- Run the dog dishes through the dishwasher. What a difference it makes having water out of a nice, clean, disinfected bowl! If your bowls have rubber or cork on the bottom, consider hand-washing with hot water and dish soap. Our stainless steel bowls did fine in the top rack of the dishwasher, but use your own discretion.
- Some dog brushes -- especially those with synthetic bristles -- can benefit from a trip through the dishwasher, too. Some won't do well so be careful when you decide what to auto-wash. Make sure you use the top rack. If in doubt about whether they can tolerate the automatic wash, fill a large bowl with hot water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent. Soak the brushes for two hours, then rinse thoroughly. Use a rag to loosen any stubborn debris and dry with bristles upright. Your brushes will thank you for it!
- Gather any dog blankets, remove any removable dog-bed covers and run them through the washing machine. Read the labels: make sure they're machine washable. Ours did just fine. Special hint: shake them out as well as you can first. Those rawhide chews, toys, and other interesting tidbits that we hide in our bed can really muck up a washing machine. Vigorously shaking them (outside) will take out a lot of the hair first. Special hint #2: don't wash any of your human things along with our dog bed covers. You may never get all the hair out of them again! Besides ... do you think we want YOUR germs on our things?
- While you're at it, our stuffed toys get pretty slobbery and crusty. Some of them tolerate machine washing. Again, check the labels and be cautious in what you run through the machine. Most of the well-made toys do just fine -- but avoid washing the ones with those mechanized battery-operated noisemakers. If you are reluctant to machine-wash them, use a warm, wet, soapy sponge and give them a good wipe-down. You can even blow-dry them back to fluffy.
- If you use an outdoor dog kennel, hose down the concrete with a power sprayer. Make sure it has ample time to dry before putting anyone in it in cooler weather. That concrete can give quite a chill when damp.
- Indoor crates can always use a good scrubbing. Depending on the material, an all-purpose eco-friendly cleaner like Simple Green can do a fine job -- and so can laundry detergent. If your dog's coat tends to slough off that greasy residue, like some Labs do, Dawn dishwashing liquid or even car-wash can cut the grease. Rinse well!
- How about those Nylabones and other inedible chew toys? Soak them in hot water with dishwashing liquid for a couple of hours, clean thoroughly with a sponge, and rinse well.
- That's not all! How do our collars look? Those nylon collars tend to develop quite an odoriferous funk if not cleaned regularly. Soak in hot water with laundry detergent, rinse well, and allow to dry thoroughly before putting back on. It's a good time to check to make sure the ID tags are not only still readable, but up to date as well. When we scratch at our neck and ears, we tend to scuff those tags. Leather collars can benefit from cleaning with Murphy's Oil Soap and prompt drying with a soft rag. Condition afterwards with good leather balm. Don't forget our leashes!
- Still have as much energy as a Border Collie on a Sunday morning? Maybe it's a great day to organize the dog stuff -- you know, the shampoos, prescriptions, anti-chew sprays and tick and flea powders and all those other products that tend to clutter up the shelves in the utility room. Check expiration dates, if applicable, and toss the stuff that's so old it can be carbon dated.
- As much as I hate to acknowledge those blasted cats ... you may as well scrub and disinfect those nasty litterboxes while you're on the cleaning binge. As for their beds and houses and cat trees, if you can't machine wash them, give them a good going-over with the brush on your vacuum cleaner.
There you have it -- a few ideas for starters. If there are some I haven't thought of, leave a comment below.
That's it for now -- and remember -- one ear up!
|Earl the McNab|
(c) 2013 by MJ Miller
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