When Should You Replace Your Pet's Belongings?
When it comes to taking care of your pets, things like feeding them, grooming, vaccinations, and regular vet care are no-brainers. But, how often do you think about taking care of your pet's belongings? After all, you wash your clothes, dishes, and bed sheets, right? So, what about your pet's stuff?
Keeping your pet's belongings clean ensures he stays as healthy as possible. It's especially helpful if your pet suffers from any allergies. Here's a look at when you should replace your pet's belongings, plus the best way to keep them clean and healthy for you and your pets.
Pet Bedding and Blankets
Whether your dog or cat sleeps in the bed with you, has his own pet bed, or uses an old blanket, it's important to keep his bedding (and yours) clean. You should wash your pet's bedding once a week, paying close attention to the care instructions.
How to Clean Pet Bedding
Before you just toss your pet's bed into the washing machine, read the care label closely. Not all pet beds are machine-washable, and some only have certain parts that can go in the washer or dryer. This is something worth considering when you're shopping for pet bedding; cute beds are nice, but if they're impractical to clean, they're not the best option.
Nowadays, most pet beds are machine-washable, or at least feature a removable cover that you can toss in the wash. However, it's important to prep it first (and wash separately from the rest of the laundry).
Use a lint roller or similar device to get as much hair off of the bed or blanket as you can.
Then toss it in the dryer for about 10 minutes on no-heat to further loosen the fabric and release pesky embedded hairs.
Remove the bedding and shake it out before putting it in the wash. Use a perfume-free detergent. You can also add ½ cup of white vinegar to further loosen hairs and conquer odors.
After washing, shake out the bedding and dry according to the instructions on the care label. (Ensure you clean out your dryer's lint filter.)
If your pet sleeps in your bed, wash your bedding once a week. The same goes for any household blankets or throws that your pet might like to snuggle in with you. However, wash your pet's items separate from your own.
If your pal's bed can't go in the wash, see if you can hand-wash it and hang it to dry. If it is spot-clean only, you might want to consider a bed that's easier to clean.
When to Replace Pet Bedding
For the most part, if cared for properly, your pal's bedding can last a while. However, it's important to inspect it regularly for rips or tears. Repair any holes as soon as possible so your pet doesn't try to play with and eat the stuffing.
If you're unable to repair defects sufficiently, or the bedding is overly worn, it's best to replace it. One suggestion is to get two beds or blankets for your pet so she still has one to use while the other is being cleaned.
If your pet uses a crate, you should wash it regularly, but how often depends on how often your pal uses it. If she uses it every day, plan to clean it once a week.
How to Clean Pet Crates
Most crates are plastic or wire, and therefore easy to clean. You can wipe them down with a mild detergent and sponge and use a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to disinfect the surface. Simply let the solution sit for ten minutes before wiping it away. You can also bring the crate outside and use a detergent and the garden hose to give it a good clean.
When to Replace Pet Crates
Crates last a long time; so, simply replace if it is cracked or broken, or if your pet has outgrown it. Your pet should be able to stand and turn in a circle and sit comfortably.
This one can get tricky since you can't necessarily wash all pet toys. But, use your best judgment, as dirty pet toys can play host to mold, bacteria, and other unpleasantness.
How to Clean Pet Toys
It's best to clean pet toys as needed, based on the instructions on the care label. The same study by the NSF found pet toys to be the 10th germiest place in the home. Some toys are machine-washable, others can be hand-washed, and some are spot-clean.
You can even wash some pet toys on the top rack of the dishwasher. Consider these factors when selecting your pet's toys. Opt for toys that you can clean without a lot of hassle. If your pal has a toy she particularly loves, you may want to buy two. Like with all of your pet's things, wash your pet's toys separate from your own belongings.
When to Replace Pet Toys
Regularly examine your pet's toys and replace them when they are damaged beyond repair. Broken, ripped toys can pose several safety hazards to your pets. Plus, if it is a rubber chew toy that is significantly chewed up, it's time for a new one.
A good rule of thumb is to regularly check everything for wear and tear to help determine when to replace your pet's belongings. Items like leashes and collars could benefit from an occasional wipe down, and you should replace them when they show signs of fraying or breakage. If your pet has special clothing, wash it according to the care label. Keep your pet's grooming supplies clean and dry, too. Litter boxes and scoops should be cleaned once a week (scooped every day), or utilize liners in your cat's box.
When you take care of your pet's belongings properly, you take better care of your pets. For more tips on ensuring your furry friends are happy and healthy, check out the rest of our blog. You'll find everything you need to be the best pet parent you can be.
- Fernando Becattini