Our household only has one dog, but I am still amazed when I look down at my clothes at the number of small black dog hairs sitting there. Believe me when I say that it is much worse when I wear white. Of course, right now it's Spring, which therefore spells shedding season. Even when our dog scratches his neck, hair flies everywhere; however, shedding isn't the only problem with keeping the house clean with pets. Sometimes we find dirt marks, places where the dog has had accidents, and drool. Which leads me to the dilemma of keeping the house, myself, and the dog clean: where do I begin? I found a few quick tips that help maintain a clean house, clean humans, and clean animals.
- If you can, brush your pet outside. If weather is bad, or your pet is typically an indoor animal, find a quiet room that is not carpeted. This makes for a much better clean-up later.
- Brushes that look like they are made for humans are not the best choice for brushing pet hair. Ideally, thin pin-like brushes work really well for removing loose hair, just make sure they don't scratch your pet's skin harshly. They should have rubber tips on the end.
- How much you need to brush your pet each week depends on the type of animal you own. This link also contains a lot of useful tips on pet grooming and brushing. For our Labrador, I find that I need to brush once a day.
- Make brushing fun. Some pets, like our dog, enjoy being brushed. However other pets run away from brushings which can make the process difficult. In this case, try distracting them with a toy or something to focus their attention away from being brushed.
Bathing, Drying, and Wiping
- Bathing and shampooing your dog regularly reduces shedding, dirt, and pesky pests such as ticks and fleas. Cats are thankfully self-cleaners, but every once in a while a bath wouldn't hurt if you can manage.
- Even though your pet may be clean, drying your pet after baths or if they get out in the rain will help reduce the wet dog smell. In addition, this will keep mildew from forming in any wets spots your pet might make on furniture.
- Pet feet always get dirty after a romp outside, especially after it has rained. Take some time to wipe their feet before they go inside, and that can save you on some muddy foot prints.
Vacuuming and Cleaning
- Vacuum frequently, for your health and your pet's health.
- Even on hard wood or tile, vacuuming is better for cleaning than sweeping. To me it seems that sweeping often stirs up hair more than getting rid of sheddings.
- Conveniently, vacuums come with many different attachments, and the smaller ones are especially good on vacuuming furniture and in small cracks between sofa seats where hair often gets stuck
- Getting safe cleaning products is absolutely important. Recently they have created products marked as pet safe, but still make sure before you buy. If your case is like mine, our pet licks EVERYTHING and I would never want him to lick something dangerous.
- To prevent sheddings from getting stuck into the fabric of your sofa, put a slip cover or even just a blanket over your furniture. These can easily be washed to remove hair.
- Along with protecting your furniture from hair, blankets also keep your furniture clean from dirt stains or any accidents your pets might have.
- For cat owners, if you have a problem with pets scratching furniture, there are easy solutions. A scratching post is the best solution, although others suggested things like cardboard boxes or rope wrapped around a cardboard tube.
- Especially during shedding season, this is the most effective way to keep clothes and other fabrics clean. It never fails that before I have to go into work, I'll find dozens of black hairs on my clothes, and this is the quickest solution for me before I go out the door.
- If you transport your pet in a vehicle and have a difficult time getting a vacuum in the car, lint rollers work well to pick up sheddings from seats and carpet. Plus you can keep the lint roller in the car in case you need to clean a seat quickly for guests.
- Lint rollers also work well on delicate fabrics that you might worry about putting a vacuum to.
Life is much easier for us when we don't have to worry about finding hair everywhere. Keeping our dog groomed also gives him a nice clean coat that doesn't irritate his skin. So not only do these tips help keep a clean home, but they create a safe and healthy environment for both you and your pet!