up over time.
8. De-flea your pets
Use spring to start your flea control schedule for both cats and dogs, and stick to it, as the key is regularity. These days, a lot of people use a back-of-the-neck flea control liquid, and it certainly is effective, as long as you remember to apply it monthly. Some, however, might prefer a natural flea control, and there are lots of options. From the aforementioned lavender oil, to apple cider vinegar, to diluted ti-tree oil – all these can provide effective control of fleas without chemicals. Do some research and read some reviews to work out what’s the best natural option for your pets.
Now you’ve cleaned out your garage, have you noticed that your garage door needs a service, or perhaps you’re thinking about upgrading your automatic opening system? Give the experts at Best Doors a call on 1800 066 142 to discuss your needs, or visit our website for more information.