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"Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Clean Your Pet�s Toys, Bed and Habitat "

"Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Clean Your Pet�s Toys, Bed and Habitat "

The arrival of warmer weather often brings with it the impetus to “spring clean” our lives. Along with washing windows, shaking out rugs, and Marie Kondo-ing everything in sight, our pets’ items deserve a little spruce after their long winter’s use, as well. Follow these guidelines to ensure your pets will be welcoming spring with a full array of clean pet products.

How to clean (and clean out) your pet’s toys and supplies

Most types of pets have a few things in common, like the fact that they drink and eat food from bowls, entertain themselves with toys and probably need the occasional medicine or bath, from time to time. No matter what type of pet you have, some basic spring cleaning for their items should include:

Most types of pets have a few things in common, like the fact that they drink and eat food from bowls, entertain themselves with toys and probably need the occasional medicine or bath, from time to time. No matter what type of pet you have, some basic spring cleaning for their items should include:

  • Scrubbing their food and water dishes: Use water and a mild soap to thoroughly wash food and water bowls. This should actually be a daily activity, not reserved just for a spring deep clean. However, it’s a good time to do a in depth check of their feeders and replace any dishes or bowls that are cracked, chipped or scratched.

  • Disinfecting pet toys: Your pet’s toys can be a hotbed for bacteria, dirt, yeast and mold, so cleaning them thoroughly and regularly is very important. To do so, wash all plastic and rubber toys at least once a week in warm water and mild soap. Plush toys often have care instructions on the tag, otherwise you can usually run them on a gentle cycle with mild detergent in the washing machine, or wash them by hand.

  • Disposing of expired products: Pet products past their due date — especially medicinal ones — have no place in your home. Take some time to go through all the pet products you have stashed in your house and toss and replace all expired items like flea and tick preventatives, prescriptions and supplements.

In addition to these tips, specific types of animals will require additional care based on their habits and needs. Take a look below for more tips based on the specific type of pet you have.

Cleaning tips for dog parents

Along with the tips above, dog parents may need to attend to a few other items while doing their spring-cleaning rounds.

  • Washing a dog bed. If your dog has a dog bed, be sure to clean and rotate all bedding once a week to remove dirt, bacteria, allergens and potential pests from both the bedding and your home. Follow the care instructions on the bed to keep the bed in its best shape.

    Beds that are six months or older, or those with tears, loose stuffing or other unfixable damage, should be replaced completely. Petco has a full line of dog bed options for pets of every shape and size.

  • Cleaning out the dog crate. Your dog’s crate also needs attention. Clean out any bedding that might be in the crate and wipe the entire crate down. Repeat this at least once a month.

  • Know when to throw out dog toys. Toys that can’t be cleaned or are simply beyond repair can become a hazard and should be thrown away and replaced. Look for ripped seams or exposed stuffing or squeakers as a sign that it’s time to say goodbye. Search tons of new dog toys at Petco to replace any beloved toy that has seen better days.

Litter box cleaning tips for cat parents

Along with washing their beds, cats require a few additional cleaning needs, especially with regard to their litter box.

  • Scoop litter daily: Cats with dirty litter boxes may find other places to relieve themselves. Do your cat (and yourself) a favor by keeping their litter box clean with daily scoops to remove any deposits.

  • Clean the entire litter box weekly: Daily refreshes to the litter box are great, but to keep it in tip-top shape, replace all the litter inside at least once a week (more if it gets particularly dirty), and wash it out fully with a mild soap and water.

  • Fully replace the litter box at least once a year: As attentive as you are to your cat’s litter box, a lot happens in there, and it’s best to actually replace the entire thing about once a year. Petco has a wide variety of cat litter box options, ranging from enclosed or self-cleaning to traditional or hooded.

And, while cats may not tear apart their toys in quite the same manner as dogs, remember to replace worn or broken toys so your pet doesn’t injure themselves.

Bird habitat cleaning tips

Tiny though they may be, your bird  — and particularly your bird’s cage — requires some extra TLC.

  • Replace cage linings: Your bird’s cage lining could be filled with food particles, droppings and other debris. When you clean the cage each week, take the time to replace it completely and start fresh.

  • Clean out bird baths: Any bird baths in your bird’s cage should be cleaned out daily — since feathers, food, and other things can easily get caught in there — and refilled with fresh water.

  • Clean the full cage and all accessories weekly: Give your bird’s entire cage and all the accessories inside a thorough wipe-down once a week using a mild soap and water.

Cleaning tips specific for your fish

Your fish will remain their happiest when you take the time to keep their environment at its cleanest:

  • Keep the water at appropriate levels: Fish require certain pH levels in their water to stay healthy, so remove 20-25% as needed to help maintain those levels and to remove any waste by-products like ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

  • Clean all tank paraphernalia: The entire tank, along with tubing and filters, should be cleaned with a mild soap and water at least monthly.

  • Take care of plants: If your aquarium contains any plants, keep them healthy by using fertilizer, removing any dead leaves or plant parts and changing the full-spectrum lights every six to 12 months.

Sprucing up your small animal’s space

Small animals come with big responsibilities, especially when it comes to cage care.

  • Provide fresh bedding: Scoop out any soiled bedding on a daily basis to make a clean and fresh living environment.

  • Take care of food and water bowls: Anything your small animal uses to eat or drink from should be thoroughly cleaned with mild soap and water on a daily basis.

  • Wash their habitat: Take the time at least once a month to thoroughly clean out and wash the entire habitat — and all accessories — with mild soap and water.

While our pets require and deserve a tidy environment year-round, spring gives us the perfect excuse to really up our animals living arrangements by ensuring everything is clean and fresh for the new season. If you’re ready to start cleaning up your pet’s space, gear up with pet-safe cleaning supplies.