Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks: Pets Edition

We love our furry roommates, but they generally have different hygiene habits than we do. Sure, your dog and cat buddies are great snugglers, but they sometimes indulge in rolling around on the remains of a dead raccoon and, as we all know, licking their own butts is a perennial favorite pastime. Not only that, they have a lot of fur, which can harbor fleas and ticks, and often creates fluffy little hair mounds under the furniture.

So, how do we keep the house clean when our pets seem bent on making it grimey and pest-ridden? Here are five cleaning tips for keeping your house fresh and clean in spite of your best friends’ best efforts.

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1. Cleaning Up Pet Hair

Pet hair can be a real nuisance — especially if you have allergies. Vacuuming is, of course, the most effective method of managing the problem — you can even vacuum your pet! — and dust wipes are great for quickly and efficiently cleaning hair from hard surfaces.

But there are other ways to keep pet hair from having to be vacuumed or dusted at all. Covering furniture and floors with machine-washable covers and rugs can be a big help, as well as choosing furniture made out of leather (fake or real), canvas or ultrasuede, all of which are easy to wipe down.

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Read here for more on keeping your home free of pet hair.

2. Keeping Your Pet Clean

Regular grooming and bathing of your pet can really cut down on the amount of housework your dog or cat creates. While cats and dogs groom themselves, some pets occasionally need a little human help keeping clean — for your sake as well as theirs.

Depending on the breed and lifestyle of your dog, they might only need to be bathed once every three months or so.

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Here is some great information on how often you should bathe your dog.

And don’t forget about your dog’s oral hygiene. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is a must, for the dog’s health and longevity, as well as for your nose.

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3. Keeping Fleas Off Your Dogs and Cats

Fleas are not only unpleasant houseguests, they’re terrible for your dog. These fur-infesting pests set up shop sucking Fido’s blood, but some dogs even have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, making for one miserable canine. In addition to all this unpleasantness, fleas can also cause tapeworm and anemia in dogs.

Your best bet is to prevent your dog getting them in the first place. Flea and tick preventatives prescribed by your veterinarian are very effective, but there are all kinds of products from shampoos to collars that can be used to combat fleas.

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If your dog has fleas, here is some great information on how to get rid of them.

As with dogs, cats are vulnerable to fleas. It’s more difficult to bathe a cat covered in the insects, but fortunately the veterinarian-prescribed topical medications work as well for them as they do for dogs. Cats often don’t like the smell of flea collars, but if you try one, vets most often recommend ones containing insect growth regulators (IGRs), which prevent larval fleas from maturing.

Here is a lot more information about getting rid of the fleas on your feline friends.

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4. Keeping Fleas Out of Your House

Killing the fleas on your pet only takes care of part of the problem — once fleas have set up shop in your home, it can take three to four months to eradicate them because the existing eggs you don’t find and clean up must cycle through all their life stages.

That said, the vacuum and washing machine are your friends — vacuum all furniture and wash all pet beds, blankets and rugs. Fumigate your house yourself or invite in a pest control service to treat your house and yard. Most important: be patient! Read here for more information about getting rid of fleas if they’ve taken up residence in your home.

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5. De-skunking Your Dog or Cat

If you own a dog or cat, you may one day have to deal with the stink of your curious friend’s encounter with a skunk. If you’ve ever had the pleasure, the smell is not easily forgotten, nor is it easily removed. The first thing to remember is this: Don’t bring your stench-afflicted animal in the house or the odor will spread and you will be sorry. Do all the treatments outside. Here’s information on what to do if your dog is sprayed by a skunk. If it’s your formerly sweet-smelling feline buddy with the new stinky scent, read on.

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Dogs and cats have fur, as well as higher body temperatures than humans, which is why fleas like them, but don’t infest us.

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