As a devoted dog owner, ensuring the well-being of your furry friend is paramount. One crucial aspect of your dog's care is maintaining their supplies in a clean and hygienic condition. From their bedding to food and water bowls, and even their cherished plush toys, regular cleaning not only safeguards your dog's health but also extends the lifespan of these items. In this article, we'll delve into the best practices for cleaning your dog's supplies, covering bedding, food and water bowls, and plush toys.
Cleaning your dog's bedding
A dog's bedding serves as a haven for rest and relaxation, making it imperative to maintain its cleanliness. Maintaining your dog's bedding in a clean and hygienic condition is not just a matter of aesthetics; it directly impacts your furry friend's health and comfort. Regularly cleaning your dog's bedding reduces the risk of parasite infestation, prevents bacterial growth and unpleasant odours from developing.
Begin by removing any loose debris or hair from the bedding. This can be done by gently shaking it or using a lint roller for more effective results. If the bedding has removable covers, like the Big Borky Orthopedic Dog Bed, take them off and wash them separately according to the manufacturer's instructions. Some dog beds do not come with separate covers but can be washed entirely in the washing machine. Load the dog bed cover or the entire bed in the washing machine and add a mild, pet-friendly detergent. Opt for a gentle cycle to prevent damage to the fabric. Once the washing cycle is complete, make sure to thoroughly dry the bedding. You can either tumble dry it on a low heat setting or hang it outside in the sun to naturally disinfect and refresh it. Always ensure that the bed is completely dry to prevent the growth of mould and bacteria before allowing your dog to use the bedding.
Cleaning your dog’s food and water bowls
The food and water bowls your dog uses daily can harbour harmful bacteria if not cleaned regularly. Here’s how to maintain the cleanliness of your dog's feeding area.
After each mealtime, remove any leftover food and wash the bowls with warm water and a mild dish soap. Use a soft sponge or cloth to gently scrub away any residue. Thoroughly rinse the bowls with clean water to ensure no soap residue remains. Soap ingestion can be harmful to your dog's health. Periodically, sanitise the bowls by creating a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Allow the bowls to soak in this mixture for about 10 minutes, then rinse them thoroughly before use.
If you're using plastic bowls, be aware that they can develop scratches over time, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. It's advisable to periodically assess the condition of your plastic dog bowls. If you notice signs of wear, scratches, or difficulty in cleaning thoroughly, it's time to replace them. Plastic dog bowls are often more budget-friendly compared to bowls made from other materials like stainless steel or ceramic. Stainless steel dog bowls are often considered safer and more hygienic options for long-term use as they are less porous and easier to clean.
Cleaning your dog’s plush toys
Dog's plush toys can become dirty for several reasons, primarily due to their interactions with your dog and their environment. Chewing, mouthing, and carrying plush toys can transfer dirt and saliva from your dog's mouth to the toy's surface. If your dog takes their plush toys outdoors, they can pick up dirt, mud, and other debris from the ground. And, dogs might use their plush toys during mealtime or treat consumption. This can result in the transfer of food particles, moisture, and crumbs onto the toy. To maintain the cleanliness of your dog's plush toys, it's important to incorporate regular cleaning into your routine.
Regularly inspect your dog's plush toys for any signs of damage, such as loose threads, holes, or stuffing coming out. If a toy is deteriorating, it's best to repair or replace it to prevent any potential ingestion hazards. Check the manufacturer's instructions or labels for specific cleaning guidelines. While many plush toys, including the KONG Wild Knots Bear Dog Toy are machine washable, some may require hand washing to avoid damage. For machine-washable toys, place them in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle. Use a gentle cycle and a pet-friendly detergent. After washing, to avoid the possibility of mould, make sure plush toys are completely dry before either returning them to your pet or storing them.
Cleaning your dog’s leashes and harnesses
Washing your dog's leash and harnesses is necessary to prevent bacteria and dirt buildup, and remove potential allergen such as pollen, dust, and other irritants that might cling to these items. Leashes and harnesses can inadvertently pick up fleas, ticks, and other parasites from the environment. Regular cleaning can help prevent the transfer of these pests to your dog. Since you handle your dog's leash and harnesses, regular washing helps minimise the transfer of dirt, germs, and potential allergens from these items to your hands and clothing.
Regularly examine your pup’s leashes and harnesses for signs of wear, such as fraying, fading, or damaged hardware. Replace any items that show significant wear to ensure your dog's safety. Hand wash leashes and harnesses using a mild detergent or dog shampoo, and warm water. Gently scrub the surfaces and rinse thoroughly to remove dirt, sweat, and odours. If needed, you can spot clean with a gentle brush (toothbrushes are great) or a rag with soapy water. For items labelled as machine washable, place them inside a pillowcase or laundry bag before tossing them in the washing machine. Use a pet-friendly detergent and the gentle cycle. When it comes to drying, hang the leashes and harnesses in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This will prevent the materials from fading or deteriorating. Ensure the leashes and harnesses are completely dry before using.
Cleaning your dog’s collar
Like your dog’s leashes and harnesses, collars can become dirty over time due to exposure to various elements, such as dirt, sweat, and oils from your dog's coat. The frequency of cleaning your dog's collar depends on how often your dog wears it and their activities. In general, it's a good idea to clean the collar at least once a month. However, if your dog is particularly active, swims frequently, or gets the collar noticeably dirty, you might need to clean it more often.
Take off the collar from your dog. This is also a good time to inspect the collar for any signs of wear or damage that might require replacement. If the collar has excessive dirt or debris, gently brush or shake off the loose particles. This will make the cleaning process more effective. Fill a bowl or basin with warm water. Add a small amount of mild, pet-safe detergent or a few squirts of your dog’s shampoo to create a gentle cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals that might irritate your dog's skin. Place the collar in the soapy water and allow it to soak for a few minutes. This helps to loosen dirt, oils, and any odours that might be trapped in the fabric. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the collar. Pay special attention to areas that might have accumulated dirt, like buckles, holes, and any intricate designs. After scrubbing, rinse the collar thoroughly under running water to remove the soap and dirt. Ensure that all soap residue is washed away. Gently pat the collar with a clean towel to remove excess water. Hang the collar in a well-ventilated area to air dry completely before you reattach it to your dog.
If you’re hoping to prevent the need for frequent deep cleaning and your dog spends a lot of time in or around water, consider Ruffwear Confluence™ Waterproof & Stink-Proof Dog Collar. This collar is waterproof and stink-proof collar. It’s made of a coated webbing to seal out odour-producing bacteria.
Taking the time to wash your dog's supplies isn't just about keeping things tidy; it's a vital step in ensuring your furry friend's well-being, and that of your entire household. Regular cleaning prevents the accumulation of allergens, bacteria, and parasites. Washing your dog’s supplies may seem like a small act but in reality, it’s essential in creating a clean, comfortable and safe living environment for all. So, grab that soap, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to give your pup the gift of a cleaner, happier life.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.