Spring Cleaning Tips for When Your House Smells Like Pets
Have pets? It’s likely your house smells like pets. While we love our furry family members, none of us love the variety of funky pet smells and debris that can creep into every room of the house. Getting the animal smell out of the house can be challenging to figure out, and it’s not as simple as just opening the windows (although it helps). If you really want to get the animal smell out of the house, a good spring cleaning and regular maintenance will do the trick! Owned by cats? We’ve included ways to make cat litter smell better for everyone.
How to Get Pet Odors Out of Your House
Clean up all hard floor surfaces: We can limit the ways we bring the outside into our homes, but pets can’t leave their shoes outside. Pets, kids, and even some adults have a real talent for tracking things in, especially dirt or mud. Some pets just love to roll in smelly stuff, the grass, dirt, or mud. Sweep or mop high traffic hard floors daily, and clean up potentially smelly messes or potty accident sites as they happen. Give the floors a once over with a non-toxic, pet-safe floor cleaner or a Swiffer dry mop daily.
Light Spring Clean Tip: Begin by sweeping gently so you don’t kick up dirt and dander into the air. Mop up any remaining loose debris like pet hair, dander, and outside dirt tracked inside after potty breaks or playtime outdoors.
Deep Spring Clean Tip: Start scrubbing. Scrub the bare floors, baseboards, and walls. Focus especially where pets have marked with a vinegar and water solution or an antibacterial, odor-neutralizing pet-friendly product. Some folks like to consider using a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water solution on cement floors or walls – just make sure to keep your pets at a safe distance from ALL harsh or and unsafe chemicals.
Clean curtains, upholstery, fans & fabric shades. Things should be looking and smelling better by this step. But your mission to get the animal smell out of the house isn’t done yet. Animal odors, dust, dander, and other stains gradually work into curtains and upholstery, especially around the bottom edges where pets may leave markers. Don’t forget fabric window blinds, fabric lampshades, and fan blades.
Light Spring Clean Tip: Grab a pet-friendly odor neutralizer spray for fabrics and go to town! Use a pet-friendly spot cleaner with odor or enzymatic neutralizer on the upholstery to remove any stains.
Deep Spring Clean Tip: Wash or dry-clean any drapes or window coverings. For fabrics that cannot be laundered, try a steam cleaner or vacuum, and steam-clean any upholstered furniture to try to remove any smells. Wash pet bedding using a pet-friendly detergent and dry well. Be sure to check corners and seams for buried treats or hidden fabric tears before popping them into the washer. It happens. Repair or replace worn-out bedding for fresh new ones.
Vacuum up pet hair, dirt, and dander: If you have pets who shed, managing the hair and loose fur is a daily struggle, especially if they’re allowed on the furniture. We’ve all seen the videos; pets will often ignore all the rules when you’re not home.
Deep Spring Clean Tip: Vacuum pet hair, dirt, and dander wherever it might be hiding. In the cushions of your couch (sometimes you’ll find hidden toys or treats). Vacuum under and behind furniture, plus any cracks and crevices in any spot your pet likes to hang out. Don’t forget the patio door tracks where dirt, hair, and dander can accumulate.
Shampoo carpets and throw rugs. Many pet owners appreciate the convenience of a portable carpet cleaner for cleaning up pet accidents, but if you really want to get the animal smell out of the house, hire professionals who use cleaning methods and special solutions that are safe for pets.
Clean toys, bowls, collars, leashes, and pet bedding: All of these items hold on to odor and bacteria, so you need to wash and launder them regularly to keep pet odor out of the house. Pet beds are gathering places for dirt, dander, and other nasties that smell. Food and water bowls along with some toys can run through the dishwasher.
Get rid of cat odors.Ways to make cat litter smell better range from the habit of scooping daily to remove waste (and temptation for poo-eating dogs) to fancy automatic litter boxes with all the bells and whistles, so you get none of the smells. Unfortunately, the hi-tech versions of the litter box can be expensive but oh, so worth it if it’s in your budget. Speaking of budgets, start by making sure you have at least one box per cat in a well-ventilated area. Wash thoroughly once a month, or each time you change the litter. Add some baking soda to the bottom of the box before refilling. Replace the litter boxes each year.
Schedule a grooming appointment for your pet. You’ll want a shower after all the spring pet cleaning! Why not bathe the dog, too? Book a grooming appointment or send them off for spa day while you’re spring cleaning. Your pet will come home squeaky clean and smelling great.
Established in 1995, World Spay Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday in February, and this year it falls on February 23rd. However, the entire month is recognized as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month (AKA Beat the Heat Month), and local animal shelters and humane societies often host awareness events.
World Spay Day is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals and encouraging people to do so as it can save lives. It’s completely expected that you might be asking, “why spay and neuter?” or have some additional questions regarding World Spay Day so we’re here with some answers and to talk you through the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.
Importance of Spaying and Neutering
What’s the difference between spayed and neutered? Spaying is a veterinary procedure that removes the uterus and ovaries of a female pet. This typically requires minimal hospitalization time and offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering is the veterinary procedure that removes the testicles of a male pet. This can vastly improve the male pet’s behavior and also can provide lifelong health benefits.
Benefits of spaying a cat/Benefits of spaying a dog. Many pet owners often ask, “why spay or neuter?” The answer is simple: long-term health. Breast tumors are cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats but spaying your pet helps prevent breast tumors and uterine infections. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection against these diseases. Additionally, neutering your male pets helps to prevent testicular cancer and other prostate issues as well as minimize poor behaviors.
What if I choose not to spay my pet? The instinct to procreate is strong in animals. An unspayed dog will enter into a “heat cycle” where her hormones tell her to breed. This can result in bloody discharge, swollen/inflamed genitals, excessive mounting, and may attract other dogs to mount her as well. In addition to this, male pets, including those still intact, can smell females in heat from great distances away and will do anything they can to reach them. Lastly, having a litter of puppies is not always safe. Intact females are at risk of developing Pyometra, a potentially fatal infection in the uterus that is often a result of hormonal changes in the reproductive tract.
What if I choose not to neuter my pet? While these claims may vary from breed to breed, some consistencies can be stated about unneutered cats and dogs. Males can be very aggressive. By failing to alter your pet, they produce more testosterone, which can intensify aggressive tendencies. Excessive amounts of testosterone can be harmful to a domesticated dog. They may be more inclined to initiate fights with other males they come across, and can be more likely to view other males as rivals rather than friends. Unneutered pets can also project this same aggressive energy toward humans. Furthermore, an unaltered male will have more sexual energy meaning much more mounting of furniture, people, objects or female animals. If he cannot achieve this, he can feel stressed and agitated.
Additionally, while dogs are known as ones to mark their territory any chance they get, cats are more likely to mark their environment when still intact and, unfortunately, feline urine is much stronger and contains high levels of ammonia making it harder to clean out and giving off a more pungent odor.
Celebrate World Spay Day or Spay/Neuter Awareness Month by spreading the word and raising awareness behind the importance of spaying and neutering your dog or cat. By doing so, you can help protect pets against certain types of illness, address
The new year brings new opportunities to slow down and enjoy the simple things like spending quality time with your pup! Treat them to a dog playdate on National Doggy Date Night, Wednesday, February 3rd.
The National Today science team surveyed 3,000 pet owners to discover just how much they loved their pups. They ranked each state by asking owners how often they let their pup lick their face or sleep in their bed, as well as how often they say “I love you,” buy them gifts, conversate with them, dress them in special outfits, and simply curl up and relax together. The results of each were close! The researchers followed up by asking single and married women who they would rather take on a date – their dog or significant other – and at least 20 percent voted in favor of doggy date night. Additionally, participants were asked how their dogs make their lives better, how having a dog affects day-to-day life, and the most popular dog playdate ideas/doggy date night activities:
64% – Give your dog a special Valentine’s Day treat.
53% – Tell your dog, “I love you.”
39% – Make or buy a special gift/treat for your dog.
33% – Post photos of your dog on social media with a loving message.
28% – Include your dog in Valentine’s Day activities with your significant other.
Just like people, dogs like dates, too! You can always go for a walk around the block or play some ball in the backyard, so for doggy date night, try and think outside the box and add some fun to your dog playdates.
Our Favorite Dog-Friendly Date Ideas:
Hit the Town: Head outside for a dog playdate. Find a park with some wide-open space for your pup to sniff and explore or run free and play a big fetch game. If weather permits have a picnic! Pack a basket with a blanket and snacks for both you and your pup to enjoy. Be sure to snap some commemorating photos throughout the day.
Spa Day: Treat your pooch to some primping and pampering. If your pup enjoys a trip to the spa, schedule a grooming appointment. If your dog prefers to stay home, consider a DIY spa night. Look into all the different spa products specifically designed for dogs and treat your pooch. Suds up in the tub and get that coat glowing. Grab some moisturizing, dog-friendly lotion and apply it to your pup’s nose and paws.
Drive-In Theatre: Yes, these still exist! Given the current state of the country, this dog-friendly playdate idea is not only safe for your pooch but also a safe environment for you. Most drive-ins don’t mind if you bring your pet with you, so pick out a show time and pack up the family to enjoy this throwback date activity.
Shopping: Shopping is something everyone can enjoy and can make for a great outing. Several big box home improvement stores are pet friendly, so you can shop for new home appliances or tools, and your furry companion will be happy to go along for the adventure. Head over to a local pet store and pick out some new swag, upgrade your pup’s bedding, or stock up on treats – let Fido pick out his favorite!
Car Ride: Hitting the open road– it’s no mystery that a good ‘ole car ride is one of most dog’s favorite pastimes. It’s perhaps the simplest dog playdate idea, but likely the one your dog will be most thrilled about.
Your pup isn’t picky. For them, an evening spent with you is more than enough. No matter how you choose to spend National Doggy Date Night, any adventure where you’re together is sure to be perfect in your dog’s eyes. Enjoy!
Next to spending quality time with extended family and friends, shiny decor and sweet treats are easily some of the greatest parts of the holiday season. However, before you pull out the tinsel or chocolate chips, make sure you establish a safe location to store these items far out of your pet’s reach. No matter which holiday you’re celebrating this winter, there are plenty of pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and so on to help ensure your pets stay safe.
Mindfulness when setting up your space for the holidays tops the list of important Christmas safety tips for pets to follow. Decorations are half the fun of the holiday season, but unfortunately, most of them are dangerous to animals.
Broken ornaments may expose your pets to loose shards of glass, and strands of tinsel may be toxic if ingested. Specifically, cats love to chase the sparkle of tinsel and ribbon, so you’ll want to monitor your feline friend closely around these items.
Twinkling lights add that extra glow, but you want to be sure to tuck excess electrical wires or batteries out of sight to avoid any curious paws. Christmas tree lights tend to heat up rather quickly, and one sniff can result in a bad snoot burn. Put your tree on a timer and never leave the lights on when you’re not home.
Fire can be mesmerizing for animals, so you’ll want to keep any candles out of reach, especially since the holiday scents often smell like food and easily attract those silly rascals. Remember to blow out your menorah candles every night along with any others you have scattered around and never leave any flame unattended!
Keeping an eye on festive plants, trees, and other greenery is essential among other Christmas safety tips for pets. While Amaryllis flowers are beautiful, they can be deceiving along with mistletoe, pine, cedar, holly, balsam, lilies, and poinsettias. If you’re not careful, their festive foliage can result in serious medical problems like heart issues or kidney failure, so it’s best for pet owners to steer clear and pick out artificial arrangements instead.
Regardless of real or artificial, the pine needles found in festive trees and wreaths can be harmful to pets if consumed. Keep an eye on the water source to make sure your pets aren’t drinking it, and try not to leave your pets unattended with these items. It’s safest to choose a location for these decorations that’s off-limits to your pets. Otherwise, select an area that you can temporarily fence or block off if, for any reason, you’re away for the day and make sure it’s completely secure and won’t topple over on anything or anyone.
Fudge, sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, candy canes, cakes, pies, chocolates – you name it, it’s hazardous and should be stored far out of reach. Holiday dinner may also bring temptation, and you may find your pet begging for “people food” under the table. But, It’s best not to indulge your pet with table scraps as consumption of heavy food items like stuffing, turkey, potatoes, and more can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse. Also, be sure to put any leftovers away to avoid your pets helping themselves to a snack while you’re in the other room enjoying dessert.
Along with festive decor and delectable treats, the holidays bring colder weather than usual. Although adjusting may come easier in Arizona, winter brings excessive dryness, which only increases dehydration risk. Some simple cold weather safety tips for pets, tips for hiking with your dog, or tips for those just looking to take a quick trip to the snow are being mindful of your dog’s age, weight, and size and be sure to check paws regularly for hydration. Smaller or shorter-haired dogs are more susceptible to lower temperatures and may benefit from a festive sweater. In contrast, larger, longer-haired, or double-coated breeds tend to be more tolerating and might overheat if dressed in any garments.
Additionally, the holidays come with end-of-year excitement, so it’s essential to follow these few pet safety tips for New Year’s Eve to minimize risk and ensure safer celebrations:
Keep pets in a secure room
Make sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags
Keep alcohol away from pets
Never leave pets outside during fireworks
Distract nervous pets with white noise or toys
Clean up firework debris before letting pets outside
Keep streamers, noisemakers, balloons, and tinsel out of reach
Animals love to use their mouths to examine foreign objects, which poses a high risk for choking and swallowing.
Pets are such a rewarding addition to any household. They deserve to enjoy the holidays in the safest environment possible and to be cared for as we care for ourselves and the rest of our family. By becoming aware of the different hazardous holiday household items, you and your pet will be able to enjoy a safe and fun holiday season together.
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately
Stocking Stuffers: Safer Christmas Gifts for Cats & Dogs
You can’t forget to treat your furry friends this holiday season. After all, more toys mean more distractions, comfort when they’re feeling anxious, a quick solution to tiring out an energized pup, and less time spent getting into things they shouldn’t be in.
Picking out Christmas gifts for cats is easier since they’re already pretty picky about toys and well, everything else, but dogs are often quick to accept any kind of toy or treat you present to them. This means that it’s your duty as a pet parent to be especially mindful when picking out stocking stuffers and other Christmas gifts for your pets.
Several factors contribute to the danger or safety of a toy, and many of them depend on the size of your pet, their activity levels and playing environment. Certain gifts for small dogs might not make great gifts for large ones.
Although we can’t deem any toy 100% safe, we can provide you with a simple holiday gift guide for pets to help point you in the right direction.
Active toys. Hard, rubber toys like Nylabones or Kong-like products that come in various shapes and sizes are great for chewing on and playing with. Rope and woven toys are excellent for multiple-pet households where a lot of tug-of-war goes down. Tennis balls are also perfect for fetching; however, you should discard any that have been chewed up as they can be a choking hazard.
Distraction toys. Kongs, “busy box,” “feeders,” or other similar rubber products that you can fill with treats are great for distracting your pooch for hours. If approved by your veterinarian, peanut butter is also a fantastic and tasty toy stuffer.
Comfort toys. Soft, plush toys serve several purposes for pups, but this is when the dog type comes into play. If your pet enjoys carrying around soft toys and views this toy as their friend, pick one appropriate to the size of your pup’s mouth. For those that want to shake or destroy their toys, choose one that’s sturdy to withstand such rough-housing and one large enough to avoid accidental swallowing amid that chaos.
The Bark offers some smart, safer, and widely popular dog toy options from reputable pet product companies worldwide.
Additionally, for those on the hunt for Christmas gifts for cats, Chewy offers an array of toys from reputable brands like PetStages, All Kind, Frisco, Ethical Pet, and many more. These serve as great distractions for your kitty counter surfer, hopefully keeping them from swatting all your holiday decor down!
Balls with single air holes (these can create a dangerous suction trap)
Squeaker toys (unless closely monitored)
Sticks and stones (may splinter or become lodged in throat or stomach)
Heavily dyed toys
Toys treated with fire retardants or stain guard
Balls with bells inside
Toys with plastic inside
Both dogs and cats use toys for comfort, to carry, shake, and roll around with, so the toys you purchase should be interactive yet appropriate for their playstyle and appropriate for their size – you wouldn’t give a teacup chihuahua the same toy you’d give a newfoundland and you surely wouldn’t give that same toy to your cat!
It’s imperative to understand the risks toys pose of ingestion, choking, stomach obstruction, containment of toxic materials, and more. While it’s a federal requirement that products consumed by humans are regulated and inspected for safety, it’s not a requirement for animal products. Exercise caution when purchasing Christmas gifts for your pets, and be sure to supervise their play once you’ve gifted it to them.
If you’re looking to stuff your pets stocking this season, check with your veterinarian for guidance on which toys are safer and which ones to avoid according to your pet’s specific needs. The brands/products contained within this article have no affiliation with AZPetVet, and their presence should not be interpreted as an endorsement or recommendation by our veterinarians.