Owning an animal can be one of the joys in life, but for most of us, cleaning up after them … not so much. Animals shed. They have dander. They drool. Their coats get grotty and unidentifiable things can drop off their bodies.
I remind the good reader I’m not referring to teenage boys, who also handily tick all these same boxes. I’m talking about our four-legged friends, our pets, who do a yeoman’s service of adding tremendous value to our lives. If only they could add tidying up after themselves to the list.
These days, and in our part of the world, pets mainly live in our homes with us, indeed cats and the smaller creatures are meant to be inside (for warmth and safety). It’s also entirely normal to see dogs sharing 100 per cent of our indoor spaces too, which means hair, hair everywhere … lots of dirt and dander too.
Being around our four-legged fur machines can trigger allergies for the more sensitive among us, which can run the gamut of symptoms from a mildly irritating cough to full-on wheezy-itch-wagon status in the blink of a watery eye. And here’s the deal: it’s not your pet that you’re actually allergic to.
It’s a protein in their dander, which is dead skin cells plus microscopic amounts of saliva and urine, gently and invisibly floating off their bodies and activating your immune response.
Add a further dose of pollen, dust mites and mould released simultaneously (from a mungy pet bed) and some of us are riding the bullet train to the Atomic Allergy Zone.
To learn more about how to deal with the problem, I spoke with Ray Shaw of Ruby Tuesdays Laundry Service at #101 - 9842 Second St. in Sidney. Ray is an expert in this field. At Ruby Tuesday’s, one of the many cleaning services offered is the sanitization of pet beds, blankets and collars. During this process, machines use very hot water along with hypoallergenic washing soap to ensure that all manner of bacteria are eliminated. Enzymatic cleaners, which are used in the process as well, break down biological substances, making them the perfect cleaner for pet messes. They are 100 per cent non-toxic and biodegradable and will make stains and smells a thing of the past.
Keeping your pet’s bed clean on a regular basis is one of a few simple and effective ways to improve living conditions for all denizens occupying your domicile. Keep on reading to learn more strategies to keep a clean home and let your pet run free at the same time.
But first please, just a quick word to remind pet owners that many household cleaners can be very harmful to animals. It may seem obvious, but anything containing bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers and formaldehyde should be strictly avoided, as these substances are extremely poisonous. It’s easy to forget that many common cleaners contain these ingredients, and while it’s common knowledge that prolonged exposure to them can be toxic for adults and children, our pets are particularly at risk for things such as cancer, organ damage and extreme irritation to their paws, skin, eyes and nose. For the record, dryer sheets and plug-in air fresheners are bad news, too. Take my advice and avoid them like the plague.
OK, that’s enough of the scary stuff. Moving on, here are some more tried and tested tips to keep your pet-friendly home feeling fresh.
Consider setting up a pet cleaning station in your laundry room or mud room. If you don’t have one, simply tweak your entranceway. For starters, get a machine-washable and absorbent doormat.
This can prevent the worst of the stains, which equals less cleaning overall – who can argue with that? Have dog towels and wipes easily accessible and keep a water spray bottle handy to clean muddy paws. Treats are good to have on hand here.
It almost goes without saying that keeping pets themselves clean and well groomed will go a long way toward your home looking and smelling fresher, but don’t forget about regularly cleaning your pet’s things including their toys, which get ripe in no time.
While on the topic of odours, remember to react quickly to accidents so that stains don’t get a chance to set (enzymatic cleaners are your friend here). Plus, time is not on your side when it comes to killing the drag. Get on it quick.
Pets can be hard on homes and respiratory systems, but utilizing some of these strategies for keeping the dirt and dander at bay will keep your pet-friendly abode smelling fresh and looking crisp.
Most importantly, your pet’s health will benefit and your airway will thank you, too.
By Robin Whyte, special to the Peninsula News Review.