Spring Cleaning Tasks for Pet Parents

Melting snow and chirping birds can only mean one thing: Spring has finally arrived.

It’s time to clean all the things! While you air out your house and scrub everything down, add a handful of tasks to your routine to ensure your pet’s items are part of the annual clean.

Clean and tow winter wear

If your dog wears coats and boots throughout the winter, look the pieces over for any rips or tears to mend. Fix what you can, then scrub off any salt and dirt prior to packing them for storage. Clean items last longer and will be ready to go when—ugh—winter rolls around again.

Wash and air pet bedding

Put removable bed covers through the laundry. Internal cushions may not be safe to go through the machine. Check the label and, if not, set them outside in a sunny spot to air out, flipping occasionally to freshen both sides.

Check the litter pan for nicks and scrapes

If you use a plastic litter pan, any inclusions may cause odor to seep into the plastic. While that can be annoying to you, it’s offensive to many cats who stop using the smelly pan. Wash the pan thoroughly with a gentle cleanser like castile soap. Apply a thin layer of baking soda. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned the pan, don’t pour in litter just yet. Allow the baking soda to absorb odors. Dump it, apply another layer of baking soda, then add the litter. If there’s still an odor, or your cat avoids the box, it may be time to replace it.

Clean and repair toys

Stitch up any holes in soft toys and snip loose threads. The easiest way to clean hard toys is to toss them in the dishwasher. Gather up all the hard toys (plus, throw in food and water dishes to multitask the load). Run a regular wash cycle with vinegar instead of dishwasher detergent to avoid potentially toxic chemicals. Leave out the rinse aid, too. Soft toys like ropes can go through the laundry. If the squeaker comes out squeak-less, don’t panic! Set the toy in a warm, sunny spot. Once the water dries, it’ll squeak again.

Examine and replace equipment

Spring clean leashes, harnesses, packs, and outdoor gear. Repair or replace anything that’s too worn to be safe. Bonus: While you’re laundering the soft dog toys, toss nylon or fabric leashes, collars, and harnesses in the load. To cut down on the clang, stash them in a pillowcase first.

Update microchips and vaccination records

No, it’s not a cleaning task. But updating your pet’s information is a vital and often-forgotten task. Tie it into your spring clean to make it a habit.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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