Spring Cleaning Your Dog’s Belongings

German Shepherd Spring Cleaning
Dante’s Thoughts on Spring Cleaning – “Is this really necessary, Mom?”
I’m feeling that urge to clean so it must be Spring Cleaning time.  Funny how the urge only comes around once a year.  Anyhow, we’ve had such a rainy winter and spring (so far) here in Eureka, and Dante’s carried a lot of the yard inside on his paws and legs, even though I wipe him down after every outing.  Time to deep clean some things, and, as I found out by doing a little research, I should be doing some of these things more often.
  1. Dog Bowl.  I do wash Dante’s bowl, but perhaps not as often or as thoroughly as is recommended.  The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) found dog bowls to be one of the top 10 germiest locations in a house, according to their 2011 study.  I guess I can understand why the a dog’s bowl might be so germ hotbed, but maybe it aids in our overall germ resistance and so isn’t as bad as they make it out to be?  Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better for not washing Dante’s bowl as well as I should.  Their suggestion is daily sanitizing in the dishwasher or washing by hand using soapy water.  If hand washing the bowls,  you should do a weekly soaking of the bowl in 1:50 mixture of bleach and water for 10 minutes and rinse well.  Hmmm…who knew?
  2. Bedding.  Luckily this is fairly easy, especially if you pick a sunny day.  Bedding can be vacuumed to remove excess hair, or shaken outside.  Thankfully most beds have zip off covers that can be removed and washed – just unzip and toss in your machine.  If you’re really into deep cleaning, use the disinfect cycle on your washing machine.   I put my covers in the dryer on low and remove when they feel just a little damp and then air dry them the rest of the way so there’s no shrinking.  But if it’s a nice sunny day, and you can wait, hang them up and dry them outside.  While the covers are washing and drying (and if it’s sunny) put the pad inserts outside to bathe in the fresh air.  Once everything is completely dry, reassemble and go take a nap on your dog’s bed before he messes it up again.  How often to wash?  Once a month would be ideal to keep them nice and is not too frequent as to make you crazy.
  3. Toys.  Dante’s favorite toys are the soft ones with squeakers – these last 1-3 days before they’ve been disemboweled of stuffing and squeaker so that all that remains are floppy lifeless rags that he likes even more.  There’s not much to wash here, so I eventually just discard them after a few weeks.  But for those of you whose dog’s cherish their stuffies such that they remain intact, these can be washed in your machine in cool water and dried on low heat. You can put them inside a pillow case for washing and drying if you’re worried about the fabric pilling or decorative features falling off.  However, since the toy has probably spent a lot of time in your dog’s mouth, I doubt you have this level of concern, but hey, I thought I’d mention it.  I would suggest using unscented, or at least less soap than you would for your clothing, and no fabric softener, so that your dog doesn’t grab his freshly cleaned toy in his mouth, spit it out, and then give you that “what the heck is this?” look.  As for hard toys, wash in a small amount of dish washing liquid and water, or put through the dishwasher like I always did with my kids chewy toys.  You can also use half water half vinegar and rinse well.  How often?  I suppose you could go nuts and wash weekly,  but really it’s up to you and your tolerance.  It’s just fine if you wash them only they look dirty or when you’re expecting small children in your home who may handle them.  Maybe for you (and me for sure), just every Spring!

In closing, I hope that Spring inspires you, whether or not there’s any cleaning involved!



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