After the Winter That Wouldn’t Quit, it’s so lovely to see the sun and enjoy some warmer temperatures outside. It’s spring cleaning time, not only for your house, but also for Fido and Fluffy! This is a great time of year to think about protecting Fido and Fluffy from parasites (warmer temperatures mean increased numbers of ticks, fleas, mites and worms). In addition to parasite control, there are a number of “pet spring cleaning” items to add to your household list for the season.
1.) For all dogs, and for indoor/outdoor cats, now is the time to ensure they are being treated monthly for fleas, ticks and heartworm. For outdoor cats, flea and tick control is just as important as it is for dogs. At NSVH, we strongly recommend year-round parasite control, since our winter temperatures are often not consistently low enough to eradicate the tick population (the winter of 2013/2014 notwithstanding!) This was discussed at length in my previous blog post.
2.) Spring is a great time to review the expiration dates on all parasite preventatives and any other medications for your pets. Throw away any medications that have expired. Please do not dispose of any medications into the toilet or garbage disposal, as they can eventually enter the drinking water supply.
3.) Many people travel over Spring Break and during the summer months; this may require boarding your pets. Check your pets’ records or call your veterinarian to ensure Fluffy and Fido have a current physical examination and vaccinations. Vaccinations, such as for bordatella (kennel cough) – required by the majority of kennels – take a minimum of two weeks to result in effective immunity. Vaccinating Fido the day before he boards may meet the kennel’s requirements, but will not protect him against infectious disease in the kennel.
4.) While spring cleaning your home, include Fluffy’s litter pan on your cleaning list. Dump out all of the litter and thoroughly scour the litter boxes with hot, soapy water; avoid any products containing ammonia, as these can mimic the scent of urine. Discard any litter pans with odors or stains that cannot be eradicated. Vigorously vacuum and clean the areas around the litter pan as well. Fill all new pans with new, fresh litter to a minimum depth of four inches. Fluffy will thank you (and if Fluffy is anything like my cat Pudge, she will probably thank you by rushing in to use the box the second you’re finished!)
5.) Take all of Fluffy and Fido’s food and water bowls and run them through the dishwasher, or scrub them thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Utilize the same process for any food or treat containers.
6.) Spring cleaning should also apply to your pets’ toys. Any of Fido’s toys that can be washed in the dishwasher or laundered in the washing machine should be cleaned thoroughly. Discard any toys that are ripped, torn or dismembered to the point where Fido could ingest any pieces.
7.) This is also an ideal time to assess Fido’s leashes and collars. Toss any collars that are frayed, those that have malfunctioning buckles, or those that are just too big or small for Fido (collars should not be loose enough to dangle like a necklace; if you can pull Fido’s collar over his head, it’s entirely too loose!) Toss leashes that are irreparably knotted or worn thin. And while you’re at it, discard all retractable leashes and replace with a simple, inexpensive nylon leash.
8.) Wash Fluffy and Fido’s bedding in the warmest temperature allowed by the manufacturer. Ideally, wash the covers and inserts separately.
9.) As spring tends to be muddy, keep some old towels by the door to wipe Fido’s paws when he comes in from the outdoors.
10.) Get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather! After this winter, you’ve earned it, and Fido has too!