How To Clean Your Dog’s Gear
We all know how important it is to pick up after your dog. Exposed poop is gross. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even like looking at it in a toilet. A pile is filled with bacteria, dirt and crawlies. Do you know what else is pretty gross? Pet toys and bedding that have been hanging out around you for years. Cleaning up after your dog also means you’ve got to know how to clean your dog’s gear.
We wash and brush Fido, maybe even get him to a groomers a couple of times a year, but it doesn’t necessarily protect your home. From toys and bedding to feeding bowls and walking gear like leashes and harnesses, your dog’s stuff can contaminate without you ever noticing.
Here’s some advice from the team at tails.com to knowing exactly when your pet’s favorite items need to be cleaned and how to get them smelling and looking like new.
How often should you clean up your dog’s gear?
Bed and blankets
Our dog’s come into contact with lots of different types of bacteria and fungus, which mean their bed can become a sea of mites, fleas and ticks if not cleaned regularly.
These organisms can survive on fabric for up to 12 months which is why dog beds should be washed regularly.
Cleaning tip: Vacuum any hair, crumbs and muck from the bed. Use a stain remover to treat any stains on the fabric. For a natural alternative use white vinegar and baking soda.
Using a pet-safe laundry detergent, place all your dog’s bedding and blankets in the washing machine, ensuring they are washed separately from any other items.
Food and drink bowl
This one’s a biggie and so easy to manage. Dog slobber gets into food and water bowls. If you have the bowls on the ground, critters get in there too. Although most pups lick their bowls clean, the leftover residue harbors bacteria, including salmonella and E. Coli. In fact, the National Sanitation Foundation found that pet bowls are the fourth germiest place in the home, right behind the kitchen sink and toothbrush holder.
When dogs eat and drink directly from the bowl, they can transfer this bacteria to the bowl from their mouths. The bacteria then starts to grow and each time you add more food to the bowl, it contaminates it. If your dog shares his bowl with other pets, it’s even more important to wash your pet’s food bowl after every meal.
Water bowls should be washed once a day or more, in order to prevent the growth of mould, yeast, algae and fungi. Your guy should always have fresh water. Don’t just add water to what’s already there.
Cleaning tip; Use hot soapy water to clean your pet’s dishes and use separate cleaning brushes/cloths from the ones you use for people dishes.
Collar, lead and walking gear
Dog collars and walking gear can get filthy with constant wear. Plus, has your dog ever peed on his own leash? Eww. Over time, your pups outdoor wear will eventually absorb enough skin oils, dirt and grime that they start to stink. Don’t let it get to that point! Collars and leads need to be washed to keep them smelling fresh – and to prevent any bacteria buildup.
While the washing machine seems like the easiest option, not all materials can withstand it, some can fall apart or become damaged if the setting is too high. The best option is to wash by hand, using a mild detergent, dish soap or even dog shampoo. If that’s too high maintenance, put them in the top rack of your dishwasher.
Cleaning tip: Make sure all cleaning products have been thoroughly rinsed out, if they are left on the collar they can cause irritation to the skin.
Your dog’s favorite toys are a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria, germs, mold and mildew. Favorite toys should be washed at least once a week, but if they are covered in dribble, dirt or food, it’s worth washing right away.
The best method to clean fabric toys is to place them into an old pillowcase and put them on a gentle cycle in the washing machine, using a pet-friendly detergent. For plastic toys, drop them in a bowl of hot soapy water and let them soak for 10 minutes, rinse and dry.
Cleaning tip: Avoid using any disinfecting products containing bleach, even when diluted it can still pose a threat to your best friend as its highly toxic when consumed.
Ok, so my dog wears his fur and that’s it. As silly as clothes for dogs are, they’re out there on other people’s pets. Just like humans, dogs’ clothing should be washed regularly to remove any bacteria and keep them looking and smelling clean. The general rule of thumb is to wash your dog’s jackets and sweaters at least once every two weeks, but obviously if it’s caked in mud, clean it immediately.
Washing your pup’s duds is just like washing your own stuff. Check the care label to see how it should be washed, some will be hand-wash only, while others can go into the washing machine.
Cleaning tip; Check for any rips and lose threads before washing your dog’s clothing. One tumble and you might shred the whole outfit.