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Cats, Dogs

Critter Chatter: Spring is Here (hopefully)

by L Phillips Brown, DVM – The Essential Pet Vet

Spring is finally coming, and it’s time to begin some serious cleaning of your house, yard and, most importantly, pets.

Pet bedding can be cleaned by hand or in the washer using a small amount of regular unscented laundry detergent, but no bleach. If the bed looks grungy or smells stinky, maybe it’s time to celebrate spring with a new one. Don’t forget to vacuum around your pet’s favorite sleeping area to remove hair and dirt buildup from the winter. It’s not a bad idea to wash pet bedding every other month.

Spring is also a great time to thoroughly clean crates and carriers using warm water and dishwashing detergent.  Then dry all surfaces and put everything outside in the sunlight for 8 hours.  I don’t recommend the use of disinfectant solutions because they might contain ingredients that could be toxic or leave irritating fumes. It’s good to routinely clean crates once monthly and carriers after every use.

Be sure to clean all feeding and water bowls and toys, and then put them all on a weekly cleaning schedule. You can use hot soapy water or run them through the dishwasher if they are dishwasher safe. Then let them air dry in the sunlight eight hours. Throw away any toys that are permanently soiled, damaged or ignored. Use this time to check the cleanliness and fit of your pet’s collars as well as to make sure all the necessary rabies and identification tags are securely in place.

If your dog or cat is taking any medications or supplements, check all expiration dates and get rid of any that look old or have expired.  Don’t forget to check flea collars for fit and condition.  Make sure you have a fresh supply of flea, tick and heartworm medications, and contact your veterinarian if you don’t.

Give your dog (and cat if your are brave) a respectable bath, trim the nails and brush the coat thoroughly. Brushing helps reduce shedding and removes any allergens, and regular brushing helps prevent tangles and matting. But, if it’s a bad hair day, make an appointment with a professional groomer.

Then take your pet outside to enjoy spring and begin an exercise program so you can both look great hanging out around the pool, playing volleyball on the beach or maybe just strolling around the neighborhood.

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